Real Satay Thai Peanut Sauce

Thai Peanut Dip
Thai Peanut Dip, made from real peanuts (and you'll taste the difference!).
  • 18 mins
  • Prep: 18 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6 as a dip
Ratings (100)

While most Western versions of peanut sauce are made with peanut butter, this authentic Thai peanut sauce starts with real peanuts--and you'll taste the difference! At the same time, it is super easy and quick to make--and is really versatile. This peanut sauce can be used for a variety of purposes, from a dip for veggies to a sauce for chicken or beef satay. Or use it to make a delicious cold noodle salad or as a marinade for grilled chicken or tofu. 

This sauce is meant to have a smooth consistency, but if you prefer it with a bit of texture you can process just until there are some small bits of peanut remaining. The dry roasted peanuts do make for quick preparation, but if you like you can buy raw peanuts and roast them yourself. Place nuts on a cookie sheet in the oven or in a dry frying pan and toast until golden and fragrant.

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup fresh-tasting dry roasted peanuts, unsalted
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. brown sugar, to taste
  • 2 to 2 1/2 tbsp. fish sauce (for vegetarians: substitute 2 1/2 to 3 tbsp. regular soy sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp. tamarind paste, or 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, or 1 tsp. Thai chili sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk

How to Make It

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until sauce is smooth. If you prefer a runnier peanut sauce, add a little more water or coconut milk.
  2. Do a taste-test, adding more fish sauce (or soy sauce) if not salty enough, or more cayenne if not spicy enough. If too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice. If you'd prefer it sweeter, add a little more sugar.
  3. Serve warm or at room temperature with Thai chicken satay, as a dip with fresh veggies, with fresh spring rolls or other Asian finger foods. Or combine with noodles to create a Thai-style noodle dish or cold noodle salad. 


    This sauce tends to thicken as it sits--just add a little water or coconut milk to thin it out, as needed. Otherwise, it stores well if kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks; place in the freezer thereafter.