This vegan Thai peanut sauce can be whipped up quickly and makes the perfect dipping sauce, salad dressing, or noodle topping.
We love this easy Thai peanut sauce in our house. It’s one of those recipes that you can use on so many things.
It works great as a dipping sauce for spring rolls, raw veggies on rice noodles, or whatever you need a creamy peanut butter dressing for. It has tons of flavor.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- This takes less than 10 minutes to make
- It can easily be made gluten-free
- Tastes great on its own as a dip or whatever you need an easy peanut sauce for
- Made with basic ingredients
Ingredients and substitutions for this peanut sauce recipe
- Peanut butter- I’ve only used creamy peanut butter in this; crunchy peanut butter would work fine if you don’t mind chunks in your sauce. You can also use natural peanut butter, but you might need some more liquid.
- Fresh garlic- I like to use raw garlic here for a burst of garlic, but if all you have is garlic powder, you can also use that.
- Brown sugar- the flavor of brown sugar pairs perfectly here. You can use white or coconut sugar if that’s all you have. If you want to use maple syrup or agave nectar, I would adjust the liquid slightly to accommodate more liquid.
- Low sodium soy sauce- I always use low sodium soy sauce, but you can use full sodium if you prefer it. If you want to keep this gluten-free, you can use tamari, coconut aminos, or a gluten-free soy sauce.
- Full fat coconut milk- make sure to stir this well, so you get an even amount of liquid and fat. Canned coconut milk seems to get separated and needs a good stir to incorporate it all again. There isn’t a good sub for this except for low fat canned coconut milk but I much prefer the flavor with the full fat and would stick with that.
- Fresh lemon juice– I know most people use lime juice, but I prefer lemon juice. You can really use either. If you’re out of fresh lime or lemon, you could use apple cider vinegar in a pinch.
- Cornstarch- this is used to thicken the sauce. Without it, it’s very liquidy. You can use arrowroot powder, but I would use about half the amount to start with.
- Cold water– always works best when you’re trying to stir in cornstarch; it helps it dissolve and not get chunky.
Check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full recipe.
Taste and Texture
This is a peanut-flavored sauce that tastes like you would expect peanut sauce to taste like. Full of peanut flavor with a little tang from the lemon and sweetness from the sugar.
How to make this delicious peanut sauce
Take a small to medium-sized bowl, add all the sauce ingredients, and stir.
Take a small cup, mix the cornstarch and cold water and stir until dissolved. Then mix the cornstarch and the peanut sauce until smooth.
Heat in the microwave for 1 minute and then stir; heat for another minute or until the desired consistency is where you want it. It will thicken up further on the counter. If it gets too thick, add some water and stir.
Expert Tips and Tricks
- Don’t heat up for too long, or it will become a very thick peanut sauce
- If you want to use this as a salad dressing, only heat it for about 1 minute so it doesn’t get too thick.
- Use your favorite brand of peanut butter because the flavor will come through.
How to Serve
This can be served a variety of ways. You can use it as;
- A dipping sauce
- On top of buddha bowls
- On a Thai noodle salad or just Thai noodles
- Satay sauce
- Stir fry sauce
- On top of pad Thai
How to store and freeze
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. It will thicken quite a bit in the fridge, so you may need to add some water and stir to smooth it out.
I don’t recommend freezing this vegan peanut sauce recipe. I think it’s best made fresh.
Variations and Ad-ons
- You can add chopped-up fresh cilantro that brings a nice flavor
- Add sesame seeds for flavor and a little crunch
- Diced green onions make a great flavor addition
- If you like a little spice, you can add red pepper flakes, or you can add some drops of hot sauce
- If you love sesame seed flavor without the crunch, you can add some sesame oil
- You can add a little bit of fresh ginger or ground ginger if you like ginger in your peanut sauce
Can I make this nut free?
If you want a peanut sauce feel without peanuts, you can substitute sunflower seed butter in a 1:1 ratio. It will give it a different flavor, but it’ll be a good sub.
Why is peanut sauce not vegan?
Often time peanut sauce is vegan, but it’s not always. Some places put fish sauce or honey in their sauce, which would make it no longer vegan.
Recipes you may like
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 TB light soy sauce
- 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 TB fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 TB cornstartch
- 1 TB cold water
- Take a small to medium-sized bowl add all the sauce ingredients and stir.
- Get a small cup, mix the cornstarch and cold water and stir until totally dissolved. Then mix the cornstarch and the peanut sauce together until smooth.
- Heat in the microwave for 1 minute and then stir; heat for another minute or until the consistency is where you want it. It will thicken up further on the counter. *
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