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Thai Peanut Sauce

  • Sauce / Condiment
  • Thai
  • Active Time:15 min
  • Total Time:15 min
  • Servings:1 cup
Photo by Julia Gartland

Every cook needs a simple peanut sauce in their kitchen repertoire. This one, flavored with Thai curry paste and fish sauce, is especially good over grilled shrimp or salmon, but perfectly delicious with white fish as well. Drizzle some over crunchy greens and leftover flaked fish for a Thai-style salad. Or build a grain bowl with quinoa, shredded veggies, sprouts, and flaked salmon and spoon some sauce over the top.


  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed

  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste

  • 1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar

  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter

  • ½ cup coconut milk

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

  • 1½ teaspoons Asian fish sauce


Cook the Aromatics

In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in the curry paste and brown sugar.

Simmer the Sauce

Add the peanut butter, coconut milk, and ¼ cup water, and whisk until smooth. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

Finish and Serve

Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the lime juice and fish sauce. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Use right away or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Before serving, reheat over low heat; if the sauce separates, whisk in 1 tablespoon hot or boiling water.