Peanut Sauce for Dips and Dressings

The iconic Peanut sauce is quick to prepare from store cupboard essentials. Use it to dress a winter salad with or without noodles, as a dip, or with kebabs and raw vegetables. This perfect dressing creates a quick lunch or light supper from nothing.

There are a thousand and one recipes for this sauce, complex and simple, coming from Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian and Vietnamese kitchens. I always feel nervous about writing down this iconic recipe and worry that its originality will get lost in translation. However, the actual ingredients are not readily available for many of us, so we need a little improvisation.

There are notes for two versions one is cooked, and one is blended, but the ingredients are very similar.

Peanut Sauce Ingredients

Many authentic recipes would use tamarind paste, which you can replace with lime juice if difficult to source. I also like to use orange juice as the sweet element rather than sugar, purely down to taste preference. If you find an excellent quality pure roasted peanut butter, use it; if not, roast and grind your own peanuts because it tastes much better. I sometimes add fresh mint or coriander, which is good with noodles.

Authentic Asian recipes cook the sauce, giving it a much richer complex flavour, especially if you roast your peanuts. Modern adaptations lose this step; I have given notes for both.

Choose Your Sauce

The Spicy Peanut Dressing, the simpler version, adding sesame as a flavour (more Thai influenced), is perfect for a quick noodle salad. But it is highly adaptable, so change the consistency according to your recipe; pourable to dress noodles and salads and thicker for the dip. The spicy dipping sauce, a cooked sauce, is ideal for grilled meats and raw vegetables.

After writing down my recipe (which has always been based on James Mayson’s Street Food from around the world, 1998 Absolute Press. Bath. UK.) I read a great many peanut sauce recipes.😁 My thanks, therefore, rasamalaysia, templeofthai and Epicurious for their guidance and inspiration.

For more dips and sauces recipes, click here.

Spiced Peanut Dressing and Dipping Sauce

Two versions of the iconic spicy peanut sauce with lime and ginger. Sweetened with orange juice, it is as thick or pourable as you need. Perfect to spice up any winter salad or noodle bowl.
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Course: dip, dressing, sauce
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: gingery, spicy
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Author: The Wild Epicurean


  • 1 mini blender


Cooked Peanut Sauce (dipping)

  • ½ cup peanut butter or peanut roasted and ground
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce (Kecap Manis)
  • ½ tsp fish sauce optional
  • 2.5 cm finely grated ginger
  • 2 cloves finely grated garlic
  • 3 shallots finely minced
  • 1 tbsp coriander root or stems. Save the leaves to garnish!
  • 3 small red chillies and one banana chilli or 8 small red chillies
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • salt and ground white pepper black pepper is also fine
  • coconut or olive oil
  • toasted peanuts to serve

Simple Peanut Sauce (dressing)

  • ½ cup roasted and ground peanuts or pure peanut butter
  • 2 cloves garlic – finely grated
  • 2.5 cm fresh ginger finely grated
  • 1 fresh chilli or 4 dried red chillies
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seed oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint and or coriander
  • 1 spring onion to serve
  • 1 tsp toated sesame seeds to serve


Cooked Peanut Sauce (dipping)

  • Blend the onion, garlic, ginger, chillies, coriander root and spices.
  • Saute the mixture in coconut or olive oil until soft. Add the ground toasted peanuts or peanut butter and cook gently for 3 minutes. Add the coconut cream and lime juice. Cook for another 2-4 minutes. Add a splash of fish sauce and tablespoon each of soy and sweet soy sauce.
  • Continue cooking and taste. If it is not spicy enough – add a little Sirancha or Sambal Oelek. Add the orange juice to give it the right sweetness and consistency and a little more coconut cream or oil if it starts to stick.
  • I let the sauce cool and blend it again so its really smooth and creamy. This is optional.

Simple Peanut Sauce (dressing)

  • Blend all the ingredients, except the orange juice and sesame seed oil, in a mini blender or food processor, when smooth slowly add orange juice and a little sesame seed oil until you reach the right consistency and flavour.
    Roast the garlic and onion before blending if you want a more mellow flavour.
  • Finally, whizz in the mint and or coriander, if using. Add salt and or pepper if required. Serve sprinkled with toasted peanuts or sesame seeds.


Two classic, versatile sauces, but you may need to adjust the ginger, chilli and garlic to your liking. Use the best pure unsalted peanut butter your budget allows (or make your own!). Soy is a matter of taste, un-salted or ordinary! Many recipes for peanut sauce do add sugar – I prefer to use orange juice, again adapt to your liking but compensate the liquid.
Both sauces can be used straight away or stored in a sterilised airtight container for up to  5 days in the fridge.


Calories: 178kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 369mg | Potassium: 285mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 288IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

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