Quick and easy peanut sauce that's just the right blend of creamy, savoury, sweet, citrusy, tangy and a little spicy. Drizzle it on everything!
My Peanut Sauce that's new but not new. It's actually the same sauce I used in my Peanut Noodles and my Tofu Bowls but I thought it deserved it's own post because it's so good and ready for saucing up anything and everything!
Wondering what peanut sauce tastes like? Well, it's creamy, peanutty, garlicky, gingery, citrusy, slightly "soy sauce" salty, with a deliciously spicy, sesame kick.
What ingredients and equipment do I need?
Here's what you'll be needing for this peanut sauce recipe and why:
- Peanut butter - For that thick, creamy texture and delicious peanut flavour.
- Soy sauce or tamari - For rich and salty depth of flavour
- Sesame oil - For a good kick of sesame flavour and gloss
- Sriracha - To spice things up!
- Lime juice and zest - Fresh flavour, acidity and tang!
- Garlic - A savoury sauce without garlic?? I don't think so! ;O)
- Fresh ginger - For that warming, earthy, fragrant ginger punch!
- Maple syrup - or brown/ coconut sugar A touch of sweet to balance all of the flavours and reduce any harshness.
- Water or coconut milk - To thin as necessary. Either is good. Using water keeps the flavours more vibrant and punchy but peanut sauce with coconut milk is creamier and more mellow.
TOP TIP - If you don't use fresh ginger very often, keep it in the freezer. It stays good for months and months and is grate-able straight from the freezer!
You can make the sauce by hand or use a blender. I prefer using a blender so it's really smooth. And also because I'm lazy and it saves me having to grate the ginger, garlic and lime zest properly. You can just throw it in in chunks when using a blender!
How to make Peanut Sauce from scratch
My Peanut Sauce recipe is incredibly easy to make. Here's how it's done in 2 easy steps:
Step 1 - Add all of the ingredients except the coconut milk or water to a bowl or blender and either whisk together until combined or blend.
Step 2- Add coconut milk or water gradually until you get the consistency you need for whatever you will be using the sauce for.
Note that when you whisk it together the colour will be darker and the sauce won't be completely smooth because of the ginger, garlic and zest. If you blend it will become much lighter and will be smooth like in the photo below.
- Sesame oil gives a lovely flavour but if you don't consume added oils or don't have any, feel free to omit it.
- Adjust the thickness to suit your needs. For example, as a dip you should add less liquid to make it thicker and if you intend pouring it on salads or tossing it through noodles you will need to add a little more liquid to make it thinner.
- Use the recipe as a guide and adjust to taste. This is the kind of recipe that should be tweaked to suit your own personal tastes. Add more or less garlic, hot sauce, maple syrup or ginger. Taste and tweak as you go.
- Use a different nut or seed butter. The sauce is great with almond butter or cashew butter and also works well with sunflower seed or pumpkin seed butter.
- Make it gluten-free by using gluten-free soy sauce, tamari, liquid aminos or coconut aminos
- Make it sweeter by adding more maple syrup or sugar
- Make it thicker or thinner by adjusting the amount of coconut milk or water you add
- Add chopped cilantro for a burst of flavour and colour
- Add some chopped peanuts for crunch
- Make it more citrusy by using lime juice to thin instead of water or coconut milk
- Use lemon instead of lime
- Make spicy peanut sauce. It's already got a little kick thanks to the sriracha, but feel free to add more or add some chopped fresh red chili.
Make Thai style peanut sauce - Use coconut milk instead of water and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of red curry paste and 1 to 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar or white vinegar instead of the lime. Use sugar instead of maple syrup and omit the sriracha.
Want to make a Vietnamese style peanut sauce recipe? - Add about a quarter cup of hoisin sauce and use sugar instead of the maple syrup.
Storage, freezing & reheating tips
- Prep ahead - Make the sauce and store it in a jar in the fridge. It keeps really well in the fridge for about 7 to 10 days if you made it with water, and about 4 to 5 days if you used coconut milk. It does thicken up as it sits so thin it with a little water or coconut milk when you come to use it.
- Freeze - The peanut sauce can be frozen for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge and thin as necessary with a drop of water or coconut milk.
What do you eat peanut sauce with?
Do I even need to talk about what this peanut sauce is good with? The answer is almost everything. You can drizzle it, full on submerge things in it, marinade with it or dunk your favourite things in it. And if your mind isn't already coming up with multiple plans, here are some of mine:
- rice dishes
- bowl meals
- roasted vegetables
- grain bowls
- coconut lime rice
- grilled food
- lettuce wraps
- veggie burgers
- noodles, hello peanut noodles (as featured in the pic above)!
- Pad Thai
As a dip with:
- my baked tofu triangles (amazingly good!)
- spring rolls
- summer rolls
- Vegan chick'n like my fave Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders
- raw veggies
As a dressing, drizzle or marinade in:
- my tofu bowls
- salads like my Peanut Crunch Salad in a Jar
- Tofu or tempeh dishes. Marinade in the sauce then grill, pan-fry or bake.
Natural peanut butter with just peanuts or peanuts and salt in the ingredients is best to use. If you have a not so natural variety though it's ok to use it as long as it isn't sweetened or flavoured in any way. Crunchy or smooth is fine.
- ½ cup (125 grams) peanut butter or seed butter (almond/cashew butter works well too)
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce or Tamari , or coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoons toasted sesame oil , omit to make oil-free
- 1 medium lime , zest and juice
- 2 cloves garlic , (just use 1 if you want a more subtle garlic flavour)
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup , or brown or coconut sugar
- 2 to 3 teaspoons Sriracha , or sambal oelek (or other hot sauce)
- up to ½ cup (120 mls) water or canned coconut milk , to thin as necessary
- Add all ingredients except the water/coconut milk to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. If you don't have a high powered blender you might need to add a small drop of the water or coconut milk right away to get things going. Once smooth, add water or coconut milk to thin as necessary. The amount of liquid you need to add will depend on how thick or runny your peanut butter is and what your intended use for the sauce is. For instance if making the sauce to coat noodles you will need to make it thinner than you would if you intend to use it for dipping.
- If you don't have a blender, grate or mince the garlic, ginger and zest very finely, then whisk everything together in a bowl.
If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it by leaving a comment and rating below! And be sure to join my mailing list for more deliciousness!
Everything from you I have tried has been delicious! I am impressed. Thank you for sharing those goodies with us.. I will be making much more to come. You are making my life so much more fun.. I really needed new tasty recipes. My hat to you !
A Virtual Vegan says
Thank you so much Margot. I'm really pleased you're enjoying my recipes!
Carla Thomson says
Very delicious sauce all ready to top our tofu noodle bowls!! Will add this to my faves. Thanks Mel!
A Virtual Vegan says
Glad you enjoyed it Carla!
Hi Mel..... thank you for this fantastic recipe! It made last night's salad, topped with baked tofu slices, an absolute feast. From now on, this will my go-to peanut sauce recipe. Can stop searching now!
A Virtual Vegan says
I'm so pleased you're enjoying it Sylvia, and thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review/rating!
Laima Martinskis says
This peanut sauce is incredibly delicious!
A Virtual Vegan says
Thank you Laime. I'm really pleased you're enjoying it!