Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce

Does anyone else feel that sweet chilli sauce has become so popular it has all but entered the realm occupied by ketchup, mayonnaise and brown sauce?

To be honest, up to this point I’d never been the biggest fan of sweet chilli sauce, but after making it the reason soon became clear. Homemade sweet chilli sauce simply has masses more flavour that the relatively insipid, oddly coloured tat you can purchase in one’s local supermarket.

It’s also rather ironic that making your own sweet chilli sauce takes around the same length of time as it takes to visit a local shop – it really is that quick. Indeed, from beginning to end, this recipe probably took between ten and fifteen minutes – no time at all.

It really is testament to how lazy the general populous has become when it comes to cooking. Please buck the trend, as I have, and make your own sweet chilli sauce. I shall make it worth your while tomorrow, with yet another gastronomic wonder.

Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce

Makes 1 small bottle, the recipe is easily scalable


• 250ml water

• 2 red chillies, seeds are optional depending on individual taste

• 2 cloves of garlic

• 3 tbsp sugar

• 2 tsp corn flour (starch)

• Salt


1. First, you’ll want to blend the water, chillies, garlic and sugar together in a food processor. Transfer the resultant mixture, which should be a little chunky, into a saucepan and cook gently for 3-4 minutes. Once the mixture has thickened a little season it and add the corn flour which should be mixed with a tiny little water to make a roux. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes before allowing to cool. Once cool transfer the sauce to a jar or bottle and refrigerate. If the sauce turns to a jelly simply add a little more water without heating.

Cost: Sweet chilli sauce, like most sauces, is rather over-priced in general. A bottle of this sauce, as made by the market leader, costs £1.29. One might think that price fairly reasonable, however this sauce when made at home should set one back a mere 15-20p for roughly the same amount. Everything is relative, my friends.

140 comments on “Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce

  1. cookinginsens
    March 14, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    I agree, home made sweet chilli sauce is good and worth the time.

  2. bombedpop
    March 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Thanks for posting. I have to try this, reminds me i also have been meaning to make my own sriracha!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:43 pm

      Oh, I shall have to look that up and perhaps make it 😀

  3. cyanidelollipopdesigns
    March 14, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    It’s funny that you said something about tit/tid-bit, because my British friend and I were discussing this yesterday. He seems to think that Americans all brutalize the language with our awful accent, which is probably closer to the truth, where as my friend thinks that they are both all well and good and just preference. Tomato, potato, I suppose.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:41 pm

      Haha, that is funny. It definitely originated as tit, but I think descended the road of madness to tid when Americans decided it was offensive.

  4. cyanidelollipopdesigns
    March 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Also, what would one use this sweet chili sauce for once it was prepared? I’ve never even heard of it.

  5. rachsmith
    March 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Wow – I’d never even think of a homemade version of this—really clever. Thanks very much!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:40 pm

      It just sort of occurred to me and turned out to be incredibly simple.

  6. Dina Avila
    March 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    My guess is that our puritanical ancestors were offended by the word “tit”. Although, I think cyanidelollipopdesigns may be on to something too.

  7. Simply Tia
    March 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Easy and yummy. Lovely.

    Good luck on/in your concert. I’m pretty sure you’re going to do great and be a hit!!

  8. Juls
    March 14, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Oh Mr. Frugal. If I wasn’t in a happy relationship and I weren’t to know you were in a happy relationship, you’re exactly the type of man I might stalk and I mean that in the least creepy way possible. If it is at all possible to say in a non-creepy way.

    I think the tit/tid thing comes down to accents and what simply became easier to say in an American accent. I know in the filming of the re-make of “The Wicker Man” (NOT THE BEEEEEEES), they changed the name of the island from “Summersisle” to “Summerisle” because the American actors couldn’t easily pronounce the ‘s’ in the centre. I expect we, as British, have done it to other languages and are just as guilty, seeing as how our own language is such a hodge podge of origins and an etymologist’s dream.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 22, 2012 at 8:33 am

      Haha! Well, I’m not quite sure what to say – thanks, I think :D. That’s a rather interesting pint, though I think in this case it has to do with the word tit and how it might offend Americans… Though, one can’t be entirely sure.

  9. mrswebbinthekitchen
    March 14, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Well, I have no answer as to how the phrase evolved, but certainly if an american heard a brit say “tit-bit” today, they would probably have to work hard to hold back a snicker, as we have turned the word “tit” into a crude word describing a part of the female body.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:38 pm

      Ah, childish :D. We have turned it into that too, but it also has other meanings.

  10. Marina@cowboycountryvegetarian
    March 14, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Thank you for the recipe. I was looking into different recipes last night for the sweet chili and I think I’ll try yours. It sound great. I am not an expert in the English language, but sure love the music language. I would love to go to the Catrin Finch live performance one day. Good luck!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:37 pm

      Ah yes, you must – I’m I could be of service. She was incredible.

  11. foodmuses
    March 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Loved your reasoning! “It’s also rather ironic that making one’s own sweet chilli sauce takes around the same length of time as it takes to visit one’s local shop – it really is that quick.” Glad to have a recipe for this now!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 22, 2012 at 8:32 am

      Thanks! You simply have to make it since my justification is fairly accurate 😀

  12. Lisa Moser
    March 14, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Looks amazing…and seems worth the time. Thanks for sharing!!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 22, 2012 at 8:31 am

      Thanks. It really is, Lisa – how can it not be, it takes such a small amount!

  13. nancycg56
    March 14, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    So I had to look up the origin of tid-bit and it did originate with tit-bit (as in titmouse). No info as to why it changed to tid.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 22, 2012 at 8:30 am

      I think it must be due to puritanic sensibilities – silly really.

  14. Purely.. Kay
    March 14, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    I LOVE this sauce. You always make something that entices the senses… thanks for the recipe

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:36 pm

      Thanks! I do try to – I don’t post things that don’t 😀

  15. Conor Bofin
    March 14, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    I love that I can see spring slowly arriving in your recent photos.
    Happy days.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:36 pm

      I shall try to instil a little of each season in every photo just for you, Conor :D.

  16. thelittleloaf
    March 14, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    You’re so right, homemade sweet chilli sauce is a million times better than anything you can buy in a shop. Yours looks fab.

  17. daisy
    March 14, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Good luck with the concert. You’re so multitalented!


  18. thebigfatnoodle
    March 14, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Mate, you’re caving in, LOL! Now I’m intrigued though, what do you play??? Hmmm…:) BTW, great sauce too. I’m Chinese and have never bothered to make my own either, so now you’ve made me feel guilty and ashamed 😛 and PS – you keep going on about not being happy with your photographs but these are lovely… meantime, good luck with your concert, will be waiting to see what new tit bit you share next time :))

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:35 pm

      I am trying not to… with difficulty. Then, you must make your own, Noodle. It simply isn’t allowed. I’m glad you like my photographs.

  19. denlyn3
    March 14, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Have a great concert and I will give this sauce a try.

  20. k.m.
    March 14, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    I believe (if my memory is correct, though that’s a debatable status lately) that Bill Bryson, in his excellent book “The Mother Tongue,” explains that Americans in the earlier part of the previous century (or perhaps at the end of the one before that) changed quite a few words like tit-bit to tidbit, due to, essentially, prudery. The Puritans’ legacy lives on!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:34 pm

      Yes, someone else has mentioned this. It’s silly really though, though very interesting indeed.

  21. GretalRabbit
    March 15, 2012 at 12:00 am

    For some silly reason I’d never thought to make my own sweet chilli sauce- thanks so much for the recipe 🙂

  22. tanyamhudson
    March 15, 2012 at 12:12 am

    We’ve made so many of our own condiments before (mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, barbecue sauce, salad dressing) but never chili sauce! Will have to try this! 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      March 22, 2012 at 8:29 am

      You should – it’s really worth it. I have yet to make all the others myself 😀

  23. meetyourtreat
    March 15, 2012 at 1:52 am

    Your sauce looks great, but your sunshine looks even better- I’m jealous!

  24. Korena in the Kitchen
    March 15, 2012 at 2:08 am

    Sweet chili sauce is one of my favorite condiments, but I never really thought of making it myself – great idea!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:30 pm

      You must – such an act certainly wouldn’t be regretted.

  25. filingawaycupcakes
    March 15, 2012 at 2:16 am

    Yum! I have never known someone to make their own. You are pretty legit!

  26. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    March 15, 2012 at 2:30 am

    Um, yeah. I think Americans hear that word and giggle or get offended. I had no idea that’s what Brits said. My ears are still burning you filthy man. Ha, seriously, I’m rather amused. Also, love the recipe.

  27. Shira
    March 15, 2012 at 4:19 am

    This looks awesome and so so easy! Brilliant (as always!)

  28. emmycooks
    March 15, 2012 at 6:26 am

    Every once in a while I have a little epiphany about something that I should be making myself instead of buying. Count this as today’s! Now that I think about it I am amazed that I have been buying the goopy crap from the store when I’m sure the flavor you can get yourself is both much brighter and infinitely adjustable to my particular taste. Thanks for the wake-up call. And good luck with your concert! (Also, I recently ordered that Bill Bryson book mentioned above and it is in the mail; I’ll report back if it sheds any linguistic light on the tid/tit/bit question.)

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:28 pm

      This is certainly one of them! I hope making it goes to plan. Please do, though I think we have reached the bottom of the matter.

  29. Villy
    March 15, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Love the sunny photos! Good luck!

  30. promenadeplantings
    March 15, 2012 at 10:48 am

    It never entered my head to make my own, cheers!

  31. Veronika
    March 15, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Sweet chili sauce is lovely and thank you for posting the basic recipe – I think I will probably tinker with it some, as I like mine hotter and possibly add garlic… mmm.

    Now I need lunch!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:26 pm

      Thanks! It already has garlic and really was very hot :D. It depends very much on the individual chilli.

  32. cutestcakeseveryday
    March 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    That simple eh, just might give it a go. Sounds like it’s the difference between Green Thai curry paste you buy and the far superior stuff you can make. Thanks

    • frugalfeeding
      March 22, 2012 at 8:28 am

      Indeed, it really is THAT simple. I agree with your comparison too.

  33. dinutrition
    March 15, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Looks great, and good luck!

  34. Cara
    March 15, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Okay, I heart Thai food/sauces/beverages/tid-bits so much!! I cannot wait to make this and dump it on anything and everything. P.S. We want more Nick tid-bits! Like, what instrument do you play? Where are you going for those 10 days? If you could be any superhero, which one would you be and why? Answer. Go.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:25 pm

      TIT. I hope you read/appreciated my answers!

      • Cara
        March 21, 2012 at 11:28 pm

        It’s *not* tit, it’s TID. Why would you be talking about boob-bits? hahaha

        • frugalfeeding
          March 21, 2012 at 11:31 pm

          Why wouldn’t I be talking about boob bits. Just you wait until my next post, I shall raise a valid point. I mean it obvious is tit, but you Americans screw with the English language perpetually :D.

          • Cara
            March 21, 2012 at 11:40 pm

            I love how you are THE only blogger that I find myself double and triple checking my grammar when leaving a comment. bahaha. Good point about the boobs. I was kinda thinking that same thing once I pushed “Reply”-Tit bits, it is! Are we really still talking about boobs? *snickering*

          • frugalfeeding
            March 21, 2012 at 11:42 pm

            Haha, I do apologise for all the trouble you go to! I think you are… child.

          • Cara
            March 21, 2012 at 11:46 pm

            Wait, are you meaning to tell me that P*** is a bad word for but Tit isn’t??? We live in different worlds…*mine being the correct one*

          • frugalfeeding
            March 21, 2012 at 11:48 pm

            Tit can also be an offensive word, but every time I’ve said it I have been referring to the type of bird classed as a tit.

          • Cara
            March 21, 2012 at 11:52 pm

            Now you are just making things up! There is no such thing as a tit bird…must be difficult for the poor thing to fly–top heavy I would image 🙂 Okay now it’s time for me to drown my cough in syrup they call medicine. Thanks for the laugh and making my lungs a little more closer to coming out of my throat.

          • frugalfeeding
            March 21, 2012 at 11:54 pm

            There is! Google ‘blue tit’. I shall be catching up on your blog soon!

  35. Michelle
    March 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    What a great idea! I love sweet chili sauce and it never occurred to me to make it myself rather than pick up a bottle of goodness knows what’s inside.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:25 pm

      Thanks, Michelle. You really ought to try it 🙂

  36. ohmygoodygoodness
    March 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Can’t wait to try this!

  37. thekalechronicles
    March 15, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    I’m curious as to why you used corn flour: wouldn’t cooking it down achieve the same thing without adding starch? (I’m guessing — I’ve never made it).

    • frugalfeeding
      March 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm

      No, it wouldn’t. Corn flour thickens it in a way that holds the pieces of garlic and chilli – if you did it another way they would merely appear on the surface. I suppose one could cook it down for a long time and see what happens – that would take a lot longer and be pretty much pointless since corn flour doesn’t alter its taste or affect it in any negative way whatsoever.

      • thekalechronicles
        March 15, 2012 at 10:56 pm

        Sometimes I am imagining a purity of flavor achieved with using the fewest ingredients possible. Corn flour in the States is subjected to all sorts of pesticides, so it isn’t an ingredient I am keen to use when I can avoid it. I’m not crazy about corn syrup for the same reason. When chiles come in, I’ll perhaps try the sauce sans corn flour and report back to you.

        • frugalfeeding
          March 21, 2012 at 11:20 pm

          I don’t think that’s necessarily an issue – the flavour is perfectly clear. Though, if pesticides are a cause for concern for you, and they sometimes are for me, then experiment away. Do report back.

          • thekalechronicles
            March 22, 2012 at 2:06 am

            Thank you, Nick. I will. I am going to plant chillies again this year (and net them right away so that nothing eats them) so I should have some to experiment with come summer.

          • frugalfeeding
            March 22, 2012 at 8:18 am

            I’m planting my own come next week, probably won’t need to net them here though.

  38. spree
    March 15, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Oh I do wish you good luck! But even more, joy in the process! Thanks for sharing Nick, and your sweet chili sauce sounds wonderful!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:24 pm

      Thanks, Spree. I really enjoyed the concert, though it was hard work.

  39. hsw
    March 15, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    This looks fantastic, would any starch work or is corn preferable?

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:24 pm

      Thanks! I have no idea, though I assume corn is preferable.

  40. whiskydrinkinchimneysweep
    March 15, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Will you be playing the viola? I love Thai Chili Sauce. I must try this.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:23 pm

      I shall, my beloved viola. You should try it 😀 – both the viola and the sauce perhaps, though not in combination.

  41. Maya Oryan
    March 15, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Good luck with your concert, am gonna miss your recipes:) Cheers!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:22 pm

      Thanks, Maya! I shall be back sooner then I thought as I have a little time to myself.

  42. Simran S. & Stacie D.
    March 15, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    good luck with concert and break!
    we love this thai chilli sauce but I have never thought of making it myself. will have to try

  43. Bluejellybeans
    March 15, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Cool! Or should I say hot? 😉
    Good luck with the concert. I love the Concierto d’Aranjuez, is magnificent. Yes, I did Google Aberystwyth Philomusica… curiosity kill the cat 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      HOT :D. It really is a magnificent piece. The concert went very well.

  44. musingmar
    March 16, 2012 at 1:41 am

    Tat? Love it! I read your blog for the recipes and the vocabulary. I’m going to find a way to use this one at the office tomorrow. Enjoy your time away from the blog!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:18 pm

      Thanks! Perhaps I ought to employ some more word from my vocabulary next time – I’ve been getting rather lazy and have stopped using ridiculous combinations of words to describe things.

  45. Just A Smidgen
    March 16, 2012 at 2:17 am

    Fantastic… a concert !!?? What do you play?? We are a community orchestra as well and I love it!! Just heading upstairs now to practice:) Who knew you could make your own chili sauce?? Awesome!

  46. thecompletecookbook
    March 16, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Simply delicious.
    🙂 Mandy

  47. baconbiscuit212
    March 16, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Ooooooh! That looks great!

    Here’s a personal tidbit as well: an old boyfriend of mine was from Aberystywth and every once and a while when little details pop up here and there in your blog, it reminds me of the sea and the town. Small world, right?

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:13 pm

      Thanks! I think you may have mentioned that before… I’m sure you have. Small world indeed!

      • baconbiscuit212
        March 22, 2012 at 6:18 pm

        Ah, my memory is deserting me in my old age!

        In any case, glad to hear that the concert went well!

  48. theintrepidbaker
    March 19, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    awesome recipe. thanks for sharing! and good luck on the concert!!!

  49. Chilli Ninja
    March 19, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Excellent, and has a great colour to it. Can I ask did you use Thai Culinary Chillies?

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:00 pm

      Thanks! No, I didn’t know they existed – it’s hard to get really specific ingredients in West Wales…

      • Chilli Ninja
        March 24, 2012 at 9:33 pm

        They are a medium – hot chilli that are great to cook with, very similar to Cayenne.

  50. Karista
    March 20, 2012 at 4:01 am

    Frugal, I love that you shared a little about your life. Can’t wait to hear more…your music sounds fascinating. Love the chili sauce! Who knew it was so easy. Definitely on my to do list. Best of luck to you!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 10:59 pm

      Hehe, more shall come in fits and starts. Thanks, Karista.

  51. mamafritz
    March 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    mmm…i love to put this on salmon and broil it in the oven really quickly. if i’d known how easy it was to make at home, i’d have been doing that all along! i think we say tid-bits because the other word has a whole other meaning over here. 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 10:59 pm

      That’s a great idea, it must do justice to the salmon! The word ‘tit’ also means what you’re referring to here, but it doesn’t really matter.

      • mamafritz
        March 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm

        yeah, my little boy loves salmon this way. i’ll make yours and he’ll be even happier, i’m sure!
        hahaha, i see. i guess we are just weird. that has to be it. 😉

        • frugalfeeding
          March 24, 2012 at 8:13 am

          So good that he eats that sort of thing! Nothing wrong with weird…

  52. Ragamuffin Diaries
    March 22, 2012 at 12:01 am

    Hope that your concert went wonderfully! Sounds incredible… This sauce looks like a great thing to have on hand; and sounds so simple too!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 22, 2012 at 12:03 am

      Thanks, Ragamuffin! It went very well. You should try it 😀

  53. cakeboule
    March 23, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Really how many comments! I almost gave up scrolling LOL. I did not even know tid bits was American I always thought it soundly quite British – learn something new every post on here!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 24, 2012 at 8:09 am

      Haha – very sorry! It’s entirely American, I’m afraid!

      • cakeboule
        March 24, 2012 at 10:53 pm

        Yes they do adore you!

        • frugalfeeding
          March 30, 2012 at 11:44 pm

          :D, I’m sure the entire continent is braying for my death.

  54. thedeliciousphilosophy
    March 26, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    oh gosh, I fell in love this this stuff while in New Zealand. Definitely making it!

  55. Desi Chick
    March 31, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    I think blogging etiquette demands that I come back and tell you that I made this sauce and it was wonderful (instead of just responding on another comment 🙂 Thank you for this great, easy and money saving recipe!

  56. Mandy Gray
    January 23, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Answer to my prayers! I live in Ibiza where sweet chilli sauce is hard to come by and when you do find it the price is inflated. I had no corn flour so used plain and added a dash of apple viniger. This will never feature on my shopping list again now you’ve inspired me to make it myself, thank you. Mandy x

  57. Tonette Joyce
    March 12, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Very nice! I fell for this some years ago.I wish I’d had this link when I posted my hot wing recipes!

  58. Paul
    June 28, 2017 at 8:37 am

    Made it for the first time but I think it was not sweet enough could you tell me what type of sugar you use

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