Sweet Chili Sauce

I love sweet chili sauce, but don’t love that my favourite brand comes in plastic bottles and has some unpronounceable ingredients. I also don’t like its price tag.

So I decided to make my own. How hard could it be? You don’t need any special or expensive ingredients. Just vinegar, sugar, water and sambal oelek. (Or red chili peppers, but I haven’t tried that. Nor will I.)

Those are just the basic ingredients. I added some garlic, ginger and corn starch as well. The garlic and ginger to add an extra kick to the sauce, and the corn starch so I wouldn’t have to simmer the sauce for hours to make it thicken.

It came out well. Spicier than my store-bought chili sauce, and less sweet. I might play around with it to make it a little less spicy, so I can eat it by the spoonful – as I sometimes did with the store-bought chili sauce. Then again, it’s nice to actually taste the chili, and not have the sugar, well… sugarcoat everything.


  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar (I used demerara sugar)
  • 2 garlic gloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp sambal oelek
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water


Combine vinegar, water, sugar, garlic and ginger in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, stirring all the time.

Reduce heat so the mixture bubbles gently, and, still stirring, let it simmer till all sugar has dissolved. Simmer for one or two more minutes. Keep stirring.

Add in sambal oelek. Stir well, and keep stirring as you let it simmer for five more minutes.

Dissolve cornstarch in 1 spoonful of water and stir into chili sauce. Let simmer for a couple more minutes, still stirring, until the sauce thickens. Keep in mind that it will thicken even more as it cools.

Pour sauce into a glass jar, let cool completely.

Store in the fridge. I don’t know how long it will keep, but with all that sugar and vinegar, my guess is it should keep for quite a while. Not that I think it will last all that long in my house. I may never find out for how long it will keep.

And that’s OK. 🙂

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