Sweet chilli dipping sauce

Sweet chilli sauce is one of those things that people tend to buy ready-made, but it’s really quite easy to make yourself. It’s fairly time-consuming, so just best to make a large quantity in one go and preserve it in bottles for future use. Sweet chilli sauce keeps well for several weeks, and once opened it will last about a week in the fridge.

It’s also a great way to use up or preserve chillies when you’ve got a glut of them and don’t know what to do with them all!


  • 500g fresh red chillies
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 cups of white vinegar
  • 3 cups caster sugar (you can substitute raw sugar, but this will take longer to dissolve; or palm sugar, although this will also take longer to dissolve, and will give a stronger, sweeter flavour)


  • Food processor – if you don’t have one, that’s ok – but it will take you longer to finely chop all the chillies)
  • Sterilised airtight bottles to preserve the sweet chilli sauce in


  1. Set aside 100g of the chillies, halve, and place in a bowl
  2. Halve and de-seed the rest of the chillies (this is time-consuming, and you’ll want to wear cotton or rubber gloves so you don’t burn your hands), and add them to the bowl
  3. Coarsely chop the chillies, and put them in the food processor
  4. Add the garlic and one cup of the vinegar
  5. Process the mixture until it is well blended and the chillies are finely chopped (alternatively you can chop by hand, and then mix with the garlic and vinegar in a large bowl)
  6. Place the chilli mixture, the remaining vinegar, and all of the sugar in a large saucepan, and stir over a low heat for 5 minutes or until the sugar is fully dissolved
  7. Turn heat up to high, and bring to the boil
  8. Reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally
  9. When the sauce is nice and thick you can transfer it to your bottles, and seal immediately
  10. Sweet chilli sauce goes great with a wide variety of snacks and nibbles, especially my post-apocalyptic Thai fried sweetcorn cakes.

8 thoughts on “Sweet chilli dipping sauce

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