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This easy Vietnamese peanut sauce recipe is perfect for dipping and drizzling over spring rolls, noodles, salads, and more. It comes together in less than 10 minutes with peanut butter, hoisin sauce and fresh lime juice. It’s creamy, absolutely delicious and the easiest way to bring your Asian dishes to life.
What is Vietnamese Peanut Sauce?
Vietnamese peanut sauce is a sauce made from peanut butter, hoisin sauce, hot chili peppers, and water.
In Vietnamese, the peanut dipping sauce is called tuong dau phong or tương đậu phộng.
The amount of spiciness, as well as the consistency of the sauce, is highly variable.
Each cook adds their own twist to the sauce depending on what it is served with and their own personal preferences.
However, the three traditional and foundational ingredients are peanut butter, hoisin sauce, and water.
This Vietnamese peanut dipping sauce is at the fork road of cultural influences from three different cuisines.
Chinese for hoisin sauce, American for peanut butter, and Vietnamese for the combination of flavors and textures.
This Vietnamese peanut sauce recipe is for the traditional and authentic peanut dipping sauce.
We have included substitutions so you can easily make this dipping sauce as close to the original version consumed in Vietnam.
History of Vietnamese Peanut Sauce
There is no clear information about the origins of Vietnamese peanut sauce. This is probably due to its use in many countries and variations in recipes.
The peanuts plant originated in South America, in Peru or Brazil. It spread throughout the New World with Spanish explorers who discovered the peanut’s versatility.
Peanut sauce is most commonly associated with Thai cuisine, though the sauce actually originated in Indonesia.
It is used in satay, a dish of marinated and grilled meats eaten together with peanut sauce. This sauce is often referred to as satay sauce.
Throughout Southeast Asia, peanuts and peanut sauce are added to many different dishes. In Vietnam, peanut sauce is a bit sweeter and more liquid as compared to Thai or Chinese peanut sauces.
In Vietnam, the peanut dipping sauce is eaten most often with Vietnamese spring rolls. These spring rolls are also called Summer rolls or gỏi cuốn.
These are incredibly delicious fresh spring rolls made with rice paper filled with fresh vegetables, shrimp, and pork.
The peanut dipping sauce and fresh spring rolls are some of our favorite foods. And, one of the best ways to enjoy this Vietnamese peanut sauce recipe.
Discovering Vietnamese Peanut Sauce in Vietnam
Vietnamese peanut dipping sauce is one of the many sauces we fell in love with while exploring authentic food in Vietnam.
One of our most memorable experiences with this peanut sauce was in Danang in central Vietnam.
We stopped at a local restaurant for Banh Xeo or Vietnamese sizzling crepes. These are savory Vietnamese crepes filled with pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, spring onions and mung beans.
With the provided rice paper, you roll everything together, including the fresh herb to make spring rolls.
You then dip the fresh spring rolls into a peanut sauce for incredible flavors and textures.
The broth used in this peanut dipping sauce varies depending on the type of spring rolls served alongside.
With banh xeo, the peanut sauce contains pork broth, while for shrimp spring rolls, the broth used is shrimp broth.
In this simple Vietnamese peanut recipe, we use water for its neutral flavor. However, feel free to use broth instead of water to go along with your meal.
Authentic VIetnamese Peanut Sauce Recipe
This simple and authentic Vietnamese peanut sauce recipe comes together easily at home. It’s quick and easy to make and all you do is combine and mix a few basic ingredients. That’s it!
How To Make Vietnamese Peanut Sauce at Home
The best part about this Vietnamese peanut sauce recipe is that it does not require any cooking. All you need is about 10 minutes to mix a few simple ingredients together
- Peanuts – If you prefer to make everything from scratch, it is best to grind unsalted roasted peanuts in a blender. Alternative, you can simply use creamy peanut butter but it must be sugar-free and contain no flavorings.
- Hoisin sauce – Hoisin sauce is essential for this sauce. It is the traditional sauce used in Vietnam to make peanut dipping sauce.
- Water or broth? Traditional Vietnamese peanut dipping sauce is made with water to thin it out. However, some versions use pork, chicken or shrimp broth depending on what other dishes are accompanying the dipping sauce.
- Lime juice – In this Vietnamese peanut dipping sauce we recommend squeezing in fresh lime juice for a touch of citrusy flavors.
- Fresh Chili or Chili Sauce. In Vietnam, this dipping sauce is made with one fresh long minced chili. When making it at home we recommend using a fresh chili as well. However, chili sauce or even sriracha sauce are common options. The spicy touch is necessary for this sauce. However, feel free to adjust the amount of spice depending on your preferences.
- Fresh Ginger and Garlic. Fresh garlic and ginger add aromatic flavors to the Vietnamese peanut dipping sauce. If you can use fresh ingredients, it is much tastier. If not, use ginger and garlic paste.
- Sweet touch. Vietnamese peanut dipping sauce has a discreet sweet touch. However, there are many differing recipes and points of views on how to achieve it. In Vietnam white sugar is typically added to the dipping sauce. Though you can add brown sugar or even a touch of honey instead.
- Sesame seeds. They are not necessary, but they add a nice touch when serving.
With the correct ingredients, this sauce just requires mixing.
Authentic Vietnamese Peanut Sauce Recipe Tips
Adjust Ingredients to Taste
This peanut dipping sauce recipe is extremely versatile and easy to adjust according to your tastes and preferences.
If you like spicy food, add more chili for heat. You can add either fresh chili or sriracha sauce.
If you want more salty flavors, simply add more hoisin sauce.
For more milder and sweeter tastes, simply add more sugar.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: Learn to make Vietnamese Pizza a popular street food in Vietnam with our simple recipe.
How To Store the Vietnamese Peanut Sauce
This peanut dipping sauce can be stored in the fridge. It keeps well for up to a week.
Be sure to store it in a clean and dry glass container to prevent it from spoiling easily.
Remove the peanut sauce ahead of time before using and let it sit out for a bit at room temperature before serving.
How to Use Vietnamese Peanut Sauce
You can use your leftover peanut dipping sauce in a number of ways.
The most popular way to consume this peanut sauce is to have it with spring rolls. Simply stuff rice paper with fresh vegetables and shrimp for delicious spring rolls you can enjoy as an appetizer or light meal.
Use Vietnamese peanut sauce as a dressing for your salads. The flavors are even better if your salad has chicken or meat.
This Vietnamese peanut sauce makes a wonderful accompaniment to grilled meats. You can also use it with shrimp and pork dishes. And, if you are a tofu eater, this peanut sauce will add depth to the flavors of your meal.
If you love savory flavors in your eggs, you’ll enjoy this peanut dipping sauce in an omelet. A little peanut sauce will instantly improve your eggs making it a fully fledged delicacy.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: For a zesty salad to go with your Vietnamese sauce, see our Lao Papaya Salad Recipe: How To Make The Famous Laotian Salad
Is Vietnamese Peanut Sauce Gluten-free?
All the ingredients in this Vietnamese peanut sauce recipe are gluten-free. Especially the main ingredients, hoisin sauce and peanut butter.
Is Vietnamese Peanut Sauce Vegan?
The simple ingredients in this peanut dipping sauce recipe are also vegan friendly. Be sure the peanut butter you use is 100% vegan.
Hoisin sauce is naturally vegan, giving you the flexibility to adapt and use this flavorful recipe in your meals.
Vietnamese Peanut Sauce Recipe Step by Step Instructions
Crush Peanuts and Slice Chili Pepper
If you are using fresh peanuts, crush them using a coffee grinder. If not, simply scoop out creamy peanut butter and place in a mixing bowl. Cut up chili pepper and use as much as you like.
Mix Everything Together
Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and use a whisk or hand blender to mix until smooth. Add about ½ a lime and squeeze it into the peanut sauce.
Add Fresh Ginger & Enjoy
Grate the ginger over the peanut sauce for a final touch of flavor. Mix everything together one last time and your peanut sauce is ready. If you like, you can top the peanut sauce with sesame seeds or even crushed peanut butter for presentation purposes.
Authentic Vietnamese Peanut Sauce Recipe
- If you are using fresh peanuts, place in a coffee grinder, without the skin and grind for 3 minutes. If not, scoop out two tablespoons of creamy peanut butter and place in a mixing bowl
- Add hoisin sauce, water, lime juice and cut up fresh chili or chili paste
- Mix by hand or with a hand blender until smooth
- Lastly, peel the ginger root and grate some into the bowl. Stir one more time and your sauce is ready
- Add crushed peanuts
- Add sesame seeds for garnish, if desired
- Serve immediately with spring rolls or as a dipping sauce to accompany your favorite dish
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Claire is co-founder of Authentic Food Quest and a lover of simple and exquisite cuisine. Since 2015, with her partner, Rosemary, she has been traveling the world as a digital nomad, creating content about local food experiences.
Her advice from visiting 45 countries and more than 240 food cities has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post. She has also co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
An ex-mechanical engineer, Claire is responsible for SEO, keeping the website running, and the fun food & travel videos on YouTube.
When Claire is not eating, she can be found running or cycling. Find out more about Authentic Food Quest