sambal kacang

How to Make the Best Sambal Kacang (Peanut Sauce)

Welcome to another sambal recipe! Sambal kacang is a wonderful sweet and spicy type of sambal that might be better known as peanut sauce or sate sauce. Really great with chicken or french fries, very famous here in the Netherlands!

To make sambal kacang, simply grind some peanuts, chillies, garlic and onion. Fry the paste with spices and that’s it! Really easy to make and amazing to eat.

What is sambal kacang?

Sambal kacang is also known as peanut sauce. This traditional sauce is widely used in Southeast Asian cuisine, specifically in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. It’s known for its smooth, creamy texture and a perfect blend of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors. The sauce is commonly used as a dip for meat skewers or grilled meats/fish or served alongside rice dishes.

zoomed sambal kacang

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Collect the ingredients

zoomed sambal kacang

Sambal kacang

Sambal kacang! One of my absolute favorite sauces. Definitely try this one out if you're into sweet peanut sauce. I highly recommend trying this one with french fries!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Sambal
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 100 kcal


  • Food processor


  • 100 g roasted, unsalted peanuts (kacang)
  • 3 bird's eye chillies
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp fried onion
  • 50-100 ml water
  • lime juice of half a lime


  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 3 tbsp kecap manis
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar
  • salt to taste


  • Collect the ingredients
  • Chop and grind the ingredients
  • Fry sambal kacang
  • Serve and conserve sambal kacang
Keyword Sambal kacang

Note: The amount servings are based on 3 tbsp servings (which is definitely not enough for me lol).

What to consider when choosing the ingredients

To create a perfect sambal kacang, you need to choose your ingredients wisely. The peanut is the most important component, providing the nutty flavor and creamy texture. When selecting peanuts, opt for fresh, unsalted, and preferably roasted peanuts.

Bird’s eye chillies, shallots, garlic, and kaffir lime leaves are the other essential ingredients that lend the sauce its unique flavors. If you can’t find kaffir lime leaves, substitute with lime zest, lemongrass, bay leaves or leave it out entirely.

Kecap Manis is a type of sweet Indonesian soy sauce that adds an extra layer of sweetness to the sauce. If you don’t have it, use regular soy sauce or a mixture of dark brown sugar, soy sauce, and honey.

Palm sugar gives the sauce its sweetness and balances the spiciness. If you don’t have palm sugar, substitute it with jaggery, brown sugar, or maple syrup.

sambal kacang ingredients

Step 2: Chop and grind the ingredients

Once you have gathered all the ingredients, it’s time to chop and grind them in a food processor. First, wash and chop the chillies roughly, peel and chop the shallot and garlic roughly.

grinding ingredients
ground ingredients

Add all the chopped ingredients to the food processor, including the peanuts. Optionally, add some oil to get a smooth paste. Grind them until you have a smooth sauce-like consistency.

Step 3: Fry sambal kacang

Once the paste is ground, transfer it to a frying pan. Add the kecap manis and palm sugar to the paste and stir well. Light fry this over medium heat. After a few minutes, add water and the rest of the ingredients, stir well, and let it simmer and thicken.

frying ground ingredients
sambal kacang simmer
adding water and spices
finished sambal kacang

If the sauce is too thick, add more water. Have a taste; the sauce should be quite sweet. If the sweetness needs improvement, add more palm sugar or kecap manis. Once you are happy with the result, remove the heat and take out the kaffir lime leaves. That’s it!

Step 4: Serve and conserve sambal kacang

Serve the sambal kacang alongside your favorite dishes, such as chicken sate, grilled meats, or rice dishes. I highly recommend the following:

served sambal kacang

Consider trying out some of my other sambals as well!

Remember that homemade sambal kacang doesn’t last for more than a few days, so it’s best to make it fresh, or if you have leftovers, store it in the refrigerator.

I hope you’ve like this amazing sambal recipe, let me know what you think and please leave a rating!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does peanut sauce go bad?

Yes, like any other food, peanut sauce can go bad. Homemade peanut sauce like sambal kacang typically lasts for a few days when stored properly in the refrigerator. Always ensure to check for signs of spoilage such as a change in color, smell, or taste before consuming.

What names are commonly used for sambal kacang?

Sambal kacang is also known as peanut sauce. It can also be called Indonesian peanut sauce or chili peanut sauce. In some regions, it is referred to as ‘sate sauce’, often accompanying skewered, grilled meats in Southeast Asian cuisines.

What is peanut sauce made of?

Peanut sauce, such as sambal kacang, is typically made from ground peanuts or peanut butter, coconut milk or water, soy sauce, and various spices. The recipe might vary depending on the region or personal preference.

What is a good substitute for peanut sauce?

For those with peanut allergies or simply out of peanut sauce, almond butter, sunflower seed butter, or tahini (sesame seed paste) can be good alternatives. They can provide a similar texture and richness, although the taste might differ slightly.

What goes with peanut sauce?

Peanut sauce is incredibly versatile and pairs well with a variety of dishes. It is often served with grilled meats, rice dishes, spring rolls, salads, and is a staple in satay and pad thai.

Does peanut sauce taste like peanuts?

Yes, peanut sauce does have a distinct peanut flavor. However, its taste is also influenced by other ingredients like soy sauce, coconut milk, and spices, which give it a unique, rich, and savory taste.

Is peanut sauce vegan?

Peanut sauce can be vegan, depending on the ingredients used. Ensure to use vegan-friendly soy sauce and check that the sugar is vegan (some sugars are processed using bone char).

Is peanut sauce spicy?

Peanut sauce can be spicy if chili peppers or hot sauce is added. However, the level of spiciness can be adjusted according to individual preference.

Is peanut sauce Vietnamese?

Peanut sauce is used in various cuisines, including Vietnamese, Thai, and Indonesian. Each culture has its unique twist to the recipe.

Is peanut sauce in Pad Thai?

Yes, pad thai is often served with peanut sauce, enhancing the dish’s flavor complexity with its rich, creamy, and slightly sweet profile.

Is peanut sauce Chinese?

While peanut sauce is used in Chinese cooking, it is more prominently featured in Southeast Asian cuisines like Indonesian and Thai.

Is peanut sauce gluten-free?

Peanut sauce can be gluten-free, but it largely depends on the soy sauce used. Ensure to use a gluten-free soy sauce if you are gluten intolerant.

Is peanut sauce healthy?

Peanut sauce can be healthy as it is high in protein and monounsaturated fats (good fats). However, it can also be high in calories, so moderation is key. Generally speaking, peanut sauce contains a lot of sugar so it can be considered less healthy.

Is peanut sauce keto?

Peanut sauce can be incorporated into a keto diet. However, be mindful of the ingredients used. Avoid using conventional soy sauce and sugar, replacing them with coconut aminos and a keto-friendly sweetener.

Is peanut sauce Thai?

Yes, peanut sauce is a significant component of Thai cuisine. In Thai dishes, it’s often used as a dipping sauce for satay or as a dressing for salads. Each region may have a slightly different version, but the base usually includes peanuts, coconut milk, and spices.

Is peanut sauce dairy-free?

Typically, traditional peanut sauce recipes are dairy-free. They contain peanuts, soy sauce, spices, and sometimes coconut milk. However, some variations might include dairy ingredients, so it’s always important to check the ingredients if you’re dairy intolerant.

Can peanut sauce be frozen?

Yes, peanut sauce can be frozen. To freeze, pour the sauce into an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag and store it in the freezer. It can last for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to use it, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.

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