One of my favorite things about making homemade sauces from scratch is how easy it is to do, and the ability to make it just like I like.

Spoon lifting peanut sauce.

Even better is saving money by using everyday ingredients I already have on hand at home. Plus, the ways to enjoy this versatile peanut sauce are practically limitless. What’s not to love? 

The Origin of Peanut Sauce

Peanut sauce, commonly known as satay sauce, originated in Southeast Asia, particularly prominent in Indonesian, Malaysian, Vietnamese, and Thai cuisines. It’s traditionally used as a flavorful sauce with grilled skewers of meat, salads, or dipping various appetizers like Fresh Spring Rolls.

Over time, this delightful creamy sauce has made its way to the Western world and is most commonly used as a dipping sauce in adaptations of Thai and Indonesian cuisine. 

This easy peanut sauce recipe, while not authentic, is my personal ode to the creamy sauce and certainly won’t disappoint in the flavor department. Trust me – you won’t be able to stop dipping, drizzling, and dolloping on your favorite rice and stir-fry dishes. 

Thai Chopped Salad with Peanut Sauce Dressing drizzled on top.

Ingredient Spotlight

This Peanut Salad Dressing is quick, easy, and made with just under 10 simple ingredients that you likely already have in your home pantry! 

  • Shallots are one of my favorite ingredients to use when a mild onion flavor is best. They’re incredibly versatile in salads, chicken dishes, and savory appetizers, too.  
  • Fresh garlic cloves add a pungent, garlicky flavor to the sauce without overpowering the flavor. I really wouldn’t recommend substituting garlic powder if it can be avoided.  
  • Lime juice lightens and brightens the rich peanut butter and adds a refreshing zing. A splash of rice vinegar would do the same.
  • Soy sauce imparts the best, rich umami flavor and a good dose of savoriness. If you are gluten-free, use tamari.   
  • Honey lightly sweetens and balances the salty, tangy flavors while keeping this peanut sauce as smooth as possible. If making a vegan peanut sauce, swap the honey with maple syrup or agave nectar for a similar sweetness.  
  • Peanut Butter is, of course, the star of the show. For the best flavor and thick, creamy consistency, use natural peanut butter.
  • Sesame oil and olive oil are combined for the best rich and velvety consistency that makes this sauce into a pourable peanut salad dressing. 

Please be sure to see the full recipe card below for measurements.

Quick tip: Before juicing limes, gently roll them on a hard surface, such as the kitchen countertop, while applying light pressure with your palm. This helps break down the lime’s inner membranes and makes juicing them a breeze, especially when utilizing a handy dandy Citrus Juicer

Flavor Variations

As is, this peanut butter sauce is incredibly versatile, mildly spiced, and perfectly creamy. If you’re looking to put your own twist on it, here are a few of my favorite ideas: 

  • Add a pinch of red pepper flakes, sriracha, chili paste or freshly grated ginger for a spicy kick. 
  • Swap the smooth peanut butter with an extra crunchy peanut butter for added texture.
  • Add a splash of fish sauce for a Thai-inspired peanut dressing with an additional boost of umami flavor. 
  • Stir in a small pour of creamy coconut milk to make it even creamier and full-bodied in flavor. 
  • Sprinkle in a tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds for a crunch. 
  • Just ran out of peanut butter? ​Substitute cashew butter, almond butter, or sunflower seed butter for a nut-free variation. 

How to Make Creamy Peanut Sauce

If you’re familiar with my savory homemade sauce recipes, you know I keep things as simple as possible and this peanut salad dressing and dip is no different. While I often make it with just a mixing bowl and whisk, for the smoothest texture I do prefer using a mini food processor or blender.

Simply add the shallot, minced garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, honey, and peanut butter to the bowl of your food processor or blender. Pulse until well combined, then pulse in the sesame and olive oil until rich, creamy, and your desired consistency. 

To combine by hand, finely chop the shallot and garlic, and combine them with all the ingredients except for the oils. Then, slowly whisk in the oils until emulsified. It’s that simple!

Serving Ideas

The question really is, what can’t you serve a creamy peanut dressing with? Because let’s be real – it can be paired with so much more than salads!

Bowl of peanut sauce noodles topped with green onion slices.

In addition to drizzling over my favorite Thai Chopped Salad with fresh cilantro, here are the limitless ways to use up this savory sauce:

Make Ahead and Storage Tips

When stored properly, this homemade peanut sauce or salad dressing will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator. For best results, I recommend storing in an airtight glass container such as a mason jar or a salad dressing container and keeping it in the refrigerator door or on a higher shelf so you don’t forget about it! 

If you’re interested in additional meal prep-friendly sauces and salad dressings, check out these 5-star favorites: 

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!

Bowl of peanut sauce with spoon.
5 (1 rating)

Get the Recipe 5-Minute Creamy Peanut Sauce (Dressing or Dip)

This 5-Minute Creamy Peanut Sauce is guaranteed to satisfy all of your peanut sauce needs. Toss it with salads and noodle dishes, dip your favorite appetizers, or marinate your favorite proteins (vegetarian or not!). It'll be your go-to whenever a dish needs a flavor boost.



  • In the bowl of a mini food processor, add peanut butter, shallot, garlic, ginger, lime juice, soy sauce, honey, and rice vinegar. Pulse until combined.
    ¼ cup creamy peanut butter, 1 Tablespoon shallot, 1-2 cloves garlic, 1 inch fresh ginger, ½ lime, 2-3 Tablespoons soy sauce, 1 Tablespoon honey, ½ Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • Blend in oil until smooth and emulsified. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Add additional oil or water to thin out for salad dressing.
    1 Tablespoon sesame oil, 2 Tablespoons olive oil or neutral oil


  • Yields approximately 3/4 cup of sauce.
Calories: 145kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Sodium: 382mg, Potassium: 93mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 3IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 10mg, Iron: 0.4mg
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!

By the Way…

This recipe is part of our collection of savory homemade sauce recipes. Check it out!