Easy Szechuan Sauce Recipe [video]

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet
5 from 10 reviews

Szechuan Sauce has a spicy, sweet and savory flavor and is super easy to make at home. It is a great dipping sauce that can be also used on noodles, stir-fry, or any other dishes.

We love bold and spicy sauces, and this is by far our favorite one. It is perfect to use on chicken wings, fried chicken, taco salad, or to mix it up in chili.

Image of homemade Szechuan sauce.

Authentic Szechuan Sauce Recipe

This easy and simply homemade Szechuan Sauce recipe has always been our secret to a great and delicious meal. It has such a rich flavor, with a spicy and sweet note to it, that is perfect on pretty much any dishes. We always have a bottle of it ready in the fridge, and we utilize it as needed.

This is probably one of the easiest recipes you can make. It requires a few simple ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen pantry. Then, mix the ingredients together, simmer and you have one of the world’s best sauces ready in less than 10 minutes!

Also, making it at home is quite cheap, and you can mix and match the ingredients to your liking. To make it spicier, add more Siracha or red chili flakes. All in all, this is a great recipe and the ideal sauce to have around. It is cheap to make, rich and flavorful, that pairs well with many dishes.

What is Szechuan sauce?

Szechuan Sauce is a hot and spicy sauce that originated from Sichuan province in southwest China. It has a complex and bold combination of flavors, with a nice balance of spiciness and savory to it.

This sauce because hugely popular in the USA after it was introduced by McDonald’s. It is gluten-free, and perfect to use on tacos, stir-fry, chilis, or for dipping.

Szechuan sauce photo.

when did Szechuan sauce come out?

It was first introduced in the United States briefly in 1998, to promote the Disney animated movie Mulan.

What is Szechuan sauce made of?

To make it, you will need the following ingredients:
  • Soy sauce – go with low sodium and gluten-free version.
  • Rice vinegar – it balances the flavor nicely.
  • Fresh garlic – we try to go with freshly minced garlic, as it tastes so much better than canned or powder. 
  • Fresh ginger – being a Chinese dish, this is one of the main ingredients. Plus, it brings a nice flavor to it. 
  • Sweetener – this is optional, but we always use it, as it balances the heat nicely. Feel free to use brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup. Just make sure to taste and adjust based on your preference. 
  • Cornstarch it thickens the sauce for dipping.
  • Szechuan Pepper  – if you cannot find it, use chili garlic sauce,  or feel free to use anything from Tabasco or Sriracha. 
  • Seasonings – this is optional, but we use to add some Chinese five-spice powder, and crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Sesame seeds or Chili flakes – to garnish.


Once you have all the ingredients measured and ready, then you are pretty much done! Next, simply whisk all the ingredients together and simmer until well combined. 

Please note, this sauce is meant to be spicy. Therefore, if you want to make it less spicy, use less heat in the recipe. Adjust based on your tolerance level. Go with a small amount of crushed red pepper flakes, or Tabasco/Sriracha, and adjust accordingly. Similarly, for a sweeter tone, use more honey or brown sugar in the mixture.

what does Szechuan sauce taste like?

As stated above, the sauce is spicy with a nice tone of sweet and savory flavor to it. Also, it is very deep and rich, with a thick texture, thanks to the cornstarch. In addition, it is a bit salty due to the use of soy sauce, but it can be easily adjusted based on your own liking.

Picture of Chinese Szechuan sauce on a silver spoon.

How to make McDonald’s Szechuan sauce?

To make the famous McDonald’s Szechuan copycat version of it, you will need the following:

  • 1 cup plus (1/2 cup water for cornstarch mixture)
  • 1/2 cup regular soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/3 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/7 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Szechuan peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

In a pan, over medium heat, combine all the ingredients except cornstarch, vinegar, and lime juice. Heat the mixture for about 4-5 minutes and mix constantly. When it begins to bubble, reduce the heat, and simmer for an additional 3 minutes, while constantly stirring. 

Next, mix the cornstarch with the remaining 1/2 cup of water until dissolved, and pour the mixture in the pan, over low heat, while continuously mixing. Mix for about 2 more minutes and remove the pan from the heat. The mixture should become thicker by now. 

Lastly, add the vinegar and lime juice over it, and properly mix to combine. 

where to get Szechuan sauce?

Obviously, we prefer to make it at home, since we can play with the ingredients and adjust the taste per our liking. However, if you are short on time, and do not have the necessary ingredients on hand, you could buy it online or at local Asian stores. To buy it online, check out this Amazon link.

Homemade Szechuan sauce image.

How to store it?

Prior to storing the sauce, ensure that it is completely cooled. Then, transfer it to a lid-jar, and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Use whenever needed, and then refrigerate. 

Recipe tips:

  • As stated above, the sauce can be adjusted and personalized to your own liking. For a spicier version, use more heat, and for a sweeter version, add extra brown sugar, honey, or syrup. 
  • If you are not a cornstarch fan, you can skip it. However, keep in mind, it will have a thinner texture. 
  • While this dish calls for Szechuan Pepper to mimic the original version, sometimes it is hard to get it. Therefore, use red pepper flakes, or tabasco instead. 
  • To double the portion, simply double the ingredients and whisk until well combined.

Save Recipe
5 from 10 reviews
Szechuan Sauce
Author: Catalina Castravet Serves: 2 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Total time: 15 mins



Calories: 99 Carbohydrates: 21 Protein: 2 Fat: 0 Saturated Fat: 0 Cholesterol: 0 Sodium: 1391 Potassium: 132 Fiber: 0 Sugar: 13 Vitamin A: 200 Vitamin C: 5.3 Calcium: 15 Iron: 0.8
Save Recipe

Authentic Chinese Szechuan sauce image.

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My favorite sauce, loved it a lot! Thank you!


Amy Desrosiers

I often take out noodles with this sauce with shrimp! This is such a delicious sauce!! I never even thought of making my own!


Brianne Tursi Manz

We love szechuan sauce! I look forward to making our own. This looks super easy to make and sounds like it'll keep for a while.



Yum and the perfect sauce for so many things: Chicken, Shrimp and even pork. Thanks for the copycat recipe and it looks so easy to make!



That sounds really good. I love making sauces. I'm looking forward to trying out your recipe as well.



I love Szechuan sauce. It is one of my favorites. I need to make this. So much better than buying it at the store.


Toni | Boulder Locavore

I seriously need to give it a try!



That recipe has my name all over it! It looks delicious. 



I do love this sauce. I never knew how to make it so thank you!


Ruth I

I think I've tasted szechuan sauce on a Mongolian dish before. I like it and will be making this.



I hadn't thought of making my own Szechuan sauce! this looks so easy and delicious!


Ed Matthews

Sounds good. Gotta make some. BTW...Where is the video? USMC66'- 77563


Video is just above the recipe card. Thanks for visiting!



I’ve made this sauce and all I can say is delicious! The recipe is super easy to follow and this is the exact one I was looking for. It has the right flavor, and goes well with pretty much anythinng! Highly recommended!


Happy that you enjoyed it!


Carmen Sinclair

Oh my! This sauce is amazing (although I left out the sesame oil) My new favorite sauce


I am so happy you loved it!


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