Easy Szechuan Sauce Recipe [video]
Szechuan Sauce is full of spicy, sweet, and savory flavors and is super easy to make at home in just 15 minutes. It is a great dipping sauce that can be also used on noodles or in stir-fry recipes.
We love bold and spicy sauces, and this is by far our favorite one. It is perfect to use in this authentic Szechuan Chicken recipe. Gather your ingredients together and you only need 10 minutes of cook time to make this super easy authentic Szechuan sauce recipe.
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 dish. We always have a jar 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 Sriracha 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, and it pairs well with many dishes.
This sweet and savory sauce has a light tanginess to it and it makes the perfect stir fry sauce for chicken, beef, pork, seafood, and veggies. Also, it can be easily made gluten-free.
If you like spicy food, your taste buds will thank you for this incredible recipe.
- Soy sauce – go with low sodium and use tamari for the gluten-free version.
- Rice vinegar – balances the flavor nicely, by adding a light tanginess.
- 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 peppercorns – if you cannot find some, use black or red peppercorns or for a spicier kick some crushed red chilies. Another option would be to add some chili peppers if you can handle the heat.
- Asian chili garlic sauce or chili bean sauce – or feel free to use anything from Tabasco or Sriracha or any other hot sauce. However, we really enjoy the flavor of chili garlic sauce in this recipe.
- 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.
How to make Szechuan sauce recipe?
Once you have all the ingredients measured and ready, then you are pretty much done and you can make the stir fry sauce in just a few minutes!
- Make a slurry: First, you have to make a slurry by mixing the cornstarch with the broth.
- Add to saucepan: Next, simply add all the ingredients, except the slurry, to a saucepan over medium heat.
- Whisk and simmer: After that, whisk and simmer until well combined.
- Add slurry: After cooking the stir fry sauce for a few minutes, whisk the slurry into the mixture. Also, make sure to stir slowly and constantly, until it thickens. This will take 3-4 minutes.
- Serve: Once done, remove from heat and let it cool to serve as a dipping sauce or use it as a stir fry sauce immediately.
- Gluten-free: This easy recipe can be made gluten free by using tamari or amino acids instead of soy sauce.
- Hoisin sauce: For some extra flavor, you can add a tablespoon of hoisin sauce to it.
- Low-carb: In addition, make it low carb by using a low-carb sweetener, like monk fruit sugar or Splenda.
- Smoky flavor: Want to add a smoky flavor to it? Stir in 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke and use it instead of bbq sauce on some ribs! You will love it!
How to serve:
- The Szechuan sauce recipe is great to use in a stir fry. Try it in this Chicken and Broccoli recipe.
- It is also great on noodles, use it for pad Thai, or these soba noodles.
- Also, it pairs well with poultry, beef, pork, and even seafood.
- In addition, you can use it in a tofu and veggie stir fry.
- Alternatively, use it as a dipping sauce for chicken nuggets, fish sticks, spring rolls, or egg rolls.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Szechuan sauce?
Szechuan Sauce is a hot and spicy sauce that originated in Sichuan province in southwest China. It has a complex and bold combination of flavors, with a nice balance of spiciness and savory flavor to it.
It was first introduced in the United States briefly in 1998, to promote the Disney animated movie Mulan.
This sauce because hugely popular in the USA after it was introduced by McDonald’s. McDonald’s Szechuan sauce is usually served with chicken nuggets.
What are Sichuan peppercorns?
The Szechuan peppercorns are a type of peppercorn from the Sichuan Province. They are famous for their mouth-numbing effect.
This is a spice commonly used in the Sichuan cuisine and it contains hydroxy-alpha sanshool so when consumed it produces a tingling, numbing effect that is not similar to the other peppercorns “hot” effect.
What does Szechuan sauce taste like?
As stated above, the sauce is spicy with a nice tone of sweetness and some tangy 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.
Where can you find Szechuan sauce?
Obviously, we prefer to make Szechuan sauce at home, since we can play with the ingredients and adjust the taste to our liking. We absolutely love our incredibly versatile recipe, the unique flavor of Szechuan peppercorns, and their numbing sensations.
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.
How do you make McDonald’s Szechuan sauce?
To make the famous McDonald’s Szechuan sauce 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 pepper
- 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. Next, when the Szechuan sauce begins to bubble, reduce the heat, and simmer for an additional 3 minutes, while constantly stirring.
- After that, mix the cornstarch with the remaining 1/2 cup of water until dissolved. Pour the mixture into 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.
How to store leftovers:
- Store: Prior to storing the spicy stir fry sauce, ensure that it has completely cooled. Then, transfer it to a lid-jar, and store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Use whenever needed, and then refrigerate.
- Freeze: In addition, the Szechuan sauce is a great candidate for freezing. Simple add it to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Thaw: Finally, when ready to thaw, place the bag under warm running water or leave it in the fridge overnight to thaw.
- Reheat: Just add the mixture pe a pan over medium heat and simmer it for a few minutes.
More Chinese sauce recipes:
Spicy stir fry sauce cooking tips:
- If you are not a cornstarch fan, you can skip it. However, keep in mind, that it will have a thinner texture. Also, you will have to increase the sweetener amount and simmer the sauce longer.
- While this dish calls for Sichuan peppercorns to mimic the original version, sometimes it is hard to get them. Therefore, use red pepper flakes instead.
- To double the portion, simply double the ingredients and whisk until well combined.
- Please note, that 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, chili sauce, or Tabasco/Sriracha, and adjust accordingly.
- Similarly, for a sweeter tone, use more honey or brown sugar in the mixture.
- In addition, for a thicker sauce just use more cornstarch. Keep in mind, that it thickens more as it cools.
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Asian chili garlic sauce or chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup chicken broth veggie broth for vegetarian
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
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- Combine broth and cornstarch in a small bowl; stir until dissolved
- In a saucepan over medium heat, add all ingredients except broth and cornstarch mix and bring to a light boil.
- Stir the cornstarch mixture until it thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool.