Szechuan Sauce

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This 5-Minute Szechuan Sauce recipe is an irresistible blend of spicy, sweet and savory flavors.  And it works perfectly as a stir-fry or dipping sauce.

5-Minute Szechuan Sauce Recipe

Fellow spicy food lovers!  

You know who you are.  You have a special shelf in the fridge for your Sriracha and Cholula and Tabasco and Frank’s.  You who shake tons of crushed red pepper flakes onto your pizza like confetti.  You who are perfectly happy enjoying your meal with a few dainty little beads of sweat glistening on your forehead.

This post is specifically going out to you today.  Because we’re talking about one of my favorite stir-fry and dipping sauces:

Szechuan Sauce!

This simple Szechuan Sauce recipe has been one of my go-to faves in the kitchen for years.  It only takes about 5 minutes to whip up.  Plus it’s made with ingredients that you likely already keep in your pantry.  And when you’re craving some heat — well balanced, of course, with lots of other sweet and savory flavors — it’s sure to hit the spot.  Here’s how I make mine!

Spicy Szechuan Sauce Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Szechuan Sauce Recipe

Szechuan Sauce Ingredients:

To make this quick Szechuan Sauce, you will need:

  • Soy Sauce: This will be the base of the sauce.  I recommend low-sodium.
  • Sweetener: Feel free to use maple syrup, brown sugar, or whatever your preferred sweetener may be.
  • Cornstarch: To thicken the sauce, if you would like.
  • Chili Garlic Sauce: Or Sriracha, or whatever you have on hand.
  • Rice Vinegar: To round out the flavors.
  • Seasonings: Chinese five spice powder, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic powder and ground ginger

How To Make Szechuan Sauce

How To Make Szechuan Sauce:

Easy!  Simply whisk all of your ingredients together until combined.  Taste and adjust the seasonings as you prefer.  Then add to your stir-fry or whatever recipe you may be using!

If you would like to use the sauce as a dipping sauce, you can just make it without the cornstarch.  Or if you would like a thicker sauce, just bring it to a simmer in a saucepan and let the sauce thicken before serving.

Szechuan Sauce Tips:

Heads up — Szechuan sauce is meant to be spicy!  So the recipe below includes a fair amount of heat.  If you don’t like very spicy food, I would start with just a small pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, and you can always add more later.  If you like a sweeter sauce, feel free to add more sweetener.  And of course, always feel free to play around with the recipe and find the balance of seasonings that you prefer.

Enjoy, everyone!


5-Minute Szechuan Sauce

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 0 About 1/2 cup 1x


This 5-Minute Szechuan Sauce is quick and easy to prepare, and perfect as a stir-fry or dipping sauce.  Feel free to adjust the seasonings to taste.



  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional*)
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger


  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl until combined.  Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.
  2. Use immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 4 days.


*For a thicker sauce, include the cornstarch.  (The sauce need to be heated to a simmer in order to thicken.)

**If you would like a spicier sauce, double the amount of crushed red pepper flakes.  For a sweeter sauce, add more maple syrup.

5-Minute Szechuan Sauce Recipe

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30 comments on “Szechuan Sauce”

  1. Where is the Szechuan Pepper in this recipe? I love it for a different kind of heat!

    • I made this version with crushed red pepper flakes since they’re much more easily accessible in most grocery stores in the States. But you’re welcome to sub in Szechuan pepper instead — it’s delicious!

  2. This looks delicious! I’ve been using honey for almost everything as a sweeter lately. Do you think honey would work, instead of brown sugar or maple syrup? Or would it lose some of the richness?

  3. I feel like you could use this sauce on so many things!

  4. Sriracha, Cholula, Tabasco, Frank’s and other hot sauces do not need to be refrigerated. The hot spices act as a preservative. This was told to me by a good friend who lived in Thailand and a few other Asian countries for over a decade.

    • I refrigerate all of them (on 2 shelves in one of my fridges) as they keep longer this way without changing consistency too much over a period of a couple months . I guess it depend on how quickly you go through all of them once opened. I will say that the heat and spiciness level diminishes over time in the fridge as opposed to when kept out at room temperature.

    • Btw, I live in Asia (Hong Kong) and have lived in various countries in Asia for 25+ years, plus spent a few years living in the US and UK too. :)

  5. This looks awesome! Any tips for baking chicken or beef in this sauce?

  6. 4 stars
    Wow! I never realized this was do easy to make! Our go to sauce now! Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. 5 stars
    5 stars for this sauce!!! I was afraid it was going to be too spicy, but we made it according to the recipe and it was just right.

  8. 5 stars
    Made this the other night, it was SOOOOO good! Thanks for the fabulous recipe!

  9. 5 stars
    Wow! So easy to make this sauce. Love all the ingredients.

  10. 5 stars
    This was terrific – very easy, and made with ingredients I had at hand. I had it with crispy tofu.

    Thanks for the great recipe!

  11. 5 stars
    This is so delicious and simple to make. I found the heat level just right.

  12. 5 stars
    Yum! I double the sauce when doing my stir fry but we rated this meal a 10!

  13. Looks like a winner. Can’t wait to try.

  14. I work in a Szechuan restaurant so I am very familiar with traditional Szechuan food. As for the coment about substituting Szechuan pepper for the chili pepper it should be noted that Szechuan peppercorn is not a chili pepper and doesn’t really provide heat. Szechuan pepper provides a numbing sensation. The Chinese refer to the combination of chili and Szechuan peppercorn as MaLa. Meaning a balance of hot and numb. Other ingredients you might want to look for are black vinegar and doubanjiang a fermented fava bean and chili paste. This recipe while perhaps delicious, is not very Szechuan.

  15. 5 stars
    The first time I made it it was literally the best sauce ever. I tried the recipe without chinese spice, and cornstarch that time. The second time I made it with both of those ingredients, tripled the recipe and since i used cornstarch i boiled it. Mabey… i little too long… lol. I messed up a lot on the second round so here are some tips. First, definity don’t cook it too long because it will get stuck to the bottom of the pan. You might as well triple the recipe because you will lose a lot if you are constantly switching the container. Make sure you have all the ingredients , i know this sounds obvious but it really helps. Although There are some ingredients that can be left out like the chinese spice and obviously cornstarch. Make Sure you have POWDERED garlic because the squishy kind out of the bottle doesn’t work. Lol i messed up alot when i made it for the second time but thats ok. Also does anyone watch Rick and Morty? “Morty i need that mulan sauce now!” lol

  16. 5 stars
    Great recipe family loved it !

  17. 5 stars
    Great sauce and very easy to make. Thanks for sharing!

  18. I just made the sauce and looking forward to trying it tonight with my pork stir fry. I added 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil, I like the flavor of sesame oil. Hope it tastes good. I’ll let you know.

  19. 4 stars
    Really good!

  20. 5 stars
    One of the BEST sauces. I put this on chicken/beef and serve with veggies over rice. Turns out perfect every time and I wouldn’t change anything about it!

  21. 5 stars
    Awesome sauce. I cook for 7 people and doubled the recipe for my stir fry. I have to say this was the best we ever had. I substituted sriracha for the Chili garlic sauce. Thank you for the recipe.

  22. The sauce was delicious! I used maple syrup for the sweetener. Definitely a keeper!

  23. This was excellent, what I wanted for the night. Great over veggies

  24. Nice! I made this last night and it really stood out to my family. I used brown sugar instead of syrup and sriacha instead of chili garlic sauce. Also I didn’t have five spice powder also I ground up half a star anise, a cinnamon stick and some Sichuan peppercorns (3 out of 5 of the ingredients).

  25. This is a FANTASTIC sauce! We will be making this often in our house!