Don’t let the simplicity of this 3-Ingredient Peanut Sauce fool you, because it will knock your socks off! This has all of the peanut-forward flavor we love about a classic peanut sauce without all of the ingredients. Throw it on salads, toss it with chicken and veggies for lettuce wraps, serve with chinese noodles, or simply use as a dip with crudités.
3-Ingredient Peanut Sauce
If there’s anything I love more than a five-ingredient recipe, it’s a three-ingredient recipe. I’m sure you share my same sentiments. I mean, who wouldn’t?
Even though I adore my original peanut sauce more than life itself, I don’t always have every single ingredient on hand and I’m guessing you may not either, especially during these very strange times. So I did what I often do, and pared the ingredients down as much as I could, and came up with this 3-Ingredient Peanut Sauce. And it. is. so. good.
This new version of a peanut sauce has all of the peanut-forward flavor I love, without all of the ingredients, which I love even more. Thanks to one super-secret ingredient (hoisin!), this easy 3-ingredient peanut sauce has all of the complexity of the original, and I can’t get enough of it.
Also, if it goes to show you just how universally loved this 3-ingredient sauce is, all you have to do is look at my two-year-0ld son literally dunking his hand into the entire jar and inhaling more than his fair share.
Because the ingredients are all items that keep in the pantry or fridge for a very long time, you can whip this up and store it in the fridge for at least a month to keep at your disposal.
Ingredients in 3-Ingredient Peanut Sauce
A typical peanut sauce traditionally has lots of soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, vinegar, chili paste, and peanut butter, among a few other ingredients, we’ve narrowed it down to just three!
Peanut butter. Obviously we can’t have peanut sauce without peanut butter right? I have tried every single peanut butter under the sun, and I find that good ol’ processed peanut butter works best. If you are one of those people who only buys the natural stuff, that’s fine too. For me, regular smooth peanut butter has a bit more sugar making it a better option for a 3-ingredient recipe.
If you like texture in your peanut sauce, then you could also use chunky peanut butter.
Hoisin sauce. This is our secret weapon when it comes to 3-ingreidnet peanut sauce. Because hoisin sauce has many of the same ingredients I would use in a more involved peanut sauce, it works great here. Hoisin has hints of soy sauce, garlic, ginger, vinegar, and Chile peppers. Some version even have a peanut-esque taste to it, so it’s the perfect way to shorten the ingredient list in a peanut sauce.
Rice vinegar. We need a little acid in our peanut sauce, and rice vinegar adds the perfect hint of that. You only need little bit.
Water. While this is technically a fourth ingredient, water, salt, pepper, and oil don’t count. Water may seem like a strange ingredient, but if you just used hoisin and peanut butter, you’d have a VERY thick, concentrated sauce. The water thins the 3-ingredient sauce out so it can easily coat salads, chicken, or salmon. If you want to add even more flavor, you could also swap out the water for chicken stock, which I often do.
Even with the two extra “optional” ingredients, we’re still looking at a five-ingredient recipe. If I’m serving as a salad dressing or crudités, I like to garnish with a tablespoon or so of chopped peanuts. Also for even extra flavor, you can replace the water with chicken stock (Make sure it’s low-sodium so you don’t have to adjust the amount of salt). If you like spice, you can throw in a few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes.
How to make 3-Ingredient Peanut Sauce
Guys. This is as simple as:
- Throw everything in a bowl
- Whisk together.
- Season with salt and pepper.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- As mentioned, you can swap out crunchy peanut butter for texture. If you only buy natural peanut butter you can also use that, but I’d recommend adding a little bit of honey, maybe two teaspoons and up to a tablespoon.
- Swap out the water for low-sodium chicken stock or coconut milk to add even more flavor.
- If you don’t have rice vinegar, you can use white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or regular white vinegar.
- If you want a spicy peanut sauce, add everything to a food processor or blender along with a little bit of crushed red pepper flakes and blend together. Add enough to suit your tolerance for spice.
What to serve with 3-Ingredient Peanut Sauce
- This Easy Thai Chicken Salad would be the perfect way to use our 3-ingredient peanut sauce! It’s packed with juicy peanut chicken, tons of veggies and an easy vinaigrette.
- These Easy Lettuce Wraps are also a great vessel for the peanut sauce.
- Use simply as a dip with crudités. I’m partial to sliced red pepper, cucumber, and jicama.
- Grill chicken and spoon peanut sauce on top with some chopped peanuts.
3-Ingredient Peanut Sauce
- Mixing bowl
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup water or low-sodium chicken stock
Add all ingredients to a bowl. Whisk to combine. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until you're ready to use.
If you want to add a little bit of spice, throw everything into a food processor or blender along with 1/4 tsp - 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes.