thai dipping sauce

Thai nam jim or Thai dipping sauce is crazy flavourful and dead easy. Garlic, shallots, lime juice and hot chilies. It’s a Thai wonder sauce.

Thai dipping sauce is great on just about everything. Maybe not ice cream but other than that. It’s called nam jim.

That’s actually just another way of saying Thai dipping sauce so that’s not particularly useful information.

The flavours are wonderful though. Salty, sweet, spicy and sour. The core flavours of Southeast Asia.

Let the flavours come together when you make Thai dipping sauce

The only thing to plan for is a bit of time to let the flavours combine. It’s great when you first mix it up.

But it’s even better if you give it a bit of time to come together. Not a ton of time. Not overnight. But an hour or two. Makes all the difference.

Or better yet. Mix up a batch and keep it in the fridge. Have it ready to go. And use it whenever the mood hits.

That makes it a condiment I guess. It’s a lot better than ketchup so I say it’s worth the space. And it gets better when it sits for a few days.

This thai dipping sauce adds explosive flavour to anything it's paired with.

Nam Jim makes a great dressing

This sauce works as a dressing as well. Add a bit of oil and drizzle it on a steak or chicken salad.

On a budda bowl. With grilled meat or chicken. Like a Thai chimichurra. Tossed with chicken wings.

Tossed with noodles. And that’s before you even dip anything in it. Like I said – great with just about everything. Good enough to eat with a spoon.

Thai dipping sauce is super easy to make

This one is about as easy as it gets. You can just take everything, toss it into a food processor and pulse it.

Don’t puree it though. You want little bits of everything in this sauce.

That’s the easy way.

If you if you have a good knife and you like to use it, you can mince everything up. It’s good practice with your knife with a prize at the end. Knife skills matter.

You will find new ways to use this sauce

This one is a little bit of tasty kitchen magic. The flavours are assertive. But in a way that compliments just about everything it touches.

In noodles. On noodles. Next to noodles. With grilled chicken. Or pork. Poached shrimp. On a fried egg. With a roast chicken.

Thai dipping sauce is one of those things you can’t really explain. But that’s why it’s kitchen magic.

Thai roast chicken on a bed of rice noodles with Asian greens.
This Thai dipping sauce adds explosive flavour to anything it's paired with.
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4.74 from 30 votes

thai dipping sauce

This Thai dipping sauce has all the core South Asian flavours rolled into one. It works as a salad dressing or accompaniment to grilled meat and poultry.
Course side
Cuisine Thai
Keyword nam jim, thai dipping sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Calories 146kcal
Author romain | glebekitchen


  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup lime juice – fresh squeezed
  • 2 green chilies seeded and minced
  • 1 red chili seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup shallots minced
  • 1 large clove garlic – as finely chopped as you can
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water


  • Combine ingredients. Stir.
  • Let sit for an hour or more to let the flavours combine.


I like finger hot chilies for this recipe. Not crazy spicy but lots of flavour. If you can’t get them then you could substitute a jalapeño.


Serving: 2cups | Calories: 146kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 2g | Sodium: 2439mg | Potassium: 227mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 350IU | Vitamin C: 47.9mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 0.6mg

29 thoughts on “thai dipping sauce”

    • I don’t know how to answer that. It tasted delicious to me. There are a lot of strong flavours in this sauce so I don’t find it particularly fishy but your tastes are your own so I can’t really predict what will appeal to you…

  1. I’m making stock for Tom Kha Gai, from scratch! I just made my own take on Nam Pla Prik to add to the soup. The chiles that went in are red Thai, red habanero, red Fresno, and shishito. The usual garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, plus some mirin. I used green onion instead of shallots and added a little bit of minced Thai basil and cilantro leaves. Tastes divine and I don’t think it’s too hot. I’ll be giving doggie bags to a couple of neighbors that like spicy food. Can’t wait! Thanks for sharing. Btw, for you heat lovers out there, add some HOT chiles to the sauce!

    • I am not a canner so I have absolutely no idea. It’s a very fresh tasting sauce so I would be worried about it losing some “oomph”.

    • Like anything, flavours will start to degrade with time. If you want to keep it in the fridge more than a couple days I’d add the cilantro as you serve it rather than put it all in at the beginning.

  2. Hi Romain, looking to branch out from your amazing Indian recipes and as a veggie I think I’ll be making quite a few substitutes in the other cuisines ? What do you recommend as a sub for fish sauce here? I’ve seen combos of soy sauce and rice vinegar – do you think that would do this dip justice?

    Cheers ?

    • Absolutely delighted to hear that!

      I have never tried a vegetarian alternative to fish sauce. I did a quick search and I see a few recipes to make vegetarian “fish” sauce that might be worth exploring if you’re going to dive into recipes outside of Indian here (I like fish sauce so I use it a lot).

      It could work with a Thai thin soy sauce or Golden Mountain seasoning sauce (I just checked the label on my bottle – it’s veg). I would avoid Japanese or Chinese as the flavour profile of those soy sauces is way off.

      It would be different but tasty I think. Maybe start with a couple tablespoons of Thai soy and creep up on it? I’m sorry. As an omnivore, I’m not very good at this I am afraid.

  3. OH YUM! This looks like such a flavourful sauce!! 😀 Now that the weather is warmer, I definitely will be making this to serve up with my grilled meats!! 😀 Excited!

  4. I really like the versatility and flavours of this sauce! What is the best way to store the sauce and for how long can I keep it for?

    • It keeps in the fridge for a few days. I store it in a glass mason jar. After a few days it starts to get a bit too strong tasting so best to use it up right way.

  5. I’ve got to try this sauce immediately! I’ve been accused of loving my condiments more than my actual food, so this is something that gets me excited to say the least. And the fact that I can throw everything in the food processor makes it even better! For some reason, I’m already thinking of pulled pork tacos with this Thai dipping sauce sounds pretty darn amazing, thanks for the recipe!

    • Good one. I hadn’t thought of it with pulled pork. It’s just awesome drizzled over grilled chicken as well.

  6. I’m a big fan of Thai flavors, so I’m loving this dipping sauce! It’s a perfect way for me to add Thai flavors to absolutely everything! There’s this really simple dish I like to make on weekdays with grilled pork, rice noodles, and lettuce. I usually just use soy sauce to dip in, but now I have a new go to! Can’t wait to try it out! Thanks, Romain!

    • I’m going to try your grilled pork, rice noodles and lettuce dish with this sauce. Sounds fantastic.

  7. This Thai dipping sauce looks so versatile – I can’t wait to try all these uses. It looks like it would be perfect for dipping spring rolls or grilled chicken. Actually, I think I’ll just go ahead and use it as a marinade!! I have a feeling I’ll be making this really often.


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