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An Authentic Szechuan Sauce Recipe! Use as a flavorful stir-fry sauce for veggies or noodles, or as a flavorful marinade for tofu, chicken, shrimp or beef! Healthier than store-bought versions with no preservatives or msg, It is gluten-free adaptable and vegan! Can be made in 5 minutes flat and keeps for 10 days in the fridge! With a Video!
Here’s an amazingly delicious and authentic recipe for Szechuan Sauce that we’ve been using ever since our trip to Shanghai a few years ago!
I’m a huge fan of Szechuan Sauce but hate all the preservatives, sugars and msg that go into store-bought versions, so we make our own at home. So fast and easy!
This version of Szechuan Sauce is FULL of flavor and can be made very spicy or kept very mild. It has a multitude of uses, but mainly we’ve been using it for quick and easy stir fry or as a marinade for meat or tofu. You’ve seen a version of it in the Sheet Pan Szechuan Chicken and Brussel Sprouts recipe a while back and so many of you have commented on the recipe, I thought it deserved a post of its own!
Authentic Szechuan Sauce | 60-second video
This version of Szechuan Sauce has Szechuan Peppercorns in it – but if you don’t have them, don’t fret! Just use black pepper or peppercorns!
The Szechuan peppercorns give the sauce a really authentic “zingy-ness” that is hard to replicate, but it also tastes just fine without!
Wonderful for meal prep, you can use this scratch-made sauce in this flavorful stir-fry as well!
Always remember to go lightly at first with Szechuan peppercorns they are definitely an acquired taste, perfumy and complex, while having a unusual numbing effect on the tongue. Some people looooooove this. Some do not. The best thing to do is just try one! We all taste things differently!
When I first tried Szechuan peppercorns, I have to admit, I was not a fan. But after I went to China, and had them in moderate doses, I actually grew to love them. So be sure start conservatively! Remember you can always just plop one in your mouth to get the gist of it. 😉
Whether you add the Szechuan peppercorns or not, the Szechuan Sauce is still delicious and worth making so I hope you give it a try. It’s especially great on tofu – either baked tofu or crispy tofu!
- Prep Time: 10
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: ½ cup 1x
- Category: sauce, condiment
- Method: Whisked
- Cuisine: Chinese
AMAZING Authentic Szechuan Sauce! Use as an easy delicious stir-fry sauce or flavorful marinade – preservative-free, msg free, gluten-free adaptable, vegan and full of amazing flavor! Can be made in 5 minutes! Keeps for 10 days in the fridge!
- 1/2 –1 teaspoon Szechuan Peppercorns (or sub black peppercorns)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce ( of Gluten-Free Liquid Aminos) see notes.
- 3 tablespoons honey (or sub maple syrup, coconut sugar, brown sugar or sugar alternative)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar (or black vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine (shaoxing) or mirin (both optional)
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced (use a garlic press)
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely minced ( or use ginger paste)
- 1 tablespoon garlic chili paste (or sambal oelek) more for more spicy or sub 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
- optional- 2-3 teaspoons corn starch, to thicken, see notes.
- Toast szechuan peppercorns in a hot dry skillet over medium heat, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Crush.
- Place all ingredients in a medium bowl or small jar and whisk until well combined.
- If using as a stir-fry sauce, and you would like to thicken it, whisk in 2 teaspoons cornstarch.
- If using as a marinade, forgo the cornstarch and make sure to season what you are marinating ( chicken, tofu, beef) with salt. The marinade alone will probably not be salty enough.
- If making a stir-fry, try adding a few dry Chinese or Arbol chilies (5-10) to the stir-fry, right before adding the Szechuan Sauce. Do not eat the chilis. 😉
Makes a little over ½ a cup and will keep for 10 days in the fridge.
If you prefer a thicker sauce when stir-frying, add corn starch.
Using Tamari Soy Sauce will make this way too salty! So either Stick with regular or Gluten-free Liquid Aminos. Or dilute Tamari: use 2 1/2 tablespoons tamari and 1 1/2 tablespoons water.
Szechuan Peppercorns add a unique flavor, but using too much will overpower. If unfamiliar, start with ½ teaspoon. If you’ve never tired one, just plop one in in your mouth and taste it. It has a very strong perfumy flavor and numbing effect on the tongue, adding interesting complexity! A little goes a long way. This may be very pleasant, or very unpleasant to you. This, for me was an acquired taste. You can absolutely leave these out and sub black peppercorns.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 88
- Sugar: 6.5 g
- Sodium: 83.7 mg
- Fat: 6.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g
- Carbohydrates: 7.1 g
- Fiber: 0.1 g
- Protein: 0.2 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: how to make szechuan sauce, szechuan sauce recipe, szechwan sauce, authentic szechuan sauce, szechuan stir fry sauce, stir fry sauce, chinese stir fry sauce,
Just made it for the third time just now for stir fry later on. I always make double to have it again a few days later. It’s absolutely delicious. My wife likes it better than any Chinese restaurant we’ve gone to. We both love Chinese food.
Hi! This came out amazing, it was exactly what I was looking for.
A couple of questions, you say don’t use Tamari unless you dilute, but Soy sauce has pretty much the same sodium content. If I am using normal, non-reduced sodium soy sauce, should I dilute with water? I used reduced sodium today and it came out awesome, I can’t imagine it being much saltier.
Also you say MSG free but from my shopping experience it appears like all garlic chili paste contains MSG.
Hi Ben! Feel free to experiment with Tamari- it is Japanese ( not Chinese) darker, and “thicker”. Some versions are less salty, but I’ve had some that are WAY more salty. Soy sauce is traditional here, so I just stick with that- but no rules, just play around and have fun! This Tuong Ot Toi Viet-Nam Chili Garlic Sauce brand doesn’t have MSG. 🙂
Absolutely delicious sauce. I will be making this over and over.
Great to hear!
Very easy to have ready made in fridge for quick healthy stir fries. Love it!
Glad this worked for you!
Looking forward to making this recipe.
I have pink peppercorns and black. Which type would you suggest?
Black, or a combo of both!
So I think MSG is a great tool, and I see no reason to avoid it. Does anyone know if a little MSG perhaps makes this taste a bit better? I’m wondering if I might want to take out a bit of the soy in place of the MSG.
Yes, Msg does really amp up the flavor- so if wanting to use it yes, you could go lighter on the soy. Then adjust to taste. 🙂
This was easy, delicious, and impressive. I did reduce the Five Spice by half because we’re not fond of the flavor … Had the family over and everyone enjoyed it. I added sliced carrots and broccoli as well.
Glad you enjoyed!
This is a keeper. I made it for the first time last night for a tofu, broccoli, and green bean stir-fry. My wife and I loved it.
Great to hear Randy!
Any advice on how to crush the toasted peppercorns without a mortar and pestle? Can a rolling pin or coffee grinder be used? How fine should the peppercorns be crushed?
Yes, Cassie, a coffee grinder works great- or place in plastic bag and use a rolling pin or wine bottle over it. Medium-fine. 😉
This is the best Chinese sauce we have ever had. So complex and delicious. Will never stop making this. Many thanks for such a splendid recipe!
So great to hear!
This turned out EXACTLY as I hoped it would – absolutely fantastic! Thank you for this recipe!
Happy to hear this Amelia!
Just so darn good…pretty much love every recipe you have!
Awwww thanks Lynn! Appreciate this!
Would it be possible to use coconut aminos as a substitute for the soy sauce? Thank you so much!
I think that should be fine!
Delicious and very easy to make!
Glad you enjoyed this Irma!
Very easy recipe and delicious!!