Homemade Chili Sauce

published Sep 11, 2021
Chili Sauce Recipe

This classic sweet and savory sauce only takes 20 minutes to mix together.


Makes1 1/4 cups

Prep5 minutes

Cook15 minutes

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chili sauce in a bowl with a black spoon, on a yellow background, with a plate of shrimp on the side
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

I like to think of a jar of chili sauce as ketchup’s elegant cousin. It’s sweet and tangy with a few sophisticated spices for a unique flavor twist. It doubles as a condiment and a sauce and is great spread on a burger; served alongside grilled fish, steak, or pork; or used as a dipping sauce for fries or cocktail shrimp.

Chili sauce is also a common ingredient in recipes. I love to use it when making braised short ribs in the winter or for basting grilled baby back ribs during the summer months. One of my favorite “no recipe” recipes is slow cooker glazed meatballs: Combine chili sauce, a jar of peach preserves, and a bag of frozen meatballs in your slow cooker and after a few hours you’ll have the perfect one-bite appetizer for potlucks and parties.

Once you try this easy homemade version, you’ll want to have it on hand at all times because the possibilities are endless! It will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator, but once you’re hooked, I doubt it will last that long.

Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

Chili Sauce Versus Ketchup

While chili sauce is similar to ketchup, it tends to be spicier with a more unique flavor profile. Common ingredients include the following:

  • Tomato sauce
  • Tomato paste
  • Vinegar
  • Aromatic dried spices

What to Serve with Chili Sauce

Chili sauce can be served as a condiment with your favorite grilled fare or used as a dipping sauce. It can also be incorporated into a spicy salad dressing or even spooned on top of meatloaf and used as a glaze instead of ketchup.

Chili Sauce Recipe

This classic sweet and savory sauce only takes 20 minutes to mix together.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes

Makes 1 1/4 cups

Serves 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1 (8-ounce) can

    tomato sauce

  • 1/4 cup

    packed light or dark brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons

    apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons

    tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon

    Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon

    smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground allspice

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    ground cloves

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    cayenne pepper


  1. Place 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce, 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce,1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper in a small saucepan and stir to combine.

  2. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will turn a deeper, richer shade of red. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Recipe Notes

Serving suggestions: This chili sauce works great as a sandwich spread, on top of grilled hot dogs or hamburgers, or as a dip for shrimp. It can also be used to make easy slow cooker party meatballs. Combine the homemade chili sauce with 1 (18-ounce) jar peach preserves in a slow cooker. Add a 2-pound bag of frozen meatballs and heat until warmed through.