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Homemade Sambal Oelek Chili Paste in a black bowl with slices of lime on top.
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5 from 8 votes

Homemade Sambal Oelek Chili Paste Recipe

Make your own spicy Sambal Oelek chili paste at home using simple ingredients in five minutes. Perfect for adding a fiery kick to Southeast Asian dishes.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Peppers, Sauces
Cuisine: Indonesian
Servings: 1 Jar
Calories: 182kcal
Author: Elle John


  • 1 Molcajete or
  • 1 Blender


  • 80 grams Thai chili peppers or any red chili peppers
  • 3 Shallots chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic large size
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Lime Juice
  • 3 tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • Water optional
  • 1 tablespoon salt


Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

  • Wear gloves if you have sensitive skin because these chilies can be very spicy. Wash them and remove the stems from the Thai chili peppers. If you want a milder paste, you can also remove some or all of the seeds.
  • Peel and roughly chop the shallots, ginger, and garlic cloves.

Step 2: Blend the Ingredients

  • Using a Food Processor:
  • Place all the ingredients in the food processor.
  • Pulse the ingredients until they form a coarse paste. You may need to scrape down the sides of the processor bowl a couple of times.
  • If the paste is too thick or your chilies are dry, you can add a little water, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.

Using a Molcajete:

  • If you prefer to go traditional, use a Molcajete (a Mexican mortar and pestle).
  • Start by grinding the chili peppers, shallots, garlic, and ginger in the Molcajete until they form a rough paste.
  • Gradually add the lime juice, brown sugar, and salt, continuing to grind and mix until you achieve a consistent paste.

Step 3: Adjust to Taste

  • Taste your Sambal Oelek paste. You can adjust the flavor by adding more salt, sugar, rice vinegar, or lime juice according to your preference.

Step 4: Store

  • Transfer your homemade Sambal Oelek paste into a clean, airtight jar. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.
  • Top Tip: Top it with a thin layer of oil to help preserve it.


  • Be cautious when handling chili peppers, especially if you're using Thai peppers. The capsaicin can irritate your skin and eyes. Wearing gloves is a good practice.
  • Adjust the spiciness by controlling the number of chili seeds you include. More seeds mean hotter paste.
  • Use brown sugar for a slightly richer flavor, but you can substitute it with white sugar if needed.
  • The addition of water is optional but can help achieve the desired consistency.
  • You can also freeze Sambal oelek chili paste! Scoop a little sauce into each hole of an ice cube tray and freeze for three hours. Once frozen, remove the cubes from the tray and store them in a freezer bag or container. Defrost when needed. 
  • Top tip if freezing: Use a silicone tray for ease of removal! 


Calories: 182kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 0.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.04g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 6999mg | Potassium: 611mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 955IU | Vitamin C: 207mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 2mg