Thai-Inspired Peanut Dressing

A Thai-inspired peanut dressing that’s perfect for drizzling over all kinds of things, not just veggies. A creamy, salty, tart combo of peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce and fish sauce, the dressing doubles as a sauce and stores spectacularly well, which means you can keep it on hand and toss together lunch in seconds.

A small jar of Thai-inspired peanut dressing next to a bowl and jar of chicken salad.

Adapted from Allison Day | Modern Lunch | Appetite by Random House, 2019

Allison Day’s Thai-inspired chicken salad is a crave-worthy bowl, full of greens, chicken, cucumber, and any other veggies you like. This peanut dressing is a perfect counterpoint. It packs an umami smack from peanut butter, lime juice, and fish sauce and, even better, you can slather it on all kinds of other things—noodles, grilled vegetables, or chicken skewers.–Jenny Latreille

☞ Table of Contents

Thai-Inspired Peanut Dressing

A small jar of Thai-inspired peanut dressing next to a bowl and jar of chicken salad.
A Thai-inspired peanut dressing is perfect for drizzling over all kinds of things, not just veggies. A creamy combo of peanut butter, soy and fish sauces, and lime juice; make it ahead so your weeknight Thai salad is ready in a snap. 

Prep 5 mins
Total 5 mins
4 servings
99 kcal
4.67 / 3 votes
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  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice from 1 to 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter or nut butter
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce use tamari if making gluten-free
  • 1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil such as grapeseed
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, peanut butter, tamari or soy sauce, oil, maple syrup, water, fish sauce (if using), and red pepper flakes until completely emulsified.
  • Cover and chill until ready to use. The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Shake well before using.
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*What is fish sauce used for?

Fish sauce is a salty and savory ingredient that's used to add umami to all kinds of things, like pad Thai, but it's also used to marinate meats, dress vegetables, or punch up the flavor in soups or stews. It's often used as a base for salad dressings and homemade condiments. Made from fish (or krill) that's been heavily salted and fermented for up to 2 years, fish sauce has a pretty powerful aroma straight out of the bottle but it adds a salty umami kick unlike anything else.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 2.5tablespoonsCalories: 99kcal (5%)Carbohydrates: 6g (2%)Protein: 3g (6%)Fat: 8g (12%)Saturated Fat: 4g (25%)Sodium: 660mg (29%)Potassium: 98mg (3%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 4g (4%)Vitamin A: 41IU (1%)Vitamin C: 2mg (2%)Calcium: 13mg (1%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This Thai-inspired peanut dressing was such a nice surprise and change of pace from the typical oil- and vinegar-based dressings that I usually whip up for salads. It was terrific! Even when made with my old standby pantry staple peanut butter, Jif. I can only imagine how much better it would have been if I had used natural peanut butter.

I had it with the Thai-inspired chicken salad and it will be showing up on our table often.

I had some sunflower seed butter on hand, so that is what I used in this peanut dressing. The dressing was definitely the star of the show here; it added a lovely flavor to the healthy Thai-inspired chicken salad.

Originally published May 2, 2021



  1. 4 stars
    This is a nice little recipe to have in your arsenal of things you can make from the pantry. The peanut butter gives it a bit more heft than most salad dressings, so it is perfect for a main dish salad. I served it over a salad of chopped baby romain, cucumbers, spring onion, Thai basil and mint. I topped the salad with grilled chicken breasts drizzled with a bit of the dressing and some chopped peanuts. An easy and delicious dinner. When I make this again, I think I’d like to try it on a rice noodle salad.

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