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Pan-Fried Fish with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Super easy, super quick, and truly delicious Thai sweet chili sauce (easier sweet and sour sauce) to go with simple pan-fried fish fillets.

When you are busy but crave for an easy pan-fried fish with a simple sweet and sour sauce, look no further than this recipe for pan-fried fish with Thai sweet chili sauce.

It should take no more than 30 minutes from start to finish to prepare this dish, including pan frying some fish fillet, and preparing the delicious sauce.

If you are like me, you will want to make this sauce again and again and pair it with just about anything.

Ingredients for Pan-Fried Fish with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
Ingredients for Pan-Fried Fish with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Which fish fillet to use

To prepare pan-fried fish fillet, you can use any kind of fish with white firm flesh.

The cheapest and most widely available fish fillet is tilapia. For a slightly more expansive choice, you can try swai or rock fish.

For a more all out fine dining experience, or when you are feeling fancy, you can also use red snapper, cod, or halibut.

Depending on the fish fillet thickness, the pan frying time may differ slightly. Just to be clear, the cooking time in the recipe has been tested on tilapia, swai, and rock fish.

Pan-Fried Fish with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
Pan-Fried Fish with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

What you need to prepare Thai sweet chili sauce

To make Thai sweet chili sauce, you will need the following ingredients:

Along with garlic, onion, tomato, salt, and sugar. This sauce is similar to sweet and sour sauce, but with a spicy kick. I think this version of sweet and sour sauce is also so much easier to prepare compared to traditional sweet and sour sauce.

Like any good sweet and sour sauce, if you happen to like this sauce, feel free to use it with chicken, pork, or even tofu.

Pan-Fried Fish with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
Pan-Fried Fish with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Pan-Fried Fish with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

5.0 from 22 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 30 mins

Serves: 4

Print Recipe


  • Pan-fried fish
  • 650-700 gram any firm white fish fillet (e.g. tilapia, cod)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • flour
  • Thai sweet chili sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/3 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce, such as sambal oelek
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 2 tablespoon water
  • Garnish
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced


  • Pan-fried fish
    1. Sprinkle fish fillet with salt and pepper, then coat with flour.
    2. Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a frying pan on medium high and pan fry fish fillets until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Set aside in a serving plate.
  • Thai sweet chili sauce
    1. Heat about 2 tablespoon oil in a frying pan (use the same unwashed pan to fry fish) on medium high heat and sauté garlic and onion until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
    2. Add tomato. Mix well, and cook for another minute.
    3. Add Thai sweet chili sauce, water, chili sauce, vinegar, fish sauce, salt, and sugar. Mix well. Bring to a boil. Adjust taste as needed.
    4. Thicken sauce with cornstarch solution. Turn off heat once the sauce has thickened.
    5. Add chopped cilantro and scallions into the sauce. Mix well. Pour the sauce over the fried fish. Serve immediately.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen


  • phyllis saito phyllis saito says:

    Very tasty sauce! I was looking for something nice and tangy with a little kick. I fried some snapper and it was great and hit the spot perfectly! Thanks!

    • Anita Anita says:

      I love snapper too, especially red snapper. I'm glad you love this recipe Phyllis.

  • Pam Pam says:

    Red snapper is my absolute favorite fish and would be so perfect in this recipe!

  • Tisha Tisha says:

    Oh that Thai sweet chili sauce sounds so perfect!!!

  • Luci Luci says:

    This looks absolutely delicious. My family loves fish and spicy food so I'll have to make this.

  • Alexandra @ It's Not Complicated Recipes Alexandra @ It's Not Complicated Recipes says:

    Wow, this is such a beautiful dish! I love the sweet chili sauce with it - such a great combination of flavours.

  • Pam Greer Pam Greer says:

    I love the sound of that Thai sweet chili sauce! I usually just use it straight from the jar, but I love all your tasty additions!

  • Elaine Elaine says:

    I've been using that Thai sweet chili sauce every time since I tried it. It's just too good. Love the combination of flavors in this recipe!

  • Jenn Jenn says:

    I've made this a few times now and it's one of my go-to quick and easy weeknight dinners!

    • Anita Anita says:

      I'm happy this has become one of your favorites too, Jenn. :)

  • Erika Erika says:

    This chili sauce pairs perfectly with tilapia, yum!

  • Katie Crenshaw Katie Crenshaw says:

    Loving the Thai Sweet sauce on this fish!! I have had something like this at my favorite Thai restaurant. It was delicious. I can't wait to try this here at home.

  • Amelia Valadez Amelia Valadez says:

    Sweet chili sauce is my favorite, all the flavors you add make it incredible! This was delicious, thank you for sharing!

  • Russell Russell says:

    In making your Thai sweet Chile sauce, you suggest adding 1/3 cup of Thai sweet chile sauce. Why are we adding Thai sweet chile sauce as an ingredient to make the same finished product. It seems like we are simply stretching the ingredient.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Russell, we are not trying to make a Thai sweet chili sauce in this recipe. We are trying to incorporate Thai sweet chili sauce as the main ingredient in our sauce for the pan-fried fish. I hope this clears up the misunderstanding.

  • Jere Cassidy Jere Cassidy says:

    Oh, I am so glad to have that chili sauce recipe, that can go on so many dishes. I have lots of tilapia in the freezer so this is perfect.

  • Krissy Allori Krissy Allori says:

    I love thai sweet chili sauce. I haven't had it on fish but I'm sure it is amazing. I can't wait to give this a try. Pinning it for later.

  • Jennifer Jennifer says:

    I really loved the sweet and savory - a hint of sweetness with the heat from the sauce with the crispiness (both taste and texture) from the fish. It was great!

  • Mahy Mahy says:

    I can't believe how quick and easy this sauce recipe is. Just what I have been looking for. Can't wait to go all in with it! :-)

  • Libby Libby says:

    What a tasty and easy to make recipe! So good!!

  • Milky Milky says:

    I passed over this recipe a few times, thinking 'why not just dump sweet chili sauce on the fish and done?' but the addition of the fresh tomato/onion/garlic is a significant improvement to the flavor and presentation of the fish. Compared to other sweet sauce recipes, I'd say this is one of the easier ones. I was also impressed with how nicely the fish was cooked following this recipe.

    [Making the sweet chili sauce from scratch is fun and easy too, but boiling the ingredients is like filling the kitchen with napalm- so this is also far more convenient if one already has it in the fridge.]

  • Anamari Anamari says:

    Made this tonight and it was perfect! My husband’s only complaint was that he wanted more!

  • D Silversmith D Silversmith says:

    Prepared with grouper filets and served with Thai rice noodles rather than rice. I thought the flavor of the sauce was outstanding. I used brown sugar rather than white and added a table of oyster sauce for depth of flavor beyond what the fish sauce gave. I thought not over sautéing the vegetables was key. They stayed a bit firm and tasted so fresh. Great recipe.

  • Kim Kim says:

    Very delicious. We liked double the heat. I would not say this is quick and easy, but definitely yummy. Tonight we tried it with shrimp and added Bok Choy and water chestnuts over rice.

  • Rebecca Rebecca says:

    Cut my onions and peppers into strips and used cherry tomatoes instead of one large tomato, but otherwise followed the recipe. Very tasty!

  • Frederick Flynn Frederick Flynn says:

    The sauce is delicious and authentic Thai--and my Thai wife loved it for today (Valentine's Day). Thanks!

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