This Chinese Garlic Sauce is a flavorful, hearty, and satisfying brown stir-fry sauce. It’s a delicious and healthy homemade alternative to takeout and has the perfect combination of spicy, salty, and sweet flavors! The recipe is vegan, low in fat and calories, and can be made gluten-free!
I simply can’t get enough of homemade stir-fries. They are so quick and easy to make, and also pretty healthy since we don’t use artificial flavors (like MSG powder) or too much oil. What makes a stir-fry exceptionally delicious and flavorful? It’s the brown sauce! And here I am presenting you my best version of a homemade Chinese garlic sauce.
What Is Chinese Brown Sauce?
A Chinese brown sauce is a popular flavorful sauce in every Chinese takeout. The main ingredients are soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, sometimes oyster sauce, and a meat-based broth. You’ll find variations with beef broth or chicken broth. My vegan brown sauce is meatless, of course, and therefore contains vegetable broth.
Other ingredients often found in a Chinese brown sauce are cornstarch (to thicken the sauce), fresh garlic & ginger, and some spices like pepper, chili, and sesame oil.
How To Make Chinese Garlic Sauce?
This recipe has only 4 simple steps and it actually takes less than 10 minutes to make this spicy garlic sauce! Check the following step-by-step photos:
STEP 1: For the sauce, simply add all ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and stir with a whisk. Set aside.
STEP 2: Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add the fresh garlic and ginger and sauté for 30-60 seconds or until fragrant. Stir frequently.
STEP 3: Whisk the sauce again as the cornstarch will sink to the bottom, then pour it into the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and let simmer for a few minutes until thickened, stirring frequently.
STEP 4: Use the garlic sauce immediately, for example, in your favorite stir-fry. Or let it cool completely and pour the sauce into a clean glass jar.
How To Serve?
This brown sauce is basically an all-purpose stir-fry sauce, which means you can use it in any stir-fry meal. My favorite way to serve this Szechuan sauce is over stir-fried broccoli. Have you ever tried broccoli with garlic sauce? If not, you are missing out! I also love to add slices of peppers, carrots, and onion.
The sauce also makes a great dip for summer rolls or even vegan dumplings! The possibilities are endless!
Tips & Substitutes
How to store? Store sauce leftovers in a glass jar with a lid in the refrigerator for up to 4 or 5 days.
Make it spicier or less spicy: If you love spicy Chinese (or Asian) food, simply increase the amount of red pepper flakes. You can also use fresh chilis or add a little hot sauce or Sriracha to taste! If you are sensitive to spicy food or have a toddler/kid, then leave out the red pepper flakes and use less fresh ginger.
Vegetable oil: You can use canola oil or any vegetable cooking oil of choice.
Sweetener: I used maple syrup, however, any other sweetener is fine. Some examples are agave syrup, brown rice syrup, or date syrup. You can also use regular sugar to taste.
Cornstarch: If you have a corn allergy, simply use arrowroot flour, tapioca flour/starch, or potato starch. Any starch is fine and will thicken the sauce.
Soy sauce: I used gluten-free dark soy sauce. You can also use a combination of light soy sauce and dark soy sauce. Make sure to use tamari (or a gluten-free soy sauce) if you are a celiac. If you want a soy-free alternative then I would recommend using coconut aminos.
This Szechuan Sauce Is:
- Can be made gluten-free
- A little spicy
- Sweet, sour & salty
- Easy to make with simple ingredients
- Ready in less than 10 minutes
- Can be made oil-free
Should you give this Chinese garlic sauce recipe a try, please leave a comment below, and don’t forget to tag me in your Instagram or Facebook post with @elavegan #elavegan because I love to see your remakes!
If you love Asian food, definitely also check out the following delicious vegan recipes:
Chinese Garlic Sauce
For The Sauce:
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable broth
- 3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce (see notes)
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup (see notes)
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes or less/more to taste
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp cornstarch (see notes)
- 1/2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns (optional)
- 2 tsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry (optional)
For The Pan:
- 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil (see notes)
- 4 tsp fresh garlic minced (4 garlic cloves)
- 2 tsp fresh ginger minced
- Add all ingredients for the sauce into a medium-sized bowl and stir with a whisk. Set aside.
- Next, heat vegetable oil in a saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add fresh garlic and ginger and sauté for 30-60 seconds, stirring frequently.
- Whisk the sauce again, then pour it into the saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer for a few minutes until thickened, stirring frequently.
- Use the sauce immediately, for example, in a stir-fry or as a dip for vegan dumplings or summer rolls. Or let it cool completely and pour the sauce into a clean jar.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 or 5 days. Enjoy!
- Vegetable oil: You can use canola oil or any vegetable cooking oil of choice. You can also leave it out and use more vegetable broth.
- Sweetener: I used maple syrup, however, any other sweetener is fine.
- Cornstarch: You can use arrowroot flour, tapioca flour/starch, or potato starch.
- Soy sauce: You can use a combination of light soy sauce and dark soy sauce. Make sure to use tamari or gluten-free soy sauce if you are a celiac. If you want a soy-free alternative then I would recommend using coconut aminos.
- Check the step-by-step photos above in the blog post.
- Recipe serves 4. Nutrition facts are for one serving (1/4 of the recipe).
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically
If you are using Pinterest, feel free to pin the following photos:
Loved the Chinese Garlic Sauce! I made it to use with the Savory Crepes and both were a hit with my cooking group! I am really not a cook at all so I feel really happy when I find recipes that I can make and come out delicious! I used ginger paste in a jar instead of fresh and it was fine. I also eyeballed the spice measurements (risky!! esp for someone like me!) It was really wonderful and I got LOTS of compliments. Shared the recipes and website with the group. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes.
So happy to hear it turned out delicious, Ellen! Thanks for your great feedback. 🙂
Hello! Thank you for the recipe! It is delicious! I did want to just leave a note to tell you that MSG is not an artifical seasoning. It is a naturally occuring glutimate that exists in many plants! Specifically seaweed.
So happy it was a hit, Justin! Thanks for your great feedback. 🙂
I am new to cooking Asian dishes., but I have to say this sauce is so flavorful!!! I used every spice you suggested (and I was amazed I found them in my local Publix). Thanks for a wonderful recipe!
Sounds wonderful, Kristine. I am so glad you liked it. 🙂
This was very easy to make and tasted so delicious on my stir fry!!!! Great recipe!
I am glad you enjoyed it, Kris. 🙂
I absolutely love this recipe! I use Soy Sauce aminos and it comes out perfect every time. Thanks for sharing!
You are so welcome, Nia. I am glad you like it. 🙂
Thanks for sharing. I will definitely try this. Looks delicious and sounds easy to follow
I hope you will like it. 🙂
Would it be ok to freeze ?
Hi Lin, yes, that is fine. 🙂
Looks great but I need to know the sodium amount. I’m sodium restriction total per day 2000!! Must count everything!! Having open heart surgery!!
Hi Stella, I have updated the nutrition information.
My go to garlic sauce recipe. I don’t change a thing. Wonderful flavor and just the right amount for each stir fry. I make it fresh each time because it is so simple to make. Might try making a larger batch and keeping it in the fridge; maybe the flavors would blend even more even though the flavors are already great.
I am so glad you like it, Julia! 🙂
Would this can well
I haven’t tried it, so I’m not sure.
Recipe was scrumptious, just like the Chinese restaurant. Thank you for posting recipe
You are very welcome, Teresa! 🙂
I am such a fan of your recipes! This was the first one I tried, and I LOVE it!! It’s easy and delicious. Thanks so much!!
You are so welcome, Charmaine! Thanks for your feedback. 🙂
Wonderful, easy sauce, I doubled the recipe to use for other dishes, but for this dish I sautéed chicken thighs. I even added some of the sauce mixed with chicken broth while they were cooking, I sautéed onions, bell peppers and mushrooms along with carrots.. mixed the sautéed veggies with the chicken, tossed it with the garlic sauce and served in over spaghetti squash with a sprinkle of peanuts. I liked the crunchy texture. So very good. Thank you so much!
Made this exactly as directed and it was absolutely perfect. I usually tinker with amounts but I’m so glad i did not. Thank you so much for the new go to garlic sauce. If you’re still reading comments- I was wondering if the peppercorns should be whole or crushed or ground. Sending good vibes and thanks your way from central New York State.
Hello, I am so glad you like the sauce! You can use whole or crushed peppercorns (or leave them out, as they are optional). 🙂
This was so yummy!!! I threw this together in a pinch. I didn’t have ginger but it was still very good. Thanks for sharing!
You are very welcome, Kim! Glad you like it. 🙂
Can I double or triple this recipe? Would the corn starch amount be doubled as well?
Sure, you would need to double every ingredient. 🙂
This Chinese Garlic Sauce is so flavorful! I love it! It fits perfectly to almost everything, from dumplings, vegetable salads, and even in lumpia. Glad I got to get all my needed authentic Asian ingredients at Karman Foods. It’s fast and hassle-free!
So glad you like it! 🙂
I replaced rice wine w/apple cider vinegar – broth w/ diet soda – syrup with sugar (sugar and high fructose corn syrup in the soda also cover up)
came out great – even with substitutions.
hope to try it with the actual recipe some time.
the final dish was shrimp in garlic sauce (with carrots and broccoli) served over rice with green pepper and onions.
You are very welcome! 🙂
I had lots of vegetables to use up and wanted a quick and easy sauce to make a stir-fry. Tried this sauce and it was exactly what I wanted, so tasty too! It’s definitely going in my recipe list. Thank you!
That’s awesome! Happy you liked it, Maeve. 🙂
Why comment if you didn’t even follow the recipe???? I hate when people do that!
Can we substitute sake for the rice wine?
I never tried it, but I think it should be fine. 🙂