Jeow Som Recipe (Lao Dipping Sauce)

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Jeow som recipe makes an effortless yet sensational Lao dipping sauce that’s a crowd-pleaser at any gathering. This spicy and sour dip is perfect for drizzling over grilled chicken, fresh spring rolls, or even a cozy bowl of rice and steamed vegetables. Bring some Southeast Asian flair to your table now!

Traditional Lao jeow som dipping sauce in a bowl surrounded by sticky rice, grilled meat, and fresh vegetables.

Make sure to try some of my other authentic Lao dipping sauce recipes too: Jeow mak muang, jeow mak keua, and jeow mak len.

What is jeow som

Jeow som is a culinary staple of Laos, a traditional Lao sour sauce known for its tangy flavors. Made with key ingredients like lime, chilies, and fish sauce, it’s a condiment that adds a tangy, spicy kick to diverse foods.

In Lao language, ‘jeow’ means ‘sauce’ and ‘som’ means ‘sour’, so ‘jeow som’ directly translates to ‘sour sauce.

Jeow som sauce recipe

This Lao spicy and sour dipping sauce is the go-to for people who love a tangy bit of lime and a fiery hint of chilies. This sauce mixes them together with a sprinkle of sugar for a perfect flavor balance.

Close-up of homemade Lao jeow som sauce in a bowl, garnished with fresh herbs.

Making this recipe is an absolute breeze. If you’re an Asian food lover like me, you’ve probably got all the ingredients you need right now.

Use a mortar and pestle for that authentic touch and texture, but a food processor works too. Just know, the traditional way always adds something special.

Bowl of jeow som dipping sauce with fresh chilies and herbs, accompanied by grilled meat and fresh vegetables.

Drizzle the sauce over some grilled meats, toss it in a fresh salad, or pair it with steak. It’s so simple and so delicious, perfectly do-able for every home cook!

Why try this recipe

  • Healthier than store-bought: Homemade sauces are a healthier alternative to processed dips. Jeow sauces are made with fresh, natural ingredients.
  • Make-ahead party dip: Planning a party? Jeow mak len sauce can be made in advance because it keeps well in the fridge. That’s one less thing to prep on the big day!
  • Customize the flavors: This Lao jeow som recipe allows you to play with flavors. Use my measurements as a starting point and aim for that balance of sour, spicy, and sweet.
  • Perfect for every meal: This condiment levels up any dish. Put it in the center of a platter and serve it with other sides.
  • Vegetarian-friendly: Use a vegetarian fish sauce to transform this recipe into a vegetarian dip that’s great with vegetables.


For the exact measurements, please scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post.

Top-view of ingredients for jeow som recipe including fresh chilies, garlic, coriander, fish sauce, white sugar, and lime juice with mortar and pestle.
  • White sugar – Brings a subtle sweetness that balances the heat and tang of the sauce. Thai and Lao food is all about balancing out the flavors.
  • Fish sauce – Fish sauce is a staple of Southeast Asian cooking. It’s used for its rich, salty, and umami depth, enhancing the overall flavors.
  • Chilies – I used Thai Jinda chilies, you can use bird’s eye chilies or a mild type of chilies if you can’t eat spicy. Alternatively, you can remove the chili seeds to make a mild dipping sauce.
  • Garlic – Use fresh garlic, not the powdered form.
  • Lime – Fresh lime juice adds a zesty flavor and freshness that jeow som is known for. Avoid using bottled lime juice.
  • Coriander – For garnishing, adding a hint of freshness. Add to taste.

Cooking instructions

Step 1. Roughly pound garlic and chilies with a mortar and pestle.

Step 2. Mix in the sugar, fish sauce, and fresh lime juice. Stir well.

Step 3. Once the sugar has fully dissolved, gently fold in the chopped coriander.

Kitchen tools

  • Mortar and pestle or food processor if you don’t have one.
  • Cutting board & chef’s knife
  • Measuring spoons & cups

How to serve

This traditional Lao condiment is so versatile and can be paired with your favorite foods.

  • Grilled meats like chicken, pork (try my moo yang recipe), or beef.
  • Fresh vegetables like carrots and cucumber
  • Spring rolls and Thai shrimp rolls
  • Pair it with some Mexican tacos
  • Use it as a dressing for salads
  • Grilled fish or shrimp
  • Spice up your eggs
  • Fried tofu

How to store

Jeow som can last for up to a week when stored correctly. Here’s how to do it:

After making it, transfer it to an airtight container. Place the container in the fridge and use a clean spoon every time to prolong its shelf life.

Frequently asked questions

Is this Lao jeow som recipe gluten-free?

Yes, this recipe is gluten-free. Do double-check the labels of the fish sauce to ensure that it hasn’t been processed with additives that contain gluten.

More Asian dipping sauce recipes you’ll love

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5 from 1 vote

Jeow Som Recipe (Lao Dipping Sauce)

Prep Time 10 min Cook Time 10 min Total Time 20 mins
Servings: 2 Calories: 47


This jeow som recipe is a perfect blend of tangy and spicy flavors, made with lime, chilies, and aromatic garlic.



  1. Roughly pound garlic and chilies with a mortar and pestle.

  2. Mix in the sugar, fish sauce, and fresh lime juice. Stir well.

  3. Once the sugar has fully dissolved, gently fold in the chopped coriander.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 2

Amount Per Serving
Calories 47kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0.1g1%
Total Carbohydrate 11.4g4%
Dietary Fiber 0.6g3%
Sugars 7.6g
Protein 1.5g3%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Try making this recipe with a mortar and pestle. If you don't have one, you can use a food processor.
Keywords: jeow som, jeow som recipe, jeow som sauce
About Author


I owned my own Thai restaurant and have years of experience in various other Thai restaurants. I've been whipping up classic Thai dishes by my mother's and grandma's side since I was just a little girl. Now I'm sharing my deep-rooted passion with my authentic Thai recipes on this food blog.

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