Prik Nam Pla (Thai Cuisine Dipping Sauce)

This Thai condiment is an irresistible drizzle-over-anything sauce, with a fiery spice and a savory kick.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

Top-down view of prik nam pla prepared in a clear glass cup, encircled by fresh red and green chilies, garlic, and fresh lime segments.

Prik nam pla or nam pla prik is a spicy dipping sauce of Thai cuisine with a base of fish sauce. It’s super easy to make with only a handful of simple ingredients. Combined, the ingredients perfectly balance the tastes of sour, salty, sweet, and spicy. In this easy recipe, you will learn how to make an authentic version of this table condiment in less than 10 minutes.

What is prik nam pla

This authentic Thai dipping sauce is perfect for spicing up any dish. It can turn the simplest meal into a flavorful lunch or dinner. It’s no wonder it’s a standard with Thai street food.

Nam pla prik in a clear glass cup, with stir-fried fried rice in the distance.

But for Thai people, it’s more than just a sauce – it’s an everyday staple that’s easy to love and hard to resist. Whether you like it with noodles, fried rice, or any other stir-fry, a generous drizzle of this fish sauce condiment will level up your food in the blink of an eye.

A simple blend of fresh lime juice, white sugar, fish sauce, fresh chili peppers, and garlic is all that’s needed to create this quick and easy recipe.

A close-up of prik nam pla with chopped garlic, and sliced red and green chilies.

Substitutions and adjustments

This Thai chili sauce recipe has been tested and perfect many times to bring you a fish sauce dip just like you’d get in Thailand.

But tastes are personal, so feel free to adjust this recipe to your preference. I’ve included some simple suggestions for changing the outcome of your dip. You can simply adjust the quantity of the ingredients to make it taste exactly how you like it best.

  • For more or less heat, simply adjust the amount of fresh chili peppers. Mix red and green chilies to improve the visual appearance of your sauce.
  • This recipe typically uses fresh Thai chilies, which are quite spicy. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, substitute them with milder chilies, for example Spanish chilies or jalapeños. Alternatively, you can remove the chili seeds, which is where most of the spiciness is centered.
  • Increase or decrease the sour taste by adding more or less fresh lime juice.
  • Adjust the amount of fish sauce to change the saltiness. Fish sauce has a really strong taste, so if you’re new to Thai cuisine, it’s best to use the suggested quantity.
  • Add more or less sugar to control the sweetness.
Thai chili dip with fish sauce, garlic, and sliced chilies in a glass cup and a wooden spoon lifting a portion of the condiment.

Fish sauce

Fish sauce, which is made by fermenting fish with salt, is a key ingredient of this chili sauce. Like salt or soy sauce in other cuisines, it’s a must-have in Thai and Southeast Asian cooking, adding a special umami and salty flavor.

We frequently use it in our tasty summer salads like this green papaya salad, and in stir-fries such as pad mee korat.

Because fish sauce has a strong, salty taste, add a bit at a time and taste-test as you cook.

Taste-testing food while cooking is standard practice in Thai cooking. We don’t measure everything out, we cook to taste and adjust the flavors as we go.

Thai table condiment

Eating out in Thailand, you will find this essential dipping sauce served at nearly every Thai restaurant or street food market you go to. Most restaurants even put it out on the table, just like sugar and pepper in other countries.

Thai fish sauce condiment served in a glass cup, with a lime wedge, red chili, and garlic next to it. In the background is a small frying pan with fried rice.

We love using it to add extra seasoning and spice to our food.

My husband likes to combine it with his favorite Thai meal, which is pad kra pao (Thai holy basil stir-fry). Can you believe he has been eating pad kra pao for lunch nearly every day for the last year?!

Some Thai people like to pour it over some plain jasmine rice, including me!


All ingredients listed below can be found at Asian grocery stores or at Asian markets.

  • Lime – Use fresh lime juice for the best results flavor-wise.
  • White sugar – Brown sugar or palm sugar can be used as a healthy alternative to granulated sugar.
  • Garlic – Raw garlic cloves are an essential ingredient.
  • Thai chili peppers – Fresh Thai chilies are chopped into thin slices. Fresh chilies are a key ingredient for making this spicy Thai sauce. If you have a high spice-level, use Jinda chili peppers. You can also use bird’s eye chilies, which are even spicier.
  • Fish sauce – A staple ingredient that is used in my Thai kitchen daily.

Short recipe video

How to make prik nam pla, a spicy Thai dipping sauce! 🌶️ #thaifood #spicyfood #spicysauce #recipes

♬ Musik Tiktok – Dj unodhowhow

Step-by-step instructions

Making this authentic prik nam pla recipe is quick and easy. All you need is a small bowl or cup, a spoon and a handful of simple ingredients.

Total Time: 10 minutes

Slice the fresh chilies into thin pieces, and thinly slice the garlic.Chopping garlic on a wooden cutting board with a large knife. There's also chopped fresh red and green chilies, a lime, fish sauce and sugar on the cutting board.

Combine all the ingredients – fish sauce, chopped chilies, fresh lime juice, chopped garlic, and sugar – in a large mixing bowl or cup. Stir with a spoon until the sugar completely dissolves, about 30 seconds. Serve immediately.Overhead view of Thai chili fish sauce with a wooden spoon in a glass cup.

Recipe notes

This classic Thai condiment packs quite a punch! If you’re not into spicy food, use fewer chilies or remove the seeds. Alternatively, swap the Jinda chilies for Spanish peppers, which are typically milder in spice.

How to serve

Whenever you’re enjoying a stir-fry like pork with garlic and pepper, cabbage stir-fry or fried rice, I suggest coming back to this chili sauce. You can also drizzle it over white jasmine rice, in fact you can use it to add a zesty kick to just about everything. Seafood, meat, noodles, you name it!

The great thing about this sauce is its versatility, it can be used with so many Thai dishes.

How to store

This traditional sauce can be stored at room temperature for up to 2–3 days, you can even leave it out on the table. In the refrigerator, you can store it for up to 2 weeks, sealed or in an airtight container.

Fun fact

“Nam pla” translates to fish sauce in Thai language, and the word “prik” translates to chilies. So, the name of this hot Thai sauce translates to: fish sauce with chilies.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ’s)

What is prik nam pla?

Prik nam pla is a spicy dipping sauce, a staple in Thai cuisine. It’s used as a flavor enhancer to add spice and depth to Thai food or other dishes. The main ingredients of this Thai chili sauce are fish sauce, fresh chilies, lime juice, sugar, and garlic.

Is prik nam pla spicy?

Yes, prik nam pla is typically known to be a spicy dipping sauce. It’s often prepared with Thai chilies, which are known for their fiery heat. The spice level can be adjusted to your preference by using milder chilies, such as Spanish peppers, or removing the seeds.

How long does prik nam pla last?

Prik nam pla can last up to two weeks in the fridge when made with fresh ingredients. Store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh and flavorful, or seal your sauce cup with a plastic wrapper.

More spicy Thai sauces you’ll love

Love this prik nam pla recipe (Thai cuisine dipping sauce)? You would do me a GREAT favor by leaving a star rating and/or a comment in the comment section! And if you wish to stay up-to-date with my latest Thai recipes, then don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter.

Prik Nam Pla (Thai Cuisine Dipping Sauce)

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 5 min Cook Time 5 min Total Time 10 mins
Servings: 3 Calories: 28


This authentic recipe for prik nam pla comes together quickly with simple ingredients.



  1. Slice the fresh chilies into thin pieces, and thinly slice the garlic.

  2. Combine all the ingredients – fish sauce, chopped chilies, fresh lime juice, chopped garlic, and sugar – in a large mixing bowl or cup. Stir with a spoon until the sugar completely dissolves, about 30 seconds. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 3

Amount Per Serving
Calories 28kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0.1g1%
Total Carbohydrate 5.5g2%
Dietary Fiber 0.3g2%
Sugars 3.5g
Protein 1.9g4%

* 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.
  • If your spice-level is not high, substitute the fresh Jinda chilies for fresh Spanish peppers.
Keywords: prik nam pla, nam pla prik, prik nam pla recipe, spicy Thai dipping sauce

Food tastes better when shared!

Pin this recipe and share it with your followers.

File under
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.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

Hungry in Thailand will use the information you provide on this form to send you a weekly newsletter.