Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham / Nuoc Mam)

  • Author: Joyce | Pups with Chopsticks
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 3/4 cup of sauce 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese


A quick and easy recipe for Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham / Nuoc Mam) made with fish sauce with a balance of sweet, sour and salty flavors.



  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, approximately 1 lime (or white vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 tablespoons water (hot)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • carrots (optional, for color)
  • 12 fresh chili peppers (optional, for a bit of spiciness)


  1. Peel the garlic and finely chop it. Add it to a bowl (or jar if you are making a bigger batch)
  2. Cut the lime in half and squeeze all the lime juice into the bowl (or jar) with the garlic and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes. The acid from the lime juice will cut the sharp garlic spicy bite.
  3. Once 10-15 minutes is up, add the sugar into the garlic/lime juice mix and pour in the hot water. Stir everything together until the sugar dissolves completely.
  4. Once the sugar has dissolved, add in the fish sauce and mix.
  5. Voila! Nuoc cham is done! It can be stored in the fridge or used right away! 🙂


  • I like my nuoc cham a bit on the sweeter side so that it has a sweet and sour flavor. If you prefer the sauce more sour/tangy, reduce the sugar by 1/2 tablespoon
  • Most restaurants use vinegar instead of fresh lime juice. To get a nuoc mam closer to the restaurant style ones, use vinegar instead of fresh lime juice. Keep in mind that fresh lime juice is slightly more tangy than vinegar and has a bit more flavor though.
  • To reduce the raw bite from fresh garlic, soak the garlic in the lime juice for 10-15 minutes. The acid mellows out the garlic slightly so it has less of a spicy bite.
  • This recipe can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled with no issues


  • Serving Size: 1/4 cup
  • Calories: 25 cal
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 718mg
  • Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 6g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: nuoc cham, nuoc mam, nuoc mam cham, Vietnamese fish sauce dipping sauce