There is an increasing need for sensitive/selective determination of explosive traces in soil and post-blast debris for environmental and criminal investigations. A colorimetric sensor was developed to detect and quantify trinitrotoluene (TNT) and tetryl by the use of surfactant-stabilized and dithiocarbamate-functionalized gold nanoparticles (AuNPs). The sensor was manufactured by modifying the nanoparticles with the cationic surfactant cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide and incorporating diethyldithiocarbamate (DDTC) in the AuNPs synthesis. DDTC firmly bound to AuNPs may show charge-transfer interactions with the -NO2 groups of the analytes, and a color change proportional to analyte concentration accompanied the agglomeration of nanoparticles, at which the absorbances were recorded at 534 nm and 458 nm for TNT and tetryl, respectively. Although the limit of detection was 8 mgL(-1) (3.52 x 10(-5) molL(-1)) for TNT and 0.8 mgL(-1) (2.78 x 10(-6) molL(-1)) for tetryl, providing moderate sensitivity, the cost was greatly reduced compared to those of other thiol-functionalized AuNPs sensors. Possible interferences of other energetic substances in synthetic mixtures, of camouflage materials used in passenger belongings (e.g., detergent, sugar, caffeine, and paracetamol) and common soil ions were also examined. The method was statistically validated against a reference gas chromatography/mass spectrometry method. This sensor may pave the way for the manufacture of novel low-cost nitroaromatic explosive sensors made of DDTC-based pesticides.