This Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe has sweet, spicy, tangy, deep flavors without all the added preservatives and weird after taste from store-bought brands. It’s so easy to make in only 15 minutes and the best accompaniment to all your summer grilling favorites.
If you’ve never made Homemade BBQ Sauce before, you won’t believe how easy it is. All it takes is some pantry spices, common refrigerator condiments, a couple minutes of prep and 10 minutes simmering on the stovetop. The end result is thick, rich, incredibly flavorful, and so much better than anything you’ll buy at the store.
Homemade BBQ Sauce – Why We Love It
- Quick and Easy: Got 15 minutes? That’s all you need. In the time it would take you to go to the store and buy some, it could already be made and taste so much better.
- Pantry ingredients: Chances are you already have all the ingredients to make this recipe.
- Incredible flavor: The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, and spicy. It’s also easy to change it up to suit your taste.
- Use it for so many things: BBQ sauce and ribs are a match made in Heaven, but this condiment is also great mixed into burger patties and Pulled Pork, basted on grilled chicken, and great for dunking chicken tenders into. (Scroll below for more ideas of how to use it.)
- Stores well: Make up a batch to use immediately or store for later. You can store it in the fridge or freeze it.
BBQ Sauce Recipe
To make this homemade BBQ Sauce recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Ketchup: The base of the sauce. We recommend using a brand with the least amount of ingredients and without high-fructose corn syrup. The overall sauce will taste better. (If you prefer not using ketchup at all, it can be replaced with plain tomato sauce and tomato paste.)
- Apple cider vinegar: Adds acidity and a delicious tang, which balances out the sweetness.
- Brown sugar: Helps sweeten the sauce with some depth from molasses. Without this, the sauce will be very sour. Don’t skip it.
- Worcestershire: This is a pretty key ingredient, adding depth of flavor, and balances out the sweet, savory, and tangy taste.
- Molasses: Yep, we know brown sugar is made with molasses, but we add in straight up molasses too, for a deeper flavor. Use unsulphured.
- Seasonings: The combination of smoked paprika, dry mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper is the perfect balance of flavors.
- Hot sauce: We also add in a few dashes of hot sauce for a touch of heat, but you can leave it out, if preferred.
It’s easy to customize this sauce to suit your needs.
- Want it spicier? We add in just a few dashes of hot sauce to give it some heat. Feel free to add in up to 1 tablespoon for a real kick!
- Smokier? Double the amount of smoked paprika called for or add in some liquid smoke, to taste.
- Sweeter? Add in a few tablespoons of honey or maple syrup.
- Boozy? Stir in 1/4-1/3 bourbon whiskey and simmer for a bit longer.
- Thicker? Simmer the sauce for a bit longer than instructed until it thickens to your desired consistency.
- Hate ketchup? Substitute the amount of ketchup in the written recipe with 1 can (15 ounce) plain tomato sauce and 6 ounces of tomato paste.
How to Make BBQ Sauce
It will take you less time to make BBQ sauce from scratch than it will to fold a load of laundry! Here’s a brief summary:
(To make this BBQ sauce recipe, follow the steps below included in the printable recipe card. Refer back to the article for more information and variations.)
- Combine ingredients: Whisk everything together in a saucepan.
- Simmer: Bring to a bubble and then continue to simmer for 10-12 minutes until it has thickened.
- Cool: Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Enjoy! Use it immediately with your favorite recipes or store for later. Crazy easy, right?
How to Store BBQ Sauce
You can make this sauce and use it right away or store it for later. Without all the preservatives that are added to store-bought sauce, homemade sauce will spoil faster.
To Store: Allow sauce to cool completely, then pour into a quart-size mason jar with a tight-fitting lid or an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. It will keep up to 1 week.
To Freeze: Pour sauce into an airtight freezer safe container or freezer safe plastic bag. It will keep up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before using. Another option is to freeze in individual ice cube trays, then once solid, transfer the cubes to a freezer-safe bag and use a couple at a time for smaller meals.
Ways To Use BBQ Sauce
Anytime you would use store bought sauce, use this homemade BBQ Sauce recipe instead! Here are some of our favorite ways:
- Mix it in: Perfect mixed with Pulled Pork. Or use it as part of the filling for Pork Taquitos, Deviled Eggs, BBQ Burgers, and even Hummus!
- As a glaze: Spread it on grilled Hawaiian chicken, ribs, meatloaf, salmon fillets, shrimp, and slow cooker meatballs.
- For dipping: Delicious as a condiment for dipping chicken tenders, sweet potato fries, and pineapple-chicken quesadillas.
Homemade BBQ Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups ketchup (preferably without high-fructose corn syrup)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- A few dashes hot sauce , or more to taste
- Whisk all ingredients together in a medium saucepan.
- Bring to a bubble over medium heat, then reduce heat to low.
- Continue to simmer for about 10-12 minutes or until thickened.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool. (The sauce will thicken slightly as it cools.)
- Use the sauce immediately, or store for later.
- NOTE: Refer to the full article for variations and substitutions.