BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (2024)

25 minutes

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4.93 from 91 votes

by Lisa Longley

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posted: 08/06/23

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Jump to Recipe

by Lisa Longley

|

posted: 08/06/23

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Jump to Recipe

This BBQ Sauce Recipe is easy to throw together and absolutely delicious! Fast to make and with ingredients you already have on hand, you are going to make this homemade bbq sauce all the time.

Pair this BBQ sauce recipe with my Chicken Rub for the perfect grilled bbq chicken.

BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (2)
PIN THIS RECIPE FOR LATER!

Since first sharing my BBQ Sauce recipe with you in 2019, it has gotten rave reviews. Just like me, my readers find this sauce not only incredibly easy to make, but absolutely delicious.

In the last four years, I’ve added this sauce to so many different recipes (check out the list of recipes below), and without fail, it always becomes the star of the show. Just like so many others, one you make this homemade BBQ sauce, you will never look back.

READER REVIEW

This is the only BBQ sauce you will ever need, better than store bought and so easy to do!

How to Make BBQ Sauce

This is a brief overview of how to make this delicious recipe. For the full recipe with all of the ingredients find the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  1. Combine the ingredients. In a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients.
  2. Bring the sauce to a boil. After being over medium heat for a few minutes, large bubbles will start to appear.
  3. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Once the sauce starts to boil, turn down the heat to a simmer. You should see occasional and intermittent bubbles.
  4. Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes. This allows the sauce to thicken and the flavors to develop.
BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (3)

BBQ Sauce Ingredients

  • Brown Sugar: Not only does this add some sweetness to your sauce, a must in BBQ Sauce in my personal opinion, the sweetness also balances the acidity of the other ingredients.
  • Ketchup: Made with tomatoes, vinegar, and sugar, this also brings some acidity and great flavor to the sauce.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: This brings the great tang that I bet you didn’t even know you love in BBQ Sauce. Read more about this below.
  • Paprika: I generally keep regular paprika on hand and not smoked, so that is what I use here. That being said, smoked paprika would be fantastic in this.
  • Onion Powder: This is a great way of getting good onion flavor in the BBQ sauce without chunks of onion.
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Kosher Salt & Black Pepper
BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (4)

Using Homemade BBQ Sauce

While BBQ Sauce is typically meant to go on meat after it has been throughly cooked, like in my Grilled Chicken Legs, I do use it as part of the cooking liquid often. Let me tell you, it makes for some pretty amazing recipes.

  • Crockpot Ribs
  • BBQ Chicken Nachos
  • Meatloaf
  • Crockpot Little Smokies
  • BBQ Pork Chops
  • BBQ Pulled Pork
  • Crock Pot Chicken Drumsticks
  • Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

Crock Pot Ribs

Crock Pot Ribs come together with our five star BBQ Sauce and the best Pork Rub for a tender fall of the bone recipe you will absolutely love.

view recipe

BBQ Sauce as a Marinade

I’m all about breaking rules. Especially when it comes to cooking. It should be a fun creative process that makes you really happy. So while you don’t typically use BBQ Sauce as a marinade, and you add it at the end as mentioned above, if you want to use this as a marinade, go for it!

Remember that with marinades we want to marinate meat for at least 30 minutes but not more than 24 hours as a general rule. There are lots of cuts of beef that require at least 6 hours of marinating time – like flank steak for example. The point of a marinate is to penetrate the outer layer of the meat, tenderize the meat, and give it flavor. Marinating for more than 24 hours will break down the meat in a way that will make it unappetizing.

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Vinegar Based BBQ Sauce

As mentioned above, the tang in this recipe comes from apple cider vinegar. In fact, in the 2 1/2 cups that this recipe makes, 1/2 a cup is vinegar.

That’s a lot of tang, and I love the flavor of it. I think it balances the the sweetness and the smokiness of the other flavors perfectly. That said, if you are worried it will be too acidic, I would start with 1/4 cup, taste it and add more vinegar until you get to taste you want or 1/2 cup, whichever comes first.

Storing BBQ Sauce

The vinegar and sugar in this recipe both act as natural preservatives, so this easy homemade bbq sauce recipe should keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Things to keep in mind:

  • It should be stored in an air tight container.
  • Keep it in the refrigerator.
  • If the sauce looks as though it has separated, it should be tossed.
  • Obviously, if there are signs of mold it should be discarded.
  • When using this homemade bbq sauce avoid brushing cooked meat, and then dipping the brush back in the container, introducing bacteria to the sauce. Rather, pour some from the jar into a bowl and brush from there.

FAQ

Is BBQ sauce gluten free?

While this recipe is naturally gluten free, you need to ensure that the Worcestershire sauce (as well as the other ingredients you are using) you are using is gluten free. There are some brands on the market that do contain barley malt vinegar, which would make this recipe not gluten free.

Does BBQ sauce go bad?

Yes, it can go bad. See my tips above to ensure that your sauce recipe is still good.

Can I can this recipe?

I don’t have enough experience with canning to advise you on this and I suggest that you use this website as a guide.

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Other Great Homemade Recipes

  • Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Pizza Sauce

If you try this recipe, come back and let me know what you think! I love hearing from you!

BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (8)

4.93 from 91 votes

BBQ Sauce Recipe

Serves: 10 servings

(tap # to scale)

Prep: 10 minutes minutes

Cook: 15 minutes minutes

Total: 25 minutes minutes

This BBQ Sauce Recipe is easy to throw together and absolutely delicious! Fast to make and with ingredients you already have on hand, you are going to make this homemade bbq sauce all the time.

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar (319.5 grams) packed
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup (352.5 grams)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (119.29 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

Instructions

  • Combine all the ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium heat.

  • Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serving: 0.25cup Calories: 167kcal (8%) Carbohydrates: 43g (14%) Protein: 1g (2%) Sodium: 577mg (25%) Potassium: 177mg (5%) Sugar: 40g (44%) Vitamin A: 700IU (14%) Vitamin C: 1.7mg (2%) Calcium: 340mg (34%) Iron: 0.4mg (2%)

Author: Lisa Longley

Course: Condiment

Cuisine: American

BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (9)

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BBQ Sauce Recipe

I’d love to see what you made! Tag me @lisasimplejoy and hashtag it #simplejoyrecipes!

you may also like…

  • Buffalo Sauce
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BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (14)

BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (15)

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions

    LEAVE A COMMENT

  1. Pam says

    BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (17)
    Fantastic flavor and super easy to make.

    Reply

    • BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (18)Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad that you liked it, Pam!

      Reply

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BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (2024)

FAQs

What are the basics of BBQ sauce? ›

Combine brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, water, and Worcestershire sauce in a blender. Season with mustard, paprika, salt, pepper, and hot pepper sauce. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

What is the first ingredient in BBQ sauce? ›

The base ingredients of barbecue sauce usually include tomato sauce or ketchup, vinegar, and sweeteners, such as molasses or brown sugar. Other common ingredients include Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, onion powder, and various spices, which can include paprika, cumin, and chili powder.

How do I make plain BBQ sauce better? ›

To make it less tart or spicy

Try adding some molasses for a rich flavor, honey for a subtle sweetness, or brown sugar for a simple sweet taste. You may need to add some spices like garlic or cumin to help it blend properly.

What can I use if I don't have BBQ sauce? ›

But if you are looking for some alternative sauces with that sweet tinge to prepare baby ribs for your weekend get-together, here are some options.
  • Hoisin Sauce. ...
  • Plum Sauce. ...
  • Mustard Sauce. ...
  • Teriyaki Sauce. ...
  • Fruit-Based Sauces.

What is homemade BBQ sauce made of? ›

In a medium saucepan, stir together all of the ingredients: tomato sauce, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, molasses, Worcestershire, smoked paprika, dry mustard, garlic, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.

What is traditional BBQ sauce made of? ›

Ingredients vary, but most include vinegar or tomato paste (or a combination) as a base, as well as liquid smoke, onion powder, spices such as mustard and black pepper, and sweeteners such as sugar or molasses.

What are the most common ingredients in BBQ sauce? ›

Ingredients by Average Weight in Bbq Sauce

This would be: 33% ketchup, 14% honey, 13% brown sugar, 9% onion, 9% vegetable oil, 7% tomatoes, 5% garlic, 5% molasses and 4% worcestershire sauce.

What makes BBQ sauce taste better? ›

To me, a good BBQ sauce has the right mix of smokiness, tanginess, sweetness, and spice. If your sauce isn't sweet enough, add some brown sugar or molasses. If the sauce isn't tangy enough, add some apple cider vinegar. If the sauce needs some heat, add your favorite hot sauce or red pepper.

How does Gordon Ramsay make BBQ sauce? ›

For the BBQ sauce:
  1. 350g ketchup.
  2. 1 medium white onion diced.
  3. 70ml water.
  4. 80g soft brown sugar.
  5. 50g smoked paprika.
  6. 80g cider vinegar.
  7. 30g strong coffee (espresso is preferable)
  8. Splash of olive oil.

Is it worth making your own BBQ sauce? ›

The problem is that most store-bought barbecue sauces just aren't that stellar. They're off-the-scales sweet, packed with fake "smoke" flavor, or weirdly viscous like butterscotch. If you want to really elevate your barbecue, you're going to have to make your own sauce.

What thickens BBQ sauce? ›

You can use either flour or cornstarch to thicken BBQ sauce. Just mix together 2 tbsp (16 g) of flour and ¼ cup (62.5 mL) of water, or combine 1 tbsp (9 g) of cornstarch with 1 tbsp (15 mL) of water. Continue mixing the thickener until there are no lumps of flour or cornstarch.

How do you make cheap BBQ sauce taste better? ›

To me, a good BBQ sauce has the right mix of smokiness, tanginess, sweetness, and spice. If your sauce isn't sweet enough, add some brown sugar or molasses. If the sauce isn't tangy enough, add some apple cider vinegar. If the sauce needs some heat, add your favorite hot sauce or red pepper.

What are the two main types of BBQ sauce? ›

Generally, barbecue sauces is categorized into four varieties: tomato-based sauces, vinegar-based sauces, mustard-based sauces, and mayonnaise-based sauces. Each category can have a range of BBQ sauce styles, ranging from sweet and tangy to hot and spicy.

What makes BBQ sauce taste like BBQ sauce? ›

You can get an outstanding two- or three-ingredient BBQ sauce with a vinegar base. Most of these rely on apple cider vinegar and crushed red peppers for the main flavor, plus salt because salt makes pretty much any food taste amazing.

How do you make BBQ taste without BBQ? ›

Use Smoky Spices/Seasonings

Bacon salt and smoked salts can also flavor things up. Add these spices to your food directly or to a rub, sauce, or marinade. Until warmer, brighter days appear, may you find enough indoor grilled flavor to get you through.

What are the 4 sauces with BBQ? ›

What are the 4 Main Types of BBQ Sauce? Generally, barbecue sauces is categorized into four varieties: tomato-based sauces, vinegar-based sauces, mustard-based sauces, and mayonnaise-based sauces. Each category can have a range of BBQ sauce styles, ranging from sweet and tangy to hot and spicy.

What gives BBQ sauce its Flavour? ›

The ingredients vary depending on where you are world, but most barbecue sauces include vinegar or tomato paste as a base, liquid smoke flavouring, onion, spices such as mustard and black pepper, and sweeteners such as sugar, honey or molasses.

What is the main Flavour in BBQ sauce? ›

Tomato base: Most BBQ sauces include a tomato base, which can be in the form of ketchup, tomato sauce, or tomato paste. The tomato base provides the sauce with a rich, tangy flavor. Sweeteners: BBQ sauces commonly contain sweeteners to balance the acidity of the tomatoes and add a touch of sweetness.

What makes good BBQ sauce? ›

It's all relative, but most pitmasters agree that balance is key to a great barbecue sauce. Most sauces are made with a tomato base, vinegar, some sweetener like honey or molasses and an element of heat. From there, sauces are fine-tuned with spices and flavors, such as mustard, garlic, fruit and smoke.

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