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This Homemade BBQ Sauce recipe has the most amazing flavor combination and only takes minutes to make! It’s sweet and tangy and has the perfect amount of smokiness that makes this BBQ sauce a family favorite! 

BBQ sauce is meant for grilling, slathering, and of course for dipping! Use this homemade BBQ sauce in recipes like these ribs, this chicken, or with these tasty meatballs! Just substitute storebought for this homemade goodness!

Close view of a jar of bbq sauce with a wooden spoon and sauce drizzling down the side of the jar.

Reasons Why Homemade Sauces Are Better

  • Cost Effective: Save money and make homemade sauces at home. It’s so much cheaper than prepackaged sauces.
  • Control the Flavor: Homemade sauces like this BBQ sauce taste WAY better than storebought. Make it how you like it. Spicer or sweeter…you decide!
  • Make in Bulk: Make a big batch to last you all week or use it in recipes.

Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce

This homemade BBQ sauce recipe will become a staple in your refrigerator! It is simple to make and most of the ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Skip the BBQ bottle from the store and make this sweet, tangy, smoky BBQ sauce because everyone will fall in love!

My son and I tested this recipe in the kitchen and we have perfected it! He told me that this was the best BBQ sauce that he had ever had. It has been so fun creating recipes with him and watching him become a little foodie himself! More tasty homemade sauces to try include this teriyaki, my yum yum sauce, or donkey sauce for burgers!

Ingredients Needed

Use easy everyday staple ingredients to make this homemade BBQ sauce recipe. Double the recipe to make a big batch to use throughout out the week. Follow the recipe card below for exact measurements!

  • Ketchup: A tasty tomato base to this sauce.
  • Molasses: Adding molasses gives the sauce its thick and sticky texture.
  • Brown Sugar: This adds sweetness and also balances the tangy flavor.
  • Cider Vinegar: Gives the sauce it’s tang!
  • Worcestershire Sauce: A key ingredient because it adds depth and smokiness.
  • Smoked Paprika and Chili Powder: The perfect seasonings that add an earthy and smoky flavor to the sauce.
  • Onion Powder: You’ll love the subtle onion flavor.
  • Salt: Balances out the flavor combinations.
  • Liquid Smoke: Gives the sauce its smokiness and the secret to a good BBQ sauce recipe.
Ingredients labeled.

BBQ Sauce Recipe

Homemade BBQ sauce is super easy to make at home! It tastes so much better than store-bought and comes together in minutes.

  1. Combine: In a medium saucepan, whisk together the ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, salt, and liquid smoke.  
  2. Simmer: Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat then cover with a lid. 
  3. Thicken: Simmer and stir occasionally until the sauce thickens, about 10-15 minutes.   
  4. Serve: Enjoy right away or store it for later use. Allow it to cool, pour the sauce into an airtight container, then store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

How Can You Use BBQ Sauce?

There are SO many ways to use this homemade BBQ sauce recipe! Store it in your fridge and use it all week long in recipes or as a dipping sauce. The options are endless!

  • Chicken: Use BBQ sauce with grilled, shredded, or fried chicken. And of course, my kids love this sauce with chicken nuggets.
  • Meatballs: A great sauce to dip in meatballs at your next party.
  • Salad: This BBQ chicken salad is a must because it’s bursting with flavor!
  • Pizza: BBQ chicken pizza is my absolute favorite because this sauce is incredible with my pizza recipe.
  • Ribs: Slather this sauce on finger-licking ribs!
  • Little Smokies: This BBQ sauce is the perfect sauce for little smokies! Swap this homemade sauce for the BBQ sauce in my little smokies recipe.
Top view of bbq sauce in a saucepan with a basting brush.

Storing Leftover Sauce

Once the homemade barbecue sauce has cooled, pour it into a glass jar or sealed container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks! It does not freeze well.

Close view of a pulled chicken sandwich slathered in bbq sauce and coleslaw.

Recipes to Serve With BBQ Sauce

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Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce

5 from 2 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
This Homemade BBQ Sauce recipe has the most amazing flavor combination and only takes minutes to make! It's sweet and tangy and has the perfect amount of smokiness that makes this BBQ sauce a family favorite! 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, salt and liquid smoke.  
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and cover with a lid.
  • Simmer and stir occasionally until the sauce thickens, about 10-15 minutes.   
  • Use right away or store for later use. Allow it to cool before placing it in an airtight container and storing in the refrigerator for 1 week.

Nutrition

Calories: 887kcalCarbohydrates: 229gProtein: 3gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gSodium: 3683mgPotassium: 2685mgFiber: 2gSugar: 209gVitamin A: 2823IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 368mgIron: 9mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!

About Alyssa Rivers

Alyssa Rivers is the author of 'The Tried and True Cookbook', a professional food photographer and experienced recipe-developer. Having a passion for cooking, her tried and true recipes have been featured on Good Morning America, Today Food, Buzzfeed and more.

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Recipe Rating




16 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I got lot of compliment on this BBQ sauce for chicken breast from cook out with ladies gathering. It is a definitely a keeper for home made BBQ Sauce. I used Hickory Liquid Smoke instead of Mesquite Liquid Smoke. Also I used
    Organic COCO Aminos not soy sauce. I think the liquid Smoke is the key for good flavor BBQ Sauce.

  2. Re! Easy BBQ sauce is chili powder chili seasoning or cayenne pepper ? Some tell me it’ the powder , others it”s the pepper. I want to try the recipe this weekend.

    Thanks

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve made this a couple of times thus far. Very easy to make and is excellent for the people who do not want very much heat (almost none). Will keep this around for those folks and will be crafting a heated sauce using these ingredients but adding some heat–will probably try the Korean BBQ hot chili sauce, Gochujang–it’s hot with a lot of flavors.

  4. This looks very similar to the sauce I have been making for years now. Mine does not have the chili powder or the paprika but I add garlic powder, mustard powder, hot horseradish, and a bit of hot sauce just to kick it up a notch. All other ingredients are the same though.
    Sweet and hot, the way I like it.

  5. Will it still be good without liquid smoke or should I wait for this recipe until I have the ingredient?

  6. You said this does not freeze well. I want to use it in your brisket recipe and I will be freezing some of the cooked brisket. Will the BBQ sauce survive that type of freeze?

  7. I love this recipe! I’m tired of buying items which are so easy to make, and this recipe is wonderful. I omitted the liquid smoke, just not a fan of it.

  8. Since all the ingredients have a fairly long shelf life, I’m wondering why this only lasts 2 weeks. Is that just an optimum time period?