This easy homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe is tantalizingly tangy with delicious hints of both smokey and sweet flavors. It’s wonderful on chicken, beef, and pork and also delicious as a dip or marinade. It’s the perfect addition to all your go-to summer staples!
BBQ Sauce – A Summer Staple
Backyard barbecues are nothing without a classic BBQ sauce! A good BBQ sauce is as versatile as it is flavorful. Use it for a marinade, for basting, seasoning, or as a condiment for your favorite mouthwatering meats.
Homemade barbecue sauce is a standard for ribs, pork, chicken, and burgers of any kind! Whether you like tangy, sweet, or smokey, this sauce has it all. Trust me, you’ll never go for the store bought artificially flavored stuff again!
BBQ Sauce: Regional Varieties
When it comes to BBQ sauce, there can be quite a debate. It seems like every state has their specialty, and just about everyone has varying opinions on what that perfect sauce should taste like.
Some prefer a heavy vinegar base, while some prefer mustard in their sauce. Some like sweet, some like spicy. I’m here to add to that long list of people who tell you their sauce is really the best – and I think I can’t be beat! With a flavor palette to appeal to the masses, you can’t lose with this easy, Homemade BBQ Sauce.
Best BBQ Sauce Recipe
We are big fans of barbecue sauce in all it’s many forms. The one I’m sharing with you today is super versatile and basic while still having amazing depth of flavor. It really is the best bbq sauce!
If you want to try some of our other flavors of barbecue sauce you should try the Root Beer BBQ Sauce I used for these Pulled Chicken Sandwiches or the Beef Brisket with Dr Pepper Barbecue Sauce – so good!
BBQ Sauce Recipe Ingredients
You can whip up this from scratch sauce with ingredients already in your pantry, so you’re ready for whatever summer throws at you! You can find the full printable recipe in the recipe card at the end of this post but let’s take a quick look at what you’ll need to make this recipe:
- tomato sauce – Some recipes call for ketchup, but I like to add my own sweetener and flavor to this bbq sauce recipe so I start with tomato sauce for my base flavor.
- apple cider vinegar – This is what gives this sauce it’s twist of tangy flavor without being too overwhelming.
- honey – You can also use maple syrup but I love the additional sweetness and complexity of flavor the honey adds to the sauce.
- brown sugar – This will help sweeten the sauce to perfection! You can use either light or dark brown sugar in this easy recipe.
- molasses – molasses has a distinct flavor that goes so well in barbecue sauce. You can omit it if you prefer but I definitely like it more with it.
- Worcestershire sauce – Did you know there’s a vegan version that can be substituted if you or your guests would like a vegan friendly option? And the taste is just as good!
- smoked paprika – Smoked paprika will give your sauce that wonderfully smokey flavor that really makes a BBQ sauce what it is.
- garlic powder – If you’re a fan of garlic like me, I always add a touch more than called for.
- onion powder – This will really enhance that savory, yet delightfully sweet flavor.
- ground pepper and salt – balance the flavor in this homemade barbecue sauce.
- optional ingredients – cayenne, for a touch of heat, liquid smoky, for a more smoky flavor, tomato paste for a deeper tomato flavor and thicker barbecue sauce.
How To Make BBQ Sauce
This sauce is a sure thing in under 25 minutes! Make a big batch to enjoy at your next backyard barbecue. You can find the full printable recipe at the end of this post. Let’s see how easy this homemade BBQ sauce is to make:
- Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and whisk to combine.
- Simmer the sauce until the sauce is nice and thick.
- Serve or use immediately, or cool, transfer to a jar and refrigerate.
Homemade BBQ Sauce FAQS
Store your new favorite condiment in an airtight container or a mason jar in the fridge for up to a week.
You sure can! If you find you’d like a little more sweet or maybe a touch more tang to your sauce you can always adjust the measurements to add more of your preference after the fact. Pro tip though, some flavor profiles change from hot to cold. So if you do want to adjust any seasonings, wait until the sauce has had a chance to cool down before tasting.
Absolutely! This recipe is so easy it practically begs to be a double (or triple) batch, perfect for any summer soiree. Just be sure to adjust the cook time if necessary to accommodate the extra volume in ingredients.
Variations to try
- For a spicier sauce, add a dash of hot paprika or sriracha!
- If you’re all about that smokey flavor, add a bit of liquid smoke to really amp it up.
- A swirl of additional honey will add some natural sugar and sweetness if you like an even sweeter sauce.
How To Enjoy BBQ Sauce
Wondering how you should enjoy this simple recipe? Here are a few of our faves:
- we love using homemade sauce in this Monterey Chicken recipe
- as a base for all our pizza creations using our favorite bread maker pizza dough
- as a tasty dip for chicken nuggets and grilled potatoes
- served alongside our favorite grilled chicken made with this tasty chicken marinade
Homemade Condiments You’ll Love
Can’t get enough of homemade sauces and dips? Impress your guests with one of these made from scratch specialties!
- Garlic Aioli
- Honey Mustard Recipe
- Homemade Hummus Recipe
- Avocado Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
- Queso Blanco
- Pico de Gallo
How To Make Barbecue Sauce
Homemade BBQ Sauce
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons molasses optional
- ¼ cup brown sugar up to 1/3 cup for a sweeter BBQ sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke optional
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste optional, for a thicker, stronger tomato flavor bbq sauce
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the tomato sauce, apple cider vinegar, honey, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, garlic and onion powder, ground pepper, and salt. Whisk until combined.
- Simmer barbecue sauce, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened to your liking. Cook it for a bit longer if you prefer a thicker sauce. Test for seasoning keeping in mind that flavors will deepen as the sauce has a chance to cool.
- Store barbecue sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.