Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe (VIDEO)
This sweet-and-savory Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe tastes so much better than store-bought, and it’s cheaper too. Best of all, you can make it with better ingredients and fewer preservatives. Watch the video tutorial and see how easy it is.
If you love homemade sauce recipes like Classic Pesto, and Tartar Sauce, this BBQ Sauce will be a new favorite.
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We’re always looking for ways to save money by making our own sauces and condiments, and when those money-saving recipes also end up tasting better than the original, it’s definitely a win. There’s just something so satisfying about making your own kitchen staples like BBQ sauce, hummus, and marinara.
Homemade BBQ Sauce Video
Watch Natasha make homemade barbecue sauce, then grab the ingredients below and give it a try.
Easy Barbecue Sauce Recipe
This homemade BBQ sauce is the best I’ve ever had, and I’d put it up against any store-bought BBQ sauce—it’s just that good. It’s perfectly seasoned, sweet without being too sweet, and it can be easily customized to your liking. Here’s why you will love this recipe:
- Easy – Once you mix all the ingredients in a saucepan, this recipe is pretty hands-off. Just let it simmer until it’s nice and thick, stirring occasionally.
- Delicious – It’s literally the best BBQ sauce, with the perfect balance of flavors.
- Healthier – Okay, barbecue sauce isn’t exactly a health food, but when you make it from scratch, you can skip the preservatives, corn syrup, and artificial flavors.
- Versatile – Whether you use it as a sauce for Instant Pot Ribs, a topping for a burger, or a marinade for grilled chicken, you’ll have plenty of ways to use this sauce.
We love making sauces and condiments from scratch, from Easy Hollandaise Sauce to Tzatziki Sauce. If you do too, then you’ll want to save this homemade BBQ sauce recipe.
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Tomato ketchup – Use any brand you like.
- Apple cider vinegar – Apple cider vinegar is the classic choice for homemade barbecue sauce, but white vinegar will work in a pinch.
- Worcestershire sauce – This adds irresistible umami flavor to balance out the sweet, savory, and acidic flavors in the recipe. It’s a must.
- Light brown sugar – Dark brown sugar has a more pronounced molasses flavor than light; you can use it in this recipe, but the flavor of the finished sauce will be different.
- Yellow mustard – The kind you put on hot dogs is just fine here.
- Paprika – Sweet or smoked paprika will work in this recipe.
- Onion powder – Onion powder is a fantastic way to add lots of savory flavor to a recipe without loading it with actual pieces of onion.
- Ground black pepper – Grind this fresh, if you can.
- Garlic cloves – We use 4 garlic cloves here to make the BBQ sauce extra delicious.
- Water – You could use chicken stock if you happen to have some on hand.
How to Make Homemade BBQ Sauce
When I say this recipe is easy, I really mean it. There are only two steps involved:
- Simmer – Place all of the ingredients in a large saucepan. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Continue to simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sauce has thickened.
- Season – Taste the sauce and season to taste. You can add more sugar, spices, or salt at this point. Remove from heat and use the sauce right away or store it.
Pro Tip: Right off the heat, the sauce will taste a little spicy and it will smell vinegary. Once you refrigerate it, the flavors will meld and mellow.
Barbecue sauce is one of those kitchen staples that can be used in a number of ways, including marinating meat, dipping, topping, and basting. It typically has a tomato base and a flavor that’s sweet and a little bit spicy.
This is a mild sauce. It has a hint of spice when tasted right off the stove but mellows out even further when applied to grilled meats.
You can use an equal amount of dijon mustard or substitute it with 1 tablespoon of mustard powder.
I recommend an everyday kind of ketchup. There’s no need to spend extra money on gourmet ketchup when you’re using it to make barbecue sauce since you’ll be adding so many of your own seasonings.
Yes, you can double the recipe. Keep in mind that it will need to simmer longer in order to thicken.
Add cayenne pepper to taste if you want to make a spicy barbecue sauce.
Serve BBQ Sauce with
My family loves this homemade barbecue sauce in and with:
- Grilled Steak
- Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken
- Pulled Pork
- Grilled Chicken Breast
- Barbecued Chicken Thighs
- Instant Pot Ribs
You don’t need a fancy bottle for your BBQ sauce; a glass Mason jar is perfect (or empty jam jars, which is what I used), or you can even store it in an airtight plastic container.
- To Refrigerate: Store homemade BBQ sauce in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Freezing: Transfer the sauce to a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag; press out the excess air and freeze for up to 3 months.
- To Thaw: Frozen barbecue sauce can be thawed in the refrigerator overnight before using, or if you’re in a time crunch, you can place the sealed freezer bag in a bowl of warm water to thaw it faster.
Once you try this homemade BBQ sauce recipe, you’ll never buy store-bought again.
More Homemade Condiments and Sauces
If you love this Homemade BBQ Sauce, then you won’t want to miss these sauce recipes.
- Chimichurri Sauce
- Horseradish Sauce
- Pizza Sauce
- Easy Cherry Sauce Recipe
- White Pizza Sauce (Quick & Easy)
Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe
Homemade barbecue sauce is cheaper and tastier than store-bought BBQ sauce and you can use better ingredients with less preservatives. (Yields 2 1/4 cups)
- 1 1/2 cups tomato ketchup
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp yellow mustard
- 1 Tbsp paprika or to taste
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup water
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until sauce is thickened.
Add more sugar or seasonings to taste if desired, then remove from heat. Cool completely to room temperature then cover and store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.*
*Right off the heat, you will still be able to smell some vinegar and it will taste a little spicy but the sauce will mellow out in flavor as it melds in the refrigerator.
Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review
Question: can this bbq sauce be canned for longer shelf life?
Hi Brenda, you can make this recipe ahead and put it in a mason jar, but not sure about canning it. You may check the Make-Ahead portion in the recipe for more info and tips.
I may never buy barbecue sauce ever again. I love your recipes. I will use this barbecue sauce recipe with your Instant Pot ribs recipe.
That’s wonderful, Jeffrey! So glad you loved the recipe. Thanks for the feedback. 🙂
All of those ingredients last a long time either on shelf or in fridge. Why is the combined shelf life just 2 weeks in fridge?
Hi Keith, I’ve had it last for longer personally but I based my recommendations on thorough online research. I couldn’t find a reasonable explanation but 2 weeks is definitely a safe range. If you do keep it for longer, another way to gauge is to watch for any signs of spoilage and discard if you notice anything off.
Very tasty! Looks like my “go to” BBQ sauce from now on. One suggestion: specify prepared or dry mustard in the recipe itself. I used dry which gave more heat than was expected.
That’s great, Rick! So glad you found a go-to! 🙂
If I was to make several jars, could I freeze them for future use?
Hi Carol! Yes, you sure can. See my notes in the “make ahead” section above for instructions. 🙂
I had to make this BBQ sauce. I was in a pinch. Fresh out of other options. Holy Heck…. What a great surprise. Excellent!
That’s wonderful, Lesley! So glad you found this recipe. Thank you for the feedback.
I don’t think I’ve ever left a review but I made this (with some minor changes) for pork ribs that I fed to a group of women last night. I used a Spanish hot smoky paprika and dry mustard I had ground from seeds that were in my pantry. For personal taste, I cut the sugar to a little less than a third so just shy of 1/4 cup. I’m a home chef and recipe developer and make nearly everything from scratch (including ketchup). Guests in my home have come to expect the very best in terms of flavour and they were NOT disappointed! I actually use BBQ sauce very infrequently as I tend to cook more ‘ethnic’ meals than typical North American ones. I will be trying more of your sauces and perhaps other recipes in the future based on just how delicious this one was! Thank you so much from Calgary, AB, Canada
Hi Carrie! You’re so very welcome. I’m glad you loved this recipe and hope you will find many more to enjoy.
This BBQ sauce was amazing!!!! Put in slow cooker with pork roast and made pulled pork. Best ever!!! Thank you Natasha. Highly recommend to give this a try everyone. I will just add, next time I make I will cut the sugar in half, for me it was a little sweet…but otherwise so delicious 😋
I’m happy to know that you loved this sauce recipe, Debbie!
I read through the comments before I tried this and used half the amount of vinegar thinking I could add more toward the end. It was perfect with half.
Glad to hear that you like the result, Bob!
You are so energetic! I love your site! My go to for cooking and baking.
Thank you, Patti! So glad you love my recipes.
Hi! 👋 I’ve made this receipe several times now and it’s really good! The only thing is the vinegar is STRONG! I use about 1/2 of what’s called for…
Thanks for the great sauce
Thank you for sharing your experience, JoEllen! 🙂
This is the best bbq sauce recipe I’ve ever had. It beats all bottled sauces. My whole family loves it. The only chance I made was to use real onion instead of powder. Thanks for sharing this recipe
Hi Wendy! Thank you for sharing that with us. So glad your family loves this recipe. 🙂
This is literally the best BBQ sauce I’ve ever had! I might had some orange zest to it to give it a little zest
Love the awesome feedback, thank you so much!
I love this recipe. Much better then store brands. I have made this many times.Thank
You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Janet!
All we could taste was the Apple cider vinegar… might try it again with significantly less ACV, or we might omit all together.
This sauce was excellent!
A thought in the sauce department: have you heard of fry sauce? My husband is a Utah boy and would love to have a recipe for some since we’re no longer living in that area.
Glad you liked it! I have not tried that yet but thanks for the suggestion.
Fry sauce is basically equal parts Mayo and ketchup. Some add a pinch of paprika as well
Sorry but I just didnot like this. Followed the recipe exactly and all I could taste was the sharpness of the cider vinegar. Just not for me
Kinipele: I allways put half the vinegar and salt in all my recipes, I can allways add , but cant take out.
Hi Natasha, Greetings from Australia 👋
This BBQ sauce is amazing! So easy and very delicious with the perfect amount of spice. Whole family loved it.
Great to hear that your family enjoyed this recipe!
Hi Natasha – I’ve been following your recipes for a some while now and haven’t had a bad one! The family love them, too. Haven’t made the BBQ sauce yet, but hope to in the next few weeks – Bronia, Kent UK
Hi Bronia! I’m so glad you’re enjoying my recipes! This homemade BBQ sauce is a game changer! I hope you love it!
Thanks for providing this recipe. I was looking for a base as a guide to create some barbecue sauce for some baby back pork ribs and was limited on ingredients.
I used the following: organic
ketchup, maple syrup, garlic powder, turmeric, red hot chili pepper flakes, curry powder, apple cider vinegar, and worchester sauce. I like how the sauce came out. Thanks again for sharing. Have a Great Day!
Thanks for sharing, I’m glad you liked the result!
This looks delicious. Could this recipe be preserved/canned? What would the recommendations be?
No, I have not tested canning this recipe.
I think you can preserve anything as long as you follow proper canning procedures.
Hi Megan, you can make this recipe ahead and put it in a mason jar, but not sure about canning it. You may check the Make-Ahead portion in the recipe for more info and tips.
Loved,loved,loved this BBQ sauce. I put it on my chicken legs and Turkey garlic sausages on the BBQ. Excellant! Also I put the left over sauce on my mash potatoe/sweet potatoes.
Awesome! I’m so glad you loved this recipe, Debbie.
This was easy and perfectly balanced. I added a few red pepper flakes but kept everything as printed. Big hit on my July 4 baby back ribs (slathered and extra sauce for dipping)
Lovely to hear that! Thanks so much for sharing your experience trying out this recipe.
I am making this today. If it is as good as the reviews say I may try to can it so I always have it on hand.
I hope you love it DeAnn!
Even using substitutions, this turned out great! I used an equal amount of soy sauce instead of Worcestershire, and dijon instead of yellow mustard. It made my over-baked chicken thighs taste good tonight for dinner lol.
Hi Rebecca, thank you for the good review. I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe!
This is a great recipe that you can adjust to your taste – sweeter or hotter.
Everyone REALLY liked this one!
I’m so glad it was a hit, Aaron!
I made this bbq sauce yesterday and it is absolutely delicious. I’ve been using the same recipe for over thirty years…not anymore. I just found my new go to favorite. Thanks so much for sharing this simple but wonderful recipe.
Hi Virginia, that really makes me feel so happy! Thank you for sharing, I’m glad you found your new go-to recipe!
I made this BBQ sauce today to use on baby back ribs tomorrow and it is SO GOOD!! I followed the recipe exactly and it came out perfectly. No more bottled stuff for me! Thank you!
Yay! That’s great, Laura! Thank you for the wonderful review.
How would it turn out if I omitted the mustard as I’m very allergic.
Hi Maryanne. I have not tested this without mustard but I think it would be ok to leave it out.
Made this today. So good. I will never have to buy BBQ sauce agian.
Happy to know that you love it!
LOVE this homemade sauce!! So good, I definitely won’t be needing to get store bought anymore!
Yay, love that because homemade is always better in my opinion!
Without all the preservatives, how long does this last in the fridge? It looks yummy.
Hi Becky, please see the “Make-Ahead” section of the recipe. I provide two different methods of storage that will allow it to keep for two weeks or three months. I hope that helps.
Sounds like a good recipe but I think I’ll omit the brown sugar. The ketchup should bring enough sweetness to the party.
Hi Alex, let us know how it goes if you decide to try that. Hope you’ll like it!
Enjoy your recipes so much. ❤️I also enjoy watching you cook. And what a beautiful family
Thank you for your wonderful compliment, Peggy! I hope you try more of our recipes soon!
How can you make Barbecues sauce sugar free. I would love to make mine on sauce to use. Is there another sweetener I can use instead of sugar?
Hi Clarence, I havne’t tried it myself, but you will need to find a sugar-free ketchup & a brown sugar replacement.
Brown swerve is a great brown sugar replacement and there’s a few different brands that carry a sugar free ketchup now
Use a ketchup without high fructose corn syrup, and use monkfruit in place of the brown sugar.
YUM!! This turned out DELISH! We made it to put on bratwursts and everyone loved it. Thank you!
So happy to hear it was enjoyed! Thank you for the review, Jessica.
Who doesn’t love a great BBQ sauce! This recipe is a Winner! Winner! Winner! Love it! My only recommendation is a ketchup (or catsup 😄) without high fructose corn syrup. I will make this and slather it all over my BBQ pork ribs! Mmmmm! I can taste it now! 😋 Thanks Natasha!
Thank you for the wonderful review, Steven!
This BBQ sauce is the BEST! And so easy to make! Never buying bottled sauce again.
So glad you enjoyed it!