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.

Two jars of homemade BBQ sauce

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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.

Silicone brush dipping into jar of homemade barbecue sauce

Ingredients

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.
Overhead view of ingredients for homemade BBQ sauce

How to Make Homemade BBQ Sauce

When I say this recipe is easy, I really mean it. There are only two steps involved:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Two photos showing process of making barbecue sauce

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.

Common Questions

What is barbecue sauce?

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.

Is this a spicy BBQ sauce?

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. 

Can I substitute the mustard?

You can use an equal amount of dijon mustard or substitute it with 1 tablespoon of mustard powder.

What is the best ketchup for barbecue sauce?

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.

Can I double the recipe?

Yes, you can double the recipe. Keep in mind that it will need to simmer longer in order to thicken.

How can I make this sauce spicier?

Add cayenne pepper to taste if you want to make a spicy barbecue sauce.

Jar of homemade BBQ sauce with wooden spoon

Serve BBQ Sauce with

My family loves this homemade barbecue sauce in and with:

Brushing BBQ sauce onto chicken while it grills

Make-Ahead

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.

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

4.96 from 313 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Closeup of barbecue sauce in jar with wooden spoon
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)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 20 servings

Instructions

  • 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.*

Notes

*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.

Nutrition Per Serving

56kcal Calories14g Carbs0.3g Protein0.1g Fat0.02g Saturated Fat0.05g Polyunsaturated Fat0.05g Monounsaturated Fat228mg Sodium107mg Potassium0.3g Fiber12g Sugar269IU Vitamin A1mg Vitamin C17mg Calcium0.4mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
56
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
0.1
g
0
%
Saturated Fat
 
0.02
g
0
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
0.05
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
0.05
g
Sodium
 
228
mg
10
%
Potassium
 
107
mg
3
%
Carbohydrates
 
14
g
5
%
Fiber
 
0.3
g
1
%
Sugar
 
12
g
13
%
Protein
 
0.3
g
1
%
Vitamin A
 
269
IU
5
%
Vitamin C
 
1
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
17
mg
2
%
Iron
 
0.4
mg
2
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Condiments
Cuisine: American
Keyword: barbecue sauce, easy bbq sauce, homemade barbecue sauce
Skill Level: Easy Peasy
Calories: 56

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Eleanor
    April 19, 2024

    Another great recipe by Natasha’s kitchen. I followed this recipe to the t and it’s delicious! I cannot wait to research the rest of site for more ideas and recipes!

    Reply

  • Flora VIGIL
    April 11, 2024

    Yummmm , we’ve always used Sweet Baby Ray’s but ran out so tried this recipe! It was a big hit, thank you Natasha!!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 11, 2024

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • Pam
    April 5, 2024

    This sauce is very easy and delicious. My daughter is allergic to corn and can’t have corn syrup so we haven’t found a commercial BBQ sauce that she can have . . . now we don’t have to! Thank you!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 5, 2024

      That’s just awesome! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review, Pam! I’m so glad this is perfect for your daughter too!

      Reply

  • Reanna
    March 25, 2024

    Would I be able can this in a water bath? I am wanting to do a triple batch and can it up for gifts and use later on

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 25, 2024

      Hi Reanna! I have not tried canning this to advise.

      Reply

  • Carol
    March 24, 2024

    I just made this barbecue sauce…completely left out the brown sugar. It is perfect… the minced garlic is a game changer. Will have it tonight with our brisket. Also my partner is ordering your new cookbook tonight. ❤️

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 24, 2024

      Thank you for your good feedack, Carol. That’s wonderful to hear! I hope you will both enjoy the recipes that you will try from my cookbook.

      Reply

  • Patrick Stephens
    March 18, 2024

    Second time making this recipe, I added some molasses and habanero ketchup, just a beautiful bbq sauce

    Reply

  • Aleacia
    March 16, 2024

    This recipe turned out great for my pulled pork BBQ sandwiches!! I did add a few extra seasonings. Turned out perfect. Thanks😄

    Reply

  • Jimmy Burt
    March 15, 2024

    Can I use balsamic vinger instead of apple vinger. And can I regular molasses syrup.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 15, 2024

      Hi Jimmy! I haven’t tested those substitutions. I think it could work, but will alter the taste. Let us know if you experiment.

      Reply

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