Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

5 from 3 votes

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You can buy BBQ sauce at almost any grocery store, but have you ever tried making your own? Making your own homemade BBQ sauce can be fun and save you money — and it tastes better!

Use this homemade sauce on this BBQ Chicken Salad recipe or on BBQ Chicken Pizza or even BBQ Pork Nachos. This sauce practically goes on anything, and with anything!

Sauce Pan of homemade BBQ Sauce on a pot holder

Homemade BBQ Sauce

BBQ sauce adds sweet, smoky flavor to grilled chicken, beef or pork. Before you dive into the grocery store’s bottles, why not try your hand at making it at home? Our homemade barbecue sauce is super easy to make, gluten-free, and comes together with pantry ingredients you probably already have on hand. It is our favorite sauce for grilling, putting on sandwiches, salads, tacos, meatloaf, baked beans or using as a dipping sauce.

What is BBQ Sauce?

The most common type of barbeque sauce is generally tomato-based with ketchup, and flavored up with all kinds of spices. Barbecue sauce can be used as marinade, condiment, a dip, or to drizzle on chicken, beef, pork, or ribs. Different regions of the United States boast that their locations have the best bbq sauce and barbecue styles: Kansas City, Memphis, Carolina, and Texas are some of the most common. Each one is slightly different in its base ingredient. Similarly, barbecue sauce can also be vinegar, mustard or mayonnaise based.

Sauce Pan of homemade BBQ Sauce on a pot holder

Ingredients in Homemade BBQ Sauce

This recipe combines a little heat, a little kick and a little sweetness all in one. In short, it is the perfect barbecue sauce recipe! Here’s all you need:

  • Vegetable oil to sauté a couple of cloves of garlic
  • Ketchup – gives the sauce a tangy tomato base
  • Apple cider vinegar – the slight sweetness of this vinegar pairs beautifully with the other ingredients.
  • Brown sugar – using dark brown sugar gives a richer flavor and color to your sauce.
  • Worcestershire sauce – this magic ingredient adds so much depth to this recipe.
  • Yellow mustard – gives extra tang and flavor. You could substitute brown mustard for a more spicy bbq sauce. 
  • Soy sauce – not just for Chinese food! This gives yet another layer of deep flavor to the sauce.
  • Chili powder – adds lots of delicious spice.
  • Use Tabasco sauce to taste
  • You can also add a dash of salt or black pepper for additional flavor.

Substitutions/Additions for this BBQ Sauce Recipe

Running out of brown sugar? Can’t find the chili powder? Fresh out of fresh garlic? Here are a few suggestions to add or substitute in a pinch:

  • Whisk some molasses or honey or a drizzle of maple syrup to thicken or sweeten up your sauce a little bit.
  • For an extra kick, try stirring in a teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
  • ​Substitute garlic powder and onion powder for fresh cloves of garlic.
  • Use a sprinkle or two of paprika or liquid smoke for added color and a more smoky bbq sauce.
Plate of pulled pork with BBQ Sauce next to a sauce pan of BBQ Sauce

How Long will Homemade BBQ Sauce Last?

Homemade barbeque sauce has a shorter shelf life than the store bought sauce, but that’s okay because it’s so yummy it probably will get gobbled up quickly! However, any leftover sauce can be stored in a tightly covered mason jar or other airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Favorite Recipes Using Our Homemade BBQ Sauce

We use this BBQ Sauce in a lot of our grilling recipes. The flavor works great with any type of meat whether it be chicken, pork, or steak. But from a pork sandwich to bbq chicken pizza, use this sauce on all kinds of recipes!

  • Smoked Ribs – Baby Back Pork Ribs cooked to perfection in a smoker.
  • BBQ Chicken – perfectly grilled chicken smothered in barbecue sauce.
  • BBQ Tri Tip – tri tip roast cooked over the grill and sliced with a side of sauce.
  • Pulled Pork Nachos – tortilla chips covered with cheese, pulled pork, pico de gallo, and guacamole then drizzled with BBQ sauce.
  • Crock Pot BBQ Baked Beans – sweet, savory, hearty and delicious. 
  • BBQ Twice Baked Potatoes – giant baked potatoes topped with a sweet barbecue beef, cheese and a zesty ranch dressing.
  • BBQ Chicken Pizza – sweet barbecue chicken, lots of gooey cheese, cilantro all piled on top of a homemade pizza crust. So good!

How to Make Homemade BBQ Sauce

Sauce Pan of homemade BBQ Sauce on a pot holder

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

5 from 3 votes
This tangy homemade BBQ Sauce recipe comes together with ingredients you probably already have on hand. It is our favorite sauce for grilling.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Servings 16



  • 1 Sauce pan



  • In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
    Sauce pan with oil and garlic
  • Add the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes.
    BBQ Sauce ingredients in a sauce pan
  • Cool and and use with your favorite BBQ dishes. Refigerate any leftovers.
    BBQ sauce boiling in a sauce pan

Nutrition Information

Calories: 60kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 408mgPotassium: 130mgFiber: 1gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 159IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 19mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Emily Walker

Emily lives in Meridian, Idaho, with her husband, Beau, a physician assistant, and her three incredible children: a son and two daughters. Travel is one of her favorite ways to experience new cultures and cuisines, and she has a love for all things Disney.

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  1. barbecue is perhaps the most awaited American food that has regional flavours similar to the country itself barbecue, from the smoked brisket of Central Texas and the sticky ribs of Memphis to Kansas City’s charred ends, as well as the mustard-spiced vinegar-sauced pork from the Carolinas. There’s more in this iconic cuisine than what’s on the surface.

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe! Will surely have this again! It’s really easy to make and it tasted so delicious! Highly recommended!