This Homemade BBQ Sauce is a quick and easy sauce that will take your grill game to the next level! It's sweet, smoky, and slightly spicy.
It's thick and perfect for brushing on ribs, brisket, grilled chicken, or Instant Pot chicken wings.
Why This Recipe is the Best
Besides the long and warm evenings and long pool hours, ice cream for days, fresh berries filling our hands, biting into juicy peaches, grilling, and barbecuing is one of those things we always miss about summer. The smokey fragrance of meat sizzling on the hot grill is a sign of a feast. All you need is a chilled drink, a good side dish, and an even better barbecue sauce.
This homemade BBQ sauce is very easy to make and requires ingredients that most likely are already in your pantry. Make a big jar of this sauce and enjoy it all season long! Serve on grilled chicken, pork, ribs, chicken wings, and shrimp!
- ketchup and tomato sauce - This combo gives the sauce the signature tomato-heavy flavor that you will find in the Kansas City-style BBQ sauce.
- brown sugar - It adds a sweet flavor to the sauce. I prefer it to the white sugar.
- molasses - Adds rich and sweet flavor to the sauce. Do not skip this ingredient.
- apple cider vinegar - Add tang to the sauce, but also allows to tenderize meat.
- paprika and garlic powder - This simple spice combo adds flavor to the sauce. Play with the amounts to get the preferred result.
- Worcestershire sauce - The secret ingredient that adds salty, umami flavor to the sauce.
How to make homemade BBQ sauce?
- Place all ingredients in a saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes, until thick.
- Cool completely, then transfer to a glass jar. Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
What makes it the best?
Good barbecue sauce starts with a tomato base made with ketchup and tomato sauce. I love the flavor and color the molasses adds to the sauce and helps make it thick quite fast. The brown sugar is a must for a sweet BBQ sauce fan, Kansas City style, like us. You need to add brown sugar and molasses for the characteristic deep, sweet flavor and apple cider vinegar to balance it out. Spice it up with paprika, garlic powder, and any pepper you like. I don't want just ketchup with spices. I want a thick, sweet, and smokey sauce with just the right amount of heat. For that, you can choose between black pepper, cayenne pepper, or even chipotle pepper (minced), or just adobo sauce.
How to use it?
This delicious BBQ sauce can be used on grilled chicken, chicken wings, ribs, brisket, etc. You can apply it at the end of grilling and let it caramelize on the meat or brush it on the cooked meat. You can use it in casseroles by brushing over chicken and cooking it all together. It is also a great dipping sauce for grilled vegetables or grilled meat sandwiches, like my Instant Pot Pulled Pork.
Recipes that use BBQ sauce:
If you like this recipe and make it, let me know in the comments below! Don't forget to rate it if you enjoyed it!
Homemade BBQ Sauce
- 1 ½ cup ketchup
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 5 Tablespoons packed brown sugar light or dark
- 3 Tablespoons molasses I use Grandma's molasses brand
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon black pepper or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or ½ teaspoon chipotle pepper minced or adobo sauce
- Place all ingredients in a small pot and whisk together.
- Bring to a boil over a medium heat.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Store in jar with lid (I use Mason jar) in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Can this be water bath canned?
Hi Gail! I have no experience with canning so I can't say. Hopefully someone will answer if they tried canning it. So sorry!
Could someone please tell me what tomato sauce is U.S? In Australia we call ketchup tomato sauce.
Hi Kim! Tomato sauce is pretty much cooked down and pureed tomatoes with a touch of salt. Do you have tomato puree? Hope this helps! - Anna
Homemade bbq sauce rocks the other ones off the shelf!!! I love that it is made with things I already have in my kitchen!!!
Holly N says
Sounds delicious and easy! I love that I already have everything on hand to make this!
There is always that little extra something when it's homemade. Recipe looks great! It's ingredients that I normally already have in my kitchen 🙂
Holy heck is that one gorgeous BBQ sauce Anna! I could eat it with a spoon!
I love making my own BBQ sauce too! It's so easy and you can make it any way you want without some of the not so great stuff that is in the store bought variety. Yours looks great and I love the idea of adding a chipotle to it!
LOVE making homemade BBQ sauce! It is so fun and you can get really creative! Yours sounds delicious!
yes yes and yes... homemade bbq sauce is the best!
Homemade is always the best!