This homemade BBQ sauce is a blend of tomato, spices, cider vinegar and brown sugar, all simmered together to create a thick and rich condiment that’s perfect for any barbecue. Homemade barbecue sauce is SO much better than the store bought kind!

It only takes a few minutes to make your own BBQ sauce, and my version has the perfect blend of sweet and tangy. This sauce is great on pork chops, chicken dishes, wings and more!

A jar of homemade BBQ sauce with a basting brush next to it.

It’s so easy to go to the grocery store and grab a bottle of barbecue sauce. That being said, I find that so many store bought BBQ sauces are overly sweet and contain ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and preservatives. This homemade BBQ sauce tastes so much better than the store bought kind, that it’s really worth it to take the 15 minutes to make your own.

BBQ Sauce Ingredients

Bowls of ingredients including ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar and spices.

This recipe contains ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, dry mustard powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and hot sauce.

How do you make homemade BBQ sauce?

Place all of the ingredients in a medium sized pan. Stir to combine the ingredients. Let the mixture simmer over low heat for 8-10 minutes, or until sauce has thickened. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for future use.

Step by step shots showing how to make barbecue sauce.

Tips for homemade BBQ sauce

  • Be sure to use smoked paprika, not regular paprika. Smoked paprika can be found in almost every grocery store and is not expensive.
  • Store your BBQ sauce in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week. You can also freeze your sauce for later use.
  • Look for ketchup that is organic or conventional ketchup that is not sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.
  • Your BBQ sauce needs to simmer on low heat; if the heat is too high it may splatter onto your stove!
  • I use Frank’s Red Hot sauce for just a touch of spice in my sauce. If you’re heat adverse, you can easily omit it.
Homemade BBQ sauce being brushed onto chicken wings.

Recipe FAQs

How do you thicken BBQ sauce?

The easiest way to thicken BBQ sauce is to simmer it until some of the liquid has evaporated. You’ll want to stir the sauce frequently so that it doesn’t burn. Keep in mind that your sauce will also thicken as it cools.

How do you make BBQ sauce taste better?

I find that people have different taste preferences when it comes to BBQ sauce. Some prefer a sweeter sauce, others prefer smoky or spicy. You can absolutely adjust the ingredient amounts in this recipe to suit your tastes. The key component is to make sure you have a smoky element to the sauce to complement the flavors of the meat.

An overhead shot of a jar of BBQ sauce.

Homemade BBQ Sauce Variations

  • Spicy BBQ Sauce: Add up to 1 tablespoon of hot sauce or 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Maple BBQ Sauce: Substitute 1/4 cup maple syrup for the honey.
  • Extra Smoky BBQ Sauce: Double the amount of smoked paprika.
  • Coca Cola BBQ Sauce: Add 1/2 cup Coca Cola to the recipe.

Homemade barbecue sauce is delicious on any type of meat. It’s particularly good on smoked meats such as chicken and pork. It makes an amazing pulled pork sandwich and the best barbecued chicken wings you’ll ever eat.

I always keep this BBQ sauce in my freezer so that I have some on hand when the grilling mood strikes. It just can’t be beat!

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Homemade BBQ Sauce Video

4.91 from 44 votes

Homemade BBQ Sauce

AuthorSara Welch
A jar of homemade BBQ sauce with a basting brush next to it.
This homemade BBQ sauce is a blend of tomato, spices, cider vinegar and brown sugar, all simmered together to create a thick and rich condiment that’s perfect for any barbecue. Homemade barbecue sauce is SO much better than the store bought kind!
Time
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Serves 8

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce or more to taste

Instructions 

  • Place all the ingredients in a pan over medium low heat. Stir to combine.
  • Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until thickened.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Notes

  1. Look for ketchup that is organic or conventional ketchup that is not sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.
  2. Be sure to use smoked paprika, not regular paprika. Smoked paprika can be found in almost every grocery store and is not expensive.

Nutrition

Calories: 118kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Sodium: 427mg | Potassium: 245mg | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 615IU | Vitamin C: 2.9mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 0.6mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

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4.91 from 44 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made this barbeque sauce many times. Love it. Made it for pulled pork, also on chicken, burgers, and just about anything that calls for BBQ sauce.

  2. Hi, this looks like a great sauce. I plan to make it
    Can you tell me how much it makes. I was thrilled to see nutrition info. it shows 8 servings but I could not find where the serving size is shown. Thanks so much.

  3. Yum have smoke wing yet smoker just heating up. But been tasting rub and sauce yummy! Cannot wait to eat this stuff on my wings. Fully cook of coarse.

  4. 5 stars
    Delicious! Made this to go with smoked brisket. Opted to add a healthy splash of cola (had a cherry Pepsi on hand) and it was the perfect mix of tangy vinegar and sweetness.

  5. 5 stars
    This BBQ sauce is sweet and tangy, just how we like it! I agree, it is SO much better than the store-bought kind! We loved it on wings and I’ll be making another batch soon!