Homemade BBQ Sauce

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This Kansas City-style homemade BBQ sauce recipe is super quick and easy to make, and full of the best tangy, smoky and slightly-sweet flavors that everyone is sure to love!

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

Friends, have you ever tried making homemade BBQ sauce?

If not, it’s time. ♡

And as a KC girl, I’m going to vote that you make this Kansas City-style bbq sauce recipe!  It’s super-easy to make — just stir everything together and simmer for about 15 minutes — and it’s full of that famous tangy, smoky and slightly-sweet blend of flavors that we all love in Kansas City.

We use this sauce regularly in our house to make traditional bbq chicken, pulled pork, ribs and baked beans.  But it also works great as a pizza sauce (hello, bbq chicken pizza ♡) and as a glaze (on meatballs, meatloaf, etc).  And of course, you’re welcome to get creative and add it into everything from soups to salads, tacos, burgers, casseroles and more.

So many ways to use homemade bbq sauce.  So let’s make a batch!

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe | 1-Minute Video

How To Make BBQ Sauce

Homemade BBQ Sauce Ingredients:

To make this homemade bbq sauce recipe, you will need the following ingredients (amounts included in the full recipe below):

  • Tomato sauce: One can of plain tomato sauce (just puréed tomatoes, no extra ingredients).
  • Apple cider vinegar: To add some tang to the sauce.
  • Honey: I really prefer the taste of honey as the natural sweetener in this bbq sauce.  But you could also sub in brown sugar or maple syrup.
  • Tomato paste: To intensify the rich tomato flavor in this sauce.
  • Molasses: A must in Kansas City bbq sauce!
  • Worcestershire: If making this sauce vegan, be sure to use a vegan brand of Worcestershire.
  • Liquid smoke: To give the sauce those important smoky notes.
  • Spices: A combo of smoked paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder and salt.  Plus a few optional pinches of cayenne, if you would like to give the sauce some heat.

Best BBQ Sauce Recipe

How To Make BBQ Sauce:

This bbq sauce recipe couldn’t be easier to make!  Simply…

  1. Combine ingredients.  Stir everything together in a saucepan.
  2. Simmer. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then let it continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until it has thickened slightly.
  3. Serve. Then that’s literally it — your sauce is ready to go and use in any of your favorite recipes!

Homemade BBQ Sauce | Vegetarian, Gluten-Free and Vegan

Possible Recipe Variations:

Want to customize your own BBQ sauce recipe a bit?  Feel free to:

  • Make it gluten-free: To make gluten-free BBQ sauce, just be sure to use gluten-free liquid smoke. (I recommend Wright’s or Colgin.)
  • Make it vegan: To make vegan BBQ sauce, just be sure to use vegan Worcestershire.  (I recommend Annie’s.)
  • Make it sweeter: Add more honey, to taste.
  • Make it smokier: Add a touch more liquid smoke, to taste.
  • Make it thicker: Simmer the sauce for longer until it reduces to your desired consistency.

Easy BBQ Sauce Recipe

Ways To Use BBQ Sauce:

There are so many great ways to put a batch of homemade BBQ sauce to delicious use!  Some of our faves include:

  • Traditional bbq meat: Grilled or pulled chicken, pulled pork, ribs, burnt ends, etc.
  • Baked beans: BBQ sauce is a simple and delicious way to flavor a batch of baked beans.
  • Burgers: Use it as a spread on your favorite burgers.
  • Pizzas: Use it in place of pizza sauce.  (Hello, bbq chicken pizza!)
  • Soups/salads: Mix it into broths to flavor soups, or use the sauce as a dressing for your salad.
  • Tacos/quesadillas/burritos: BBQ sauce is a great way to give your favorite Mexican dishes a different twist.
  • Dipping sauce: And of course, it’s always a great dipping sauce for everything from chicken nuggets to veggie sticks to cocktail meatballs and more!
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Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

Homemade BBQ Sauce

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: About 2 cups 1x

Description

This Kansas City-style homemade bbq sauce recipe is sweet, tangy, smoky, and perfect on just about everything.


Scale

Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Combine ingredients.  Whisk all ingredients together in a medium saucepan.
  2. Simmer. Cook over medium-high heat until the sauce reaches a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer (uncovered) for 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce has slightly thickened.
  3. Serve. Use the sauce immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 1 week.


Notes

Vegan option: To make vegan bbq sauce, just be sure to use a vegan brand of Worcestershire. (I recommend Annie’s.)

Gluten-free option: To make gluten-free bbq sauce, just be sure to use a GF brand of liquid smoke. (I recommend Wright’s or Colgin.)

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290 comments on “Homemade BBQ Sauce”

1 3 4 5
  1. So gooooood!!!! I’m allergic to honey so I subbed with brown sugar and instead of molasses I subbed maple syrup. After simmering all together was a little chunky as the tomato can was chopped tomatoes in purée so I blended it into a smooth sauce. A-MAZ-ING!!!
    (I added 1/3 Cup extra brown sugar to simmer & 1 red onion and blended It all together. Pour it over a beef brisket and slow cooked that! Soooo good! (Extra sugar + onion was for the brisket recipe) slow cooked that baby for 8 hours and wow!!)

  2. I have now used this recipe for a smoked brisket and smoked pulled pork. Each time I added a full tablespoon of red pepper to give it an extra kick. Its absolutely amazing. How amazing you ask? Well I’ve never left a comment on a recipe before.

  3. I just realized I was out of bbq sauce and needed some for a recipe. I am missing a lot of ingredients and did eat too many substitutions, but somehow it’s still good!!

    Things I did not have: tomato paste, Worcester sauce, liquid smoke, tomato sauce. I used canned diced tomatoes I blended with extra to make up for the paste, Worcester substitution that was soy sauce, lemon juice, and some hot sauce, and no liquid smoke. Also only had regular paprika. Kind of blown away it’s not terrible! Look forward to trying the proper recipe soon!!

  4. Could this barbecue sauce be jarred/canned at home for room temperature storage?

  5. Very good. Dig this on some get down chicken..thanks for this recipe…

  6. This recipe is ah maze ing!! Soooo delicious! I didn’t have tomato sauce so I subbed the tomato sauce, vinegar, and tomato paste for ketchup! Used it in slow cooker to make bbq beef on a bun!

  7. How long will this store if bottled correctly?

  8. Went to make ribs, and discovered we didn’t have any bbq sauce in the house, which is a shocker, because we always have bbq sauce. Jumped online, found this recipe, and I’m glad I did. I made it exactly as listed, and it is perfectly tangy with a little bit of sweet. Used the leftovers the next day on pasta with veggies. Love this!

  9. Awesome sauce!

  10. Wow!!!! So good :). I used half the amount of Worcester, but that’s just my preference. Very very good recipe.

  11. Anyone have tried to can this sauce? Pressure canner or boiling water? How much time?

    Best BBQ sauce ever BTW

  12. I made this barbecue sauce a few weeks ago and it was amazing!! I pressure-cooked some chicken thighs with it to make BBQ chicken and it was *beyond delicious*. I’m going to make it again for a friend’s (social distancing) birthday party next weekend! Thanks so much for sharing!

  13. Made this as written for pulled pork tonight. Excellent barbecue sauce.

  14. Very easy to make and delicious BBQ sauce! Tangy, smoky, sweet. YUM!! Thank you for this recipe. Fourth of July BBQ Tofu, potato salad, and baked beans!