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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321 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?

    • I’m trying to figure this out as well.

    • According to the USDA, you should make sure the sauce has a ph below 4.6, and process for 10 minutes in boiling water bath. I used their guidelines for tomato hot sauce with vinegar for this answer.

      I suggest you read the USDA canning guidelines yourself because getting it wrong can mean illness or even death.

      https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/usda/GUIDE03_HomeCan_rev0715.pdf

    • so….can this recipe be canned?

  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. Damn good recipe i added a couple extra seasoning for my taste (grill mates mesquite seasoning and burbon brown sugar season) and instead of liquid smoke I smoked it on the smoker with hickory and apple wood for 1 1/2 to 2 hrs at 150-200 i don’t think I’ll have any other BBQ sauce

  15. Perfect for some oven baked fall off the bone ribs-everyone greatly enjoyed!!

  16. Fabulous sauce! I eliminated the liquid smoke because I hate anything smoked and used sweet Hungarian paprika instead of smoked for the same reason. The result was better than any commercial sauce I’ve ever used.

  17. 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!

  18. Just made this easy recipe for BBQ Sauce. Wow! I ran out of my bottled sauce, and needed some ASAP! Found yours first with good ratings. Didn’t have Liquid Smoke but just ordered some for the next time.
    I like your other recipes too. Will try them soon.

  19. How do I figure out the nutrition facts about this sauce? It is so good..

  20. This is delicious. I think I will give up buying BBQ sauce. I made this because I needed BBQ sauce for a recipe and didn’t want to go out. Didn’t have tomato sauce but had diced tomatoes and used an immersion blender at the end. Just using up first batch after giving some to my son – I will probably double this next time. Thanks so much!

  21. Not too spicy, not too hot….just right. And EASY!

  22. Just a super good recipe. it went well on my grilled beef rib side.

  23. YummO! I love the flavor. I added one squeezed orange at the end.

  24. Making this BBQ sauce as well bc I am making pulled pork And realized I didn’t have enough BBQ sauce!

  25. In regards to canning… this is the BALL complete book to home preserving instructions!

    —Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.

    —Ladle hot sauce into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar and apply band, adjust to fingertip tight. Place jar in boiling water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.
    Process jars in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off heat, remove lid, let jars stand 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool 12-24 hours. Check lids for seal, they should not flex when center is pressed.

  26. Hi Kansas City girl! I’m Snowy from South Africa. I haven’t tried it yet but, it looks like it’s a great and a delicious barbecue sauce ever by the look of my eyes and by reading the comments from other people.

    Thank you so very much
    Kansas City girl

  27. Sorry….I really wanted to like this, but I ended up throwing the entire pot out! Nasty taste and I made it exactly as directed. Horrible after taste, probably from the ACV, but I use ACV in my teriyaki sauce and I don’t get the same after taste. Didn’t want to ruin the ribs I was going to put this on, so just went out and bought some bbq sauce.

  28. Do you have a low sodium version of this BBQ sauce?

  29. This is brilliant. I own and run a premium Mexican restaurant in Bali, and have cooked sauces for a decade professionally. I followed this to a “t” and I can say, as someone who makes and sells high end sauces for a living, this is an exceptional recipe. It is a near duplicate, in flavor, of one of Sweet Baby Ray’s sauces. It is also very modifiable. It is fantastic as is, but you can also add a good dollop of yellow mustard to it to broaden the flavor, and a bit of pineapple syrup as well for an even closer copy of SBR.

    Great job This is my second or third time using Gimme Some Oven tips, and I am very impressed. Gracias.

    Bob
    Taco Beach Grill
    Bali, Indonesia

  30. Honey is not vegan!

  31. I just made this for pulled pork and it is amazingly delicious! The only ingredient I didn’t have was liquid smoke. This will definitely be my go to recipe. Thank you!

  32. Delicious!

  33. Thanks so much for this recipe! It’s super easy and we just loved it! We made it with puréed tomatoes from our garden and we’re a little nervous about how it would come out, but it was fantastic. We simply had to cook them down a bit longer, which made the sauce silky smooth. No problem since we were slow-smoking the ribs for it to marry up to.

  34. This is the only recipe i need for great sauce. Thank you for sharing.

  35. THE SAUCE IS GOOD I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT CAN I USE TO PRESERVE MY SAUCE FOR THE LONGEST TIME

  36. So um…yeah, about this recipe. My boyfriend made this using the ingredients (he messed with his own ratio and added turmeric) and it was LITERALLY THE BEST TASTING BBQ SAUCE WE HAVE EVER HAD!!!!

  37. We loved it!

  38. Great sauce.
    Add some whiskey for that something else!

  39. Love it, easy to make! I froze some in a half pint jar.

  40. Really delicious. I had no tomato paste, so simply omitted. I did sauté a little onion and garlic instead of powders. It was fantastic!

  41. I would not use the recommended liquid smoke. Instead use Colgin hickory smoke. So much milder and better flavor.

  42. This was so good! I had no idea homemade barbecue sauce was this easy to make.