Homemade BBQ Sauce

Today I'm sharing my favorite homemade bbq sauce recipe. It's sweet, smoky, tangy, and super tasty. Plus it's incredibly easy to make, and naturally vegan and gluten-free.

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com #bbq #glutenfree #vegan

I realized the other day that I have now lived in Kansas City for nearly a decade.


That’s like a third of my life!  Oh wait, that is a third of my life.  Or to be accurate, 10/31sts of my life.  Close enough.

Whatever the fraction, basically all of my post-college life has been spent making my home here in KC.  And I love it more here with every passing year.

I love it mostly for the ridiculously amazing people who live here and have become friends and neighbors and coworkers over the years.  I love it for the amazing local restaurants, and bars, and coffee shops, and food trucks, and farmers markets that have become my favorites.  I love that it’s the “City of Fountains”.  I love it for the quirky neighborhoods that each have their own personalities.  I love it because people smile and wave at one another freely here.  I love it because it’s home to the coolest church, and book club, and neighbor nights that I have ever known.  I love it because feels like home.

But of course, you can’t live here for a decade without learning to love one more important thing: Kansas City Barbecue.

So today, I figured it was about darn time I share with you this Kansas City food blogger’s take on homemade BBQ sauce.  It may just rock your socks off.

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com #bbq #glutenfree #vegan

To be sure, everyone around the country does BBQ differently.  But here in Kansas City, we like our BBQ sauce sweet.  We like it thick.  We like it smoky.  We like it tangy.  And it had better be finger lickin’ good.  :)

What we don’t like are the copious amounts of high-fructose corn syrup that fill most bbq sauces sitting on grocery store shelves.  Totally unnecessary.  And totally not “Kansas City”.  Here, we actually have a little secret for sweetening our sauce that is totally natural, sweet but not too sweet, and full of extra amazing flavor: molasses.  Do yourself a favor and pick up a jar to make this sauce today.

The other big secret about Kansas City bbq sauce?  It is ridiculously easy to make homemade.  Like, it takes less than 5 minutes to prep.  Watch.

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com #bbq #glutenfree #vegan

All you have to do is throw all of the ingredients into a saucepan.  Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Then let it simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes over medium-low heat until it thickens.

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com #bbq #glutenfree #vegan

And then a batch of delicious homemade bbq sauce is ready to go.

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com #bbq #glutenfree #vegan

And then, you must make a Very Big Decision — what do with it!

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com #bbq #glutenfree #vegan

One idea would be to make these Skinny BBQ Chicken Wings that I blogged about back in January.  You could also slather it on any other meats or veggies that you wanted to pop on the grill.  It would be perfect with a BBQ chicken pizza or salad.  Or a sandwich.  Or some skewers.  Or even try adding a few spoonfuls to some salsa (a local favorite!).

I promise, you can’t go wrong.

Cheers to a decade of life and bbq in KC!

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com #bbq #glutenfree #vegan

Homemade BBQ Sauce

In my humble Kansas City opinion, this really is the best homemade BBQ sauce recipe! It's sweet, it's tangy, it's smoky, and it's perfect on just about everything. It is also naturally vegan and gluten-free (*see note below).


  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 Tbsp. worcestershire*
  • 2 tsp. liquid smoke**
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • (optional: a few pinches of cayenne powder for extra heat, which I recommend)


Whisk all ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer (uncovered) for 20 minutes, or until the sauce has slightly thickened.

Use the sauce immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 1 week.

*If you are making this sauce vegan, be sure to find a brand of worcestershire sauce that is vegan. I recommend Annie's.

**If you are making this sauce gluten-free, be sure to find a brand of liquid smoke that is certified GF. I recommend Wright's or Colgin.


If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com #bbq #glutenfree #vegan

Leave a Comment:


  1. Bailey — March 13, 2016 @ 12:32 am (#)

    Sounds delicious! Would it change the flavor too much if I omitted the liquid smoke? What would be a more natural alternative? Thank you!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — March 14th, 2016 @ 11:23 am

      Hi Bailey! No, we don’t think that would have a huge impact. We hope you enjoy this!

  2. steve crowe — March 20, 2016 @ 2:29 pm (#)

    I love this bbq sause I need to know how to can it can you tell me how thank you steve

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — March 20th, 2016 @ 9:46 pm

      Hi Steve — we’re glad to hear you enjoy this! We haven’t tried to can this ourselves, but know people have. As long as you have the proper materials and follow the traditional canning method, it should work fine. :)

  3. Kelly Smith — April 2, 2016 @ 6:59 pm (#)

    Do you think If I could freeze this? 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — April 3rd, 2016 @ 8:50 pm

      Yes, we think it should freeze fine. We hope you enjoy!

  4. SUSAN T CALISE — April 25, 2016 @ 8:44 am (#)

    Hi this recipe looks really very good the only thing is I don’t have is the Worcestershire sauce is there any thing I can substitute it with. Thank you 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — April 25th, 2016 @ 4:38 pm

      Thanks Susan — we hope you enjoy! Hmmm, if you don’t have Worcestershire sauce, you could try mixing a little soy sauce with hoisin sauce and a touch of white or apple cider vinegar. That should be somewhat close! :)

  5. plasterers bristol — May 9, 2016 @ 3:47 am (#)

    Sounds delicious. be nice to have ago at making own. Thanks for sharing.


    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 15th, 2016 @ 10:06 pm

      Thanks Simon — we hope you enjoy it!

  6. Sylvia — May 29, 2016 @ 9:52 am (#)

    Oh my! This makes me hungry, and I just finished a ridiculously delicious breakfast (duck egg omelet with vegan cheese due to allergy, jowl bacon crispy chunks and sauteed red onion – yowser for holiday weekend brunch!)  Thanks for the freezing approval – I am living solo, and unlikely to use an entire batch in a week, but it looks like it fits the flavor profile I enjoy!

  7. Jennifer — June 3, 2016 @ 1:55 pm (#)

    We love this bbq sauce. Made a batch about 3 months ago and I kept it in the fridge in a mason jar and have used it all along and still good today (without proper canning method). Also, I don’t use liquid smoke and it is still delicious :)

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 16th, 2016 @ 9:41 am

      Thanks for sharing Jennifer — we’re so happy you’re a fan! :)

  8. Elisa — June 13, 2016 @ 1:56 pm (#)

    Just made this sauce, its actually still on the stove lol. But let me say its absolutley delish! I was out of Worcestershire sauce but its still great! Cant wait to put it on some chicken. This will be my go to from now one. Thank you!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 14th, 2016 @ 7:30 pm

      That’s awesome Elisa — we’re so happy you enjoyed it! :D

  9. Todd — June 15, 2016 @ 12:35 am (#)

    You should know that honey and Worcestershire sauce are both non-vegan. It makes no difference to me, since I’m going to put this on meat, but some folks might be thrown off by the claim that this is a vegan recipe.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 16th, 2016 @ 9:20 am

      Hi Todd! Please see our note about the Worcestershire sauce at the bottom of the recipe. Also, folks can use agave instead of honey. 

  10. frank duranza — July 30, 2016 @ 6:11 pm (#)

    just a suggestion! 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar will overpower the sauce no matter what you do afterwards.

    Start out with the base – and cut way back on the sugar as well – you won’t be needing it to counter act the acetic acid. Then adjust by adding vinegar a tablespoon at a time – and taste as you go along!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — August 2nd, 2016 @ 4:52 pm

      Thanks for sharing your suggestion with us Frank!

  11. Weezy — August 22, 2016 @ 11:30 am (#)

    My husband is a BBQ sauce snob.  All BBQ sauce is either to sweet, to vinaigrey, to hot, or has to much mustard.   So when he said this was good and the best he had ever tasted.  I knew it was a keeper.  I took you suggestion and added 1/8 of a tsp of cayenne pepper. He said ” this has everything you want in a BBQ sauce, it’s vinagerey, sweet and has just a little kick. 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — August 22nd, 2016 @ 3:01 pm

      Oh wow, what a high compliment! We’re so glad you guys (especially your husband) loved it! :D

  12. Becky — September 18, 2016 @ 9:21 am (#)

    If canning this recipe, how long do I hot water bath the pints?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — September 18th, 2016 @ 10:19 am

      Hi Becky! We haven’t tried canning this ourselves, but if you follow the traditional canning procedure, you should be fine (should be about 20 minutes, according to other sites).

  13. Becky — September 18, 2016 @ 11:16 am (#)

    Thank you!  can you use fresh tomatoes?

  14. Sandy — October 11, 2016 @ 11:56 am (#)

    This is the best and easiest BBQ sauce.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — October 12th, 2016 @ 2:32 pm

      We’re so glad you’re a fan, Sandy!

  15. mimi — November 16, 2016 @ 5:18 pm (#)

    Very good. Much appreciated.
    Merci from Ontario!

  16. Sandy — December 8, 2016 @ 8:34 pm (#)

    Made this sauce tonight. Didn’t have molasses but used pure maple syrup. It was amazing.  I had cooked a pork Boston butt yesterday in the slow cooker. All I can say is YUM.  THANKS for an easy, tasty recipe. 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — December 15th, 2016 @ 10:53 am

      Thanks for sharing, Sandy — we’re so glad you enjoyed it and that it worked well with the maple syrup!

  17. Laura — January 12, 2017 @ 9:44 am (#)

    Would this be considered a good base if one wanted to make a flavored barbecue sauce such as raspberry chipotle?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 16th, 2017 @ 10:23 am

      Oooh we think that sounds amazing, Laura! We haven’t tried using this as a base for that, but we think it’s worth a shot!

  18. John K. — January 30, 2017 @ 6:06 pm (#)

    Hi Ali-

    Just made this and used it on the 2-INGREDIENT SLOW COOKER BBQ CHICKEN recipe. Fabulous! Thanks so much for sharing both.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 30th, 2017 @ 10:47 pm

      We’re so glad you enjoyed both the recipes, John! :)

  19. Debra Skinner — February 23, 2017 @ 3:03 pm (#)

    I just made your recipe for the Clean Bbq sauce…Oh…Em…Gee!!! So good!!!!!! Thanks so much for sharing your recipe. And, hubby approved😍 I would love to know approximately how many calories pet serving.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 23rd, 2017 @ 3:32 pm

      Thank you, Debra — we’re so happy you both enjoyed it! :) As for the calories per serving though, we’re sorry but we aren’t sure. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  20. Barbara — March 2, 2017 @ 7:12 pm (#)

    Worcestershire sauce has ingredients I don’t want in my body.  I used it but reluctantly.  Is there a substitute for this ingredient that produces the flavor desired. I’m sorry but I want to be totally chemical free.   Worcestershire sauce has hydrolyzed soy protein, corn syrup, Carmel coloring, polysorbate-80…none of which are very healthy. These are the foods Americans are getting sick on.  

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — March 8th, 2017 @ 11:08 am

      Hi Barbara — you could try this if you wanted!


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