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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.


Ingredients

Scale

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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Recipe rating

280 comments on “Homemade BBQ Sauce”

  1. 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!

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

  3. 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

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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!

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

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

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

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

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

  18. 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

  19. Honey is not vegan!

  20. 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!

  21. Delicious!

  22. 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.

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

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

  25. 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!!!!

  26. We loved it!

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

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

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

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

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

  32. Great sauce,that gets better the next day. I did use maple syrup instead of honey and did not have enough worsteshire sauce, so added a tablespoon of steak sauce instead. Put it on hydrated soy chicken cutlets, and was better than the usual organic commercial sauce I use, plus this sauce I made was also organic and even better. Thank you.

  33. Thank you. Easy to make taste fabulous.

  34. Have you canned this BBQ Sauce?

  35. Can this recipe be canned? I hope for it has so much flavor!!!

  36. I would like to know more then just this one recipe from you

  37. Wait this is so good???? Ive not even finished simmering it and it’s absolutely delicious??? I did not expect it to be this tasty?? I subbed honey and molasses for maple syrup and coconut sugar and then extra smoked paprika instead of liquid smoke but it’s still irresistible???

  38. Ifound and made this recipe last night. I wanted a sauce to flavor up a remaining half-bag of (much too bland) store-bought frozen meatballs for an easy supper after a busy day. The sauce went together very easily and mixed up nicely with a whisk. I put half of it (I’d made a double batch to use the entire 28 oz can of tomato sauce) uncooked, right from the mixing bowl, over the frozen meatballs and popped that in a 350 oven for about 25 minutes.
    I cooked up the rest of the sauce per instructions. Rice in the microwave and a salad made a good low-fuss supper.
    The only change I made from the sauce recipe was to use brown sugar–because I do that–and I did add cayenne as suggested. About 1/2 tsp. gave the double recipe a nice bite.
    The meatballs were hugely improved by this sauce. When they were almost done I cut them in half and stirred them so there’d be more surface for the sauce to flavor. We ate them with the sauce remaining in the baking pan over rice and drizzled a bit from the saucepan. They were delicious.
    This is a sauce I’ll use again. It’ll be great for oven chicken and I’ll bet terrific for grilling.
    I wondered about water-bath canning the pint I had left, but decided not to. I think it should keep in the fridge for a good long time. Sweet Baby Ray’s says their sauce keeps refrigerated for four months after opening. Since this recipe has no fresh ingredients (such as onion, garlic or peppers) I bet it’ll stay good in the fridge for at least four months. I’m sure I’ll use it up long before then, and it’s so easy to make more. Not worth the effort of canning for me.
    Thank you for a useful, very tasty recipe!

  39. This is absolutely delicious!!!! We don’t like real sweet bbq sauce so I used brown sugar instead of molasses and rice vinegar instead of apple…. added a tsp and a half cayenne and now I will never buy another store bought bbq sauce ever again. Thank you for you help!!!!

  40. Thank you so much for this recipe. It’s exactly what I was looking for.

    It looks like it makes a big batch, but it’s really tasty and I end up putting so much on my chicken that it doesn’t last very long.

  41. Easy and delicious! I used this on a turkey meatloaf and it was great! Thanks!

  42. I have made a lot of BBQ. This is the absolute best sauce, hands down. The only thing I really change is that I use Hunts thick style ketchup instead of the tomato sauce. Perhaps I’ll throw in some minced garlic too.
    Pair this with my BBQ rub and slow cook it with some pork shoulder or brisket and ooooohh buddy!! (Of course.. you always have to make some extra for on the side.)

  43. This turned out well. I’m in Japan, so I had to use kuromitsu instead of molasses, but I hope to order some molasses and compare how it turns out. Also used a smidge of Tabasco instead of cayenne.

  44. This is so good I was practically drinking it all day! I had to eliminate the garlic and onion powders for now because I’m pregnant and garlic and onion make me feel terrible (not usually). I also used brown sugar instead of honey snd added a little more salt. Even without the garlic and onion, it tasted AMAZING!! Thanks for a great recipe – I was on the hunt for Kansas City barbecue sauce!

  45. Delicious. I use half of the sauce as a marinade for chicken breasts and serve the other half with grilled chicken. It was like a mop sauce and barbecue sauce combined. My guests loved it! I will use this recipe many times again. thank you!
    Monica

  46. Thank you for this excellent recipe. Having recently moved from the Kansas City area, this is one of the tastes we missed and this combinations of flavors takes us there. We use it on everything (ie. jackfruit bbq, veggie burgers, chickun nuggets, etc.) that calls for the dipping or dousing of bbq sauce. It’s always in the fridge. Easy, delicious and forgiving.

  47. I haven’t had packaged BBQ sauce in years, but I was checking out a few last week and was shocked that literally the first ingredient in some was some form of sugar. And these weren’t the junky, corn syrup brands! Your recipe is awesome. And I may have even added a bit more sugar to it, subbing the honey with agave and some white sugar. I thought it was too much (vegan!) Worcestershire at first, but it all came together brilliantly. Thanks.

  48. Very interesting and healthy recipe ! But i find it’s missing cloves and cinnamon. a pinch of salt too depending on the brand of tomatoe sauce you use.

  49. This recipe is the Best of the Best BBQ Sauces I’ve ever tasted! It’s everything you describe and more! I can’t remember ever commenting on a recipe online before this one today, and I’ve made some awesome recipes found online. Thanks for sharing!

  50. 5 Stars