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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

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 109 reviews
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: About 2 cups 1x


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




  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.


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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303 comments on “Homemade BBQ Sauce”

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  1. I find that liquid smoke doesn’t really agree with my stomach. I’m wondering if you think this recipe would still be good if I tried it without the liquid smoke.

    • Maybe substitute the liquid smoke for smoked paprika… you get the smoked flavor without the liquid smoke…

    • He’ll to the naw. You don’t need smoke. Smoke ruins everything. It will be better without the smoke.

  2. I always know the recipe is going to be great when I see your name next to it. Everyone stop looking for BBQ recipes, I just made this and WOW it’s so good. The only thing different was I make/can my own tomato sauce and paste. I am smoking ribs this weekend and I am sure this is going to top them. GREAT BBQ.

  3. how long does this last for please

  4. Love this recipe! We always make our bbq sauce from scratch now, thanks to you, and use it in so many things. 😍

  5. Excellent, My tomato sauce cans in Canada from Costco are 13.5 oz so I went with the recipe for that amount instead of the 15 oz can of tomato sauce. I did put in a pinch of cayenne and added 1/2 teaspoon of Chipotle Chili Powder which someone’s comment recommended. Great kick to it. I will have it on ribs tomorrow.

  6. I didn’t have liquid smoke but had a spice that was smokey in flavor that I used instead and came out fantastic. Plus used juice as well to balance it out to the way we like our BBQ sauce. Thank you for this I was tired of seeing ketchup recipes and this way I know I have everything on hand and I can actually can up BBQ sauce now. Huge thank you I will be saving this and experimenting with the flavors to make different BBQ sauces for different dishes.

  7. Made exactly as the recipe says and I have to say this is NOT good. I can’t put my finger on what’s wrong. Just not a good sauce in my opinion.

  8. The sauce was a bit bitte for me I think a little too much vinegar. Calmed it down with some brown sugar. also too thin for my liking added some corn starch Results good

    • That was also my first thought. I’d cut the vinegar in half next time.

    • I thought the same thing at first, but then realized I’d forgotten the honey. I still might reduce the vinegar a little, but the honey made a huge difference.

  9. I made this without liquid smoke since we don’t have it, but it was really yummy! A keeper sauce that I will use over and over! Thanks!

  10. Excellent recipe, thank you!

  11. great recipe …minus the liquid smoke….do you really consume that stuff?

  12. I have a severely sodium restricted diet. Been looking for a recipe that does not call for ketchup (low sodium ketchup is terrible in bbq sauces). I used no salt tomato sauce and paste, low sodium worcesteshire sauce and it came out pretty good, which is saying a lot! Thanks for the recipe.

  13. Incredibly easy to put together and so delicious!

  14. It was amazing I added a little extra honey and liquid smoke for a stronger taste and my family loved it! It’s better than any store bought!!!!

  15. I love this BBQ sauce recipe. The only thing I’ve done differently is I simmer it for 45 minutes to an hour. Gets thicker, darker and smoother and I feel the flavors marry together.

  16. Just made it. Taste, smell, texture-10 out of 10. Keeper.

  17. Could I can this recipe like I would tomato sauce?

  18. I make this sauce regularly. A keeper. It’s just that tasty!

  19. What can I use in place of tomato paste? I have everything else. Maybe ground dijon mustard?