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


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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Recipe rating

338 comments on “Homemade BBQ Sauce”

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  1. 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.

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

  3. 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.)

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.