Homemade BBQ Sauce

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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 | 1-Minute Video

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

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: About 2 cups 1x


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)


  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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

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253 comments on “Homemade BBQ Sauce”

  1. 5 stars
    This is now my go-to BBQ Sauce! SO much better than store bought, and without all those nasty fillers like corn syrup or excess sugar. You can adjust the sugar content here, which I did by omitting agave/honey, since I prefer a tangier BBQ rather than sweet; also I used brown sugar instead of molasses – just as a flavor preference. Ali – I love your recipes and this food blog. There are a million out there and this is my favorite and the first place I look for recipe ideas!

    • How much brown sugar did you use?

    • Thank you for this recipe. Most that I have seen use ketchup for the base, which I think is to sweet.
      I did put the cayenne in as recommended (1 tsp) and also added 1 tsp white pepper.
      I could eat it by the spoon full.
      Thank you.

  2. 5 stars
    Instead of onion and garlic powder, I sauteed 1/2 of a chopped up yellow onion and added 2 large cloves of diced garlic to the mix. Heated the sauce, and pored over ribs in the crockpot. Shouldn’t do it, but had to taste the ribs after about an hour. Oh, boy, such good sauce. Thank you.

  3. 5 stars
    Don’t think my first comment posted. Changed the onion and garlic powder to sauteed yellow onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Did the unthinkable of testing the crock pot with the sauce over the ribs. Oh my, it is delicious. A keeper. Thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    This turned out so yummy and was perfect for the meatloaf I made. I used a simple syrup infused with Lapsang souchong (smoked tea) instead of the liquid smoke and compensated by using less honey. I also used a bit more garlic, onion, and cayenne. Will be using this recipe again!

  5. Excellent…loved it!

  6. 5 stars
    Nice easy recipe. Tastes great. Will go well on my pulled pork for tonight.

  7. 5 stars
    I loved this sauce didn’t want liquid smoke because I made Hungarian ribs and sauerkraut it was very good just as it reads NO changes. I wish ppl would just make the recipes as is or “not” ost a review.

    • Thank you, Shelbel. I couldn’t agree more about not posting if you’re going to change up some stuff. Then you’re only reviewing your own recipe. This is especially true if someone makes several changes then makes negative comments.

  8. 5 stars
    This is the best BBQ sauce I’ve ever tasted. It’s an easy recipe to make too.

    • I like to know how others substitute other ingredients. I don’t particularly like molasses and was interested to know about the brown sugar substitution

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  10. 5 stars
    Made it, it’s delicious! I want to make a big batch but is this recipe good for canning for long term storage? If so how long to boil the jars of sauce? Thank you!

    • As far as boiling the jars of sauce you would do it until the tops of the jars pop. Then I turn the heat off and let them sit in the hot water for an additional 10 minutes before removing them.

  11. 5 stars
    Used to live in KC but now live in Indiana. Indy doesn’t have the BBQ sauce choices at the local grocery like KC does. Had to riff a little on your recipe due to being out of stuff like liquid smoke (used a smoked salt instead) and it turned out delicious! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  12. 5 stars
    I made this to go on baby back ribs. We love the touch of sweet with the kick of the cayenne pepper in the background. I will definitely be repeating this recipe.

  13. 5 stars
    Put this sauce over jalapeño sausage and it was perfect. The sauce was sweet and tangy and was the perfect counter to the hot sausage! Would use it again, and was easy to make.

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  15. 5 stars
    Absolutely love this! I make it all the time. I would recommend adding in chipotle chili powder (1/2 tsp) to spice it up a little more but that’s because I am a spice fiend. Thanks for an amazing recipe!

  16. 5 stars
    Purty good, adapted a little for vegan/vegetarian palate. I used canned tomatoes with green chilis, cut the honey back a bit, and marinated tofu in it. Later added garbanzos. Thanks.

  17. I’ve lived in KC all my life. Well, I’m actually now living in a small town on just the outskirts of KC. Can’t wait to give this sauce a try. I just love BBQ but am all for trying my own rather than the stuff in the store full of chemicals.

  18. 5 stars
    Thanks for your great BBQ sauce/marinade recipe. I made it this morning here in my kitchen in Sydney Australia and I think it’s one of the best I’ve tasted. Will be my go to sauce for BBQ now. Will definitely be sharing it and,of course, acknowledging the source. Cheers MJ

  19. 4 stars
    This is only good for 1 week in the refrigerator? I’ve seen other recipes that are good up to 2 months.

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  21. 5 stars
    WOW! I so rarely post comments, but I just made this BBQ sauce and holy cow, it’s so good! I followed your recipe exactly and it was lip-smacking good. I did end up adding 1/2 tsp. of fresh lemon juice while it was cooling, for my own personal taste preference, but it was AMAZING even without that addition. And I love that my family and I are not ingesting all of those terrible preservatives and added sweeteners from store-bought BBQ sauce and ketchup. I actually did a taste comparison with my go-to Sweet Baby Ray’s and there really is no comparison for the depth of flavor of this homemade BBQ sauce. Thank you so much for this delicious and easy recipe! I recently became familiar with liquid smoke but for those who have never used it, you can find it at your local grocery store. For anyone who’s wary about making this because of the high yield, just halve the ingredients and you’ll end up with 1 cup instead. But definitely make it – you’ll never buy bottled BBQ sauce again.

  22. 5 stars
    Super delicious! I didn’t have time to simmer it so I just made it in the blender. I also didn’t have any tomato sauce, so I just used ~6 oz can of tomato paste and added 10 ounces of water to get the right consistency for sauce. I didn’t have Worcestershire sauce, so I needed to added another 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1-2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar, and another splash of salt to tweak the flavor. Ok, I know it sounds like I didn’t follow the recipe at all at this point :) But everything else was the same! (oh wait, I used sweet instead of smoked paprika. . . . ) BUT REALLY, this was DELICIOUS!!!!!! So good. I’m never buying BBQ sauce ever again.

  23. has anyone tried to do this in the instant pot? Ali do you think if i just cook for 5 min on high pressure it will be ok? i don’t have tomato sauce – only crushed tomatoes…. fingers crossed it will be ok!

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  25. 5 stars
    Very nice recipe. I make extra bbq sauce and freeze some for bbq chicken pizza and marinates as it freezes well. I use tomato passata (what we call tomato purée in Australia) in the sauce not ketchup. I also used white vinegar as that is all I had. Delicious. Thank you for the recipe.

  26. 5 stars
    This is the best recipe! I substituted brown sugar for the molasses (didn’t have any) and used half balsamic vinegar for the cider vinegar (to help replace the molasses I didn’t have!) It was perfect! Such a good flavor! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  27. Could you make this without liquid smoke? I want to make this for an upcoming event and don’t have that on hand. Thank you!

  28. I absolutely love this recipe! Has anyone tried canning it to preserve it? Oh how I would love to have this in my pantry in pint jars! So delicious!

  29. Delicious! Some of the best sauce I’ve ever had.
    I added about quarter cup of ketchup, and little extra vinegar, I like it a little more tangy.
    Will definitely make this again.

  30. I continued using mine for about 4 weeks. I love this recipe!

  31. Do you think you could can this BBQ sauce,?