Homemade BBQ Sauce

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

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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.


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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

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247 comments on “Homemade BBQ Sauce”

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

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

    • Never used liquid smoke until today. It’s only 2 tsp. Gives it a kick. Try it, you’ll like it and no, you won’t die.

      Rating: 5
  2. I love this bbq sause I need to know how to can it can you tell me how thank you steve

    • 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. :)

    • Steve do a search for Linda’s pantry. She is on YouTube and Facebook and she does a lot of videos on canning. I think she even has a video Canning barbecue sauce

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  5. Do you think If I could freeze this? 

  6. 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 

    • 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! :)

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


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  9. 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!

  10. 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 :)

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  12. 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!

  13. 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.

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

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  15. 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!

  16. 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. 

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

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

    • 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).

  18. Thank you!  can you use fresh tomatoes?

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  20. This is the best and easiest BBQ sauce.

  21. Very good. Much appreciated.
    Merci from Ontario!

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  24. 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. 

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

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

    • 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!

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  27. Hi Ali-

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

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  30. 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.

    • 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!

  31. 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.  

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  33. How long would I process if I canned the sauce?

    • Hi Kristina! We haven’t tried canning this ourselves, so we aren’t able to say. However, according to other recipes, we would say about 20 minutes. We hope you enjoy!

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  35. Hi! I’m allergic to apples (and ACV) Can i use white vinegar or some other vinegar to substitute? 

    • Hi Jessica! We think you would probably be okay to just use white vinegar. We hope you enjoy this!

  36. Wondering if you know how many carbs this sauce has in it? Looking for a low-carb option for BBQ’ing.

    • Hi Tawnya! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. 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!

  37. Third batch. I actually quadrupled it. I’m good for a while\1

    Much appreciated! Merci!!!

  38. *For a natural liquid smoke substitute, I recommend smoked paprika.
    This recipe is great! I use brown sugar for extra sweetness in addition to the honey or agave. Just like our a little sweeter. Other than our personal preference, this recipe is highly recommended.

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks, Lindsey, we’re g lad you like it, and yes, the smoked paprika is an excellent natural substitute for the liquid smoke! :)

  39. I hate bbq sauce. But when I made this one I added extra bits and took bits away until it was perfect for me. Best recipe ever!

    Rating: 5
  40. I made this today! I used it for my BBQ Chicken pizza and it was PERFECT! I used it as my “pizza sauce” and also tossed my cooked chicken in a bit before topping the pizza. Most so called sweet sauces are too acidic or too spicy but this one was just PERFECT. I can’t wait to make chicken fingers or anything else to dip into this yummy sauce! I took a pic of my pizza but couldn’t attach here or even on FB. Oh well…2 thumbs up!!

    Rating: 5
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  42. Delicious

    Rating: 5
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  44. I just made this, except I added 4 Datil Peppers (everything went into blender first) then cooked about 20 minutes. Oh MY gosh!!!!! Amazing!!!

    Rating: 5
  45. Hi just wondering what kind of molasses I should use – blackstrap, cooking, or fancy? Thanks!

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  47. Can this BBQ sauce be frozen to use at a later date?

    Rating: 5
  48. Made this last night and was the best BBQ Sauce ever. I did not have Tom. Sauce so used Ketchup.
    Slow cooked Pork Ribs in Guiness,Onions and Garlic for 4 hrs .
    Covered Ribs in the sauce and cooked on BBQ.
    The best Ribs I’ve ever had and I’m 66yrs old.

    Thanks for the Kansas Sauce recipe.

    Rating: 5
  49. Made this today and it is easy and yummy. I used a 24 oz of marinara sauce and skipped the paste (didn’t have any). I added everything else including the cayenne pepper. Happy to not have such a sweet sauce like you get from most commercial brands. Obviously you can sweeten it up if that is what you prefer, but it has a nice balanced flavor.

    Rating: 5