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

5 / 5 (21 Reviews)
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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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232 comments on “Homemade BBQ Sauce”

  1. 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!

    Rating: 5
  2. 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.

    Rating: 5
  3. 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!

    Rating: 5
  4. 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!

    Rating: 5
  5. Excellent…loved it!

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

    Rating: 5
  7. 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.

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

    Rating: 5
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  10. 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!

    Rating: 5
  11. 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!

    Rating: 5
  12. 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.

    Rating: 5
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  14. 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.

    Rating: 5
  15. 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.

  16. 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

    Rating: 5