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Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce

This Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe is bold, tangy, sweet, and smoky! It’s great for brushing onto chicken, steak, or even using as a dipping sauce!

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe that is done in 15 minutes

I will tell you, as the summer has gone on, I have used my fair share of bottled BBQ sauces. I feel like I go through them so fast! AND turns out, even when I buy them in bulk, I tend to run out and not realize it…which is where today’s Homemade BBQ Sauce recipe comes in. I have been making this sauce for years, but I will be the first to admit I am lazy a lot for the time and purchase the pre-made kind more often than not.

But in my defense, there are some really great bottled BBQ sauces out there these days, so absolutely no shade to store bought. However, making your own BBQ sauce is seriously simple, plus, you can easily play around with flavors and ingredients to come up with your own special blend!

What Recipes Can I Use This BBQ Sauce On or In?

Use Homemade BBQ Sauce on chicken legs

How Do You Make Homemade BBQ Sauce?

BBQ sauce is generally a variation of tomato sauce/paste, vinegar, sweetener, and spices. The BBQ Sauce recipe I am sharing with you today is pretty classic, making it really great for just about all your BBQ needs. It’s mild enough that your kids will love it, but it’s also packed with just the right amount of flavor to compliment all sort of different foods.

It’s all about adding the least amount of ingredients that pack the most punch. But I know sometimes you’re making your own sauce in a pinch because you ran out, so I am also including a few different options so you don’t have to run out to the store!

Here’s what you will need:

  • Ketchup. I use ketchup in my BBQ sauce because it’s an easy building block. It’s a tomato base that’s already smooth and seasoned. You can certainly use tomato sauce or paste, but your recipe will require a few more ingredients and a little longer cook time in my experience. I’ve tried it that way and I don’t really find that I like the outcome any better. And why not take a shortcut when you can?
  • Vinegar. Pretty much any vinegar will do, but I use Apple Cider Vinegar in this recipe because I like the additional sweetness it adds. You can also use red wine vinegar for an easy swap. And yes, certainly you can use Balsamic Vinegar which adds a sweeter, deeper flavor that’s really great!
  • Sugar. Dark Brown Sugar is the way to go, in my opinion. It will add a richer sweetness to the sauce. But if you’re out of Dark Brown Sugar do ahead and add granulated or light brown sugar in its place, but I would also recommend using a few teaspoons of molasses as well to achieve that deeper flavor!
  • Mustard. Stay with me here, but I like to use Dijon Mustard in my BBQ sauce. Like I said above, it’s all about the least amount of ingredients that pack the most punch. Of course you can use yellow mustard in its place, or even use dry mustard, to which you will only need 1 teaspoon. But of course, this is your homemade sauce, and taste test as you go adding more of any ingredient!
  • Worcestershire Sauce. Sorry this is kind of a non-negotiable, and there really isn’t a substitute, unless you are a chemist..haha..just kidding. Worcestershire is a combo of soy sauce and vinegar and magic, and I have no idea how to duplicate it…yes, I’ve tried. Luckily, most everyone has a bottle of this in their fridge, so it’s easily available!
  • Spices. This is the fun part and where you can get creative! I use salt, fresh ground black pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. I like the balance these 4 seasonings give my BBQ sauce.

What Seasonings Can You Add To Homemade BBQ Sauce?

There are SO many things you can do with BBQ sauce to season it up, spices, sweeteners, flavor boosters…it’s a really fun recipe to make your own and get creative with. I mean having your own signature BBQ sauce is kinda cool. So here are some optional add-ins to play around with flavors!

  • Cumin. This will add a little more smokiness. But be careful and don’t add too much, or it will taste like taco BBQ!
  • Hot Sauce. A few splashes of hot sauce adds a tangy spice!
  • Cayenne or Crushed Red Pepper Flakes. Add a little heat if that’s your thing!
  • Soy Sauce. A few dashes of this will give your sauce a deeper, saltier kick.
  • Chili Sauce. Sweet or Spicy, up to you!
  • Honey. Sub out the brown sugar, or go half and half with honey for a more subtle sweetness!
This easy Homemade BBQ Sauce is rich, tangy, sweet, and smoky

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Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe that is done in 15 minutes

Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Dinner


This bold, tangy, sweet Homemade BBQ Sauce will be your new go-to recipe!


  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients over medium heat, stirring with a whisk or wooden spoon until combined.
  2. Bring the sauce to a low boil and turn heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled.


Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.


  • Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
  • Calories: 29
  • Sugar: 5.6 g
  • Sodium: 218 mg
  • Fat: 0.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 6.9 g
  • Protein: 0.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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1 thought on “Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce”

  1. Sandra Newton

    I made this bbq sauce tonight, added shredded chicken for the best hot bbq chicken sandwiches. They were delicious! Very easy to make and just the right amount of heat. I made it “as is” but may try one of the other optional ingredients listed next time. But “as is” was perfection, in my opinion. Thank you!

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