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Easy Guide for the Best Homemade BBQ Sauce

BBQ sauce may be the most famous sauce whenever you think of grilling. It is a classic and almost an essential ingredient of a good SundayGrill. So if you are looking for the easiest and BEST Homemade BBQ sauce recipe, you landed in the right spot!
Homemade BBQ Sauce
Homemade BBQ Sauce

You are about to get into the perfect blend of smokey, tangy, thick, and sweet flavors. We promise this homemade bbq sauce will have your mouth smiling with every bite.

This recipe for homemade bbq sauce is a breeze, as it only takes a few minutes to make. We are pretty sure you’ll love the tasty blend of all these robust flavors made from scratch. Believe us, this is the recipe that turned us from a barbecue sauce ‘meh’ person to a barbecue sauce lover.


As the base in this recipe, you will use 2 cups of tomato sauce. It can be a can of plain tomato sauce. We recommend buying one with the fewest ingredients and without high-fructose corn syrup. Or if you want to take your barbecue sauce to the next level, make a basic tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes. It will definitely taste better. Quantity will be totally related to the size of each tomato, so make sure you get 2 cups. 

Next, we will need 3 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar [1]. We have tried it with more before and concluded that this is enough. It´ll give the sauce a delicious, tangy flavor that helps to balance it. If you want it a little sourer, feel free to add more! 

Apple cider vinegar has plenty of health benefits. It lowers blood sugar levels and is a natural laxative. Apple cider also helps to improve digestion and heart health. Impressive, right? But wait… there’s more. It is also a nutritional powerhouse, containing antioxidants, amino acids, and magnesium.

For a hint of sweetness, we will add 1/4 cup of brown sugar. If you want to go for a natural sweetener without sacrificing sweetness, you should use honey.

These two widely used sweeteners have very different tastes and textures. Experimenting with each while keeping an eye on the amount you use can help you decide which is best for you. You may want to find if you enjoy the molasses taste and moisture of brown sugar or prefer the gentleness of honey. The bottom line, both may add sweetness to your sauce.

These 3 ingredients will make the base of the recipe, but we will also add: 

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (this is a key ingredient that will add a rich, deep flavor to your sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • If you would like to give the sauce some heat, add a few pinches of cayenne (optional)

Let´s Jump to the Prep

Add all ingredients to a large saucepan and mix until smooth. Cook it over medium heat (325°F to 374°F), stirring gently until the mixture starts to boil. At this point, reduce the heat to low and just let the sauce simmer for 10-20 minutes more. 

Don´t worry if the sauce looks too liquid at first. As it simmers and starts to cool, it will thicken.

Now your sauce is ready and you will have endless ways to use it:

  • Spread over grilled chicken or BBQ Chicken Sandwich
  • Amazing on burgers instead of ketchup for a tasty BBQ Burger
  • Try it in place of pizza sauce for a BBQ Chicken Pizza
  • Pork – Our favorite. You gotta try it with ribs, brisket, and pulled pork!
  • What about as a dressing for your Sweet Potato Fries? Just fantastic!

If you have leftovers, you can store your homemade BBQ sauce in an airtight container or maybe jar in the fridge. Make sure it cools before storing. It should be ok for a week there.

The Bottom Line

By following these simple steps you´ll be able to enjoy your very own homemade BBQ sauce. Once you´ve tried it the first time, go ahead and start to play with the ingredients. Find variations to enhance it according to your tastes. 

Here are a couple of ideas you can throw in to try next time:  

  • Spicy BBQ Sauce: Add up to 1 tablespoon of hot sauce or 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Extra Smoky BBQ Sauce: Double the amount of smoked paprika
  • Make it less sweet: Cut the sugar in half
  • For BBQ ranch twist: add just a couple of tablespoons of ranch sauce

We hope you love it as much as we do! If tried it and are looking a second sauce to accompany your next Sunday Grill, check out our Kansas City BBQ Sauce guide.

Kansas City BBQ Sauce
Tri Tip
Homemade BBQ Sauce
Smoking Meat for Beginners
Pork Butt
How to Grill Ribs

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