This homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe is so easy to make and has the perfect combination of sweet, savory, and tangy.

Out of BBQ sauce? Or want to adjust the flavorings to suit your taste? Look no further! There are so many possibilities for this sauce and it can be customized to suit any dish!

a jar of homemade bbq sauce with a brush and grilled chicken

Homemade BBQ Sauce

  • There are so many BBQ sauces on the market but homemade is always best and you can skip the high-fructose corn syrup!
  • Sweet, zesty, and tangy is the best description of this sauce.
  • It’s so flavorful and easy to make using pantry staples.
  • Make a double (or triple) batch, it keeps well in the fridge or freezer.
  • It’s great on so many dishes! Bbq chicken, pulled pork sandwiches, and ribs all taste great doused in this homemade sauce.
a jar of homemade bbq sauce with a brush

Ingredients for BBQ Sauce

The Base of this bbq sauce recipe contains:

  • ketchup makes up most of the base
  • molasses adds a rich sweetness
  • apple cider vinegar brings zesty tang
  • brown sugar sweetens the mixture use dark or light brown sugar, we find dark brown sugar to have more flavor
  • Worcestershire sauce is adds umami

The seasonings in this homemade sauce include minced onions and garlic (or onion powder and garlic powder for a smoother sauce) with a bit of paprika and dry mustard. Adjust to suit your preferences!


  • Sweet – Substitute honey or maple syrup for the brown sugar.
  • Spicy – To make it a little spicy add some cayenne pepper, chili flakes, diced jalapeno or hot peppers.
  • Other – Try a splash of bourbon, whiskey, a splash of liquid smoke or even orange or pineapple juice. Try a bit of yellow mustard or soy sauce.
  • Add spices or herbs to your liking. Try chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, or oregano.

How to Make Homemade BBQ Sauce

This recipe is so easy, with just a few steps and only 30 minutes to create a custom barbecue sauce.

  1. Cook finely diced onion & minced garlic with olive oil in a small saucepan
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir occasionally while the sauce simmers until it’s thick (as per the recipe below).


This is the easy part! Just keep it in a tightly sealed container like a glass mason jar or a clean salad dressing bottle.

Store it in the freezer for about 3 months.

BBQ sauce makes a great marinade, a perfect dipping sauce for chicken tenders, or mix 50/50 with pizza sauce (or tomato sauce) to make a bbq chicken pizza!

Fave BBQ Recipes

BBQ sause makes a great dipping sauce for chicken tenders, perfect on most meats or good to mix 50/50 with pizza sauce (or tomato sauce) for bbq chicken pizza.

Did you make this homemade BBQ sauce? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

a jar of homemade bbq sauce with a brush
4.97 from 32 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

This homemade barbecue sauce can be customized to suit any dish. Just store it in the fridge and use it on chicken, ribs, or pork chops!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8


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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ onion finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tablespoon dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  • In a small saucepan on medium low heat, cook onion and garlic in oil until tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Add remaining ingredients and simmer 20 minutes or until thickened.


Makes about 2 cups. 
Store sauce in a tightly sealed mason jar or container. 
4.97 from 32 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 74 | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 504mg | Potassium: 194mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 536IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dip, Sauce
Cuisine American

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jar of Homemade BBQ Sauce with a brush and a title
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jar of Homemade BBQ Sauce and brushing sauce on chicken with writing


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About the author

Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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4.97 from 32 votes (25 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. you mention skipping high fructose corn syrup by making homemade bbq sauce but ketchup has high fructose corn syrup in it.

    1. You can find ketchup with no high fructose corn syrup if that is something you are looking for Michelle. I hope this helps!

  2. this took some homemade ketchup that was so vinegar it was unpalatable and made an outstanding BBQ sauce. I omitted the vinegar and the brown sugar since the ketchup already and honey and too much vinegar and left the rest as written and fantastic. thanks for saving 12 hours of crappy ketchup into 30 minutes of awesome BBQ.5 stars

  3. This is a really simple BBQ sauce that tastes incredible!!
    A couple drops of liquid smoke makes this perfect!!
    Thank you!5 stars

  4. I made your homemade BBQ sauce because I didn’t have enough of my own for the pork tenderloin recipe. It tasted delicious, but I only ended up with one cup, I didn’t even have to boil it for only two minutes because it was already thick. I couldn’t see where I had left anything out. I just added the BBQ sauce I had left to get the almost 2 cups I needed. Any ideas what I could have done wrong?
    Thank you4 stars

    1. I can’t say for sure why you would have ended up with only one cup Brenda. If following the recipe as written it should make close to two cups.

  5. I have used a variation of this recipe for over 60 years!! Instead of ketchup I use Heinz Chili sauce – it adds a whole new dimension of flavor. They now have the chunky Heinz and that is fantastic too. Thank you for posting your recipe as, over the years, I have tried so many variations I forgot the original ingredients – great to get back on track with the original, which not only fabulous and tasty, it is also quick and easy.5 stars

  6. Dear Holly,

    When I need a good recipe, your site is the first one I go to. I’ve tried many of your recipes and had great success with the majority of them. Well I have to get back to your homemade Barbecue Sauce now cooking and it smell so good. THANKS

    1. Thank you Susan, you made my day! Enjoy the BBQ – I too love the smell of my kitchen when I make it!

  7. I like adding some chipotle peppers or just the liquid to give it an extra punch. Homemade BBQ is much better than store bought and I dislike it a lot!

  8. Hi Holly!
    First off let me tell you my family loves your recipies. For this barbecue sauce recipe I had one question..
    I don’t have any molasses.. can I use brown sugar in place of the molasses or would you recommend using dark corn syrup instead? And how much just a couple tablespoons? Please help :) fellow lover of cooking <3 -Sky

    1. Sky, thank you, I’m so glad to hear you enjoy my recipes! I’ve only made the recipe as written. The molasses adds a nice flavor. Try omitting it and see how it tastes before adding anything else in its place.

      1. I also couldn’t find molasses in the store, so used treacle syrup instead, not sure how it changed the flavour though, but it was still lovely! Will definitely make it again. Most recipes these days I first come to your website and I usually find what I am looking for! Thank you for sharing all of these wonderful recipes.