The easiest, BEST Homemade BBQ sauce that’s perfect for marinating, dipping, and grilling. A combination of smokey, tangy, thick and sweet flavors that will have your mouth smiling with every bite.

The serving options for Homemade BBQ Sauce are endless but include; Pulled pork sandwiches, Chicken Drummies, BBQ Chicken Pizza, and BBQ Chicken Tacos.

BBQ sauce in a glass jar with a basting brush in it.

After long days in the pool during the summer, there’s nothing I love more than firing up the grill for dinner! I’m convinced that grilling is the best way to cook every meal during the summer. I love that there is no mess of dishes afterwards, and you just cant beat that smokey-grill taste.

What I love about this BBQ Sauce Recipe:

  • The perfect flavor combo. It has a little tang and sweetness, and a little smokey flavor that I can’t get enough of. Liquid smoke helps to add that amazing smokey flavor.
  • Made with pantry staples. Basic ingredients including tomato sauce, ketchup, sugar, molasses, red wine vinegar, and spices.  The only thing you may not have on hand is liquid smoke, which is inexpensive and easy to find. Use liquid smoke in fajitas, baked beans, and Instant Pot Ribs.

A tray with the ingredients needed for homemade BBQ sauce.

How to Make Homemade BBQ Sauce:

1. Combine ingredients.  Add all ingredients to a large saucepan and mix together until smooth.

2. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or up to one hour, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool. The sauce will thicken slightly as it cools.

A sauce pan with the ingredients for BBQ sauce added, then mixed together and simmering.

3. Serve.  Slather this stuff on just about anything or store in an air tight container or jar in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Double it?  I love to make this sauce and keep it in the fridge for several weeks. Depending on your family size you could double the recipe to make a bigger batch. It’s delicious for dipping/marinating grilled chicken, spooning on hamburgers or ribs, or dipping as a sauce. It’s my go-to when I don’t have a dinner plan.

Adaptations:

  • Spicy BBQ Sauce: Add ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper  Taste, and add more if desired.
  • Honey BBQ Sauce: Add ¼ cup honey.
  • Make it less sweet:  Cut the sugar in half.
  • For BBQ ranch: add a couple tablespoons to homemade ranch.

How to Use Your BBQ Sauce:

Make Ahead And Freezing Instructions:

To make ahead: Store in a container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

To freeze: allow to cool completely and store in a freezer safe bag or container for up to 3 months.  Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

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Recipe

BBQ sauce in a glass jar with a basting brush in it.
Prep 5 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 25 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Video

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 2/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons hickory flavored liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions
 

  • Add all ingredients to a large saucepan and mix together until smooth.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or up to one hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool. The sauce will thicken slightly as it cools.
  • Store in an air tight container or jar in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Notes

Makes about 2.5 cups sauce
To freeze: allow to cool completely and store in a freezer safe bag or container for up to 3 months.  Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Calories: 289kcalCarbohydrates: 70gProtein: 1gSodium: 1158mgPotassium: 749mgFiber: 1gSugar: 66gVitamin A: 675IUVitamin C: 6.4mgCalcium: 91mgIron: 2.3mg

Did You Make This Recipe?

Tag @TastesBetterFromScratch on Instagram with #TastesBetterFromScratch!

Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

Have you tried this recipe?!

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

I originally shared this recipe June 2017. Updated June 2020 with process photos and additional tips.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious sauce. There’s enough vinegar for this to keep in the fridge for a year or more, so don’t throw this away after three weeks like the recipe says.

    1. That’s what I was saying when I read it, I thought why not replace that with 3/4cup crush strained tomato, 1/4 cup rye and and a teaspoon of malt vinegar?

  2. 5 stars
    I have a family of onion fans so we tweaked your recipe by adding 2 chopped fine white onions cooked in half butter half good olive oil until soft and just starting to carmelize. Then drained and added to the sauce recipe.
    We luv your recipe and even add half cup when mixing up the ground beef for burgers.

  3. 5 stars
    Absolutely deeelish! I tend to improvise on the recipe a bit, depending on what we have available at the time, but the result is always superb. For example, sometimes I use a mix of red wine and apple cider vinegar, or even some malt or balsamic vinegar. Liquid smoke is hard to come by here in Belgium. Last time we were in the U.S. we got a bottle of hickory and a bottle of applewood flavour, so I tend to alternate between the two. I’ve also added a few splashes of Worcesterhire sauce and Mexican chipotle sauce.
    I would also give a +1 to the comment above about storage. I double the recipe and keep it in an airtight tupperware in the fridge and it kept fine for 6 months!

  4. 5 stars
    My first time trying homemade BBQ sauce. And it tastes divine. Easy to follow recipe with ingredients that are in my pantry already!

  5. 5 stars
    Absolutely love this recipe! Thanks for posting. I am going to use it on a pizza made with chicken crust. Sooo good!

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