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.
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.
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.
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.
- Spicy BBQ Sauce: Add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper Taste, and add more if desired.
- Honey BBQ Sauce: Add 1/4 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:
- BBQ Marinade: Marinate grilled chicken, pulled pork, and ribs or spread it on top of any bbq meats during the grilling process.
- Condiment: Spread it over the top of your homemade nachos, salads, tacos, meatloaf, or on the bun of your juicy hamburger or chicken burger.
- Dipping sauce: dip meats and vegetables in it or stir a couple tablespoons into your homemade ranch for a BBQ ranch twist.
- Pizza sauce: spread it over bbq chicken pizza crust or create your own favorite pizza and drizzle it over top.
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.
The Best Homemade BBQ Sauce
- 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
- 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.
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.