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Smoky, tangy, a little bit sweet and a little bit heat…that’s what makes the best BBQ sauce recipe. In this recipe, you’ll learn how to take simple and wholesome ingredients to make your own homemade BBQ sauce that the kids will love dunking your homemade chicken tenders and fries in. Smother it on ribs, top it on chicken for the grill, and stop buying that processed junk all while getting better flavor!

Best BBQ Sauce Recipe

Do you still buy your BBQ sauce from that sauce aisle in the supermarket? The next time you start to throw it into your cart, read the ingredients. If you have some in your pantry or fridge now, go read those ingredients and I bet you’ll throw it in the trash. You do NOT need high fructose corn syrup and preservatives in your life. But you CAN make your own best BBQ sauce without all the garbage. Not only is it simple but it’s also delicious!

Easy BBQ Sauce Recipe

You might already have all these things in your pantry already! Throw them together and faster than you can go to the supermarket and buy a processed bottle of BBQ sauce, you can have your very own fresh-made version.

BBQ Sauce Ingredients

  • Canned tomato sauce – Surprise! The base is not pre-made ketchup!
  • Apple cider vinegar – Adds that tangy taste. Necessary for any vinegar based BBQ sauce recipe.
  • Honey and molasses – Gives it that sweet balance.
  • Worcestershire sauce – Creates more depth in flavor.
  • Spices – Smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper all unite to bring out a smoky, pungent, and slightly spicy taste.

What is BBQ sauce made of?

Some homemade barbecue sauce has a tomato base, but in this barbecue sauce recipe, it’s from canned tomato sauce. Along with that, honey, molasses, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings like garlic powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper all give it that distinctive flavor.

How do you make your own barbecue sauce?

Homemade barbeque sauce is so simple! You’ll combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan and simmer on your stove until it’s ready. Restaurant quality, blue-ribbon style barbecue sauce can be yours without any nasty preservatives!

If you talk to a man about BBQ he will listen for hours.

Expert Tips and Tricks for the Perfect BBQ Sauce Every Time

  • Use raw organic honey. That junk you find in the supermarket isn’t real honey. Know the difference!
  • Taste it before adding more salt and pepper. This simple bbq sauce recipe calls for a pinch of each. You can surely add more if you wish, but give it a quick taste-test to see.
  • Let it simmer and lower it. Once it simmers on your stove, lower the heat and stir here and there. You want it to slowly come together.

How to Cook Homemade Barbecue Sauce

BBQ sauce is cooked on the stove top. This allows the honey and the molasses to melt in and brings all those beautiful flavors together to create the best barbecue sauce that is the perfect balance.

How do you make Texas BBQ sauce from scratch?

Texas BBQ sauce is a bit thinner than this sauce. It tends to use hot sauce and cumin to give it a distinctive flavor.

What does Texas BBQ sauce taste like?

Texas BBQ sauce is just a bit thinner than the stickier BBQ sauces. It has more of a tomato flavor as well.

What is the base of BBQ sauce?

Some barbecue sauce recipes use ketchup as the base for BBQ sauce but the best base is canned tomato sauce. This allows you to customize the flavor and make real BBQ sauce from scratch.

What is the best BBQ sauce?

The best BBQ sauce is the one you make yourself without additives or preservatives. Perhaps you’ll even find that this BBQ sauce is best though it is a matter of taste. Texans will favor a tomatoey flavor though southerners will find this more like what they’re used to.

What is the best BBQ sauce for ribs?

The best BBQ sauce for ribs is one that you can smother them in before cooking and have plenty leftover for dipping as you eat. In other words, this recipe will be the best BBQ sauce for ribs you’ll find.

How do you make southern BBQ sauce from scratch?

Southern BBQ sauce has a tang from apple cider vinegar along with a vivid sweetness, usually from honey or brown sugar. Following this recipe will give you a more southern BBQ experience.

Is BBQ sauce made with ketchup?

While some recipes call for the use of ketchup, in this recipe, you use canned tomato sauce. You skip all those gross preservatives and nasty things like high fructose corn syrup by not using ketchup.

How do you make BBQ sauce from scratch without ketchup?

Simple! Use canned tomato sauce. You get the tomato base you need without all the added preservatives.

How can you make BBQ sauce better?

BBQ sauce can be made better by skipping the additives. When you use ketchup, it’s already sweetened but canned tomato sauce is pure and simple, letting you infuse it with honey, molasses, and all the other seasonings to give it a taste of its own.

What goes well with BBQ Sauce

Goodness, I could go on all day about what goes well with BBQ sauce! Homemade chicken tenders, BBQ chicken, anything on the grill, ribs, burgers, sandwiches, fries…there are endless ways to apply your BBQ sauce.

How to Store BBQ Sauce

Your BBQ sauce is best stored in a mason jar or another airtight container. Keep it in the fridge, but let it come to room temperature first before storing it.

How Long Does BBQ Sauce Last?

This homemade BBQ sauce will be good for up to a week in your fridge. I recommend not making more than you need for the week unless you freeze it.

Can You Freeze BBQ Sauce?

Yes! That’s the best way to make sure your BBQ sauce doesn’t go to waste. Put it in an airtight container and tuck it in the freezer.

How to Reheat BBQ Sauce?

Just let it thaw out in your fridge overnight. Your BBQ sauce will be ready to use in no time!

Watch How To Make BBQ Sauce (Video)

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 64
This authentic and bold homemade BBQ sauce recipe is the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, smokey, and tangy. Its super easy to make but be ready for everyone to ask you for the recipe!


  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • black pepper (pinch)
  • sea salt (pinch)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper


  • Whisk all the ingredients together iron a medium saucepan, then cook on medium-high heat until the sauce reaches a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Use the sauce immediately or refrigerate up to 1 week.
Calories: 64kcal
Course: Seasoning
Cuisine: American


Calories: 64kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 97mg | Potassium: 232mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 321IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg

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Author Megan Miller

I’m a mom of two, food and wine lover, and recipe creation enthusiast. Good food brings families together. Which is why I’m devoted to sharing my best recipes that are simple enough for even the beginner cook that your family will love!

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