Who knew homemade BBQ sauce was so easy to make?! Plus it tastes amazing with the perfect sweet and spicy flavor. Ditch the store-bought stuff and make this simple recipe at home!
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Sweet BBQ Sauce
When I first made this recipe, it was because I was craving a BBQ chicken pizza and we ran out of the store-bought sauce. Little did I know it was so easy to make my own and I already had all of the ingredients on hand. Win!
If you’ve never made homemade barbecue sauce, you are missing out! It may sound a little intimidating at first, but believe me, it is SO simple to make. Plus this recipe has so much flavor and is the perfect combination of sweet and spicy.
You simply just heat all of the ingredients on the stove and let it simmer until it thickens. Then you’re left with a delicious homemade sauce that has amazing flavor. It tastes great on grilled chicken, chicken wings, ribs, pulled pork, meatballs…you name it. So many delicious ways to use it up including this BBQ meatloaf!
This recipe is easy to customize. If you like a sweeter BBQ sauce, add a little more sugar. If you like a little spice, add a few dashes of hot sauce. If you like it smokier, add a few dashes of liquid smoke.
- Ketchup: This is the base of the sauce.
- Tomato sauce: Just plain tomato sauce, no other spices or ingredients added.
- Brown sugar: This adds a rich, caramelized sweetness to the sauce.
- Honey: I prefer the flavor and sweetness that honey adds, but you could use molasses for a richer flavor.
- Apple cider vinegar: This is my favorite type to use, however red or rice vinegar will also work.
- Worcestershire: Add in a spoonful to add a hint of umami.
- Paprika: This adds that classic, smoky taste.
- Garlic powder: To give the sauce an extra boost of flavor.
How to Make BBQ Sauce
- MIX. Combine all ingredients in a medium pan over medium heat.
- BOIL. Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 20 to 30 minutes. Once the sauce has thickened, salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to add in more seasonings, like red pepper flakes or hot sauce.
- COOL. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Storing + Freezing
Once it has cooled, pour into a glass jar and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. You may also freeze if preferred. Pour into a zip lock bag and seal the air out. Then freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw in the fridge overnight or place the bag in a bowl of warm water for quicker alternative.
Favorite Ways to Use It
- Brush on grilled chicken, chicken wings or baked BBQ chicken
- To make crockpot baked beans
- To make slow cooker ribs or BBQ brisket
- As an appetizer to make BBQ meatballs, Hawaiian meatballs or little smokies
- To make a BBQ chicken pizza
- For dipping with chicken tenders or sweet potato fries
- Mixed with crockpot BBQ chicken or BBQ pulled pork
- Top your meatloaf with BBQ sauce
- To make a pulled pork quesadilla, BBQ nachos, BBQ chicken tacos or a BBQ chicken salad
Love homemade sauces? Make this kung pao sauce recipe, teriyaki sauce or buffalo sauce to stock your fridge, too!
More Homemade Sauces to Try
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Homemade BBQ Sauce
- 2 cups ketchup
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- ½ cup light brown sugar , packed
- ¼ cup honey , can sub with molasses
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar , or red or rice vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon paprika , more to taste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder , more to taste
Optional: S&P, red pepper flakes or dash of hot sauce, dash of liquid smoke
- Combine the ketchup, tomato sauce, brown sugar, honey, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, paprika and garlic powder in medium sauce pan over medium heat.
- Bring to a light boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until it has begun to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste. Add more sugar and seasonings if desired. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!
This is almost identical to the sauce I’ve made for years. Try adding about 1/4 tsp of nutmeg.
Great tip, I’ll have to try that sometime!
Just what I was looking for. Can’t wait to try this sauce out. Sounds absolutely amazing. Flavorful and so homemade, which is always the best!
So much better than store-bought!! Loved this recipe!