This Homemade BBQ Sauce is made entirely from-scratch in just 20 minutes! Use it in pulled pork, on grilled chicken, or as a dipping sauce. Recipe includes a how-to video!
Quick & Easy Barbecue Sauce
Have you ever made your own homemade BBQ sauce? If I had to sum up the process in just two words, I’d have to go with incredibly easy. And don’t get me started on the flavor! Seriously, one taste of the homemade stuff and you’ll swear off the store-bought version forever.
My barbecue sauce recipe has the perfect balance of sweet, smoky, and tangy. While it goes great with pretty much anything, I actually developed this recipe for pulled pork! My easy instant pot pulled pork recipe will be coming later in the week, and it’s the perfect pairing (with homemade burger buns, of course!). If you just can’t wait that long, you can always use this sauce for my pulled chicken though!
Why You Should Make Your Own Barbecue Sauce:
- Takes less than 20 minutes and comes together in one pot–it truly couldn’t be easier!
- Keeps well for over a week in the fridge.
- My recipe is 100% from-scratch; while others use ketchup for the base, this one does not.
- Can be used in any recipe where barbecue sauce is called for. It’s delicious brushed over chicken, for dipping, or really anything!
What You Need
There are a lot of ingredients in the photo above, but don’t let that intimidate you! I’d bet you have most of them on hand already, and each plays an important role in balancing the flavor of this barbecue sauce. Here are the heavy hitters:
- Honey and brown sugar. A blend of the two gives the best flavor. The brown sugar adds just the right notes of molasses, and honey adds a sweet depth of flavor.
- Apple cider vinegar. This provides a tangy flavor and is one of the essential ingredients in barbecue sauce. White wine vinegar could also work, but apple cider is my preference.
- Smoked paprika. This gives the sauce the *perfect* smoky flavor. Regular paprika will not work the same way, so stick to smoked.
- Cayenne pepper. For a perfect punch of heat, I add just a pinch of cayenne. It complements the sweet and smoky flavors so nicely!
SAM’S TIP: I use chicken stock for the liquid component in my barbecue sauce, but you could always use chicken broth or even beef broth instead.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Homemade BBQ Sauce
- Whisk together all ingredients except chicken broth in a medium saucepan. While still whisking, slowly pour in your chicken broth and stir until incorporated.
- Stir over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves, then increase the heat to medium and bring the sauce to a simmer.
- Simmer the sauce for 10-15 minutes until the mixture thickens, adding a lid if needed (but don’t completely cover it).
- Once it’s thickened to your desired consistency, pour the sauce into a container and let it cool.
SAM’S TIP: Adding a lid to prevent sauce splatters is fine, but just make sure to leave some space for the steam to escape. This will allow your barbecue sauce to continue to reduce and thicken.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your barbecue sauce will last for up to two weeks when stored in a sealed container in the fridge. I like to keep mine in a wide mouth mason jar for easy spooning, brushing, and pouring.
Yes! Unfortunately I’m not familiar with canning homemade BBQ sauce, but you can follow this canning guide for helpful tips.
Absolutely! You’ll want to just double or triple all of the ingredients to do so.
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Homemade BBQ Sauce
- 5 Tablespoons tomato paste (76g)
- 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons dark brown sugar firmly packed
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup chicken stock (236ml)
- In a small or medium-sized saucepan, combine all ingredients except chicken stock and whisk together to combine.5 Tablespoons tomato paste, 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 3 Tablespoons dark brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons honey, 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 Tablespoon worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon ground mustard, 1 teaspoon table salt, ½ teaspoon ground pepper, ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Gradually whisk in chicken stock until completely combined.1 cup chicken stock
- Turn stovetop heat to medium-low and whisk occasionally until sugar is dissolved (about 3 minutes).
- Increase heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until barbecue sauce is thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Note that the sauce has a tendency to splatter as it cooks and thickens, to keep your kitchen tidy and your skin and clothes unscathed, you can place a lid crookedly over the pot, leaving a gap on one edge for steam to escape.
- Allow sauce to cool then use as desired or in any recipe where barbecue sauce is called for.
StoringStore in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.