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BBQ Sauce Recipe

4.87 from 29 votes
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posted: 06/15/19

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

This BBQ Sauce Recipe is easy to throw together and absolutely delicious! Fast to make and with ingredients you already have on hand, you are going to make this homemade bbq sauce all the time.

Pair this BBQ sauce recipe with my Chicken Rub for the perfect grilled bbq chicken.

up close of bbq sauce recipe in a wide mouth ball jar with it dripping down the side and grilled bbq chicken in the background

The other day, I shared with my my Chicken Rub recipe, which is a great dry rub that makes chicken on the grill so flavorful. And if you wanted to stop with just that, you absolutely could. But! If you don’t, I have for you this amazing homemade bbq sauce that compliments the rub perfectly. Made with ingredients that I bet you already have, this sauce comes together in under 30 minutes and is perfect for all your summer grilling!

READER REVIEW

“This is the only BBQ sauce you will ever need, better than store bought and so easy to do!”

How to Make BBQ Sauce

  1. Combine Ingredients: Combine all of the ingredients in a sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a boil: After being over medium heat for a few minutes, large bubbles will start to appear.
  3. Reduce to a simmer: You should turn the heat down after it boils and allow it to simmer, seeing only intermittent bubbles.
  4. Simmer for 15 minutes: This allows the sauce to thicken and the flavors to develop.

For the full instructions and measurements be sure to see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

BBQ Sauce Ingredients

  • brown sugar
  • ketchup
  • apple cider vinegar (see note)
  • paprika
  • onion powder
  • black pepper
  • worcestershire sauce
  • kosher salt
brushing homemade bbq sauce recipe onto a chicken drumstick with an orange brush

How to Use This Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

Traditionally, bbq sauce is meant to go on the meat after it has been completely cooked. It isn’t really meant to be part of the cooking process. You can see this in the making of my Honey BBQ Ribs.

That said, I do have two recipes in which I use BBQ sauce as the part of the liquid for cooking, and they did in fact turn out amazing.

Can you guys tell that I have a thing for honey bbq?

Can You Use this BBQ Sauce as a Marinade?

You guys, I’m all about breaking rules. Especially when it comes to cooking. It should be a fun creative process that makes you really happy.

Generally speaking, no. You don’t use BBQ Sauce as a marinade. It goes on after the cooking has happened.

If you do want to use this bbq sauce recipe as a marinade, don’t allow the meat to sit for more than a half hour. There is quite a bit of vinegar in this recipe, which acts as an acid and will break down the meat. If you let it sit too long it will break down the meat too much.

rectangular white plate piled with chicken drumsticks covered in easy homemade bbq sauce recipe

Apple Cider Vinegar in BBQ Sauce

Speaking of vinegar, lets talk about it. The tang in this recipe comes from apple cider vinegar. In fact, in the 2 1/2 cups that this recipe makes, 1/2 a cup is vinegar. Plus you have the acidity of the ketchup.

That’s a lot of tang guys. I love the flavor of it. I think it balances the the sweetness and the smokiness of the other flavors perfectly. That said, if you are worried it will be too acidic, I would start with 1/4 cup, taste it and add more vinegar until you get to taste you want or 1/2 cup, whichever comes first.

How Long Can You Store BBQ Sauce

The vinegar and sugar in this recipe both act as natural preservatives, so this easy homemade bbq sauce recipe should keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Things to keep in mind:

  • It should be stored in an air tight container.
  • Keep it in the refrigerator.
  • If the sauce looks as though it has separated, it should be tossed.
  • Obviously if there are signs of mold it should be discarded.
  • When using this homemade bbq sauce avoid brushing cooked meat, and then dipping the brush back in the container, introducing bacteria to the sauce. Rather, pour some from the jar into a bowl and brush from there.

Can this Recipe be Canned?

This recipe has a high acidity level and has not been tested with canning.

spoon dipping into a mason jar full of easy homemade bbq sauce

Other Great Homemade Recipes

If you try this recipe, come back and let me know what you think! I love hearing from you!

up close of bbq sauce recipe in a wide mouth ball jar with it dripping down the side and grilled bbq chicken in the background
4.87 from 29 votes

BBQ Sauce Recipe

Serves: 10 servings
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
This BBQ Sauce Recipe is easy to throw together and absolutely delicious! Fast to make and with ingredients you already have on hand, you are going to make this homemade bbq sauce all the time.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar packed
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

Instructions

  • Combine all the ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium heat.
  • Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serving: 0.25cup Calories: 167kcal (8%) Carbohydrates: 43g (14%) Protein: 1g (2%) Sodium: 577mg (25%) Potassium: 177mg (5%) Sugar: 40g (44%) Vitamin A: 700IU (14%) Vitamin C: 1.7mg (2%) Calcium: 340mg (34%) Iron: 0.4mg (2%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
up close of bbq sauce recipe in a wide mouth ball jar with it dripping down the side and grilled bbq chicken in the background

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BBQ Sauce Recipe

I’d love to see what you made! Tag me @lisasimplejoy and hashtag it #simplejoyrecipes!

Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions

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  1. Jean says

    5 stars
    Love this bbq sauce recipe. It is now the only one I use. It’s the sauce I now toss with our pulled pork. The only changes from the recipe I make: dark brown sugar and a combination of paprika and smoked paprika. Try it. You won’t be disappointed. Thanks Lisa.

    • Lisa Longley says

      YES! I am just working on a pulled pork recipe using this and a homemade pork rub. So good!

  2. Kelly says

    How much sauce does this recipe make? I’m looking to use it as part of a recipe & I need a cup of BBQ sauce for the recipe. Thank you

    • Lisa Longley says

      It makes 2 1/2 cups.

  3. Nancy Shamatanga says

    Thank you for sharing

  4. Susan says

    I love this recipe! I use 1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 honey but that’s the only modification I make. YUM!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad you enjoy it!

  5. Abby says

    5 stars
    FANTASTIC….QUICK & EASY!!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad you like it!

  6. Patti says

    5 stars
    I love this recipe. I’ve been making it for quite a while now and don’t purchase store bought BBQ sauce anymore. I use 1 tsp. Paprika and 1 tsp. Smoky paprika, to give it a hint of smokiness.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad you like it!

  7. Sarah Pridemore says

    I’m not a big bbq fan, but my family of guys do! I made a Boston butt for dinner and realized I didn’t have bbq sauce! (Not a staple in my kitchen lol) Your recipe saved dinner and I have to say, was pretty good. A little tangy (no offense, I find spaghetti sauce too tangy!), but had a nice flavor and was easy to make and my guys were pleased. So a big plus. . Thank you for your recipe!!

    • Lisa Longley says

      No offense taken! Everyone has different tastes. Just cut back on the apple cider vinegar next time. And for your spaghetti sauce, try this recipe. It has a little sugar to balance out that tang.

  8. Deanna says

    5 stars
    Made this Barbq sauce with your Slow cooker Pork Ribs recipe it’s a keeper for sure. Wow talk about falling off the bone. I plan to try it this summer with chicken and pork chops on the Barbq..
    thanks for sharing

    Deanna

    • Lisa Longley says

      Deana, I’m so happy that you liked it!

  9. M Piazza says

    This BBQ sauce is truly the BEST! My family enjoyed it on our beef back ribs.
    Thank you!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so happy that your family enjoyed it!

  10. Erik says

    5 stars
    This is an easy to make recipe that tastes great. I can easily change up the flavors with this recipe (adding honey, Gochujang paste, etc.) as well to add some variety. Thanks for sharing it!

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