BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (2024)

25 minutes

Home > Recipes > Condiments > Sauces > BBQ Sauce Recipe

4.93 from 95 votes

by Lisa Longley


posted: 08/06/23

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

Jump to Recipe

by Lisa Longley


posted: 08/06/23

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

Jump to Recipe

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.

BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (2)

Since first sharing my BBQ Sauce recipe with you in 2019, it has gotten rave reviews. Just like me, my readers find this sauce not only incredibly easy to make, but absolutely delicious.

In the last four years, I’ve added this sauce to so many different recipes (check out the list of recipes below), and without fail, it always becomes the star of the show. Just like so many others, one you make this homemade BBQ sauce, you will never look back.


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

How to Make BBQ Sauce

This is a brief overview of how to make this delicious recipe. For the full recipe with all of the ingredients find the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  1. Combine the ingredients. In a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients.
  2. Bring the sauce to a boil. After being over medium heat for a few minutes, large bubbles will start to appear.
  3. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Once the sauce starts to boil, turn down the heat to a simmer. You should see occasional and intermittent bubbles.
  4. Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes. This allows the sauce to thicken and the flavors to develop.
BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (3)

BBQ Sauce Ingredients

  • Brown Sugar: Not only does this add some sweetness to your sauce, a must in BBQ Sauce in my personal opinion, the sweetness also balances the acidity of the other ingredients.
  • Ketchup: Made with tomatoes, vinegar, and sugar, this also brings some acidity and great flavor to the sauce.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: This brings the great tang that I bet you didn’t even know you love in BBQ Sauce. Read more about this below.
  • Paprika: I generally keep regular paprika on hand and not smoked, so that is what I use here. That being said, smoked paprika would be fantastic in this.
  • Onion Powder: This is a great way of getting good onion flavor in the BBQ sauce without chunks of onion.
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Kosher Salt & Black Pepper
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Using Homemade BBQ Sauce

While BBQ Sauce is typically meant to go on meat after it has been throughly cooked, like in my Grilled Chicken Legs, I do use it as part of the cooking liquid often. Let me tell you, it makes for some pretty amazing recipes.

  • Crockpot Ribs
  • BBQ Chicken Nachos
  • Meatloaf
  • Crockpot Little Smokies
  • BBQ Pork Chops
  • BBQ Pulled Pork
  • Crock Pot Chicken Drumsticks
  • Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

Crock Pot Ribs

Crock Pot Ribs come together with our five star BBQ Sauce and the best Pork Rub for a tender fall of the bone recipe you will absolutely love.

view recipe

BBQ Sauce as a Marinade

I’m all about breaking rules. Especially when it comes to cooking. It should be a fun creative process that makes you really happy. So while you don’t typically use BBQ Sauce as a marinade, and you add it at the end as mentioned above, if you want to use this as a marinade, go for it!

Remember that with marinades we want to marinate meat for at least 30 minutes but not more than 24 hours as a general rule. There are lots of cuts of beef that require at least 6 hours of marinating time – like flank steak for example. The point of a marinate is to penetrate the outer layer of the meat, tenderize the meat, and give it flavor. Marinating for more than 24 hours will break down the meat in a way that will make it unappetizing.

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Vinegar Based BBQ Sauce

As mentioned above, 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.

That’s a lot of tang, and 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.

Storing 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.


Is BBQ sauce gluten free?

While this recipe is naturally gluten free, you need to ensure that the Worcestershire sauce (as well as the other ingredients you are using) you are using is gluten free. There are some brands on the market that do contain barley malt vinegar, which would make this recipe not gluten free.

Does BBQ sauce go bad?

Yes, it can go bad. See my tips above to ensure that your sauce recipe is still good.

Can I can this recipe?

I don’t have enough experience with canning to advise you on this and I suggest that you use this website as a guide.

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Other Great Homemade Recipes

  • Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Pizza Sauce

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

BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (8)

4.93 from 95 votes

BBQ Sauce Recipe

Serves: 10 servings

(tap # to scale)

Prep: 10 minutes minutes

Cook: 15 minutes minutes

Total: 25 minutes 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.

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  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar (319.5 grams) packed
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup (352.5 grams)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (119.29 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt


  • 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

BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (9)

did you make this

BBQ Sauce Recipe

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

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  • Buffalo Sauce
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BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (14)

BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (15)


MEAL PLAN LIKE A BOSSdownload my free top 10 easy dinner ebook!

BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (16)

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 and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Pam says

    BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (17)
    Fantastic flavor and super easy to make.


    • BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (18)Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad that you liked it, Pam!


  2. Caroline says

    BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (19)
    I made this BBQ sauce to try on ribs. I love trying different recipes know one would know was from scratch. When my family came in to eat them, they liked the ribs, but loved the sauce. I’ll be making it for now on. It’s so easy Thanks LISA,


    • BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (20)Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Caroline!


  3. Richard says

    This has an awesome flavour, it’s damn near perfect. The only thing for me is it’s a bit too sweet. Next time (and there will definitely be a next time) I will try reducing the sugar to about 200 g and see how that is. Thanks for the recipe 😁


  4. Tiffany K says

    BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (21)
    Made this in a whim real quick when we were out of BBQ sauce and now it’s requested by the family. Very simple but delicious recipe.


    • BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (22)Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad you like it as much as I do!


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BBQ Sauce Recipe (Simple & Easy!) (2024)
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