Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

This Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe is quick and easy to make with simple ingredients. This barbecue sauce is a little spicy, slightly sweet and perfectly tangy!

Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe, in a jar with a spoon. Make ahead for quick meals!

If you’ve ever wanted to make your own BBQ sauce from scratch, then this recipe is for you! It is so easy, simple and fast – 15 minutes is all it takes!

This homemade BBQ sauce is the best slathered on grilled chicken. It’s also perfect to serve with ribs, as a spread with my best Turkey Burger Recipe, or as a dip for chicken tenders. This BBQ sauce gives the best flavor to Crockpot BBQ Chicken and Instant Pot BBQ Chicken.  The possibilities really are limitless for what you can serve with this delicious homemade barbecue sauce! And, if you love homemade BBQ sauce you will also love my honey mustard sauce recipe. 

You can make a batch of this BBQ sauce recipe ahead of time and store it in your refrigerator for busy weeknights. When you’re not sure what to make for dinner, use it as a marinade for chicken for the grill!

Thick, tangy homemade barbecue sauce in a jar.

Healthy BBQ Sauce Recipe

Many homemade BBQ sauce recipes call for using ketchup as the base. Instead of ketchup, I use a combination of tomato paste and water to make a homemade BBQ sauce that is thick and rich. You can adjust the amount of water to make your BBQ sauce thinner, if you want.

You can swap the brown sugar in this recipe for honey to make honey BBQ sauce. I tested the recipe this way and the honey flavor came through in the BBQ sauce, so use brown sugar or honey depending on your flavor preferences.

The key to the best BBQ sauce is the flavor! I’ve found the perfect combination of spices and seasonings to make homemade BBQ sauce that is flavorful and tangy. It has just the right balance of sweet and spicy.

Homemade BBQ sauce in a saucepan with a spoon.

How to Make BBQ Sauce

This homemade BBQ sauce recipe is made with pantry ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen right now.

Making this homemade BBQ sauce is so simple! You’ll start by combining all of the ingredients in a small saucepan. In addition to the tomato paste and water, you’ll need brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce and some common spices and seasonings.

Heat the BBQ sauce on the stove and let it simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to blend the flavors together. Stir it often as it simmers, to help the BBQ sauce cook evenly.

After simmering, you can either use your BBQ sauce right away or let it cool and store it for using later.

Sweet and tangy homemade barbecue sauce in a mason jar with a spoon.

Recipes to use Barbecue Sauce

Cooking Tips for this Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

  • You can add more water to thin the BBQ sauce if it is too thick.
  • If you like a smoky flavor in your BBQ sauce, you can double the amount of smoked paprika or add 1 or 2 teaspoons of liquid smoke along with the other ingredients. I left the liquid smoke out of the main recipe because I wanted to keep it simple, and liquid smoke is not something that I keep in my kitchen.
  • This recipe makes about 1 3/4 cups of BBQ sauce. You can double the recipe to make a bigger batch.
  • You can make this barbecue sauce ahead and refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Or freeze it for up to 3 months.

BBQ Sauce

homemade bbq sauce in a jar with a spoon
Print Pin
5 from 2 votes
This Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe is quick and easy to make with simple ingredients. This barbecue sauce is a little spicy, slightly sweet and perfectly tangy!
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Keyword barbecue sauce, bbq sauce recipe, homemade bbq sauce, how to make bbq sauce
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Servings 14 servings
Calories 39kcal


  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 cup water (plus more as needed to reach desired consistency)
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • teaspoon onion powder
  • 1-2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes (optional, for spice)


  • Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring or whisking often. Then reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add more water to thin the barbecue sauce if it is too thick. I usually add up to ½ cup more water to reach my desired consistency.


  • Store BBQ sauce for up to 1 week in an airtight container in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.
  • For a smoky flavor, you double the amount of smoked paprika and/or add 1-2 teaspoons of liquid smoke.
  • For sweeter BBQ sauce add another tablespoon or two of brown sugar.
  • For tangier BBQ sauce add another tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.


Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 39kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 153mg | Potassium: 187mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 224IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
Tried this recipe?Mention @kristines_kitchen or tag #kristineskitchenblog!
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Recipe retested, improved and updated 5/20/21.

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