ingredients
  • Chili powder 1 tbsp
  • Hungarian paprika 1 tbsp
  • turmeric or Coleman's dry mustard 1 tsp
  • Ground cinnamon 1 tsp
  • Brown sugar 1/4 cup
  • Ketchup 1 cup
  • Apple cider vinegar 1/4 cup
  • Water 1/4 cup
  • Molasses 2 tbsp
  • Worcestershire Sauce 1 tbsp
  • mashed garlic 2 cloves
  • coarsely ground cracked black pepper 1 tsp
  • ground cloves (optional) 1/4 tsp

BBQ sauce is one of those things that you just have to have in your home. There are so many uses for it. Add it to your favorite burgers or hot dogs, use it for a chip dip, or use it to cook ribs. This Homemade BBQ sauce is a delicious blend of punchy flavors: ketchup for umami flavor, sugar for sweetness, apple cider for a touch of acidity, and a bunch of spices to amp up the flavor. This BBQ sauce is a classic recipe, but you get many different variations: South Carolina, Texas-Style, Korean, White Alabama, Kansas-style, and more. It’s smoky, tangy, sweet… basically everything your tastebuds will love. You might want to drink the sauce by the gallons. But don’t take our word for it, see for yourself.

Barbecue Sauce Ingredients

There are a few quintessential ingredients that you should have in your BBQ sauce:

Ketchup – this not only provides tangy sweetness but is also the bulk of the sauce. It’s also where the umami (or ‘meaty’) flavor comes from.

Apple cider vinegar – this adds the tanginess to offset the sweetness from the ketchup and sugar.

Brown sugar – this is what sweetens the sauce to get that classic sweetness you’d expect in a BBQ sauce. You can add less sugar if you want.

Spices and seasonings – this recipe needs all the spices to add different layers of flavor. Make sure you don’t leave any of them out!

How to make the Best BBQ Sauce

This recipe couldn’t be easier. All the ingredients are added to a saucepan and cooked for 30 minutes until the mixture is smooth, thick, and glossy.

Tips for the Best BBQ Sauce

– The chili powder in this recipe is not the same as cayenne pepper. US chili powder refers to a mixture of different spices. To make your own, combine 2 tablespoons paprika, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ¾ teaspoon onion powder, and ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (option if you want some heat).

– To thicken the sauce, simmer it for an additional 15 minutes.

– Use smoked paprika if you like a lot of smokiness in your homemade BBQ sauce.

– Don’t cook the sauce over high heat. Rather, let it cook gently over low heat (a splatter screen might be useful to prevent splattering).

How to use BBQ Sauce

– Slather this sauce on chicken and bake in the oven (this marinade works for a whole chicken, chicken breast, and even better on chicken wings).

– Use it on pork ribs, especially in crockpot. It will be packed with flavor and the meat will fall off the bone.

– The sauce can be used for any pulled pork or chicken recipes.

– It makes a great dipping sauce for chips, nachos, and even pretzels.

– Add the sauce to sloppy joes burger or hot dog… basically anything!

Barbecue Sauce Variations

– To make it sweeter, add more brown sugar, and simmer for an extra 5 minutes.

– Add more apple cider vinegar if you like it tangy.

– For a spicier BBQ sauce, add more chili powder and an extra dash of cayenne pepper.

– Make it sugar-free by using a sugar replacement (also suitable for keto).

– If you want a vegan BBQ sauce, swap the Worcestershire sauce for a vegan alternative.

How to store Homemade BBQ Sauce

Allow the cooked BBQ sauce to cool to room temperature. Transfer to a clean jar and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. You can also freeze the sauce. Pour the sauce in a Ziploc bag and freeze flat in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the freezer before using.

Instructions

Add the ketchup to a small saucepan over medium heat.

Add the Hungarian paprika, turmeric (or dry mustard), ground cumin, ground cloves (if using), and brown sugar.

Then add the apple cider vinegar, water, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, mashed garlic, and black pepper.

Stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat to low and continue cooking for 30 minutes, while stirring occasionally.

Notes

You can also add your own twist to this sauce, by adding some of your favorite fruit preserves. It’s a great way to use leftover jam.