How to Make BBQ Sauce

5 from 2 votes

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure.

Easy, customizable and quick, this homemade bbq sauce recipe is the winner! You’ve got to try it for your summer grilling. And there’re endless ways you can flavor this basic version.

Delicious flavor ideas are included below.

Why you’ll love this recipe:

If you’re picky when it comes bbq sauces, I highly encourage you to try this recipe.

Most barbecue sauces on the market are too sweet to my taste. Don’t get me wrong I reach for a bottle of bbq sauce at the store more often than not!

BUT it’s quite a treat when I make a homemade version to tailor to my own taste with just the right amount of sweet and tangy!

Years ago, I landed on my favorite youtuber Laura Vitale’s recipe. And I make it often with couple of teeny-tiny tweaks to adjust to my preferences and we absolutely loved it!

Ingredient Notes:

While the ingredient list may seem long and daunting, I can assure you most of them are spices and basic pantry staples that you most likely have on hand.

  • Vegetable oil is best for this recipe because it’s neutral and doesn’t have any flavors, like olive oil does.
  • Shallot – I prefer shallots because of its mild flavor, but you may substitute regular onion.
  • Spices – The perfect blend of spices for well-rounded flavor!
  • Ketchup – The base of the sauce, and I recommend getting one that you love! My go-to is Heinz ketchup.
  • Brown sugar – You may substitute maple syrup, honey, or even molasses for brown sugar.
A close-up shot of jar of bbq sauce from the top.

How to make homemade barbecue sauce:

  1. Saute shallots and garlic in hot oil until nice and fragrant.
  2. Then add spices and saute everything for a minute or so, stirring constantly, to bloom the spices, which basically means the spices will get more fragrant and flavorful!
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes, or longer if you like thicker sauce.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Flavor Variations:

Once you’ve made this basic version, try different variations. Here’re a few ideas to get you going:

  • Pineapple bbq sauce – instead of water add pineapple juice
  • Bourbon bbq sauce – instead of water add bourbon
  • Spicy bbq sauce – add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or your favorite hot sauce to taste
  • Honey bbq sauce – add 2-3 tablespoons honey
  • Smoky bbq sauce – add 1-2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • Chipotle bbq sauce – add 1-2 teaspoons chipotle seasoning

And you can always mix and match flavors too. Smoky chipotle bbq sauce, anyone? Or spicy pineapple bbq sauce? Honey sriracha would be addicting! You get the idea…

A jar of bbq sauce on a grill trey with a brush on the side

Serving Ideas:

This homemade bbq sauce is pretty versatile and you can use it in many, many dishes. Here’re a few of my favorites:

Storing Tips:

And if you’re wondering how long you can store homemade bbq sauce, it’s good for up to 3 months in the fridge. Due to vinegar content, homemade bbq sauce can be stored for a while in the fridge. But I doubt it’ll last that long.

Now tell me what’s your favorite bbq dish? If I had to choose one, baby back ribs would be my choice.


A jar of bbq sauce with a brush
5 from 2 votes

The Best Homemade BBQ Sauce

Easy, customizable and quick, this homemade bbq sauce recipe is the winner! And there're endless ways you can flavor this basic version.
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 3 cups


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or canola oil
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 2 garlic cloves pressed
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (50g) brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat and add onion and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until softened.
  • Stir in spices and cook for a minute or so, until fragrant.
  • Add ketchup, water, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Bring it to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium low and simmer the sauce for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Tips & Notes

Store in airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 months.


Servings: 1 batch
Calories: 1069kcal
Carbohydrates: 193g
Protein: 9g
Fat: 31g
Sugar: 162g
Sodium: 4566mg
Course: Condiments
Cuisine: American

Hi, I’m Shinee!

Welcome! I’m so happy you’re here! I believe anyone can cook restaurant-quality food at home! And my goal is to help you to become a confident cook with my easy-to-follow recipes with lots of tips and step-by-step photos.

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Made this? Rate this recipe:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


    1. Oh bbq pulled pork is always a great idea!! Let me know if you try this recipe, Alyssa. Thanks for stopping by!