Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

By Rena Awada | Updated On January 5, 2024

This simple and Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce is made from scratch with a simple mix of ingredients you already have at home! This is the best BBQ sauce recipe with the perfect balance of tanginess and sweetness. Making it at home means you can customize the flavors according to your taste- and you know exactly what’s in it.

top view of a jar with bbq sauce and a spoonful over the jar


Make the best Homemade BBQ Sauce by combining cider vinegar, ketchup, smoked paprika, brown sugar, onion powder, ground cumin, salt, and black pepper. This versatile and gluten-free BBQ sauce is an easy recipe to follow and is perfect for Grilled BBQ Chicken Skewers, 15-minute BBQ Shrimp, or even Air Fryer BBQ Cauliflower Wings

Why You Will love this recipe

  • Easy Preparation: Simple steps and minimal cooking time make it a breeze to whip up.
  • Customizable: Adjust ingredients to suit personal taste preferences for a personalized touch.
  • Versatile Usage: Perfect for adding flavor to grilled meats, vegetables, and sandwiches. You may even use it as a dipping sauce!
top view of a jar with homemade BBQ sauce over a wooden board

Ingredients Needed

This simple BBQ sauce recipe is made with the simplest ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Adds a tangy acidity to balance the sweetness.
  • Ketchup: Provides a tomato-based foundation, adding sweetness and a thick consistency. Don’t like ketchup? you can use tomato sauce in place of ketchup.
  • Smoked Paprika: Infuses a smoky, earthy flavor that goes perfect with grilled meats.
  • Brown Sugar: Adds sweetness, complementing the acidity and smokiness. You may use honey or maple syrup. We prefer brown sugar.
  • Onion Powder: Adds savory onion flavor while still keeping the homemade BBQ sauce smooth.
  • Ground Cumin: Adds warm, earthy flavors to the simple BBQ sauce.
  • Salt: Brings out all the flavors in the sauce.
  • Ground Black Pepper: Adds a tiny bit of heat.
ingredients laid out to make homemade bbq sauce

How to Make This Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

Combine Ingredients: In a small pot or saucepan, add cider vinegar, ketchup, smoked paprika, brown sugar, onion powder, ground cumin, salt, and ground black pepper.

Simmer Over Medium Heat: Allow the mixture to simmer over medium heat for about 6-8 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld and the sauce to achieve the desired consistency.

Cool Completely: Once simmered, let the BBQ sauce cool completely.

Store or Serve: Transfer the sauce into a jar for convenient storage, where it can be kept for up to 2 weeks, or serve the homemade BBQ sauce immediately on your favorite grilled dishes.

Expert Tips

  • Keep an eye on the sauce while simmering, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking or burning. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer.
  • Allow the sauce to cool completely before storing or using. This helps the flavors settle and ensures a better texture.
  • Feel free to adjust ingredient quantities to match your taste preferences.
  • Want it a bit spicy? Add in a teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this easy homemade BBQ sauce ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the sauce in advance. The flavors often improve after sitting for a day or two. Just store it properly in the refrigerator and reheat it if needed.

How can I make this BBQ sauce more spicy?

Try adding a dash of cayenne pepper or your favorite hot sauce to make this simple BBQ sauce a bit spicy.

How can I make this BBQ sauce more sweet or more tangy?

Adjust the amounts of the brown sugar or the apple cider vinegar if you want to make your sauce more sweet or more tangy.

top view of spoonful of bbq sauce

Serving Suggestions

This easy homemade BBQ sauce goes well on so many different dishes! Add to grilled chicken breasts, chicken thighs, shrimp, veggies, or salmon. Here are some of our favorites:

a spoonful of bbq sauce top view

Storage Recommendations

Save this simple BBQ sauce to use in future meals in a variety of ways:

  • Refrigerate: Store the homemade BBQ sauce in a clean, airtight jar, mason jar, or container in the refrigerator. It can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
  • Freeze: For longer storage, consider freezing the sauce in a freezer-safe container. Allow some space for expansion, and thaw it in the refrigerator when ready to use.

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top view of spoonful or bbq sauce

Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce

This Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce with the perfect balance of tanginess and sweetness is made with simple ingredients you already have at home!
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Course: condiment
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 36kcal
Author: Rena

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Apple cider vinegar
  • cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup brown sugar or honey
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Add all the above ingredients into a small pot or saucepan.
  • Allow it to simmer over medium heat for about 6-8 minutes.
  • Next, let it cool completely and store it in a jar for up to 2 weeks or serve as needed

Notes

  • Makes: 1½ cups
  • Each serving is 2 tablespoons
  • Stir occasionally while simmering to prevent sticking; adjust heat for a gentle simmer.
  • Cool sauce completely before storing for settled flavors and better texture.
  • Adjust ingredient quantities to match taste preferences.
  • Refrigerate the BBQ sauce in an airtight jar for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition

Calories: 36kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 317mg | Potassium: 67mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 236IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.3mg
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