Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Yields: About 2 cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes



  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar


  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 2 tablespoons molasses (optional, but adds rich depth)

Flavor Boosters:

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for a kick)


  • Combine: In a medium saucepan, whisk together all ingredients.
  • Simmer: Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Reduce and Thicken: Let the sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until it reduces slightly and thickens.
  • Taste and Adjust: Remove from the heat and taste. Adjust sweetness, acidity, or spice levels to your liking. If desired, you can use an immersion blender or regular blender to create a smoother sauce.
  • Store: Allow the sauce to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Tips for Customizing Your BBQ Sauce

  • Sweetness: Use white sugar, honey, or maple syrup in place of brown sugar. Adjust the amount for your desired sweetness.
  • Tang: Use white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar for a sharper tang.
  • Spice: Add more cayenne, chipotle powder, chili powder, or hot sauce for extra heat.
  • Smoky Flavor: Use liquid smoke, increase the smoked paprika, or add a pinch of chipotle powder.
  • Flavor Enhancers: Try a tablespoon of soy sauce/tamari, Dijon mustard, or a few drops of fish sauce for extra umami.


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