How to Make Basic Barbecue Sauce

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Things You'll Need

  • 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard

  • 1/4 cup molasses

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke (this can be found in the condiments aisle at your grocery store)

  • 1-½ teaspoons paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, optional

  • Large saucepan

  • Whisk or spoon

  • Large glass jar with a lid

(Julia Mueller/Demand Media)
Image Credit: Julia Mueller

There's nothing like homemade barbecue sauce to use on grilled and oven-baked meat recipes. But why use store-bought sauces that are filled with artificial ingredients when you can make a delicious and healthier version at home? This simple recipe uses ingredients you probably already have in your pantry and can be made in just 30 minutes!



Step 1

Gather all of the ingredients for the sauce. It may seem like a lot, but you probably have almost everything on hand already!

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Step 2

(Julia Mueller/Demand Media)
Image Credit: Julia Mueller

Add all of the ingredients to a large saucepan and whisk over medium heat.

Step 3

Bring sauce to a full (but controlled) boil, whisking continuously. Lower heat to a simmer and allow sauce to cook uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes, until thickened.

Step 4

Remove sauce from heat and allow it to cool. As the sauce cools, it will thicken more.


Step 5

(Julia Mueller/Demand Media)
Image Credit: Julia Mueller

Pour cooled sauce into a large container with an air-tight lid (such as a jar). Secure the lid and refrigerate until ready to use. Store sauce in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.


Adapt this recipe to your own personal taste. For a sweeter sauce, add more honey. For a spicier sauce, add more cayenne pepper. For a smokier sauce, add a more liquid smoke.

The honey in this recipe can be replaced with brown sugar.

For more depth of flavor, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of whiskey.


Be sure to keep close watch on the sauce while it simmers, as it will spatter out of the saucepan if it gets too hot. Stir occasionally for the best results.


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