Best Ever Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Do you have ketchup, mustard and honey? You have to try this best EVER Basic Homemade BBQ Sauce.  It’s so simple, but is so good. And it’s going to save your life when you need some sauce and there’s not a bottle of it to be found in your pantry.

There are several ingredients that I always think I have on hand, but when I go to start cooking it turns out we don’t have any.

This happens a lot with barbecue sauce. I always think we have a few bottles in the pantry. I go to grab one, and there aren’t any. Because of this, I’ve develop a quick basic barbecue sauce. It uses simple ingredients that I usually have and it only takes a minute to whip up.

It’s made out of ketchup, mustard and honey. That’s it.

How to make homemade BBQ sauce

 

The beauty of it is that you can change it if you’re in the mood. You can use brown sugar or molasses instead of honey, you can use Dijon mustard instead of the regular yellow mustard, you can add Worcestershire sauce or Tabasco sauce, sprinkle in some garlic powder or some smoked paprika for smoky flavor. Really the options are endless.

The reason this simple sauce works is because of the flavor balance. You have salty and sweet flavors in the ketchup, more sweet from the honey and then a good tang from the mustard.

It’s also great because the sugar content in the sauce makes it caramelize on food when it’s cooking.

Barbecue Chicken

 

To make those chicken drumsticks, I followed the basic method for Easy Make Ahead Chicken for a Crowd. Except, instead of grilling them, I put them under the broiler for a few minutes, just until the chicken started to blacken in spots.

Best Basic Barbecue Sauce

 

Soooo good. You’re going to love making this easy staple and doctoring it up in new ways.

Here’s the recipe for the easy BBQ sauce. Let me know if you love it!

Basic Barbecue Sauce

Basic Homemade Barbecue Sauce

All you really need for a simple BBQ sauce is ketchup, mustard and honey (or brown sugar). You can add salt if you'd like. Try 1/4 teaspoon to start. After that, leave it alone or jazz it up with garlic powder, cayenne, tabasco or Worcestershire sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup honey or brown sugar
  • salt to taste, optional

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.

Basic Barbecue Sauce

70 Responses to “Best Ever Homemade Barbecue Sauce”

  1. SueJean Heinz — May 3, 2017 @ 8:46 pm (#)

    Love the recipe!
    I always seem to have way more ketchup on hand than barbecue sauce. It makes me wonder why I bother buying ketchup when my “cowboy” is always reaching for the other anyway. This gives me the perfect way to use up all that ketchup!!
    Thanks!

  2. Kelsey — April 29, 2017 @ 9:21 pm (#)

    Can this be canned and stored? Even if you add other ingredients to it? Well so long as they are not dairy based that is. LOL

    • Christine Pittman — May 2, 2017 @ 8:27 am (#)

      Kelsey, it depends on the other ingredients. If everything is shelf stable, it will keep in the fridge for awhile for sure.

  3. Malvin M Johnson — April 10, 2017 @ 11:39 am (#)

    i had never made homemade sauce before and decided to surprise my family….so l found this recipe and followed it to the dot….believe you me the sauce was sticky,,tangy and sweet the balance was on point and we ended up eating the whole chicken thats how nice it was 

  4. Dawud — March 31, 2017 @ 9:29 pm (#)

    Hi 
    I just wanted to thank you for giving me the basics
    of BBQ sauce. My wife will be surprised when gets home!

  5. Steve — March 5, 2017 @ 2:08 pm (#)

    I was making a Pulled Chicken Barbeque when I discovered I did not have any Barbecue Sauce in the pantry. I Googled Easy Homemade Barbecue Sauce and found your recipe. All I can say is, Why did I not try this sooner?!?! I used the basic recipe with Dark Brown Sugar. I then added Worcestershire Sauce, Soy Sauce, a drizzle of Maple Syrup, a teaspoon each of Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Paprika and Fresh Ground Black Peppercorns then blended and chilled the mixture. Wow! It is absolutely amazing! :)

    • Christine Pittman — March 8, 2017 @ 11:39 am (#)

      Steve, fantastic! So happy you liked it and your added ingredients sound amazing!!

  6. Angela P. — January 24, 2017 @ 11:12 pm (#)

    I found this recipe on a google search! It took me a few tries to get the right mix of things to go into it! Finally after like 3 tries,I found that it was best for me and my family to use only 1 c. ketchup and to add to this recipe;
    1 tsp- Spice Supreme Chili Powder
    1 tsp- Blazin Blends Garlic & Pepper
    1 tsp- McCormick Onion Powder
    1/4 c. Mrs. Butterworth’s Syrup
    I plane on using it on my chicken legs that my son love to have! So, Thank you, Christine,for your recipe!

  7. Sharon — January 23, 2017 @ 7:29 pm (#)

    Thank you, thank you! The recipe came in handy. Just like the rest had cook my chicken breast & thought I had barbecue sauce but no sauce in cabinet. I was ready to eat so I Google & I found this site recipe quick & easy & I added Worcestershire sauce & molasses. Great recipe!

    • Christine Pittman — January 24, 2017 @ 8:14 am (#)

      Thanks Sharon! So happy you liked it!

  8. Lilla — January 18, 2017 @ 7:55 am (#)

    I’ve been looking for a quick and easy BBQ sauce recipe and I was so happy to have come across yours. My only question is.. for how many lbs of chicken is this BBQ sauce good for? I’m having a small get together and plan on using 4,5lbs of chicken. Can’t wait to try this at home.

    • Christine Pittman — January 18, 2017 @ 11:15 am (#)

      Lilla, I find it easier to think of it as sauce per piece of chicken. You’ll need about 2 tablespoons of sauce per piece of chicken. There are 16 tablespoons in a cup and the recipe makes 2 cups so you’ll have 32 tablespoons, or enough for 16 pieces of chicken. If you like it really saucy, then you could say 3 tablespoons of sauce per piece of chicken, in which case it would cover about 11 pieces of chicken.

  9. Stacie Prater — January 12, 2017 @ 5:14 pm (#)

    Hmmm I did as instructed and mine tastes more like ketchup. 

    • Christine Pittman — January 13, 2017 @ 10:24 am (#)

      Stacie, It should taste tangier and sweeter than ketchup. If you want a more distinctive taste and darker color, you can go with molasses instead of honey. And go in with a good drip of Worcestershire sauce and a dash of hot sauce.

  10. Dario Clarke — January 6, 2017 @ 1:21 am (#)

    i just want to know if its mustard powder or the finished product

    • Christine Pittman — January 6, 2017 @ 7:37 am (#)

      Dario, The finished product. Plain yellow mustard like you put on hot dogs at the ball park.

  11. Tammy McClary — December 30, 2016 @ 2:29 pm (#)

    How much worchester sauce to add

    • Christine Pittman — January 3, 2017 @ 8:39 am (#)

      Tammy, Just a couple of drops. Then taste. Add more if you’d like. It is potent stuff though so a little at a time is key.

  12. MaryJo N Kraft — December 13, 2016 @ 3:22 pm (#)

    So you just mix it all together- no need to cook it, right?

    • Christine Pittman — December 14, 2016 @ 12:55 pm (#)

      MaryJo, Correct. Just mix and use.

  13. Natasha — December 13, 2016 @ 12:42 pm (#)

    I just stumbled across your recipe and am about to glaze my chicken with it. Yep, I too thought I had BBQ sauce, there is a snow storm, and the closest store is 30-45 minutes one way so this will have to work :D Can’t wait from all the awesome reviews. I plan to tweak just a smidgen with extra garlic and perhaps a little Worcestershire

    • Christine Pittman — December 14, 2016 @ 12:54 pm (#)

      Natasha, Happy to help. I hope you liked it and your tweaks sound great!

  14. Nena — December 10, 2016 @ 5:53 pm (#)

    So glad I found this recipe. I am making bbq pulled pork and didn’t have enough sauce so I made this recipe with chili powder garlic powder seasoning salt and a little soy sauce. Turned out perfect. Now its in with the pork and heating up. Thank you for the recipe. You saved me from having to try to get to the store in my power chair with 6 inches of snow to fight through.

    • Christine Pittman — December 12, 2016 @ 6:24 am (#)

      Nena, So happy to help and I’m delighted that you liked it.

  15. Joan brown — December 2, 2016 @ 6:39 pm (#)

    I Wanted to do a homemade bbq sauce so searching the net I found yours and gave it a try. Well my visitors just loved it and wanted to know how I made it. I was almost gonna take the credit😜  I did it with spare ribs chops. It was absolutely delicious. Thanks very much for posting your receipt. Next time I’ll try it on chicken. No more bottled or packed bbq for me.
     Ps. I did write out your receipt for my friend to try. 

  16. Jacynda Peterson — November 12, 2016 @ 5:16 pm (#)

    Thanks so much for this recipe!!! The food was already in the grill and i was beginning to panic!! Tastes sooooo good, only i used more honey and added garlic and herbs <3

    • Christine Pittman — November 15, 2016 @ 10:20 am (#)

      So happy you liked it, Jacynda!

  17. Denise Abney — October 20, 2016 @ 1:55 pm (#)

    Can you use white sugar instead of brown sugar. What if you have no honey?

    • Christine Pittman — October 24, 2016 @ 3:35 pm (#)

      I think white sugar would work. Use a bit less and then taste and see. Molasses works too.

  18. Micka — October 12, 2016 @ 2:46 am (#)

    Hi, I would like my BBQ chicken to look more dark red than orange. What can I add to make it look redder? Would paprika or some dark soy sauce work?

    • Christine Pittman — October 17, 2016 @ 8:25 am (#)

      Yes, either of those would work. Molasses is another option.

  19. Missy — October 3, 2016 @ 8:44 pm (#)

    Hello! Can you tell which type of mustard you use? Thanks in advance!

    • Christine Pittman — October 10, 2016 @ 9:57 am (#)

      Missy, I used yellow mustard and I edited the recipe to say so. I’m sorry about that. I do think you could use any kind of mustard though, except perhaps a really spicy one. You’d put in much less if it was hot.

  20. SHIRLEY WILKES — October 1, 2016 @ 1:47 pm (#)

    I WAS COMPLETELY OUT OF STORE BOUGHT BBQ SAUCE AND DECIDED TO SEARCH FOR A RECIPE WHEN I CAME ACROSS YOURS TODAY. I MADE IT A FEW MINUTES AGO AND WAS SHOCKED BY THE TASTE. IT’S GOING ON MY RIBS IN THE SMOKER THIS AFTERNOON. THANKS SO MUCH FOR POSTING YOUR RECIPE BECAUSE I WON’T BE BUYING BBQ SAUCE ANYMORE.

    • Christine Pittman — October 3, 2016 @ 6:00 am (#)

      Shirley, I’m so happy that you like it so much. Thanks for letting us know! And now I really wish I was eating ribs…

  21. Indra Salama — September 30, 2016 @ 3:45 pm (#)

    Thanx a million will try the bbq sauce this weekend

    • Christine Pittman — October 3, 2016 @ 6:01 am (#)

      You’re welcome!

  22. Zoe — September 24, 2016 @ 2:58 am (#)

    Thank you, thank you for this simple recipe. Like everyone else I thought I had a bottle of bbq sauce. This easy recipe saved the day and I now know how to have a batch ready always. I added lemon pepper, grated garlic and paprika. As we say in Hawaii, soooo ONO! Aloha!

    • Christine Pittman — September 27, 2016 @ 10:33 am (#)

      Zoe, I’m delighted to have saved the day. Glad you liked it!

  23. Peaches — September 21, 2016 @ 1:26 am (#)

    Hi there…I adore your site, and all the feedback you give to the feedback you get is oh so thoughtful and generous !!!! You are kind and it is obvious you love what you are for doing here on this site…..I am impressed !!!! I appreciate you !!!! I am however having a bit of trouble signing up to “belong” to your site and I would like to be a part of your sister site as well….you have my permission to sign me up for both ….please and thank you…
    (pin.peaches@gmail.com)

    • Christine Pittman — September 21, 2016 @ 5:44 am (#)

      Peaches, I have signed you up for both. You should get emails looking for confirmation. Check your inbox and if it’s not there, look in your trash and spam folders. They shouldn’t go there but you never know. Thank you for your kind words.

  24. Kati Jones — September 12, 2016 @ 1:02 pm (#)

    Thank you! My friend has Hosimotos and so can’t have store BBQ sauce as many sneak gluten in with molasses. I was able to make a really delicious sauce after messing around. 

    I added minced onion, 1/2 tbsp chilli powder, salt and pepper, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2/4 cups honey, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 1/2 tbsp garlic powder. Mixed it all in and it’s really good. Savoury and sweet. :) 

    • Christine Pittman — September 16, 2016 @ 11:52 am (#)

      Kati, That sounds delicious. I’m going to give it a try soon!

  25. Kim Fichtner — September 8, 2016 @ 2:00 pm (#)

    Best recipe! Very easy to make! Thank you! Using this for pork chops in slow cooker.

    • Christine Pittman — September 9, 2016 @ 8:46 am (#)

      Thanks Kim. Really happy you like it. It’s a favorite around here too!

  26. K. Dan — September 4, 2016 @ 10:51 am (#)

    I love this simple recipe! I added a splash of lemon, a tablespoon of white, and a dash of worsteshire sauce. It was great!

    • Christine Pittman — September 7, 2016 @ 5:43 am (#)

      So happy you liked it. Love your tweaks!

  27. Bridgette — August 29, 2016 @ 12:02 am (#)

    Can the dry mustard be used?

    • Christine Pittman — August 29, 2016 @ 5:34 pm (#)

      Bridgette, Not for the full amount of mustard called for in the recipe. Dry mustard is too spicy for that. You could experiment using the amounts of ketchup and honey listed. Then add the dry mustard 1 teaspoon at a time, stir and taste. If you try it, let us know how it turns out.

  28. Jean — August 20, 2016 @ 1:07 am (#)

    How many cups of sauce for 100 little meatballs 

    • Christine Pittman — August 22, 2016 @ 12:26 pm (#)

      Jean, I’m not really sure. What I would do is make one batch of sauce and see how many meatballs that covers. Then calculate how many batches you need to cover the rest of the meatballs from there.

  29. Kelley burleaon — August 16, 2016 @ 5:36 pm (#)

    Going to try this with bbq chicken breasts  in the ovwn

  30. Lisa — August 9, 2016 @ 1:56 pm (#)

    Do you think this would be good on boneless ribs. 

    • Christine Pittman — August 9, 2016 @ 3:33 pm (#)

      Lisa, yes, definitely!

  31. Jennifer Lamkin — July 30, 2016 @ 9:35 pm (#)

    You just saved me!! Thought I had some bbq sauce in the pantry and I didnt. The chicken wings were already in the oven. I was panicking until I found this recipe. I made it and wow!! I’ll neverr opt for store bought sauce again! Thank you!! 

    • Christine Pittman — August 1, 2016 @ 9:07 am (#)

      Jennifer, I’m so happy I could help. Thanks for letting me know!

  32. Coral — July 27, 2016 @ 1:57 pm (#)

    I just have ketchup, garlic, sat, pepper and honey.. Without mustard, works?

    • Christine Pittman — July 28, 2016 @ 1:25 pm (#)

      You could try. I’d add in some vinegar maybe.

  33. jenna — July 16, 2016 @ 1:21 am (#)

    This is great. Thanks.  If I use sweet and sour sauce instead of regular ketchup,  will it do? 

    • Christine Pittman — July 17, 2016 @ 4:05 pm (#)

      Jenna, Yes, I think that will work. If you try it, let me know how it goes.

  34. Patrick Scott — July 10, 2016 @ 3:59 pm (#)

    I’ll never buy BBQ sauce from the store again ,, now that I can make my own with these simple ingredients, plus I can customise it to what ever food I’m cookin..

    • Christine Pittman — July 10, 2016 @ 6:36 pm (#)

      Patrick, so so happy you liked it. Thanks for letting me know!

  35. Judy Wilson — June 6, 2016 @ 5:30 pm (#)

    I’m surprised by how simple this barbecue sauce recipe is. I didn’t know that all it takes to make sauce the right way is with ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, and salt. I’ve always thought that it required a secret ingredient, so it’s good to see that barbecue sauce actually requires pretty simple ingredients.

  36. momz — May 24, 2016 @ 4:57 pm (#)

    Just what I was looking for. I am going to try for dinner with some ribs in oven. :)
     

  37. Debbie Stratton — April 26, 2016 @ 4:38 pm (#)

    Great starting sauce can spice it up so many ways. I added chopped onions, peppers and garlic. I added cumin and tyme. 

    • Christine Pittman — April 28, 2016 @ 10:14 am (#)

      Debbie, So glad you like it. Love your additions!

  38. Daria Tarrant — November 22, 2015 @ 10:41 am (#)

    Mary, I’ve always been looking for a simple BBQ Sauce recipe but could never find one. Thank you for posting this it’s the simplest one I’ve ever seen. I’m going to try it tonight.
    Thanks again,
    Daria. 

  39. Mary Frances — September 3, 2015 @ 10:13 am (#)

    Barbecue sauce is one of my favorite sauces. Especially with chicken! I shall try this out this week. Looks easy to make and tasty! 

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Easy Tender Juicy Make-Ahead Ribs - Cook the Story — December 30, 2015
  2. Best BBQ Sauce - Yum Goggle — September 8, 2015

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