Before you settle for that pricey bottle of sauce from the grocery store, consider this: Making your own barbecue sauce at home is easy, saves money, and lets you customize every batch. The ingredients are already in your fridge or pantry, so what are you waiting for? Sauce up your next meal!
Spicy Barbecue Sauce

What began as a way for cooks to infuse roasted meats with flavor and moisture in the 19th century has turned into a U.S. passion. Barbecue sauce created today is a booming market that nets nearly $500 million annually in supermarket sales.

These days, we've moved beyond the standard sweet/tangy red sauce with dozens of varieties, flavors, and brands getting in on the saucy action. Chances are there's a bottle or two in your fridge or pantry, ready for the next time you fire up the grill or oven. But why succumb to the store-bought bottle when you can craft your own custom sauce in mere minutes for a fraction of the cost?

Basic Ingredients + 10 Minutes Are All It Takes!


To make a basic barbecue sauce, all you need are a few condiments and seasonings you likely have on hand, plus a few minutes to stir them together. That's it! Make this sweet, tangy Kansas City style sauce in no time and slather it on anything at your next meal.

Create Your Own Custom Barbecue Sauces

spice storage kitchen

When it comes to making homemade barbecue sauce, your only limit is your imagination (and maybe your spice collection).

Use these tips to create the perfect sauce every time:

Use the Best Base Ingredients

  • Most barbecue sauce is tomato based, which usually means ketchup when making sauce at home. There's nothing wrong with that, but if you're after a more pure finished product, use canned crushed tomatoes or pureed fresh tomatoes in the summer for a fresh-tasting sauce that contains less salt and sugar than most ketchup-based sauces.
  • Carolina-style mustard-based sauces are excellent on grilled chicken and sausages. You can change things up by using different types of mustard. Try spicy brown mustard for brushing brats or a small amount of Dijon mustard the next time you grill chicken.
  • Vinegar-based sauce like this East Carolina Style Barbecue "Mop" are excellent for dousing pulled pork or smoked chicken. Change the flavor of the mop by varying the vinegar used: Apple cider vinegar yields a milder sauce, rice vinegar makes for a sweeter result, and flavored vinegars (think fruit or herb infused) can change the entire flavor profile of your dish.

Vary the Spices

  • Vary spices and seasonings to suit your tastes and play around with the recipes for some flavorful fun! For example, if you aren't fond of garlic, use another allium such as onion.
  • For milder onion flavor, use dried chives in your next sauce.
  • Add Mexican flair with ground cumin and oregano.
  • Try using ground or fresh ginger, lemongrass and soy sauce (be sure to pick gluten-free if you avoid gluten) for an Asian-inspired barbecue sauce.

Shop for Seasonal Ingredients

  • Try adding finely chopped fresh summer fruits (think strawberries, blueberries, or peaches) to your next batch of sauce to add natural sweetness and a flavorful twist.
  • Don't overlook the power of pumpkin, even in barbecue sauce! Add some canned pumpkin to a mustard-based sauce for a thick, slightly sweet result at your fall cookout.
  • When apples are abundant in early autumn, peel and dice one to add natural sweetness to your barbecue sauce. You can mash or blend it in with an immersion blender for a smooth result.

Play with the Sweetener

  • Change up the sweetener you use for a slight change in the taste of the sauce. For basic sweetness use granulated sugar.
  • Try light or dark brown sugar or molasses for more depth of flavor.
  • Pure maple syrup or honey can add a unique flavor as well.
  • If you're cutting the sugar in your diet, substitute part (or all) of the sugar in barbecue sauce with fruits like apples, pumpkin, pears, or plums. Cooked right into the sauce, these fruits add natural sweetness. Blend the cooked sauce for smooth results.

No matter what your preference is, you can make the perfect sauce at home any time!

Comments (4)

Better Homes & Gardens Member
August 16, 2018
Nice idea,bUT no measuremention and click on links don't work!
Better Homes & Gardens Member
August 15, 2018
Clicked on links and says server not found. HELP
Better Homes & Gardens Member
August 15, 2018
Links are not working
Better Homes & Gardens Member
August 15, 2018
Unfortunately, none of the links above are working.