Zesty Alabama White Sauce

September 21, 2020

Alabama White Sauce is a creamy, tangy, and rich BBQ sauce with just a kiss of heat. This sauce is a classic white BBQ sauce that is perfect on smoked chicken and so much more! Ready in less than 5 minutes, it’s a quick and easy sauce ready when you are!

Alabama white sauce drizzed over grilled chicken. Text overlay: "Zesty Alabama White Sauce."

Alabama White Sauce

This mayo-based white barbecue sauce is made to dunk, drizzle, and slather it all over some smoked chicken for a classic Alabama BBQ experience. You can also serve it as a side sauce for any kind of smoked meats, like ribs or smoked turkey. In my house, we also keep it on hand as a tangy vegetable dip or use it as a dressing for coleslaw!

Alabama white BBQ sauce is a mayonnaise-based dressing that also includes horseradish and cayenne pepper for a good amount of heat. Two packed tablespoons of brown sugar add some sweetness to the mix, while apple cider vinegar and lemon juice provide some flavorful acidity. This is one recipe I recommend trying at least once. Though, chances are you’ll want to print and save this recipe for later use. It’s hard not to fall in love with this beautiful, creamy BBQ sauce.

Where did Alabama White BBQ Sauce Originate?

Alabama BBQ sauce was made famous by Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama. They have massive hickory-fed pits that house their famous smoked split chickens. These chickens are slow smoked to a glorious golden brown at 350 degree F Their flavor is out of this world, but the real showstopper is the Alabama white BBQ sauce. These chickens are then dunked whole into massive vats of their homemade white BBQ sauce for a taste like you wouldn’t believe.

Smoked chicken may be the most famous vessel for transporting this tangy and smooth sauce into your mouth, but it’s just the beginning! Alabama white BBQ sauce is incredibly versatile and has become a BBQ staple for good reason. It offers the ideal balance of flavors to enhance smoked or grilled meats and vegetables.

Alabama White Sauce Recipe

What is Alabama White Sauce?

The head pitmaster of Big Bob Gibson’s restaurant, Chris Lilly, first shared their restaurant original recipe which was measured in gallons and is a fairly simple mixture of mayonnaise, corn syrup, vinegar, and salt/pepper. My zesty version has the same sweet and tangy notes that make all BBQ sauces the perfect complement to smoked meats, but an Alabama white sauce is mayonnaise based, instead of tomato based, which gives it a great creamy flavor profile.

I first met Chris at a Guinness World Record event for the Largest Grilling Lesson in 2017 (you can read more about that event HERE), and I was so incredibly impressed with his knowledge of all things BBQ. I consider my recipe an homage to the restaurant-style original with a little Hey Grill Hey kick.

How to Make Alabama White Sauce

Unlike some of my other BBQ sauce recipes that require cooking the sauce on the stovetop, this BBQ sauce is quite possibly the easiest BBQ sauce you’ll ever make. To begin, make sure you have the following ingredients on hand (full printable recipe card including ingredients and steps is available at the bottom of this post):

  • Mayonnaise
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Brown sugar
  • Brown mustard
  • Lemon juice
  • Prepared horseradish
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper

Once you have all your ingredients assembled, pour them all into a bowl, grab a whisk, and whisk until everything is well combined and the sauce is nice and smooth. That’s it! No baking, boiling, or reducing here. This sauce is ready in less than 5 minutes, making it a great choice when you need something with a tangy zip but you don’t have a lot of time.

You are welcome to use this sauce immediately, or place it in the fridge for a couple days to let the flavors meld. Any unused sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Make sure to keep the sauce in an airtight container, and you’ll be all set!

Alabama White Sauce Recipe

More BBQ Sauce Recipes

I often say the sauce can make the meal, and some good homemade sauces can really take your BBQ to the next level. Now that you’ve mastered Alabama BBQ sauce, try your hand at Kansas City and Carolina sauces as well!

Alabama White Sauce Recipe

Want to become the master of steak, chicken, sauces and more? Join my members-only group The Grill Squad to access my Chicken Masterclass (and so much more!) to increase your confidence of all things BBQ. Together we can help you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero!

Hey BBQ Sauce lover! Did you know Patio Provisions has Signature Hey Grill Hey rubs and sauces deliciously made and shipped directly to your door? Head over there to purchase your own 3-pack of sauces today!

Alabama white sauce in jar

Alabama White BBQ Sauce

Alabama White Sauce is a creamy, tangy, and rich BBQ sauce with just a kiss of heat. This sauce is a classic white BBQ sauce that is perfect on smoked chicken and so much more!
4.75 from 4 votes
Prep Time : 5 mins
Total Time : 5 mins
Servings : 12
Calories : 137kcal



  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon brown mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Mix all ingredients. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth and well combined.
  • Refrigerate and store. Transfer to a lidded jar. Use immediately or let set in the refrigerator for 24 hours to let the flavors meld together. Will keep 2 weeks in the refrigerator. 


Calories: 137kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 218mg | Potassium: 7mg | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 30IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Ready to Become a Backyard BBQ Hero?Join The Grill Squad today!

**This post was originally published in November 2018. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.

Alabama White Sauce

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38 thoughts on “Zesty Alabama White Sauce

    1. Drippings! If you cook the chicken in the oven, on the grill, or anywhere you can catch the drippings do it! For anything! It’s the best and most flavorful thing that you can add to anything. I’m doing Cornish hens tonight. Slow roasting in the oven. Adding the drippings as I go. Nothing better. ????

  1. Brown mustard? Is that like Dijon ? We don’t have brown mustard here except French mustard which is brown color .

    U.K. Darren

    1. It’s similar. Brown mustard is spicier and has a little different flavor but if you substitute with Dijon I don’t think you’d notice much of a difference!

  2. I am from Alabama and I never heard of Alabama white sauce until I saw it on Food Network. I don’t care for brown mustard or horseradish. Any recommendations to substitute for those two ingredients?

    1. There are tons of variations on this sauce. The basic staples are mayo and vinegar. From there, do what you want. Garlic powder, onion powder, hot suave, Worcestershire, lemon juice.

      I did a pretty good take with mayo, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire, onion and garlic powder, salt, and a bunch of black pepper.

      Omit or add to taste.

      1. We first found Alabama White Sauce when visiting S. Carolina. Since then made different versions, yours looks great.
        Speaking of making changes, I’m experimenting with making an Arizona Red Sauce, same base, but adding Chipotle or Chorizo and lime juice. First batches, weren’t bad, but still have to play some more with it.

    2. Most people outside of the Decatur area have never heard of it either. The ones that have heard about it on a tv show or comments on Facebook posts.

  3. I found this recipe in a Southern Pit BBQ cookbook years ago. Have injected it into my thanksgiving turkey prior to baking for several years now. Also used as a dredge/dip although I prefer a Carolina Red Sauce for BBQ Pork.

    1. I actually haven’t tried it on ribs yet but I bet it’d be awesome! Pair with your favorite rub. Let me know how it turns out!

    1. Just my two sense— If you mean bottling when you say preserving, canning creamy or fatty substances is not recommended in a home kitchen. I’m not really sure why, but the fat content in the mayo I think would be a problem for home canning. You could put everything together except the mayo and bottle that. Then you wild just have to add the mayo once you opened jar. That’s how I bottle cream soups.

  4. I just used this sauce on grilled chicken quarters and it is amazing. I tried one piece using it as a dipping sauce vs another piece that was basted with the sauce for the last 15 minutes of the cook. While both were good the basted piece was far superior. The flavor of the sauce cooked onto the chicken is a unique flavor that is phenomenal.

  5. I’ve always wondered, why does something like this only keep 2 weeks in the fridge? All ingredients last a lot longer when not mixed together.

  6. For the ‘veg-heads’ in our family- and I’m one of them – I slather this on cauliflower ‘steaks’, portobello mushrooms and butternut squash slices after I’ve turned them on the grill and they are the best! Even the die-hard veggie-haters in the clan gobble them down! And for a special treat, brush it on your corn and return to the grill for a ‘Bama’ version of Mexican Street Corn – beyond yummy!! 🙂

  7. I love this recipe. I melded it with another Chris Lilly recipe interpretation, upping the cider vinegar amount (the other recipe used apple juice and cider vinegar) and nixing the mustard. You gots to cook the whole or half chicken until golden crispy using olive oil, salt and fresh cracked pepper.

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