Easy BBQ Sauce

1 reviews

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Deep, rich, smoky, sticky sauce that somehow stays light and tangy, my Easy BBQ sauce is a versatile delight. You’ve got to try it on all your favorites.

Easy BBQ Sauce pouring into glass jar.

Easy BBQ Sauce

A simple but flavorful sauce can make all the difference between bland, boring meat and a smoky treat dripping with sticky, sweet flavor. Having your own go-to sauce is a secret weapon for backyard BBQ heroes everywhere, and that’s exactly what you get with this recipe. From which ingredients you need, to step-by-step instructions, and even how best to store it: I’m going to give you everything you need to make tangy and delicious Easy BBQ Sauce in minutes to help you feed the people you love.

Ingredients for Your Sauce

If you’re surprised to see this sauce only has 9 ingredients, just wait until you taste it. Your tastebuds won’t believe how simple it is when the sweet, spicy, tangy goodness hits and sends you on a flavor journey. Take a look at what you’ll be using:

  • ketchup
  • brown sugar
  • apple cider vinegar
  • honey
  • salt
  • smoked paprika
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • black pepper

Pretty much all the ingredients you need to make this Easy BBQ Sauce are pantry staples you likely have on hand already. I try to keep my sauces and seasonings simple so you can make them without making an expensive trip to the grocery store.

Finished sauce in glass jar.

Does this sauce have gluten?

Not only is this BBQ sauce completely gluten-free, but it goes great with other delicious gluten-free foods. None of the ingredients used in my sauce contain gluten, so as long as the rest of your menu is in line you’re good to go. You can obviously get into different things like breaded and battered meats, but for the most part you’re going to be using this yummy stuff on juicy, tender, 100% gluten-free meats.

Tips for Making BBQ Sauce

  • Make it ahead. You can absolutely use this sauce right away, once it cools and sets, but you’re doing yourself and your guests a disservice. A day before using, I like to let my sauce rest in the fridge overnight. The extra time the sauce has to sit goes a long way in getting all of those flavors to meld together into a more cohesive sauce.
  • No liquid smoke. The use of liquid smoke is one of the hottest debates in the BBQ community. Some consider it a “cheater” way to add smoke flavor to your food. Here’s the thing, you’re going through all the hard work of smoking your own meats. You want to let that natural smoke process flavor shine when it’s time to chow down.
  • Adjust smokiness. I believe a great sauce should complement and feature the flavors of the meat, instead of repeating what’s already there. However, if you want to raise or lower the level of that natural smoky flavor in your sauce, simply adjust how much smoked paprika you use. This will give you the control you want without masking flavors.

Sauce ingredients in white cups and in piles on black counter.

How to Store Homemade Sauce

An awesome benefit of this BBQ sauce recipe is that you can make it ahead of time and store it. Once the sauce has completely cooled and set, go ahead and place it in an airtight mason jar or other airtight container to store in your refrigerator. You can enjoy it on savory meats right away as well, but it will stay fresh up to 2 weeks in your fridge. And, of course, you’ll have sweet, tangy BBQ sauce to slather on anything and everything.

How to Make BBQ Sauce

The name really says it all. Making BBQ sauce is about as easy as it gets. It’s three quick and painless steps, and temperature does most of the hard work. You may feel guilty taking credit when people tell you how amazing it is. But don’t, you’ve definitely earned it.

  1. Combine ingredients. Combine all of the ingredients for your BBQ sauce in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Make sure to stir it together well to ensure there isn’t any clumping.
  2. Boil then simmer. Bring the sauce to a boil and then lower the temperature to low. You want to let your sauce simmer for a good 15 minutes for all of the flavors time to blend and marry.
  3. Cool and store. Once the sauce has thickened, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool completely. Once it’s set, you can use it right away, However, I like to let it set in the refrigerator in an airtight container overnight to really let the flavors develop.

What to Serve With BBQ Sauce

This sweet and spicy sauce is so good you’re going to be looking for stuff to put it on just so you can eat more. You really could put it on just about anything to enhance your eating experience, but BBQ sauce and smoky meats were made for each other. My Grilled Spatchcock Chicken, Simple Smoked Pulled Pork Butt, and Smoked Brisket Flat are great dishes to start with. You could also branch out and try it on a few meats at once with something like my Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breast. You really can’t go wrong.

Spoon above glass jar of finished recipe.

More Simple Sauce Recipes

Now that you know how easy making your own sauces at home can be, you’ll be slathering everything in it. Whenever you feel ready to branch out and try your hand at different styles of sauces, I’ve got you covered. Here are a few of my all-time favorite sauce recipes from the dozens available on the Hey Grill Hey app:

Easy BBQ Sauce Recipe

It’s time to get saucy. Finally you can make an assortment of my sauces to keep on hand to sauce things up any time you want. Use them on all your favorite Hey Grill Hey recipes to feed the people you love, and be the backyard BBQ hero. Be sure to follow on all my social channels at Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.

You can learn everything you ever wanted to know in my Rubs & Sauces course over at The Grill Squad. Members get access to this, as well as in-depth courses on all the best meats.

Easy BBQ Sauce

By: Susie Bulloch
5 from 1 votes
Deep, rich, smoky, sticky sauce that somehow stays light and tangy, my Easy BBQ sauce is a versatile delight. Try it on all your favorites.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Refrigerator Time1 day
Total Time25 minutes
Servings8 people
Save this recipe!
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you'll get the latest from Hey Grill Hey every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  • Make the sauce. Combine all ingredients for Easy BBQ Sauce in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
    1 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 Tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Simmer. Bring sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Cool. Remove sauce from heat and allow to cool.
  • Use or store. This sauce is ready to be used immediately. Any unused sauce can be stored in an airtight glass container for up to 2 weeks.


Calories: 104kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 0.5g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 568mg | Potassium: 127mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 278IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

Related Recipes

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Reader Reviews

1 Reviews

  1. Leola says:

    Bf said “it was great, let’s keep this recipe!” I made this homemade bbq sauce (with less honey and sugar, we don’t like too much sugar), put it on tempeh and grilled it, yum, bbq sauce isn’t just for meat! Served it with grilled locally grown potatoes and asparagus for a delicious healthy dinner. Thanks for the tasty recipe made easily from ingredients on hand!