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Easy All Purpose Barbecue Sauce

This Easy All Purpose Barbecue Sauce is a luscious sauce with a sweet, spicy, and smoky flavor. It is perfect for BBQ beef ribs, pork, chicken, turkey, and other meat.

Bbq sauce served in a bowl

My perfect easy BBQ sauce

A barbecue sauce that is truly easy to make with everyday ingredients often has the best taste. Not only is this sauce great for barbecue, but you can also use it for cooking and dipping chips.

It’s my go-to whenever I’m hosting a party and always helps me serve a delicious dish with minimal effort. The best part is how easy it is to make — you just need a few ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry and about 30 minutes of your time.

Easy to make and cost-effective

This barbecue sauce combines simple pantry ingredients like garlic and onion powder, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and more. It has a luscious gel-like texture that makes a perfect paste for grilling, basting, marinating, and dipping. 

Homemade BBQ sauce is a healthier version of store-bought sauce. I love homemade bbq sauce because I can control what goes into it is cost-effective.

Homemade Barbecue sauce scooped with a wooden spoon

What is Barbecue Sauce Made of?

See the pantry-ready ingredients you need below. You’ll be surprised that the list of ingredients isn’t complicated. They are specially curated to give rich and bold flavors. 

  • Apple cider vinegar: adds a tangy flavor that balances the taste of the sauce. 
  • Ketchup: this is a base ingredient that forms the texture. You can use tomato paste instead if you don’t have ketchup.
  • Brown sugar: adds sweet molasses flavor that caramelizes in the sauce.
  • Onion powder and Garlic powder: twin ingredients that work well in all recipes. They enhance flavor.
  • Mustard powder: yellow mustard works well for this sauce. It acts as a binder.
  • Cayenne and Black pepper: add a kick of heat.
  • Apple juice or water: to thin out the sauce if necessary

How to make BBQ Sauce

Follow this 2-step guideline to make a perfect sauce.

  • Combine all the ingredients in a medium pot.
  • Simmer on medium heat until the sauce is slightly thickened in about 5-10 minutes.
  • Let it cool, stir before use, and store it appropriately.

BBQ Sauce variations

  • Lemon and honey: Add honey for extra sweetness and lemon for extra tanginess.
  • Honey: You can substitute the brown sugar for honey, and it will come out well.
  • Hot Sauce: to add a kick of heat, use hot sauce.
  • Maple: Use half maple syrup and half brown sugar to balance the sweetness.


What does this BBQ sauce taste like?

It is sweet, savory, spicy, and tangy. All at once!

How can I thicken my Sauce?

The secret of thick BBQ sauce is long cooking. Just cook a bit longer, or add a pinch of cornstarch or flour. You usually don’t need to thicken it, but it depends on your preference, especially if you use it for glazing meat.

How can I make it thinner?

If your sauce is too thick, add a bit of water, apple juice, or apple cider vinegar. This addition may alter the taste and flavor.

Can I double the Recipe?

Of course. Depending on the sauce you want, you can double the ingredients.

Freshly made Homemade Bbq sauce in a saucepan

How to use BBQ Sauce

This BBQ sauce is not limited to just grilling. You can use it for everything, literally. I call it the “multipurpose” condiments that fit into any recipe. Let me show you some interesting ways to incorporate it into your recipe.

Storage Tips

Fridge: Pour the sauce into a jar or airtight container and store it in the fridge. It will last up to 2 weeks.

Freezer: you can also freeze for about 3 months in an airtight container. Allow it to thaw and stir before you use frozen BBQ sauce.

Homemade Barbecue sauce scooped with a wooden spoon

Easy Barbecue Sauce

A barbecue sauce that is truly easy to make with everyday ingredients often has the best taste. Not only is this sauce great for barbecue, but you can also use it for cooking and dipping chips.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Keyword: barbecue sauce, easy bbq sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 20 servings
Calories: 60.2kcal


  • 1 1/2 cups tomato ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 2 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper or to taste
  • 1/2 cup apple juice or water


  • Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan, bring to a quick boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until the sauce is thickened.
  • Adjust seasoning if needed, then remove from heat and leave to cool completely to room temperature.
  • Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


Calories: 60.2kcal | Carbohydrates: 15.2g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 227.9mg | Potassium: 117.3mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 12.9g | Vitamin A: 279.5IU | Vitamin C: 1.3mg | Calcium: 17.4mg | Iron: 0.5mg

Let’s Connect! You can find me on Facebook, and Instagram. I love keeping in touch with all of you! If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pictures of your creations on Instagram or Facebook. #cheflolaskitchen

Recipe Rating


Sunday 3rd of September 2023

this is REALLY "awesome sauce". I fiddle with it, of course (today I swapped the apple juice/water for a Red Wine (as it was there looking at me). this is a GREAT way to "preserve" summer tomatoes in the freezer for winter BBQ!

Chef Lola's Kitchen

Sunday 22nd of October 2023