Easy BBQ Sauce Recipe

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Full of flavor and seasonings, this easy bbq sauce recipe is a stand-out condiment that knows how to make a meal special.

Easy homemade bbq sauce recipe

You can go to any grocery store and pick up one of a vast array of bottled barbecue sauces if you like. Some are better than others and they’re all pretty good, but few stand out from the crowd as really unique.

So a couple of years back, I spent a few weeks developing my own homemade bbq sauce recipe (this is it). I made a different recipe each day for about a week until I came up with the base flavor I liked. Then I spent another week or so tweaking it to get the flavors just right. In the end, I think I made the perfect bbq sauce, with a hint of sweet, the right cider vinegar tang, a slight underlayer of heat, and an overall flavor that was entirely different from anything I had found on the shelves. 

This version of bbq sauce stands out and makes a meal special. I’ve never served it that I wasn’t asked where I got it after a guest took the first bite. 

I so wish I could give you a taste of this sauce but you’re gonna have to make it yourself. I shared this recipe in my first book, published by Harper Collins, Southern Plate: Classic Comfort Food That Makes Everyone Feel Like Family. The recipe in my book makes 3 cups but today I’m sharing my larger quantity recipe with ya, which makes about a gallon – just enough to last you through numerous summer barbecues.

Do me a favor and make this easy bbq sauce recipe soon!

Easy BBQ sauce recipe ingredient

Recipe Ingredients

  • Golden Eagle or Yellow Label syrup
  • Dark brown sugar
  • Salt
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Chili powder
  • Black pepper
  • Cornstarch
  • Ketchup
  • Water
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • White vinegar

How to Make My Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Stir dry ingredients well.

Stir those together until well blended.

Combine wet ingredients in saucepot.

Combine all of the wet ingredients in your cooking pot.

Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients.

Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients.

Cook until it comes to a low boil.

Place on stovetop and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a low boil. 

Simmer bbq sauce for 45 minutes.

 Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring from time to time. 

BBQ sauce simmering.

Oh if only you could taste this now!

 Now at this point, you can allow it to cool slightly and then ladle it into Rubbermaid-type refrigerator containers or jars and store it in your fridge for up to two months. It will last you all summer!

I’m going to can mine, though, so I can keep it in my pantry. Canning is really simple, much easier than you imagine. To see the method I’m using for my barbecue sauce, click here to visit my canning tutorial.

Canning ladle.

Canning BBQ sauce

So I got to use my canning ladle (click here for information on how to get one) again for this post! The hook you see allows it to hang on the side of the pot so it won’t fall in, it scoops the exact amount you need to fill an 8-ounce mason jar, and it is even shaped so it can scrape the bottom of the pot clean.

Truly, you need one. 

Canning ladle filled with bbq sauce.

Dips a perfect 8 ounces…

Christy's Number 5 BBQ Sauce

Into your canning jars.

If you do decide to put it in canning jars (whether to can it or just to store it in the fridge), make sure you use a canning funnel for ease. I am using mostly eight-ounce jars so one scoop for each jar gives me enough to fill it.

Jars filled with easy bbq sauce recipe.

This recipe makes almost one complete gallon or 15 cups.

Empty saucepot.

See? My ladle gets the last little bit out of the pot.

Easy homemade bbq sauce recipe

This divinely distinct barbecue sauce is perfect on pretty much anything.

Chicken, ribs, burgers, pulled pork, and shredded beef. Sometimes I even just smear a little bit on some wheat bread!


  • Store homemade barbecue sauce in the fridge for up to 2 months.
  • When canned, this easy homemade bbq sauce will last for several months in a cool dark place like the pantry.

Recipe Notes

  • To make this recipe safe for canning, make sure you use Clear Gel Brand cornstarch specifically made for canning.
  • If you can’t find Golden Eagle or Yellow Label syrup where you are, you can substitute it for 2 cups of light corn syrup and 1 cup of honey.
  • Here are some variations to make this easy bbq sauce recipe suit you and what you have on hand:
    • Swap the chili powder for smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, or simply a dash of hot sauce for that touch of heat.
    • Substitute the white vinegar for white wine vinegar.
    • Use light brown sugar instead of dark brown sugar.

Recipe FAQs

How do you serve homemade bbq sauce?

My homemade barbecue sauce tastes delicious on so many different meals:

You may also enjoy these sensational homemade sauce recipes:

How to Make Tartar Sauce

Alabama White Barbecue Sauce

Chipotle Ranch Dressing

Comeback Sauce (3 Ingredients Only)

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

How To Make Cranberry Sauce

Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce

Full of flavor and seasonings, this easy bbq sauce recipe is a stand-out condiment that knows how to make a meal special.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Course: sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: barbecue, sauce
Servings: 1 gallon
Calories: 43kcal


  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 cups ketchup
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 cups Golden Eagle or Yellow Label syrup
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar


  • In a small bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients. It is very important that you mix all of the dry ingredients together at once before adding them to the wet. If you don't add your cornstarch during this step, it will not dissolve later.
    2 cups dark brown sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 3 tablespoons ground black pepper, 8 tablespoons cornstarch
  • In the pot you are going to cook in (I prefer a heavy dutch oven so it doesn't scorch), mix together all the wet ingredients. Then whisk in the dry mixture.
    4 cups ketchup, 4 cups water, 3 cups Golden Eagle or Yellow Label syrup, 2 cups apple cider vinegar, 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • Place over medium-high heat and stir constantly until it comes to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  • Allow to cool slightly and place in containers to store in the refrigerator until ready to use, or can in mason jars using the canning method mentioned in the post.


Calories: 43kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

When faced with a situation (in the Army) that made me very angry but I couldn’t say anything, a dear friend said these wise words to me. “So compared to World War II, how important is this?” I try to keep this one in mind many times.

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  1. This is the BEST BBQ sauce I have EVER had, much less made!
    We have a fall festival at our Church every year, and the guy that make the pulled pork has been searching for a sauce recipe – to say the least, he is no longer searching!
    I made up a batch, brought him a pint jar and he will be making the recipe for the fall festival.

  2. I know I’m really late to the BBQ sauce party, but after years of looking at that recipe, I decided to pull the trigger and make it. It ticks all the boxes for heat, spice and flavor! I just placed an order for Clear Gel to make a big batch to can for Christmas gifts.

    Thank You Christy!
    LouAnn Loomis

  3. Made this tonight, Love it . I didn’t have any dark brown sugar on hand but did have dark corn syrup – used your hint on the Golden Eagle as Couldn’t find it here in New York. If I didn’t have the dark syrup think a little molasses added in to it would be great. Going to do ribs for my grandsons birthday with it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi! My name is Ed. I’m 72 years young and have my wife in nursing home with ALZ. I’m home alone and e joy finding good recipes online. Gives me something to do! Last week I found your BBQ recipe after looking at many others. I am entering it in our Church’s Fall Festival ” Sauce Boss ” competition. Wish me luck! Oh! It is the best I’ve ever tasted! Thank you.

  5. Hello!
    I know this is an older post but I am hoping that I can still get an answer from someone! I love to can and I am wondering if this amount of pepper makes the sauce spicy? I know that certain spices intensify when canned and black pepper is one that I have noticed that does. This is why I was wondering if the sauce is spicy when canned? Could anyone please answer if they know the answer?
    Thank You!

    1. Hey Vickie 🙂 I’m not sure anyone else will see this comment but I see all of my new comments each morning (unless I’m doing a giveaway that is getting thousands a day, then some of them get lost) so I’m happy to help!
      When this sauce is cooling, it tastes very spicy to me. Every time I make it, without fail, I think “Oh goodness, I put way too much pepper in.” But once it is cooled, the spiciness goes away as the flavors blend. I would say it is a hair spicer than off the shelf bbq sauces but I would put it between a mild and medium. However, it will taste very much more so until it has sat for a bit and blended.
      Hope this helps and have a great day!
      C J

  6. I am going to make my own bbq sauce for the first time. Can I use Lyles Golden Syrup? Cant wait to try this.

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