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EASY Homemade BBQ Sauce

Homemade BBQ Sauce made with molasses is tangy, sweet and ready in an easy 30-minutes. The molasses in this barbecue sauce recipe gives it a slight smoky flavor that complements pulled pork, smoked ribs, smoked brisket, and grilled chicken perfectly! It also makes a tasty BBQ dipping sauce for breaded chicken tenders or French fries.

Made from just five main ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry, this quick BBQ sauce gets a little zing from its raw apple cider vinegar base. The natural tanginess is balanced by the molasses and a bit of brown sugar added to the sauce.

A jar of barbecue sauce on a table

Homemade BBQ Sauce

A couple of years ago, my husband got an electric smoker for Christmas and since then he’s been obsessed with smoking meats. Not that I’m complaining, by any means! Our entire family loved the turkey breast he smoked for Thanksgiving and smoked ribs are always a favorite for July 4 family picnics.

Recently, he started experimenting with making his own barbecue sauce. Several taste tests later, I think this version is pretty darn good! An added benefit is that it doesn’t require any special  ingredients — everything can be found right on my pantry shelf!

A jar of barbecue sauce, with a spoon

How do you thicken homemade barbecue sauce?

One thing we learned about making this Homemade BBQ Sauce is that the longer it slow simmers, the thicker it gets. You can adjust the cooking time depending on your preference for a thicker or thinner sauce. You might want a thinner sauce for mopping ribs as they smoke, but I like my sauce a little thicker for dipping and basting.

How long does homemade BBQ sauce last?

This barbecue sauce will last up to two weeks when it is stored tightly covered in the refrigerator. I like to keep my sauce in a canning jar or a glass container that is microwave-safe so that I can heat up the sauce quickly.

A close up of A jar of barbecue sauce, with a spoon

Use this simple homemade BBQ sauce in these easy recipes!

Once you make homemade barbecue sauce, you may never buy the bottled stuff again. Store it in the fridge and use it in any recipe that calls for barbecue sauce. Here are a few you might like to try:

To make this recipe, you may need…

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Raw Apple Cider Vinegar: You can use either raw apple cider vinegar or the less expensive filtered apple cider vinegar that you find regularly on your grocery store shelf. However, the benefit of using raw apple cider vinegar is that it is less processed and has a little more flavor complexity. 

A plate of food and a spoon on a table, with Barbecue sauce and pulled pork

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

This is the best-ever quick and easy BBQ sauce recipe! All it takes is five minutes to mix it up and 30 minutes simmering on the stove! Zesty, with just the right amount of sweetness, you’ll love using this sauce all Summer long on all your favorite grilled and smoked meats.

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Yield: 20 servings

Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce

A plate of food and a spoon on a table, with Barbecue sauce and pulled pork

Make this tangy, sweet barbecue sauce with just five ingredients and in just 30 minutes! So much better than store-bought!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup tomato ketchup
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 4 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder


  1. Add all ingredients to a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the brown sugar dissolves.
  2. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the desired thickness is achieved. Serve warm with pork, or cool and refrigerate to use later.


Yield: 2-1/2 cups

Nutrition facts based on a serving side of 2 tablespoons.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 58Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 363mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 0gSugar: 13gProtein: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

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sheila thigpen in her kitchen

Sheila @ Life, Love & Good Food

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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Barbara Chapman

Tuesday 2nd of July 2019

Hi Sheila, this recipe looks so delicious! I love a good BBQ sauce so I am so happy to share it to my Pinterest for you and all our readers. :)

Happy 4th of July to you and your family, Barb :)

Lori Nell

Monday 1st of July 2019

This looks delicious! Will have to give it a try!

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