Tangy, just a little tingly, a tiny bit spicy, and so, so easy to make, our go-to homemade barbecue sauce comes together in less than 20 minutes – and most of that is just simmering time. This Homemade Barbecue Sauce Recipe (with ketchup!) is a constant around here. My guy is borderline obsessed, and I think it’s pretty darn tasty too.

A jar of homemade barbecue sauce with a spoon.

Table of Contents

Readers say …

“… DELIGHTED to tell you that as of this very moment, my life-long (several year) search for a delicious sweet/tangy/spicy homemade bbq sauce is officially over! Thank you for saving my home-chef life Kare!”

– Laura

Homemade Barbecue Sauce Ingredients

  • Ketchup – use your favorite brand from the store.
  • Brown sugar – adds the rich sweetness you expect from homemade barbecue sauce. Use dark or light brown sugar, your preference.
  • Soy sauce – Gives that umami flavor you expect from BBQ sauce.
  • Worcestershire sauce – Grab a vegetarian version of Worcestershire if that is something that’s important to you.
  • Apple cider vinegar – For tang!
  • Garlic – Fresh garlic is a must.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes – Adds a bit of kicky heat.

Adaptations & Variations

  • For a fully vegetarian/vegan barbecue sauce, be sure to grab a vegan Worcestershire. Traditional Worcestershire sauce has anchovies in it.
  • Amp up the flavor! Some readers report adding more of the ingredients to the ketchup for a stronger flavor.
  • Reduced sugar BBQ sauce: One reader reports successfully using tomato puree in place of the ketchup and sugar-free sweetener instead of brown sugar to reduce the sugar levels.

How Do You Make Homemade BBQ Sauce?

It’s so easy. Just …

  1. Grab a saucepan
  2. Add the ingredients: Ketchup, brown sugar, soy sauce, Worcestershire, apple cider vinegar, red pepper flakes, and garlic.
  3. Simmer until perfect

That’s it!

Homemade bbq sauce on a spoon.

We’ve been making this Easy Barbecue Sauce Recipe with Ketchup for years (decades?!), and now that barbecue season is heating up (get it? heating up?! sorry), we can’t wait to break it out to brush on and mix into all sorts of good things. Such as …

What to Serve with Barbecue Sauce

  • Brush it on chicken or other meats before grilling
  • Brush it on tofu and grill. It’s delicious!
  • Add it to a Crock Pot with a few chicken breasts and cook on high for several hours until tender. Shred and serve in buns.
  • This homemade BBQ sauce is excellent for dipping chicken nuggets (or meat-free chicken nuggets if you’re me).
  • Try it on BBQ Tofu Pizza!
  • Dip potato wedges or sweet potato fries in homemade BBQ sauce. It’s so good!

How Long Does It Last in the Fridge?

Place in an airtight container. Homemade BBQ sauce will keep refrigerated for up to one week.

More Homemade Sauces & Dressings to Try

Our very favorite homemade barbecue sauce (it's so easy!) | Kitchen Treaty
4.85 from 13 votes

Easy Barbecue Sauce Recipe with Ketchup (Our Fave!)

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Author: Kare
Yield: 10
Super easy, nice and tangy, and with just the slightest touch of heat, this has been our go-to homemade barbecue sauce for years. Got 20 minutes? Make some!


  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce*
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce**
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic (minced) (about 2 teaspoons)


  • Add all ingredients to a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, and continue simmering for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool. Place in an airtight container. Keeps refrigerated for up to one week.



*Gluten-free option

Use a gluten-free soy sauce, such as Tamari.

**Vegetarian/vegan option

Sub vegan or vegetarian Worchestershire sauce.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 0.25cup, Calories: 74kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 671mg, Potassium: 191mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 254IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 15mg, Iron: 1mg

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