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Be honest. How many bottles of barbecue sauce do you have in the fridge? There are so many great ones to choose from, but what about making your own? This BBQ sauce recipe is so easy to make. It’s definitely not something that should intimidate you.

With just three ingredients, you can make a great sauce. If you love to grill or smoke meats, why not take them to the next level by adding homemade barbecue sauce?

bbq sauce recipe

This homemade barbecue sauce goes together in literally seconds. With just three ingredients, and no need to heat, you have no reason not to try this sauce.

You probably even have all the ingredients you need in your pantry right this minute. If not, you can easily find the ingredients in any grocery store. You can even make it ahead of time and store in the fridge for up to a week.

How do you make BBQ sauce from scratch easy?

Each recipe is different, but for this recipe, all you need to do is combine the three ingredients (ketchup, brown sugar, and vinegar) in a bowl and whisk together.

You want to make sure to whisk this homemade barbecue sauce until the brown sugar dissolves. Once dissolved, allow to set for 15 minutes to let the flavors combine. 

BBQ Sauce ingredients mixed together

How do I make BBQ sauce?

Homemade barbecue sauce is easier to make than you might have thought. For example, this recipe uses only three ingredients and doesn’t even require that you cook the sauce.

ingredients for bbq sauce

Some recipes will call for cooking the ingredients in a small pot on the stovetop. This is usually the case when you’re using dried spices to help the flavors of the spices better develop in the sauce. Regardless, most homemade barbecue sauce recipes are extremely easy to make.

What are the main ingredients in BBQ sauce?

The exact ingredients used in a recipe will vary. However, you can almost always count on ketchup, vinegar, and brown sugar being part of the recipe.

Of course, the style of barbecue sauce will also determine the ingredients. For example, there are mustard-based sauces. Alabama even has a mayonnaise-based barbecue sauce. 

BBQ Sauce mixed with brown sugar and mayonnaise

What can you use instead of barbecue sauce?

If you’re not a fan of barbecue sauce, you can use dry rubs on your meat before cooking it. There are a number of dry rub recipes, and they are extremely easy to make.

Dry Rub for Ribs
Dry Rub for Ribs

The hardest part is measuring out all the ingredients. Another option is to use a vinegar sauce. These are really popular in North Carolina and are nothing like barbecue sauce.

They are vinegar-based and very thin. They also have red pepper flakes as well as cayenne and black pepper. If you’re looking for something that packs a flavor punch, you may like this sauce.

This easy BBQ sauce recipe is used in my BBQ Little Smokies, Instant Pot Baked Beans and many more recipes, you’ll find on the blog.

Easy BBQ Sauce Recipe (Homemade)

This BBQ sauce recipe is so easy to make. With just three ingredients, you can make a great sauce. If you love to grill or smoke meats, why not take them to the next level by adding homemade barbecue sauce?
3.74 from 50 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: BBQ
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bbq sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 622kcal
Author: Mark Rogers


  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon white vinegar


  • Add all ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Be sure all sugar is completely dissolved
  • Let set about 15 minutes before using for flavors to blend
  • Store in refrigerator in airtight container for up to 1 week


Use on Grilled Chicken, Crockpot Pulled Chicken, Baked Beans or as a condiment 


Calories: 622kcal | Carbohydrates: 155g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1664mg | Potassium: 714mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 146g | Vitamin A: 923IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 121mg | Iron: 2mg

What are different types of barbecue sauce styles?

Across this great country, you will find a number of barbecue sauce styles. There are also different styles across the world.

In America though, the most popular barbecue sauce styles include Eastern North Carolina Vinegar Sauce (discussed above), Piedmont or Lexington Style Dip (tomato-based and vinegary), South Carolina Mustard Sauce, Texas Style Mop or Basting Sauce (beef stock and vinegar-based), Kansas City Style BBQ (thick, sweet, and tangy), and Alabama White Sauce (mayonnaise-based).

There are also a variety of sauces that combine these different techniques to create something totally different.

That’s why it’s so much fun to try barbecue whenever you’re traveling.

Don’t forget to check out my latest article, 14+ Best BBQ restaurants to try in Kansas City, Missouri.

best bbq restaurants in kansas city missouri

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I love the simplicity in this recipe.