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The ingredients called for in this Kansas City BBQ Sauce Recipe are super simple and easy to find in any grocery store. You may even have everything you need on hand. And preparation couldn’t be any easier. You literally whisk the ingredients together, bring to a boil, and then simmer. Once cooled, your sauce can be stored for up to two weeks in the fridge.

Kansas City BBQ Sauce in glass jar
Our favorite BBQ Sauce

Kansas City is one of the barbecue capitals of America. Known for their burnt ends of pork and brisket, Kansas City barbecue goes amazingly well with their signature sweet and spicy tomato-based sauce. It’s really hard to determine what is more iconic – the burnt ends or the sauce. Regardless, I’m here to show you how to make this delicious BBQ sauce so you can put it on some burnt ends of your own.

Henry Perry is said to be the original creator of the Kansas City BBQ sauce. He opened his restaurant in 1908 and quickly became famous for his style of barbecue. The key to the signature flavor is the sauce is tomato-based and gets its sweetness from brown sugar and molasses.

smoked meatloaf on cutting board with barbecue sauce
Add our Kansas City BBQ Sauce to your Smoked Meatloaf

This barbecue sauce is perfect with the burnt ends recipe you can find on the site. And, if you’re looking for side dishes, you can’t go wrong with the Hassle-Free Smoked Mac & Cheese and a good ole pan of cornbread.

Ingredients for Kansas City BBQ sauce

ingredients for Kansas City BBQ sauce
Simple ingredients to make Kansas City BBQ Sauce Recipe

Full recipe and instructions are below

  • Ketchup
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Dark brown sugar
  • Molasses
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Smoked paprika
  • Ground black pepper
  • Salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Chili powder
  • Ground mustard


mixing ingredients in saucepan for Kansas City BBQ Sauce
Time to mix the ingredients for the Kansas City BBQ Sauce

Begin by mixing all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed sauce pan

cooked in saucepan Kansas City BBQ Sauce
Thick and rich Kansas City BBQ Sauce

Bring the ingredients to a boil, stirring frequently, reduce the heat and simmer.

Allow to BBQ Sauce to cool before transferring it to a jar. Then store it in the refrigerator.


If you want to make sure everything gets thoroughly combined, combine the dry ingredients before adding in the wet.

Barbecue Sauce Variations

Love spicy barbecue sauces, add some red pepper flakes to the sauce. Or you could even add a fresh hot pepper of your choice that you’ve cut in half to the sauce as it simmers. Remove the pepper when the sauce is done. The flavor will have infused the sauce.

Want a stronger smoky flavor? Try using smoked chili powder.

Kansas City BBQ Sauce on spoon
Thick and Rich KC BBQ Sauce

Equipment needed to make sauce

Basically everything needed for this recipe are things you should already have on hand.

You’ll need: measuring cups and spoons, a saucepan, and a whisk.


This will last for up to two weeks in an airtight container stored in the fridge. We especially like using a mason or glass jar with a tight lid.

Top Tip

Allowing this sauce to develop it bold flavor is accomplished by making this recipe the day before you need it so that is has the best flavor.

Kansas City BBQ Sauce in glass jar
BBQ Sauce goes great with meatloaf

Kansas city bbq sauce – frequently asked questions

What is special about Kansas BBQ sauce?

Kansas City BBQ sauce is known for its sweet, tomato-based flavor. 

What is different about KC BBQ sauce?

What’s said to take this sauce over the top is the addition of apple cider vinegar.

Is this BBQ sauce sweet or spicy?

That’s the great thing about the sauce – it’s both and more. Kansas City Barbecue sauce is tangy, sweet, and spicy.

What is different about Kansas City and North Carolina sauce?

KC BBQ sauce is known for being sweet and tomato-based while Carolina BBQ Sauce is often generally vinegar-based and has a spicier flavor.

kansas city BBQ sauce in glass jar with meatloaf on board


If you are looking for the perfect pairing for this barbecue sauce, you can’t go wrong with our Traeger Smoked Beef Brisket, Smoked Tri-Tip, Traeger 321 Ribs, additional we love this Smoked Meatloaf.

Looking for more Sauce Recipes? Because we love sauce with smoked meat, we suggest you try these…

Kansas City BBQ Sauce on spoon

Kansas City BBQ Sauce

This quick and easy Kansas City BBQ Sauce pairs well with several different smoked meats.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American, BBQ
Keyword: Kansas City BBQ Sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 cups
Calories: 436kcal
Author: Mark Rogers


  • 3 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard


  • Whisk together all the ingredients in a small saucepan until combined
  • Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, reduce heat and simmer on low for 20 minutes
  • Remove from heat and cool. Transfer to air tight container
  • Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks


The best flavors develop after you store for 24 hours.


Calories: 436kcal | Carbohydrates: 113g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 2360mg | Potassium: 1326mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 98g | Vitamin A: 1946IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 161mg | Iron: 4mg

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