Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce

Homemade brown sugar barbecue sauce with a spicy kick.

Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce Recipe from

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Now back to your regularly scheduled programming…

Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce Recipe from

It’s raining. Again. I think sun is in the forecast but I’ll just wait it out and see for myself when that day comes.

In other news… Have you been watching The Voice? (spoiler if you didn’t watch this week) Sasha got the boot?! She was my favorite. Ahh well… I mean look what happened with American Idol this year? Ridiculous. Which is why I usually stop watching well before the end anyway. The results are rarely what they should be. You have a bunch of 12 year olds voting and of course they’re not going to vote for the best singer. You know… in my personal opinion of course.

Since we’re on this whole entertainment topic. I’m having a really hard time focusing on writing. I turned on Les Miserables earlier. Have you seen it? This is my first time watching this version. I saw it live with my parents when I was younger and it was fantastic. Nothing really beats seeing a live musical. Sure, movies give you the ability get comfy in your home, eat the snacks you want and pause when needed. But there is zero editing with a live show, no faking or retakes. Just amazing. But the movie version is so far totally living up to all of the hype it’s received.

Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce Recipe from

Now the important part… the food. You’re hopefully planning on doing some fabulous grilling this weekend, so I wanted to share a really easy and delicious recipe for homemade brown sugar barbecue sauce. I was a bit appalled to find out that barbecue sauce is made with tomatoes so I was happy to find one that called for ketchup and played around with that one a bit. I can handle ketchup. I know it’s made of tomatoes but it’s less tomato-y in my eyes, if that makes any sense at all. This version whips up in mere minutes, is sweet and spicy and everything right. I bet you even have all of the ingredients on hand for this. You can of course leave out the red pepper flakes if you want to cut back on the heat. It isn’t too much but does give a nice slight lingering zing. It’s just necessary. As is making this sauce. Seriously – minutes! In just minutes you’ll have a super delicious barbecue sauce you can say you made. Brush it on your meat of choice or use it as a dipping sauce. You’ll be sure to love it!

Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce Recipe from

Love barbecue sauce? Try these recipes:
Bacon and barbecue chicken pizza
Bacon wrapped barbecue chicken tenders
Spicy barbecue chicken salad
Barbecue chicken macaroni and cheese
Barbecue chicken tacos
Barbecue onion rings
Barbecue chicken French bread pizza
Barbecue chicken quesadillas

Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce

Homemade brown sugar barbecue sauce with a spicy kick.
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2 Cups


  • 1 1/2 C light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 C ketchup
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp molasses
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes optional


  • Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to boil, stir frequently. Reduce heat to low, continuing to cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Use immediately. Alternately sauce may be cooled and transferred to an airtight container, store in refrigerator.


An original recipe from Baked by Rachel

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75 Responses to “Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce”

  1. #
    Tieghan — June 14, 2013 at 7:58 am

    This is everything I love about BBQ sauce and more!!! Seriously, this sounds amazing. Sweet, a little spicy and a little zing. Perfect!

    • #
      Rachel — June 14, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      That leftover zing is the best!

  2. #
    Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) — June 14, 2013 at 8:44 am

    That sauce looks so amazing and sticky sweet. I must slather it over everything I make… Yum!

    • #
      Rachel — June 14, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      I hope you do! :)

  3. #
    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen — June 14, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Yum! A BBQ you can eat ;)

    • #
      Rachel — June 14, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      Haha ;)

    • #
      Benji — September 4, 2019 at 5:41 pm

      You fool. You should have kept the recipe a secret and sold bottles of it, mass produced as the world’s best BBQ sauce. This goes really well with smoked pulled pork btw

    • #
      Rachel — September 9, 2019 at 8:37 pm

      Hahaha! Thank you! So glad you’ve enjoyed it! :)

  4. #
    amanda @ fake ginger — June 14, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Mmm, I can’t remember the last time I made barbecue sauce but now I’m itching to make some! It looks amazing!

    • #
      Rachel — June 14, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      You should!

  5. #
    Barbara | Creative Culinary — June 14, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Two things I love to make on a regular basis are salad dressings and barbecue sauce and this one sounds great (thought why must I ALWAYS think a bit of bourbon would be nice too?). :)

    • #
      Rachel — June 14, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      Now I want a bourbon version ;)

  6. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — June 14, 2013 at 10:43 am

    I would slather this gorgeous stuff on everything! Awesome recipe, Rachel! Saving to try soon.

    • #
      Rachel — June 14, 2013 at 3:13 pm

      It’s absolutely necessary to slather this on everything in sight! :)

  7. #
    cassie — June 14, 2013 at 11:43 am

    We are big BBQ fans and love making homemade sauce. My husband usually makes it and definitely adds brown sugar. This looks amazing, Rachel!

    • #
      Rachel — June 14, 2013 at 3:14 pm

      Thanks Cassie!

  8. #
    Megan {Country Cleaver] — June 14, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Ben is a BBQ sauce fiend!! I have to make this for him.

    • #
      Rachel — June 14, 2013 at 3:14 pm

      Haha and I might even approve of him putting this on his greens ;)

  9. #
    Carla @ Carlas Confections — June 14, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Um… yeah. You know Im all over this one. Duh!

    • #
      Rachel — June 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm

      Obviously! ;)

  10. #
    marcie@flavorthemoments — June 14, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Your BBQ sauce looks so delicious. Your beautiful photos make it extra enticing!

    • #
      Rachel — June 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm

      Thank you, Marcie! :)

  11. #
    Laurie {SimplyScratch} — June 14, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    I’m a HUGE barbecue sauce fan! Love this Rachel!

  12. #
    Camille — June 14, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Sounds so good! I need to make this right away! THANK YOU!

  13. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — June 14, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    How amazing is this?! I LOOVE bbq sauce. Like obsessed-love it. Definitely need to make this and put it on a burger – YUM!

    And dude, I really need to catch up on the voice. I was so sad when they kicked off Judith – I thought she would win!

  14. #
    Shawn @ I Wash You Dry — June 14, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Drool! This looks so yummy!

  15. #
    Jaclyn — June 15, 2013 at 3:19 am

    This looks so good! I’ve been craving anything bbq lately. I need this in my life.

  16. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — June 15, 2013 at 8:27 am

    I’m going to drink this…but of course, after i slather it all over EVERYTHING.

  17. #
    Tracey — June 15, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Homemade barbecue sauce is the best, I have been thinking about making some this weekend since it’s finally nice enough to grill! Hooray for sunshine :) Oh, and as for The Voice – this season hasn’t been my favorite. I thought a lot of the good people got voted off too early…

  18. #
    Nessa — June 16, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Oooooh…now I’m hungry :)

  19. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — June 17, 2013 at 11:04 am

    A few weeks ago I made brown sugar and bourbon baked beans in my slow cooker. THIS would have been AMAZING to use! I used the Guy Feiori bourbon brown sugar bbq sauce and it was good, but yours looks better!

  20. #
    ashley - baker by nature — June 19, 2013 at 9:44 am

    I LOOOOOOVE homemade BBQ. And dang girl, you make it look SO good. I need to get on making some asap.

  21. #
    Aggie — June 24, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    We love bbq sauce in our house (at least the grown ups do), my husband would LOVE this sweet one! Great recipe Rachel!

  22. #
    Mrs. House Mouse — October 15, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Just made this sauce to pour over pulled pork I’ve been cooking all day! So much better than anything from a bottle! Thanks for the recipe :)

    • #
      Rachel — October 16, 2013 at 7:18 am

      Enjoy! :)

  23. #
    Susan Calise — February 18, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Hi I was woundering I found smoke do you thinknI could add some smoke to the recipe. An maybe a little bit of Captain.Morgans . If I do I will let younknow how much and how it comes out ok. Thsnk You

    • #
      Rachel — February 18, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      I haven’t personally done that but you’re welcome to try it out and see! :)

  24. #
    Larry — March 13, 2014 at 7:26 am

    I’ve made plenty of homemade barbecue sauce in the past, and honestly…this is hands down the best. I’ve been looking for something of this nature for a very long time. Thank you!

    • #
      Rachel — March 13, 2014 at 8:20 am

      So glad to hear it! :)

  25. #
    Michele — July 13, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Just came across this recipe today on Pinterest and made it to go on our smoked chicken legs. AWESOME!! I was looking for a change to the usual BBQ sauce I make. This will definitely be our new go-to recipe. Perfect balance of sweet, tangy and spicy. Thank you!!

    • #
      Rachel — July 14, 2014 at 8:05 am

      So glad you enjoyed it! :)

  26. #
    Patricia — August 5, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Since almost ALL BBQ sauce sold in stores has the first ingredient as High Fructose Corn Syrup, this is going to be AWESOME…but can I process it in batches for pantry storage?

    • #
      Rachel — August 6, 2014 at 9:04 am

      If you’re familiar with hot water bath canning, you should be able to process batches of bbq sauce this way to store in the pantry. Good luck!

  27. #
    Rebecca Arnold — November 16, 2014 at 12:48 am

    Made this when I thought I was out of barbeque sauce. I used this sauce to cook pork ribs in the slow cooker. This sauce was very good. It’s gonna go on my Tried it and LIked it board on Pinterest. Thanks for the recipe.

    • #
      Rachel — November 16, 2014 at 7:37 am

      Awesome! I’m glad you enjoyed it! :)

  28. #
    Diana — March 18, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    this sounds yummy!! Can this recipe be canned???

    • #
      Rachel — March 20, 2015 at 8:41 am

      I haven’t personally canned it but I imagine it could work well.

  29. #
    Pigskin Barbeque — September 13, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    I’ll have to give this a try!
    As much as I barbeque I know I can find something wonderful to test this out on from ribs, to chicken, to burgers or even brats!
    Thanks for sharing!!!

    • #
      Rachel — September 14, 2015 at 7:25 am

      I hope you enjoy it!

  30. #
    Theresa A Dunn — November 30, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    I just wanted to tell you I made this with the molasses from lambert Cafe in Ozark Mo. It was to die for I could not stop dipping my fingers into the pot it was cooking in, Will Always make this instead of buying store bought from now on. I might even give out as christmas gifts jarred up.

    • #
      Rachel — November 30, 2015 at 6:20 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it, Theresa! Such a great idea to jar and gift it! :)

  31. #
    Dezzi — December 31, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    So… tonight’s plan for supper was meatloaf with just a brown sugar and ketchup topping… as much as I love my grandmother’s old recipe, I wanted something with a bit more kick to it.

    The sauce is ABSOLUTELY delicious, I am so glad I found this recipe, even if I am a few years behind the time. Meatloaf is still in the oven, but I am SO looking forward to trying the end results. I fudged it just a bit, as I didn’t have ground mustard or red pepper flakes, so mustard and a bit more chilli powder was all I could do. But so dang good…. I want to eat it with a spoon.

    Definitely checking out more recipes.

    • #
      Rachel — January 1, 2016 at 6:13 pm

      So glad to hear you enjoyed it so much! Thanks for sharing, Dezzi! :)

  32. #
    Vickie — April 21, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Today I made pulled pork for the first time in my life! The smell of it cooking was almost more than I could stand. While it was cooking I realized I needed a sauce, I had none so of course I went to Pinterest and started searching. I wanted a sweet BBQ sauce and found this one Yay!! Looking at the list I was short on a couple things so instead of molasses I used honey and I didn’t have any ground mustard so I used regular. I have to say This is the best recipe I’ve ever had. Thank you so much for posting it. :)

    • #
      Rachel — April 22, 2016 at 9:59 am

      I’m so glad you found me and even more so that you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for sharing! :)

  33. #
    Staci — July 6, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Yum! This sounds amazing. I can’t ever find molasses. Would it make a huge difference to leave that out??

    • #
      Rachel — July 7, 2016 at 7:35 am

      You could substitute with honey or maple syrup. Another option would be to use dark brown sugar instead of light, since it has a stronger molasses flavor. Good luck! :)

  34. #
    Chris — August 20, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    My family loved this barbeque sauce – they liked it better than any store bought they’ve had. Will be making this again! Thanks!

    • #
      Rachel — August 23, 2017 at 8:36 am

      So glad you enjoyed it! :)

  35. #
    Laura — January 14, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    I have never made BBQ sauce before, but I had pulled pork in the instant pot and no sauce in the fridge so I gave this a go….so much better than bottled! I won’t go back. Thank you for sharing this easy recipe!
    I read that another commenter suggested giving it as gifts too-I think that’s a great idea!

    • #
      Rachel — January 15, 2018 at 8:20 am

      So glad to hear you enjoyed it, Laura! :)

  36. #
    Allison K — June 21, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    Just made this to use in another recipe and it was amazing! I made just one change because I did not have paprika (almost never do) and I loved it! I had read when looking for substitutions that I could use 1/2 tsp of chili powder for every 1 tsp of paprika …. so since this already had chili powder I just increased it to 1 1/4 tsp instead of 1/2 tsp.

    • #
      Rachel — June 25, 2018 at 7:52 am

      So glad you enjoyed it, Allison!

  37. #
    Kati — July 1, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Omg so good! I didn’t have chili powder so I substituted old bay ( this is the eastern shore after all) and added a little raw honey…. *DROOL…..

    • #
      Rachel — July 19, 2018 at 8:17 am

      So glad you enjoyed it, Kati! :)

  38. #
    Carole — September 12, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    I have honestly been trying out recipes for bbq sauces every weekend for months hoping to find the perfect recipe … and this is the winner! We had a party last weekend and I made this for the pulled pork sandwiches and everyone loved it. I went home after the party and actually threw away all the other recipes that I thought were ok. This is the ONLY one that will be in my recipe book. My son also takes a small container of it into a local restaurant to use on his sandwich there because he hates the bbq sauce that they serve … it’s that good!! Thanks so much for posting it!

    • #
      Rachel — September 24, 2018 at 7:02 am

      So glad everyone enjoyed it so much! Thanks for sharing, Carole! :)

  39. #
    Tracy Pope — September 24, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    I was wondering if you could make the sauce, then hot water bath/can it?

    • #
      Rachel — September 25, 2018 at 7:38 am

      I’m sure that would work just fine. Good luck! :)

  40. #
    Jennie — October 11, 2018 at 9:22 am

    Made this sauce it was very good. Just enough sweetness. My ribs were perfecto

    • #
      Rachel — October 17, 2018 at 6:58 am

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  41. #
    John — August 18, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    Is it just the red pepper flakes that give this sauce the heat or the other ingredients like the paprika and chilli powder also add to it? I’m not into heat so just trying to judge which way to proceed. I’m attempting to make pizza for the very first time and considering I can barely boil water, I’m nervous. :-)

    • #
      Rachel — August 23, 2019 at 9:23 pm

      Chili powder will give a touch of heat, but definitely omit the red pepper flakes if you don’t want it spicy.

  42. #
    Grace Scott — August 16, 2020 at 1:01 am

    Really good sauce. How long will it keep in a jar in the refrigerator?

    • #
      Rachel — August 29, 2020 at 8:55 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it! The sauce will easily keep for a few weeks or longer. You should be able to freeze it as well.

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