Homemade sweet and spicy Kansas City BBQ sauce made with tomato sauce, honey, molasses, vinegar and spices.
Kansas City BBQ Sauce
This homemade BBQ sauce is so easy to make from scratch. Simply combine the ingredients and simmer on the stove for less than 30 minutes. The results are a thick, tangy sauce with the perfect balance of sweetness and spice. This Kansas City BBQ sauce is perfect on Slow Cooker Pulled Pork, BBQ Shrimp, chicken, ribs, or beef.
Homemade BBQ Sauce
The best part of making BBQ sauce from scratch is that you have complete control of what goes into it, whether it’s the amount of heat or sugar. Did you know most brands of BBQ sauces and ketchup sold in the supermarket contain high fructose corn syrup? Don’t worry – I also have a homemade ketchup recipe!
My daughter Karina makes ribs with this sauce, which she claims are the BEST because of the simple homemade BBQ sauce. She made them for me recently, and I agree they were amazing. She made a rub for the ribs and then baked them in the oven for two hours. While they baked, she whipped up this BBQ sauce and then slathered it all over the ribs towards the end.
Kansas City BBQ Sauce Ingredients
While the ingredient list may be long, the ingredients require no prep, so it goes pretty fast. Just measure and pour into the pot.
- Tomatoes: canned tomato sauce and tomato paste make up the base of the sauce.
- Sweetener: Kansas City BBQ sauce is sweeter, so I use honey and molasses.
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Liquid Smoke: Liquid smoke is found near the BBQ sauce at supermarkets.
- Spices: Cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cinnamon, chili powder
How To Make BBQ Sauce
- Making BBQ sauce is easy! Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over low heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Let it cool before transferring it to a mason jar or container.
- Refrigerate the sauce for up to a week or freeze it in small containers or an ice cube tray for a few months.
- To use the sauce, brush it over chicken, meat, shrimp, etc. towards the end of the cooking time – about 10 minutes before it’s finished.
- If you don’t like spicy BBQ sauce, leave the cayenne out.
- If you want it less sweet, use less honey.
- I recommend using the molasses, but maple syrup would work if you don’t have it.
- If you don’t have liquid smoke, you can skip it, or use smoked paprika instead of regular.
- Swap apple cider vinegar for red wine vinegar.
More BBQ Recipes You’ll Love:
- BBQ Chicken Salad
- Bacon-Topped Petite Turkey Meatloaf with BBQ Sauce
- BBQ Chicken Quesadilla
- BBQ Turkey Meatballs with Bacon
- Smokey BBQ Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Homemade Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce
- 1 1/3 cups tomato sauce
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup molasses, unsulfured
- 2 tsp all natural hickory liquid smoke, Colgin
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp chili powder
- In a large saucepan combine all the ingredients and simmer over low heat for 25 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Let it cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- For using on grilled meat, brush onto chicken, pork or beef the last 10 minutes of cooking.
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Photo credit: Jess Larson
143 comments on “Homemade Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce”
My son loves BBQ sauce but I have such a hard time finding one with no high fructose corn syrup. We just made this and my son said it’s his new favorite! So easy and so delicious!!!
Sounds delicious! I was wondering if it freezes well, there are only two of us and I would probably only use 1/2 a cup at a times so I’m curious if it would freeze well?
My husband and I really enjoyed this sauce. I live in Tokyo and it’s hard to find good American style BBQ sauce so this was a winner. Very easy to make and made a good amount. I’m going to be making this all summer for pulled pork and chicken!