This brown sugar BBQ sauce is so easy to make and so much better than anything you can buy at the store. Brown sugar barbecue sauce has sweetness from the brown sugar and a little kick from the cayenne and vinegar. A delicious all-around BBQ sauce for chicken, burgers, ribs, or anything that needs a delicious kick of flavor.
If you have not tried making your own homemade BBQ sauce before, this is the perfect recipe to start. This brown sugar BBQ sauce is our go-to BBQ sauce for making baked BBQ chicken (all year no matter the weather), our BBQ sauce for hamburgers and ribs on the grill, and we even add it to our turkey patties and pulled pork sliders.
I started making this homemade BBQ sauce when I really wanted to up my summertime BBQ game. I already had a delicious red potato salad, Italian pasta salad, peach cobbler with pie crust and even grilled potatoes in foil for my outdoor BBQs.
The only thing that was missing from a complete summer BBQ experience was my own BBQ sauce! It is one of my favorite American recipes and so easy to make.
The ingredients that you need to make this homemade brown sugar BBQ sauce are all commonly found ingredients at the store. I prefer simple recipes like this 🙂
- Brown sugar
- Ketchup. Any variety will work.
- Cayenne pepper
- Worcestershire sauce
- Apple cider vinegar
- Vegetable oil. This is to cook down the onions and garlic.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Sauté onions and garlic until soft.
Add all other ingredients and simmer.
Making this brown sugar barbecue sauce is very easy. Once you have chopped the onions and garlic and cooked them, all that is left is to add the other ingredients into the saucepan and simmer for just a few minutes.
If you prefer a completely smooth BBQ sauce, just add the finished sauce to a food processor or blender for a minute until smooth.
Tip: This barbecue sauce can be made a few days ahead of time and stored in the fridge until you need it. So make this during the week for that weekend BBQ!
This brown sugar BBQ sauce is going to have a little kick from the garlic, vinegar, and cayenne pepper. It is not spicy but tangy, sweet, and with a finishing note of heat.
If you want some ideas on how to change this homemade BBQ sauce up a bit to make it your own here are some suggestions:
- Make it less spicy - if you do not want the extra kick in your BBQ sauce, you can omit the cayenne pepper from the recipe.
- Add a smokey flavor - use about ⅛ teaspoon of liquid smoke to add a smokey flavor to your BBQ sauce.
- Make a fruity BBQ sauce - You can omit the brown sugar but still have sweetness and a fruity note by adding some nectarine jam in place of the brown sugar.
As I said, this BBQ sauce is delicious just the way it is but if you would prefer to change it up a bit, go for it.
This brown sugar barbecue sauce stores well in the fridge for up to one week. If I am making this BBQ sauce ahead of time, I like to pour it into a mason jar and let it cool.
Once cooled, I place the lid on top and put it in the fridge until I need it.
When working with BBQ sauce you want to make sure to cook the meat almost completely before adding the sauce. Since BBQ sauce has sugar in it, it will char quickly when exposed to heat. The best barbecue dishes are made when the BBQ sauce is added during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking.
Using brown sugar in BBQ sauce adds a little more sweetness and a little more of a deep molasses flavor to the BBQ.
I always use light brown sugar for BBQ sauce since dark brown sugar will produce an overly sweet sauce.
Looking for other recipes like this?
These are my favorite dishes to serve with anything made with this brown sugar BBQ sauce:
Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce
- 1.5 cups Ketchup
- ½ cup Apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup White onion diced finely
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 3 Cloves garlic diced finely
- 1 tsbp Chili powder
- 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
- ⅛ teaspoon Cayenne pepper
- In a sauce pan over medium heat, add oil, onions and garlic.¼ cup White onion, 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil, 3 Cloves garlic
- Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Now add the other ingredients to the sauce pan and simmer for another 5 minutes.1.5 cups Ketchup, ½ cup Apple cider vinegar, ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce, ¼ cup light brown sugar, 1 tsbp Chili powder, ⅛ teaspoon Cayenne pepper
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Once cooled, if you prefer a smooth bbq sauce just add it to a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Store bbq sauce in a sealed container for up to one week in the fridge.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here
Tried the Recipe? We Would Love To Hear From You In The Comments Below!