Go Back
+ servings
Barbecue sauce in a small gray bowl with a spoon next to it.

Barbecue Sauce

Here’s a Barbecue Sauce recipe that’s every bit as Sweet Baby Ray’s famous sauce. It’s all natural, made by you, and only takes a few minutes.
Course Pantry
Cuisine American
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 16 servings (1/4 cup each)
Calories 76kcal



  • In a non-reactive saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar, pineapple juice, molasses, liquid smoke, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder.
  • Bring the sauce to a low boil; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until flavors have blended, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in vinegar, then season to taste with cayenne, salt, and pepper (I like 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper).


  1. Molasses: Substitute 1/4 cup dark corn syrup, honey, or maple syrup, or 3 tablespoons firmly-packed brown sugar (the flavor of the sauce will change). 
  2. Cayenne pepper: Add to taste (I like 1/2 teaspoon) or omit entirely.
  3. Liquid smoke: In a pinch, substitute 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (the flavor of the sauce will change).
  4. Yield: This Barbecue Sauce recipe makes about 4 cups (1 quart) barbecue sauce.
  5. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  6. Freezer: Cool the sauce completely, then pack into freezer-safe containers (I like to use pint jars). Label, date, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.


Serving: 0.25 cup | Calories: 76kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 282mg | Potassium: 180mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 164IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 0.4mg