Sweet BBQ Sauce

This simple 10-ingredient recipe makes the best Sweet BBQ Sauce and takes less than 20 minutes to make.  It’s seriously the only sweet bbq sauce you’ll ever need, and will definitely keep you from buying that highly processed canned stuff from the store for sure!

Mason jar with homemade sweet bbq sauce.

I admit that I, Lacey Baier, have not always liked sweet BBQ sauce.  In fact, I actually used to hate it.

I mean…as much as one can hate BBQ sauce.  Translation: I’d eat it but complain it was too sweet (much to my husband’s dismay).

But, something miraculous happened over the past few of years and I started to develop a taste for it.  Maybe I’ve been living in Texas for long enough now…

While I used to prefer a stronger, more vinegar kinda sauce, I now actually prefer the sweeter, deeper-flavored BBQ style.

The 10 ingredients required for making sweet bbq sauce laid out and ready to be combined.

I must be growing up 😉

Y’all this sweet BBQ sauce is the real deal – never you mind that it’s made from 10 whole, simple ingredients or that it is redonk easy to make.  It’s the best BBQ sauce I’ve had in quite a while.  And, living in Dallas, you can imagine I get my fair share of BBQ testing.

Overhead view of cooking garlic in olive oul for first step in making homemade sweet bbq sauce.

How To Make BBQ Sauce Sweeter or Less Sweet

Yes, you can easily alter the sweetness of your BBQ Sauce if you’re making it yourself.

How To Make BBQ Sauce Sweeter

To make BBQ Sauce sweeter, you can increase the raw honey by doubling the raw honey called for in the recipe. That means, for the recipe below, you would increase the raw honey to 3 tablespoons to make it sweeter. From there, you can alter to your taste preferences.

How To Make BBQ Sauce Less Sweet

Or, to make BBQ Sauce less sweet, you can reduce the raw honey by half.  That means, for the recipe below, you would reduce it to 1/2 tablespoon to make it less sweet.  From there, you can alter to your taste preferences.

How To Thicken (Or Thin) BBQ Sauce

It’s also very easy to thicken or thin BBQ Sauce to suit your needs.  Just like adding or taking away sweetness, many people have different tastebuds for how thick they like their BBQ Sauce.

How To Thicken BBQ Sauce

If you want a deeper, thicker sauce, you can simmer it a little longer on the stove over medium heat – this will reduce the liquid in the sauce and make it thicker.  You could also add arrowroot starch, mixed with 1 tbsp water to dissolve, and then stir into your sauce to thicken.

How To Thin BBQ Sauce

To thin your BBQ Sauce, you have a few options as well, which I’ve listed below:

  • add more liquid, like water or low sodium chicken broth, and then heat through
  • reduce the amount of molasses in the recipe, since molasses is quite thick
  • don’t simmer very long once the sauce has been heated though — the longer you cook it, the thicker it will become
  • heat the sauce – when the sauce is warm, it will be thinner than when it’s cold

Pouring the raw honey into the sauce pan to make the bbq sauce sweet. Overhead image of sauce pan filled with the ingredients to make sweet bbq sauce.

How To Make Sweet BBQ Sauce Gluten-Free

The great news is this Sweet BBQ Sauce is already gluten free so YAY!  For many BBQ sauces, it’s possible soy sauce is being used as a flavor enhancer, and soy sauce often contains gluten.  To remove that issue in other recipes, you can use a gluten-free soy sauce, like coconut aminos instead.

Close up view of a spoon with some of the sweet bbq sauce from the sauce pan to show what it looks like when it's cooked.

Angle view of mason jar filled with sweet bbq sauce next to sauce pan that was used to cook it on the stove.

How To Make Sweet BBQ Sauce Vegan

This recipe, as written, is not vegan, but can easily be altered to be vegan.  Luckily, the only ingredient that isn’t vegan in this BBQ recipe is the raw honey.  So just replace the raw honey with pure maple syrup or coconut sugar in equal amounts to make this recipe completely vegan.

Personally, I’d recommend using pure maple syrup over coconut sugar, since the syrup is already a liquid like the honey and it won’t alter the color or texture of the sauce.

Side view of mason jar filled with sweet bbq sauce which is overflowing. Spoon up close showing the texture of the sweet bbq sauce.

What To Use With Sweet BBQ Sauce

Ooh, the best part of this BBQ Sauce — actually using it and enjoying it!!  This BBQ Sauce is a big staple in our home – we use it with pizzas, grilling, slow cookers, and more.  Here are some of our favorite recipes to use with this Sweet BBQ Sauce:

Hand holding a mason jar filled with sweet bbq sauce with a lid for storing bbq sauce in the refrigerator.

How To Store Homemade Sweet BBQ Sauce

This BBQ Sauce will store for up to 7-10 days in the refrigerator if kept in an air-tight container.  Here’s how to store your sauce for the longest use:

  1. Once you’re done cooking the sauce, allow it cool to room temperature
  2. Carefully pour the BBQ Sauce into an airtight container (like these mason jars)
  3. Add a lid to the jar and seal tightly (I love these mason jar re-usable lids)
  4. Place in the fridge for up to 7-10 days

Remember to not eat directly from the jar to maintain the most sanitary conditions and keep the sauce lasting as long as possible.  That means pour out your BBQ Sauce as needed or use a clean spoon to remove it from the jar, rather than double dipping!

Now, it’s time to go forth and make this delicious BBQ Sauce for yourself and see just how tasty it is.  You’ll never wanna buy the pre-made canned stuff again, especially once you look at the ingredient list and see just how many unnecessary chemicals are in there — yikes!

Share in the comments below what you’re gonna use with this BBQ Sauce!!

4.34 from 3 votes
Mason jar with homemade sweet bbq sauce.
Sweet BBQ Sauce
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
Sweet BBQ Sauce
Categories: Sauce
Difficulty: Easy
Keyword: sweet bar b que sauce recipe, sweet barbeque sauce recipes, sweet bbq sauce recipe
Servings: 16
Calories: 24 kcal
Author: Lacey Baier of A Sweet Pea Chef
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp granulated onion
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 1/2 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a sauce pan and then add minced garlic. 

  2. Cook for one minute, until the garlic is fragrant, then add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, molasses, raw honey, apple cider vinegar, granulated onion, sea salt, and black pepper, and stir to combine.

  3. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, until heated through.

Recipe Notes

Can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Nutrition Facts
Sweet BBQ Sauce
Amount Per Serving (2 tbsp.)
Calories 24 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 54mg2%
Potassium 57mg2%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 30IU1%
Vitamin C 0.6mg1%
Calcium 7mg1%
Iron 0.2mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This post contains affiliate links for products I use often and highly recommend.

Lacey Baier

Hey there! I’m Lacey Baier and I’d like to welcome you! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, as well as cleanish, my clean-eating supplement brand. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

17 thoughts on “Sweet BBQ Sauce

  1. 3 stars
    After I completed the recipe and let it cook a bit couldn’t wait to try it on a teaspoon, sorry to say that there’s nothing “sweet” about it, so I “doctored” it up a bit with some brown sugar and what a difference it made. (1:3 cup).
    It’s delicious now, can’t wait to slather it on my ribs for today’s 4th of July picnic in the rain!!!
    Happy 4th Everyone!!!

    1. Whoops! Certainly not just you. Updated to say “8 oz can of tomato sauce”

  2. Did you recently change the recipe associated with this link? I had a sweet bbq sauce recipe that I believe was yours that was no cook that was attached to this link and I cannot find it any longer, but this one is popping up. Was there a different recipe prior to this July? If so, can you share? Thanks!

  3. I’ve been looking for a SWEET bbq recipe and this one looks perfect! Thanks for sharing! 😊

    1. I just made this but tweak it a bit. I added cayenne pepper and added brown sugar since I didn’t have molasses. It’s so good. Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Not sure about this one in particular, but most homemade bbq I’ve seen says it does not hold up well to freezing.

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