Honey Barbecue Sauce

This honey barbecue sauce is easy to make with a handful of pantry ingredients including ketchup, vinegar, molasses, honey, and spices. So long, store-bought sauce.

A half-full jar of honey barbecue sauce with a spoon dripping excess sauce back into the jar.

Simple with a touch of intrigue works. That’s the lesson we learned with this honey barbecue sauce. Pantry ingredients. Less than half an hour of effort. Yet sufficiently complex to yield lasting returns. Consider it for ribs, wings, pulled pork, smoked or grilled chicken, burgers, anyplace you’d otherwise pull out the store-bought stuff, which we suspect you may banish after trying this.–Renee Schettler

Honey Barbecue Sauce

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 35 M
  • Makes 24 (2-tbsp) servings | 3 cups
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In a medium saucepan over medium heat, thoroughly whisk all the ingredients together. Bring to a gentle boil, whisking frequently.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer, still whisking frequently, until the sauce has thickened slightly and coats the back of a spoon, 15 to 20 minutes. The sauce will thicken even more as it cools.

Tester tip: The mustard and ketchup may not look like they are blending correctly in the beginning, but don’t worry, by the end of the cooking time they’ll be fully incorporated.

Remove the pan from the heat and let the sauce cool to room temperature.

Transfer the sauce to a jar or other sealable container. Refrigerate for at least a couple days and up to 1 month before using.

Tester tip: As with many things, this honey barbecue sauce becomes more nuanced and complex with time. If you can, make it at least a couple days before you intend to use it.
Print RecipeBuy the Award-Winning BBQ Sauces and How to Use Them cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

I don’t have a grill any longer, but every now and then I will broil something in the oven. This recipe looked pretty easy to make and, as it was honey based over brown sugar, I figured it wouldn’t be so cloyingly sweet as some bbq sauces can be. Plus its healthier, as I’ll take honey over sugar or corn syrup every day of the week!

Instead of pulling something store-bought out of the pantry, in about 5 quick minutes, you’ll have this fantastic BBQ sauce on the stovetop and cooking away, ready to mop onto your ribs, chicken, or steak in less than half an hour.

It’s tangy-sweet and you get a faint hint of the mustard and molasses as well as a sharp finish with each bite. I used smoked pimento as my paprika. The consistency was perfect—not too thick or thin, as I did the back-of-the-spoon test and it had good viscosity. I had it over chicken. It’s a keeper.

I think my next batch will have a bit more Dijon, and I might try some apple cider vinegar to see how that works. This is a recipe I’ll keep starred in my collection, as it’s easily adaptable for you to customize to your own taste!

This has to be one of the best barbeque sauces I have ever tasted. I used it on baby back ribs during the last 10 minutes of grilling and it was absolutely delicious. The sauce was sweet but not too much with a hint of spice. All the ingredients in this recipe work well together, and once made, there’s enough sauce for several dishes. This week I’ll be grilling chicken and I’m hoping this sauce will work its magic on that too.

I used sweet Hungarian paprika. One change: I was out of onion powder so I did add 1/2 small onion diced to the sauce to avoid a trip to the store. However, I don't think this change affected the overall taste of the sauce.

Excellent recipe that I’ll be making again.


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