Are you a sauce fanatic like me? For as long as I can remember, any time I’ve seen a sauce sampling station, I had to stop to try all the sauces (if they’d let me).
Barbecue sauce is a safe bet in my house because my family is obsessed with it (although my husband is super picky about his sauce). My goal was to find a honey BBQ sauce recipe that was easy to make and would pass the husband and toddler test.
Keep reading, and I’ll share my recipe (and how it scores with my family).
Why Make BBQ Sauce?
The older I get, the more inquisitive I become about how what I consume is made. Making sampling stations in my house is exciting, and I love seeing the kids’ reactions to new flavors. If you have kids, you know that they’ll either love it, hate it, or refuse to try it.
Our family eats tons of chicken. At least once a week my husband makes chicken on the grill, and everyone loves their chicken dipped in honey BBQ sauce. As you might imagine, we go through a lot of the sauce in this house.
While it’s not necessarily cheaper to make your own honey BBQ sauce, it’s easy enough to make this recipe with common household ingredients that you already have in your pantry.
This sauce recipe is great to have bookmarked when the unthinkable happens–you’re craving chicken, but you’re out of the best ingredient: honey BBQ sauce.
Save yourself a trip to the grocery store and make this honey BBQ sauce recipe at home.
- Brown Sugar
- Vinegar (Apple Cider, White, or Red Wine)
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Black Pepper
- Olive oil
- Baking Soda (optional)
Place a saucepan on an unheated burner and mix all the ingredients — except the baking soda — in it.
Once they are all combined, turn up your burner to medium heat until you see a rolling boil.
Don’t move far from your stove during this time, because this happens quickly. If left unattended, your sauce will splatter all over your stovetop.
Turn down your heat to low and simmer uncovered for at least 15 minutes. If you like a thicker sauce, you can cook it longer until the sauce reaches your desired thickness. Some people like to cook their sauce for up to an hour.
Stir the honey BBQ sauce frequently during this time to prevent the bottom of the pan from sticking and burning.
After the sauce has reached your desired thickness, taste-test the sauce. If it tastes too vinegary, you can remove some of the vinegar taste by adding small amounts of baking soda. Stir in the baking soda and watch it bubble up.
Once the bubbles have subsided, taste the sauce again. Continue adding small amounts of baking soda until the sauce tastes just right, then remove the saucepan from the burner and set it aside to cool.
After about ten minutes, transfer the sauce to a mason jar and set it in the refrigerator or freezer to continue cooling.
It will take about an hour to cool in the refrigerator, though you can expect the sauce to cool in around 15 minutes in the freezer.
Storing This Honey BBQ Sauce Recipe
Store your honey BBQ sauce in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. I prefer to store homemade sauces in 12-ounce mason jars.
You could also can your honey BBQ sauce by pouring the sauce (while it’s still hot) into a sterilized mason jar and processing it in a boiling hot water bath for 15 minutes. The jars need to be covered with 2 inches of boiling water while processing.
After you pull them out, listen for the jars to pop. Popping means they’re sealing.
Canned honey BBQ sauce should last about a year in your pantry without its flavor being impacted.
There are quite a few ways you can vary this recipe.
If your family prefers more spice, you can add more garlic powder (I only use 1 teaspoon, but you can use up to 1 tablespoon for more spice).
Cayenne pepper or chili powder are also popular spice additions to this honey BBQ sauce recipe. Start off by adding ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper and/or chili powder and increase as desired to meet your spice needs.
Some people don’t like the taste of olive oil, but my family is a huge fan of it. You could use vegetable oil in its place. Some people skip the oil altogether, but I like to add it because having a little oil in the mixture helps prevent the sauce from sticking to the pan.
The Ketchup Base
Since ketchup is the base of this honey BBQ sauce recipe, you need to make sure you to select a high-quality ketchup. Not all ketchup is created equally.
My personal opinion is that Heinz is superior to all other ketchup, and many flavor experts agree with me. Although others will argue that Hunt’s is better because it’s thicker. If you like a thicker sauce, then you probably want to use Hunt’s.
Other high-quality brands:
- Trader Joe’s Organic Ketchup: This ketchup is incredibly sweet, so it’s ideal for people who prefer a sweeter honey barbecue sauce. It’s also cheaper than most high-quality ketchup.
- Annie’s Organic Ketchup: This ketchup is made from organic, California-grown tomatoes and doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup. If how your food is made is important to you, go with this ketchup.
Making Homemade Ketchup
Or you can make your own ketchup if you want your sauce to be truly homemade. Making your own ketchup will add to your cooking time, but having complete control of the ingredients in your homemade honey BBQ sauce recipe will make the extra time worth it.
Since ketchup is a sauce, check out the 7 best tomatoes for sauce when deciding which tomatoes to use for your ketchup. The best tomatoes for ketchup should be low in seed count, low in water count, and fleshy.
Serving This Yummy Honey BBQ Sauce Recipe
We served this honey barbecue sauce recipe with chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes. My toddler loved it so much that he dipped his potatoes in it, and then proceeded to eat the sauce with his spoon after his food was gone. My husband gave it the green light, too!
This honey BBQ sauce recipe is perfect for all your barbecuing needs. Dip your chicken nuggets in it, or bast it over your chicken the next time you make barbecue grilled chicken. You could also use it on top of pulled meat sandwiches.
Here are some other unique ideas to try:
BBQ Chicken Pizza
Use honey BBQ sauce in place of tomato sauce, then add chicken, cheese, and other toppings of choice. Bake your pizza at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes. Top with fresh cilantro if desired.
Top your chips and nacho cheese sauce with pulled meat of any kind, pickled peppers, and a generous amount of honey BBQ sauce.
Dips are my other obsession. Mix with sour cream or Greek yogurt, then use the dip for fried jalapeño peppers, mozzarella sticks, or chicken strips.
Southern Hot Dogs
Try a southern-styled hot dog by topping it with honey barbecue sauce, macaroni and cheese, and coleslaw.
Mexican-Styled Potato Salad
Try a simple Mexican-styled potato salad recipe by mixing your honey BBQ sauce with red potatoes, jalapeños, and cilantro. Add tajin seasoning to enhance the flavor further.
Drizzle honey BBQ sauce on cornbread muffins for added taste.
Wrapping up the Best Honey BBQ Sauce Recipe
Your family is ready to start enjoying this delicious honey BBQ sauce recipe. No more last-minute runs to the store for BBQ sauce for chicken nuggets or barbecue chicken. I hope you love this recipe as much as my family does.
Browse more food ideas in our Recipes section!
- 1 cup ketchup
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp black pepper¼ tsp baking soda (optional)
- Place a saucepan on an unheated burner and mix the ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, honey, olive oil, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper together.
- Once they are all combined, turn up your burner to medium heat until you see a rolling boil. Boiling will happen quickly, so stay close to the stove!
- Turn down your heat to low and let simmer uncovered for at least 15 minutes. If you like a thicker sauce, you can cook it longer until it reaches your desired thickness (up to 1 hour).
- Stir the honey BBQ sauce frequently during this time to prevent the bottom of the pan from sticking and burning.
- After the sauce has reached your desired thickness, taste-test the sauce. If it tastes too vinegary, you can remove some of the vinegar taste by adding small amounts of baking soda. Stir in the baking soda and watch it bubble up.
- Once the bubbles have subsided, taste the sauce again. Continue adding small amounts of baking soda until the sauce tastes just right.
- Remove the saucepan from the burner and set it aside to cool.
- Transfer the sauce to a mason jar or other airtight container.
- Place in the refrigerator or freezer to finish the cooling process.