Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce is a quick and easy recipe with the best flavors! This barbecue sauce is thick and sweet, and apple cider vinegar gives it a tangy flavor! And, you can make it in 25 minutes total time!
This recipe was originally written in 2013 and updated to include new images and tips.
My family LOVES condiments and sauces! They’re big on dipping and dunking pretty much every kind of meat! We always have to have a million different kinds of sauces in the fridge.
Of all the sauces in the fridge, my boys LOVE this sweet and tangy sauce the most! They dunk chicken and French fries in it, and drizzle it over pizza, nachos, and tacos!
No double, making homemade bbq sauce takes more effort than grabbing it off the shelf at the grocery store. But you guys…it’s totally worth it! And, making it from scratch really isn’t that hard!
The BEST Tangy BBQ Sauce
Tastes amazing! Of course, that’s the main reason I love this homemade barbecue sauce recipe! The tangy and the sweet balance each other perfectly in this recipe!
Simple ingredients! This ingredient list is a little bit longer, but they’re all simple ingredients you probably already have on hand.
Adjust it to your taste! If you want spicy, add cayenne pepper. If you want it smoky, add liquid smoke, if you want a healthy bbq sauce then reduce the amount of sugar, or use a sugar substitute. I’ll give you the basics and you decide where to go from there!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Let’s go over the list of ingredients and options for substituting so you can use what you have on hand.
Ketchup: Use your favorite brand
Apple Cider Vinegar: This is my favorite.
Worcestershire Sauce: It adds a natural flavor, but you can leave it out if you don’t have it.
Yellow Mustard: Plain old prepared mustard.
Honey: Adding honey makes the barbecue sauce sweet, but it also makes it smooth.
Brown Sugar: Use light or dark brown sugar. Light will give you a more red sauce. Dark gives the sauce a bit of a molasses flavor.
Smoked Paprika: I LOVE the flavor of smoked paprika. If you don’t have it use regular paprika. You could add a little bit of smoke flavor too.
Black Pepper: Use cracked black pepper. Reduce the amount to 1/2 a teaspoon if using ground black pepper.
Chili Powder: I use traditional chili powder. You can use different kinds for a spicy kick. Ancho, cayenne, habenero, etc. Or add hot sauce.
Garlic Powder: Use minced garlic or garlic paste if you’re feeling ambitious!
Lemon juice is a great substitute for apple cider vinegar in bbq sauce recipes.
How to Make Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Stir. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.
Reduce heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until thick.
How to Store BBQ Sauce
BBQ sauce will stain plastic containers so I recommend storing it in a glass jar or glass container. I like using a mason jar with a lid.
One of my favorite things about his sweet and tangy barbecue sauce is that it makes quite a bit so I always have leftovers!
So how long does bbq sauce last in the fridge? For up to two weeks. My boys usually eat it before that!
I recently learned how to freeze barbecue sauce! Put it in an airtight container and freeze it for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge before using.
As you simmer barbecue sauce the liquid will simmer out and the sauce will get thicker. Simmering longer makes the sauce thicker. The sauce will thicken as it cools, too.
Adding a little bit of liquid will thin barbecue sauce. Use apple juice, chicken broth, or even a little bit of water. Start with a tablespoon and add more as needed.
BBQ sauce will last in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks.
Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce Recipes
I seriously love this sauce on so many different things from pork ribs to pulled pork and more! Its a must to keep on hand to go with all your grilling and smoking recipes!
- Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
- Grilled New York Strip Steak
- Shredded Sweet Ham
- Pulled Pork Nachos
- BBQ Chicken Pizza
- Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
- Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs
Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups ketchup
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens. It usually takes about 15 minutes.
- Cool. Store in a sealed container. A mason jar works perfectly. It will store in refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.