Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce


This is a sweet and spicy homemade bbq sauce with just enough heat to linger in your mouth. I’ve been slathering this sauce on darn near everything in my kitchen for a few weeks now!

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce

This barbecue sauce is tangy and sweet, it’s perfect on chicken, as a dipping sauce for potato wedges, with steak bites, and mixed into ranch dressing for a spicy kick.

Best of all, not only can you pronounce all the ingredients, but you can whip it together in your own kitchen in less time than it would take to check out at the grocery store.

As you know, I love a great homemade barbecue sauce, so whenever I find a new one to try and it’s a winner, I have to share it with you.

This barbecue sauce is lightly adapted from Half-Baked Harvest’s Sweet Baby Ray’s Copycat Recipe. And I’ve been told by many that this Sweet and Spicy Homemade Barbecue Sauce tastes just like Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce.

However, in all fairness to Sweet Baby Ray, I think this sauce blows the store-bought version away.

I actually went out and bought a bottle of the original sauce, just to compare the flavors. The store-bought sauce was really tasty, but the flavors here are deeper and I prefer them. (Of course, I can’t think of many instances where a homemade version won’t trump store-bought!)

Ketchup is, of course, the base but the combination of brown sugar, molasses, and apple cider vinegar really brings the sweet to this sauce. Hungarian paprika, known to be sweet and mild adds depth without being overly sweet.

Sweet and Spicy Homemade BBQ Sauce

My family really enjoys the spicy side of this sweet barbecue sauce. That said, I make it with the optional cayenne pepper. (For what it’s worth, my non-spice lover adores this sauce as well.)

However, if you are leery of the heat, taste the sauce before adding any cayenne and then add it very slowly, tasting as you go.

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce Recipe

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan. Whisk until smooth and then bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to an airtight container and refrigerating until needed. Enjoy!
Homemade BBQ Sauce is sweet, spicy, and absolutely perfect.

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipes

For more homemade BBQ sauce recipes to try, be sure to check out a few more of our favorites.

Sriracha Bourbon Barbecue Sauce is a spicy, rich, slightly smoky barbecue sauce that works great with beef, chicken, or pork.

Peach Barbecue Sauce is a tangy-sweet sauce with a subtle peach flavor. Despite the fact that half of this recipe is purely peaches, the flavor remains in the background of the sauce. It’s a terrific combination.

Tangy Memphis BBQ Sauce is thinner and tangier than most barbecue sauces, especially the thick and smoky sauces typically available at the grocery store. I really like the ratio of tang to spice in this version.

Korean BBQ Sauce is a heck of a game-changer. This sweet, tangy, garlicky, slightly spicy sauce can go just about anywhere regular barbecue sauce can go, but is also wonderful with stir-fries, lettuce wraps, and fried rice; this sauce is an instant flavor boost to almost any food.

Spicy Barbecue Sauce with enough heat to bite the back of your throat and just barely sweet enough to balance that heat, this is the sauce for any fan of spicy heat.

This sauce literally melts into these Easy Ribs. Making your own barbecue sauces is so simple, and easy to adjust sweetness and heat to your liking.

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Servings: 40 (1) tablespoon servings

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  • Combine all ingredients in a medium size saucepan. Whisk until smooth and then bring to a boil over medium high heat.

  • Reduce the heat and simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to an airtight container and refrigerating until needed. Enjoy!

We love love LOVE the spicy side of this sweet barbecue sauce. That said, I make it with the optional cayenne pepper. (For what it’s worth, my non-spice lover adores this sauce as well.) However, if you are leery of the heat, taste the sauce before adding any cayenne and then add it very slowly, tasting as you go.

Calories: 36kcal · Carbohydrates: 9g · Protein: 1g · Fat: 1g · Saturated Fat: 1g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g · Monounsaturated Fat: 1g · Sodium: 163mg · Potassium: 68mg · Fiber: 1g · Sugar: 9g · Vitamin A: 99IU · Vitamin C: 1mg · Calcium: 12mg · Iron: 1mg

{originally published 10/30/14 – recipe notes and photos updated 10/14/22}

This Homemade BBQ Sauce is sweet, spicy, and perfect for grilling.



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