Sweet and tangy with a little kick, this quick homemade BBQ sauce – or barbecue sauce depending on where you’re from – has become a family favorite on briskets, ribs, grilled chicken, pulled pork, and BBQ chicken stuffed sweet potatoes.
Unlike the bbq sauce recipe of my childhood, it’s naturally sweetened with molasses and maple syrup instead of loads of brown sugar. Also, although there are some healthy ketchup options out there, they’re not always easy to find so we’ll be working with from-scratch ingredients. Don’t worry, thought, it’s super fast and easy, and you have total control over the ingredients.
Not quite as sweet as you like? Dial up the maple syrup. Want to add a little black pepper even though it’s not in the recipe? No problem. It’s a pretty forgiving recipe that can be adapted to your preferences.
Sure, you’ll find fancier versions out there: a dash of Worcestershire sauce with a smidge of smoked salt, subtly flavored by oak barrels once used to age chardonnay. But here’s the thing: I have KIDS. If grilling is going to happen the sauce needs to be ready in ten minutes flat. Twelve, tops.
If time is a consideration for you, too, I think you’ll love this version. It has just the right amount of smokiness, sweetness, tang and heat. Serve it up with your favorite protein and some coleslaw or other side dish – you’ll find a list of BBQ and picnic-friendly recipes at the bottom of this post.
Easy Maple Chipotle BBQ Sauce Recipe
- 7 oz tomato paste
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp unsulphured blackstrap molasses
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp unrefined sea salt
- ¼ - 2 tsp chipotle chili powder (to taste)
- ½ tsp dijon mustard (to taste)
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- cayenne pepper (to taste)
- Add all the ingredients except cayenne pepper to a medium saucepan and simmer over low/medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or until it reaches the thickness you prefer.
- Remove the sauepan from heat and add cayenne to taste. If more tang is desired, add a little more mustard. Use right away or store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Looking for more easy recipes for picnics and BBQ’s?
Here are a few of my favorites:
Easy coleslaw recipe – If you’re not a fan of soggy, super-sweet slaw that is drowning in sauce, check out this crisp, fresh version. It’s sweet (but not too sweet), creamy and light with a little bit of tang. My kids love it!
Easy chicken salad recipe with apples – Light and delicious, this easy chicken salad recipe is my favorite ways to keep lunch simple.
Lavender lemonade – This refreshing lemonade is tart and sweet with aromatic notes of lavender and a hint of thyme. You can serve it in the classical style, or dress it up by replacing the water with sparkling mineral water.
Homestyle potato salad with bacon and egg – Bacon, hearty red potatoes and onion are the star flavors in this potato egg salad recipe. It packs well for a picnic or barbecue, and always gets lots of compliments from guests.
Chimichurri sauce – This garlicky, spicy, tangy Argentinian herb sauce is an amazing marinade or dipping sauce for grilled meats.
Read My Comment Policy
Sounds tasty, but 5 ounces of sweetening for 7 ounces of tomato paste? I know honey is good for you, but that seems like a lot. I’ll have to try with less and see how it comes out. Thanks for the recipe. 🙂
I agree the ratios are high! However, since we’re using it as a glaze rather than something we eat off the spoon I don’t worry about it 🙂
Sounds delicious! Should this be stored in the fridge or the pantry? How long does it keep for?
I think we should store it in a fridge so that it can last for 2 or 3 weeks. I made some sort of similar sauce, any longer than that would make the taste slightly off, but still okay 🙂
Thanks for the new bbq sauce recipe!
Yum. I’ve been wanting a good BBQ sauce recipe.
Can this be canned using a water bath?
I’m not sure, Deedee. I’ve never tried it!
Yes you could can it , there’s sugar if you did Water bath it would work.
I REALLY like the looks of this sauce…I always make my own bbq sauce…but this recipe looks way better and healthier! Will definitely be trying this come grilling season!
Yay I finally an easy bbq sauce and I have all the ingredients. Thanks for sharing!!!
This looks amazing! Just bought ancho chili pepper this week. Would that work in place of the chipotle chili powder?
It won’t taste quite the same, but I’ll bet it would be good!
Thanks! I’ve been searching for a BBQ sauce I can make with all corn free ingredients. The only one I don’t have yet is chipotle powder. Did you buy the powder (and where?) or did you make it yourself. To do it myself the chili peppers cannot have been waxed because the wax is usually made of . . . corn!
I use Frontier herbs organic chipotle powder! I love it! Great herbs and spices, mostly organic ones, and it tastes great!
This recipe sounds great and it has a lot of similar ingredients to a sauce that we make commercially. To the person who asked if this can be water-bath canned, based on the ingredient set, I say YES! To safely can a sauce such as this one you simply need to cook the sauce as described and then heat the sauce to 180 degrees and hold the temp there for a few minutes before jarring and lidding. This is exactly what is done for our sauce. Some people mistakenly think that store bought sauces are heated to 1000 degrees killing all the nutrients and enzymes but this is not necessarily the case. Many are made just like you would make them at home. Go ahead and make a big batch of your favorite recipe – if it has vinegar in it like this one, you can can it and use properly jarred acidified sauces for 2 years or more.
I haven’t bought tomato paste since reading that canned tomatoes contain some of the highest levels of BPA because the acid in the tomatoes leeches the BPA from the cans. Do you know of a tomato paste that is safe?
I buy Bionature in glass when I don’t use homemade. The lid may have some BPA in it, but it’s better than the cans 🙂
This is the BEST barbecue sauce I’ve ever made! Perfect! Thank you for a great recipe. This is my new go-to sauce!
So glad you liked it, Kristen!
I just made this sauce for some BBQ chicken pizza. It was so easy and is so delicious!!! Thank you!
So glad you liked it, Brenda!
This will become a ‘must have’ at my home as well. Thank you for sharing!
Super excited about trying this on our ribs tonight! Love all of your recipes! Thank you SO much for sharing! 🙂 one question… Where do you get all of your cute little jars!? I love them!
I hope you like it! I’m not quite sure where I got the jars in these photos. I’m always experimenting with something so I have a collection of all shapes and sizes 🙂
can the sauce be frozen?
I haven’t tried so I can’t say for sure, sorry!
Looks good! My local stores don’t have sell chipotle chili powder. I have regular chili powder & cayenne pepper. Which do you think would work better to replace the chipotle?
I am allergic to apples so is there something I can use instead of apple cider vinegar for this recipe?