Dinner Dips + Sauces

Homemade Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce

Homemade Sweet & Tangy BBQ Sauce

Admittedly there are lots of great BBQ sauces out there for purchase. But when you make your own at home it just hits differently. Homemade sweet and tangy bbq sauce takes only 15 minutes to make and the flavor can be adjusted on a whim to pair with your recipe perfectly.

BBQ sauce is a ketchup based sauce so you probably have all of the necessary ingredients on hand in the house already. All except for one very crucial ingredient… pineapple juice. This is where the sweet and tangy come in. Salty ketchup, sweet pineapple and tangy Worcestershire sauce are the big flavors here.

This homemade sweet and tangy BBQ is great on so many different meats. Baste it onto grilled chicken, top off some homemade meatloaf, coat a rack of ribs, use it as pizza sauce… the possibilities are endless.

Use this recipe as your guide and then adjust the brown sugar for more or less sweetness. Increase or eliminate the red pepper for adjusting the heat. And by all means… feel free to experiment! Maybe trying simmer some orange peels in the sauce before finishing it off ??!

homemade sweet and tangy bbq sauce

About the Ingredients

Onion – only 1/4 an onion, diced

Worcestershire sauce – a little bit goes a long way

Ketchup – I use classic Heinz ketchup. If you use a version that is more natural you may need to increase your salt and or sugar slightly so be sure to taste as you go.

Brown sugar 

Seasonings – garlic powder, salt and pepper

Pineapple juice – canned is great so long as it is 100% real juice.

Red pepper flakes – measure with your heart on this one.

Cornstarch – combined with water to thicken the sauce, if needed.

How to Make Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce

Begin by sautéing a small amount of diced onion in a small sauce pan. Wait for the onion to soften but not brown, about 4 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce and sauté for one more minute to let the onion absorb it. Now add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

It’s time to smooth out the sauce. Using an immersion blender, purée the sauce until smooth.

If the sauce is a little thinner than you like it you can thicken it using a cornstarch slurry. Whisk 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Pour the slurry into the sauce with the pot set over medium-low heat and continue whisking until the sauce thickens. You can repeat this step until you reach your desired consistency.

Recipe Substitutions & Variations

Sweet and tangy BBQ sauce is great but sometimes it needs a little heat. If you want to spice it up a bit try adding some cayenne pepper. If you want to be very fancy you could slice your favorite fresh chili pepper in half and toss it into the simmering sauce. When the sauce is done cooking, remove the pepper and seeds to keep the consistency of the BBQ sauce smooth.

FAQ’s and Recipe Tips

My sauce is too watery or thin. What can I do to thicken my BBQ sauce?

Increase the amount of the cornstarch slurry you use. Whisk 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Pour the slurry into the simmering sauce and continue whisking until it thickens. Repeat this until you reach the right consistency.

How long can I store homemade BBQ sauce?

Homemade BBQ sauce can be stored in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

pouring homemade bbq sauce into a jar for storage in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks

The Recipe for Homemade Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce

The recipe is attached below for easy downloading and printing.  If you test it out be sure to leave a note in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you thought and what you put your new favorite sauce on. Enjoy!

Homemade Sweet & Tangy BBQ Sauce

Homemade Sweet & Tangy BBQ Sauce

Perfect for basting and dipping.
Cook Time 10 minutes
Active Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Sauces & Dressings
Cuisine American
Servings 2 cups


  • 1 Immersion blender or regular blender


  • ¼ cup yellow onion diced
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 6 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch


  • In a small saucepan set on medium heat, sauté the onion until soft but not brown, about 4 minutes.
    ¼ cup yellow onion
  • Add the Worcestershire sauce and stir for about 1 minute.
    2 tbsp Worcestershire
  • Add the remaining ingredients except the cornstarch and stir to combine. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
    ¾ cup ketchup, ½ cup packed brown sugar, ½ tsp garlic powder, 2 pinches salt, 1 pinch pepper, 6 oz pineapple juice, 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • Remove the pot from the heat and using an immersion blender, purée the sauce until the onion pieces are gone.
  • If the sauce is too thin, return the sauce to the stove set on medium-low heat. Whisk the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the sauce and continuously whisk the sauce until it thickens.
    1 tbsp cornstarch


If you don’t have an immersion blender transfer the sauce to a standard blender to purée the onions. Then transfer back to the pot to thicken with the cornstarch slurry if needed.
Keyword barbecue sauce

More Recipes You Might Like

Leave a Comment | Did you make this recipe? Comments encourage other readers to try the recipe too. Thank you so much for your support!

You may also like...

Apple Fritter Skillet Cake Recipe Make Ahead Back to School Dinners 10 Healthy Summer Dinner Recipes Best Sloppy Joe Recipe Barbecue Sandwich Recipes