Homemade Spicy Barbecue Sauce

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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 I was craving.

Spicy BBQ Sauce

My family loves spicy barbecue sauces. I’ve played with a few recipes this year. I found this delicious Homemade Barbecue Sauce a few months ago and we love it. I like my barbecue sauce on the thicker side with just a little sweetness and that sauce fit the bill.

It’s become one of the standard sauces that we reach for any time a barbecue craving hits. When we want something tangier, I love this Tangy Memphis BBQ Sauce. For a fruitier sauce, everyone goes nuts for Tangy Peach Barbecue Sauce.

Still, I hadn’t quite found the spicy sauce I was looking for. I wanted something with plenty of heat!

Spicy BBQ Sauce Recipe

So, the hunt for the perfect Spicy Barbecue Sauce continued. As I experimented with different ingredients, I kept coming up ultimately dissatisfied with the end results.

Today, I decided to try again. I had a very long list of ingredients that I wanted to try this time. As I was adding things to the sauce and tasting as I went along, I suddenly realized that I had exactly what I wanted.

I stopped there and very happily asked my husband to taste the sauce. He was thrilled with it. I will be quadrupling this recipe next time I make it and freezing the extra to have for future meals.

Spicy homemade bbq sauce

This is a pretty spicy sauce as it is written; however, if you like more heat, feel free to increase the Tabasco and cayenne. I served this sauce over pulled pork and it was an instant hit.

This homemade barbecue sauce gets its spiciness from Tabasco sauce and cayenne pepper. Ketchup and brown sugar provide a sweet backdrop for the spice and tang from apple cider vinegar. A dash of smoked paprika adds a smoky flavor that makes such a difference.

Homemade Spicy Barbecue Sauce

Easy Spicy BBQ Sauce

It only takes 5 minutes to whip up a batch of great tasting spicy barbecue sauce. Simply mix all the ingredients in a sauce pan and simmer over medium heat until combined and thickened.

I love the way this sauce tastes served warm, but it’s good as a dipping sauce at room temperature, too!

Spicy Barbecue Sauce is delicious anywhere you’d enjoy your favorite bottled sauce. I can’t wait to try it in Pulled Pork Tacos or in these BBQ Chicken Stuffed Baked Potatoes. This sauce also makes a fantastic dipping sauce for chicken or even Oven Fries.

As I was tasting this for the first time, I also thought it might make a nice addition to these Neato Frito Over-stuffed Burritos my friend Rebecca makes. If you have an instant pot, it’s delicious over these Baby Back Ribs too.

Spicy Barbecue Sauce

Homemade Barbecue Sauce

We’re big fans of barbecue recipes in this house. As such, I’ve made many homemade barbecue sauces over the years that we love!

If you like the sweet and spicy combination in this sauce, you’re also bound to like the Sweet and Spicy Homemade Barbecue Sauce too. It’s just a tad sweeter than this Spicy BBQ Sauce and my whole family calls it one of the best sauces ever.

You don’t need to be a bourbon drinker to enjoy this Sriracha Bourbon Barbecue Sauce. With flavors of chile and maple, that sauce is declared a winner by everyone who tastes it. Bonus: your kitchen smells amazing while it’s cooking!

Homemade Barbecue Sauce freezes wonderfully. I often make multiple batches of any of these sauces at a time and store a couple of bottles in the fridge with the rest in the freezer.

Having great-tasting homemade barbecue sauce ready at a moment’s notice makes dinnertime easier. Use these recipes anywhere you enjoy tangy sweet barbecue flavor!

Spicy Barbecue Sauce

Spicy BBQ Sauce

A homemade barbecue sauce that delivers plenty of heat with just the right amount of sweetness.

Serve this BBQ sauce with Chicken, Pulled Pork or smothered on burgers for a meal the whole family will love. Feel free to double, triple or even quadruple the recipe to have lots on hand to freeze!

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Spicy BBQ Sauce

Homemade Spicy Barbecue Sauce

4.88 from 24 votes
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 I was craving.
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Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Servings: 12 ounces


  • 1 cup ketchup   I use Heinz original
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano


  • Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Stir to combine and simmer 5 minutes. Use warm or let cool, pour into a jar and refrigerate until needed. Enjoy!


Calories: 32kcal · Carbohydrates: 8g · Protein: 1g · Fat: 1g · Saturated Fat: 1g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g · Monounsaturated Fat: 1g · Sodium: 314mg · Potassium: 93mg · Fiber: 1g · Sugar: 7g · Vitamin A: 209IU · Vitamin C: 2mg · Calcium: 11mg · Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

{originally published 6/27/12 – recipe notes and photos updated 5/16/22}

Spicy BBQ Sauce

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Jon says

    This sauce is amazing. It’s now my go-to sauce for ribs. I add a tablespoon of minced garlic and one tablespoon of habanero sauce for kick. Caramelizes nicely. Just the right sweetness.

  2. Whitney says

    I really want a BBQ sauce with a lot of heat. Not so spicy that you’re chugging your drink after every bite but I do like it hot. Am I right in thinking this recipe is it? If it isn’t quite as hot, adding more Cayenne and Tabasco should do the trick right?

    • Mary says

      You are correct. I’d recommend making it as written and then tasting it and adding additional cayenne or Tabasco (I would probably use cayenne myself) to reach the heat level you desire. Enjoy!

    • Mary says

      Technically, the bbq sauce will last as long as the ingredients used in the sauce. For safety’s sake, I don’t keep most homemade sauces more than a week or two at most. It’s really up to you. Enjoy!

  3. Sue Gaines says

    Our family has decided this is our favorite spicy bbq sauce and we triple the recipe because everyone wants a jar to take home5 stars

  4. Laurel Larsen says

    I loved your description that an ideal spicy bbq sauce bites the back of your throat and has just enough sweetness to balance out the heat. My husband and I love bbq and we’re always looking for new sauces to try out.

  5. Denise says

    Just wanted to let you know I made this sauce along with some St. Louis style ribs in my instant pot and won 1st place out of a 12 team competition! 🙂
    Thank you for the recipe!5 stars

  6. Margie says

    Could you use the sauce without cooking it? For example, mix the ingredients and marinate the ribs and then place it in the oven (instead of cooking the sauce separately)?

  7. 83verley says

    Very tasty! My picky teen ran out of her favorite BBQ to dip her chicken nuggets. This was a very quick and easy recipe using ingredients that I already had on hand, except tobasco sauce. I just added a little more cayenne and more sugar since she prefers sweet BBQ sauce. Thanks for sharing!5 stars

  8. Mark Smith says

    We like extremely spicy bbq sauce. What should I change in your recipe to significantly turn the heat up?

    • Iona Relf says

      I sometimes add a little bit of “MAHI Scorpion Pepper and Passion” hot sauce into the recipe.
      I don’t know if you can get it where you are, but it packs some serious heat and has a lovely flavour too! (You don’t need much) 🙂

  9. Pattie says

    I too prefer my barbecue sauce spicy and not too sweet. I did substitute homemade spicy mustard for the yellow mustard. I really liked this recipe and need to make a new batch tomorrow for some chicken thighs. Thanks!5 stars

  10. Deb j says

    Awesome heat. Luv it. I did use golden coconut sugar an Dijon mustard and no sugar ketchup. It’s awesome. Didn’t have smoke flavoring and used Louisiana hot sauce for Tabasco.5 stars