Homemade Spicy Barbecue Sauce

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Homemade Spicy Barbecue Sauce recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

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.

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 our 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.

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.

Homemade Spicy Barbecue Sauce recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

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.

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 would also make 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, I also love the idea of trying Spicy BBQ Sauce over these Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs. 

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 my Sweet and Spicy Homemade Barbecue Sauce. 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 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 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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Homemade Spicy Barbecue Sauce

5 from 16 votes
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Servings: 12 ounces


  • 1 cup ketchup   I used 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!
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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. Big Dude says

    I've been behind in my blog reading and all three of the 3 last recipes sound very good especially the egg one for this ole breakfast eater. It's always nice when you can hit upon a homemade BBQ sauce that is just the one you like.

  2. Jenn says

    This sauce is very similar to one I make too! Love the little bite that it has. Homemade BBQ sauces are the best.. it's hard to go back to bottle once you've had it!

  3. Geni says

    Can you believe I have never made my own barbecue sauce? What kind of a foodie am I? You are definitely inspiring me to get crackin' on it. Yours sounds perfect!

    • Anonymous says

      One of the best bbq sauces I have ever had and very easy to make! This recipe will be a staple for my family from now on

      Thanks for posting!!!!

  4. Steph says

    Made this today…loved how easy and quick it was! I think next time I'll leave out the brown sugar and add more spice 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!

  5. Erin says

    I just made this and your tangy Memphis BBQ sauce to go with our homemade pulled pork tonight and both sauces were fabulous! I have been looking for some good BBQ sauce recipes and my husband decided both of these are definite keepers. Thank you!!!

  6. Anonymous says

    This was great thanks! I did use wasabi powder in place of the tabasco sauce and did not add in Worcestershire as I had none on hand.
    Def. agree no going back to the original store bought variety.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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)?

  13. 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

  14. Mark Smith says

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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. debbie says

    Perfect! My favorite store-bought BBQ sauce is no longer available so I tried this. Far better than the store-bought! I made it exactly as the recipe described, just upped the cayenne pepper and tobasco a smidge since i like a lot of heat. Just what i wanted for BBQ chicken. I just mixed the ingredients and did not warm on the stove. I always boil my chicken leg/thigh quarters for about 30 minutes before I put them on the grill with the BBQ sauce. Slather the sauce on each side a couple of times while flipping to get a nice crust on the chicken. I like to serve with carolina yellow rice or rice-a-roni chicken flavor, along with a fresh green salad.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      You can skip it for this recipe, Kami. Typically, you’d be able to substitute basil or thyme for oregano, but I honestly think I’d just skip it for the sauce.

  18. Francina says

    I ran out of store bought bbq sauce. I quickly looked up a recipe and found this one. Absolutely delicious! No more store bought for me. Thank you so much!5 stars