Make Your Own BBQ Sauce

Add extra sizzle to your cookouts. Whip up a batch of homemade barbecue sauce to slather on burgers, chops, chicken, seafood and veggies. The best part is, you control the ingredients.

Sure, the bottled stuff is okay, but it's easy (and delicious) to whip up a batch of custom barbecue sauce.  Use our homemade versions to add sizzle to chops, chicken, fish and veggies at your next cookout. The best part? You control the ingredients.

Why Make Your Own?

Bottled condiments like barbecue sauce are famously high in sugar and sodium. A little sugar and spice is definitely necessary, but some of the store-bought brands get carried away. If you do shop for BBQ sauce, check labels for ingredients you recognize. There are some decent brands out there -- see our top picks for bottled sauces and learn more about what to look for.

Homemade Versions

Barbecue sauce often has quite a few ingredients, but chances are you have most of them on hand. Recipes traditionally call for ketchup and other canned tomato products along with sugar, spices, vinegar and maybe some molasses or Worcestershire sauce. Mustard, beer and even jams and jellies might find their way in too. Since they’re made with salty and sugary ingredients, taste as you go – you might find you can cut back a bit on some of the ingredients. Portion control helps too – calories can range anywhere from 40 to 100 per serving (two tablespoons) so figure on about one or two tablespoons per person.

Recipes to Try:

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana's full bio »

You Might Also Like:

Next Up

Make Your Own Cranberry Sauce

I love cranberry sauce any time of year, but it's a must-have around Thanksgiving. As I gear up for the holiday, I’m all about finding creative new recipes. Forgo the canned stuff -- it's usually packed with HFCS -- and discover the taste of real, homemade cranberry sauce. Be sure to make lots so you’ll have leftovers for those post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches.

Make Your Own Tomato Sauce

We’ve taste tested the jarred stuff, but nothing beats a homemade batch of tomato sauce loaded with vitamins C and A, potassium and the antioxidant lycopene. With tomato season in full swing, don’t let extra tomatoes go to waste.

Make Your Own Margaritas

Some celebrations call for magaritas, but lots of alcohol, sugary add-ins, and a super-sized glass and you’ve got a 600+ calorie cocktail. Take part in the fiesta with our recipes -- all under 275 calories.

Make Your Own Applesauce

When you start seeing the apple bushels at the market, you know it's prime time for applesauce. Pass on the jarred stuff and whip up a batch of your own. It's easy (we promise), and you won’t believe the delicious difference.

Make Your Own Gravy

The pre-made gravy might be convenient, but it’s sure not the real thing. Making your own gravy is healthier, tastier and easier than you might think.

Make Your Own Condiments

The ingredient lists for most packaged condiments are just plain scary! The added sugar, salt and other unpronounceable preservatives make these basic dips and spreads practically junk food. With some simple ingredients and easy prep work, you can make your own. We’re starting out with three of the most popular condiments: ketchup, mustard and tartar sauce.

Make Your Own Jam

Many store-bought jams, jellies and preserves contain more sugar than fruit. While you do need some sugar, it’s really the fruit you want to taste! Simple ingredients and a little bit of simmering and you’ll have the best tasting fruit spread imaginable.

Make Your Own Pickles

Not sure what to do with those extra cukes sitting around? My grandma used to make batches of homemade pickles—we’d have jars lining the fridge shelves. Dill, spicy, sweet or sour---oh, the possibilities!

Make Your Own Popsicles

My kids absolutely love ice pops! Instead of buying store brands packed with sugar and high fructose corn syrup, I make my own using the freshest ingredients. They’re easy and fun for the whole family.

Make Your Own Granola

Granola is the classic healthy food, right? Not exactly. Many packaged granola mixes are drowning in sugar, fat and calories, but don't worry -- there are ways to work it into a healthy diet, especially when you make your own.