Grandma's Homemade BBQ Sauce

Grandma’s Homemade BBQ Sauce

What better way to kick off Mother’s Day weekend than making my Grandma’s Homemade BBQ Sauce recipe together WITH my parents and my sister?!

Even with a handwritten recipe on, what my mom called, “a very seasoned index card” 😉

This was the original recipe, but we made a few changes such as more details in the instructions, and the amount of the “bottles”.

original Grandma's Homemade BBQ Sauce on index card

BBQ sauces can be SOOOO different compared to each other.

Some are smoky, some have honey flavors, and some are spicy… but this one is more of a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce.

And from what I was told, this BBQ sauce recipe was the talk of the little town in Kentucky where my mom grew up!

She and my aunts say everyone asked for grandma’s BBQ recipe and raved about it!

I have very lovely memories as a kid watching my mom make it from the original recipe card shown above.

I loved as the whole family devoured it smothered on ribs, chicken, and even dunking bread in it… all while talking about memories of grandma!

Well, this was us on the BIG day making this legendary BBQ sauce!

Hope we made ya proud, grandma!

My mom even representing with her Cooks Well With Others apron… gotta love her 🙂

family making grandma's homemade bbq sauce together

How to make my Grandma’s Homemade BBQ Sauce

First start with a large pot over medium to medium low heat.

Then add some olive oil and 2 diced onions.

The goal here is to get the onions soft and tender, and not brown.

So be patient as the onions do take about 15 minutes, stirring a few times.

onions in a large pot

Next we will add some kosher salt, garlic powder, and onion powder.

The original recipe called for garlic and onion salt.

In order to better control the salt content, I chose to change this part of the recipe slightly.

adding seasoning to the sauce

Pretty much babysitting the onions as they soften is the most “work” in the sauce.

Next add in a bottle each of chili sauce and ketchup, sugar, water, white vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, yellow mustard, and prepared horseradish.

Bring to a simmer on the stove and let this gently bubble away for at least an hour.

Grandma's Homemade BBQ Sauce

As with any recipe, taste Grandma’s Homemade BBQ Sauce for seasoning and adjust if needed 🙂

Add more garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire… whatever you need to make it perfectly perfect for your taste.

And serve on chicken, pork, or hey…just with a spoon is fine too 😉

Grandma's Homemade BBQ Sauce

This a great sauce to double the recipe!

You can freeze leftovers in containers for a few months to enjoy this BBQ sauce anytime!

Grandma's Homemade BBQ Sauce

Thank you, grandma for sharing your fabulous recipe!

Grandma's Homemade BBQ Sauce

If you like Grandma’s Homemade BBQ Sauce, you might want to use it in these recipes…

Smoked BBQ Ribs

Smoked BBQ Ribs

BBQ Pork Loaded Fries Recipe

BBQ Pork Loaded Fries

BBQ Bacon Slaw

BBQ Bacon Slaw

Peach Bourbon BBQ Grilled Chicken

Sriracha Bourbon BBQ Grilled Chicken

Grilled BBQ Chicken Salad with Avocado Ranch

Grilled BBQ Chicken Salad with Avocado Ranch


Grandma's Homemade BBQ Sauce

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Grandma’s Homemade BBQ Sauce

Grandma's Homemade BBQ Sauce is my grandma's tried and true recipe for an easy to make sweet and tangy BBQ sauce!

Course Condiment, Sauce
Cuisine American
Keyword BBQ, BBQ Sauce, Easy, Grandma, Homemade, Recipe, Sauce, Tried and True
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 175 kcal
Author Cheri Renee (adapted from my grandma’s original recipe)


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions diced
  • kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder
  • 1 12 ounce bottle chili sauce
  • 1 20 ounce bottle ketchup
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish


  1. Set a large pot over medium to medium low heat. Add the olive oil and onions. Cook 12 to 15 minutes, stirring a few times. They should be soft and tender, not brown, so lower heat as they cook if needed.

  2. Season with kosher salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Add the chili sauce, ketchup, sugar, water, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, yellow mustard, and horseradish.

  3. Let this simmer over medium low heat for an hour or more, stirring a few times.

  4. Taste for seasoning and add more kosher salt, garlic powder, and/or onion powder if needed.

    Note: This recipe can be doubled, and leftovers can be stored in the freezer in a covered container for up to 3 months.

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