Kansas City BBQ Sauce

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This recipe for Kansas City BBQ Sauce is the perfect finishing touch to your grilled foods. It’s rich, thick, sticky, and sweet… just like it should be. Pair it with brisket, pork, chicken, ribs, and more. This is the best Kansas City BBQ sauce you’ll ever try!

side view: Kansas City BBQ sauce in mason jar with spoon next to it

Sweet and Sticky Kansas City BBQ Sauce

Well, summer is officially in full force here now. The kids are out of school, and I am grilling everything as the weather gets warmer and warmer. You guys know how much I love my grill!

This recipe for Kansas City BBQ sauce has become a new staple around my house. It’s one of my husband’s favorites, along with this Texas Style BBQ Sauce.

I am calling this a Kansas City barbeque sauce because it boasts that classic sweet and sticky goodness you expect. It has a decent amount of molasses in it, which gives the sauce that deep beautiful color. It also helps make it really thick so it’s perfect as a finishing or dipping sauce.

Plus, this is a super simple recipe. Just combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and simmer for about 10 minutes! That’s it! It’s so much better than store-bought, and you’ll be grilling before you know it.

Why This is the Best Kansas City BBQ Sauce

  • Made from scratch so no hidden preservatives
  • Perfectly sweet and sticky
  • Can be used in a variety of dishes
  • Use in a sauce or marinade, or even as a dip!
  • So much tastier than your average BBQ sauces
closeup: chicken breasts on a white plate with the best Kansas City BBQ sauce on top

Key Ingredients to Make Kansas City Barbeque Sauce

  • KETCHUP – Adds a tangy sweetness and rich tomato flavor that is so specific to Kansas City BBQ sauce. The sweet taste balances out the other more acidic ingredients really nicely.
  • MOLASSES – For that sticky consistency and sweet flavor! As mentioned, I’m using quite a bit in my version but I find it adds so much to the final results.
  • APPLE CIDER VINEGAR – Here’s where that acidity comes from! I like apple cider vinegar best, but you could also use plain white vinegar if you have it on hand.
  • YELLOW MUSTARD – For even more added tanginess. It also helps give a smooth and thick texture.
  • DARK BROWN SUGAR – It wouldn’t be the best Kansas City BBQ sauce with a dose of brown sugar! It incorporates even more sweetness, plus adds to that sticky consistency.
  • WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE – For a boost of umami! This ingredient also helps to balance out the sweetness from the ketchup, molasses, and brown sugar.
  • SEASONINGS This delicious Kansas City style barbecue sauce comes together with seasonings you likely already have in your pantry. Onion powder, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper are all you need!
  • MEAT What’s the best Kansas City barbecue sauce without chicken or pork? Slather slow cooker BBQ pulled pork or chicken in it at your next backyard get-together, and your guests are sure to be impressed.

Instructions to Make the Best Kansas City Barbecue Sauce

MIX: Add the ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, apple cider vinegar, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings to a medium-sized saucepan. Mix to combine.

COOK: Simmer the mixture on low for about 10 minutes.

STORE: Remove your BBQ sauce from the heat and pour it into a heat-safe container like a mason jar. Use immediately on your preferred protein, or store it in the fridge for later!

closeup: red kitchen brush sweeping Kansas City barbeque sauce onto chicken breast

Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce Tips

  • Mix the ingredients thoroughly. After you add everything to your saucepan, make sure to mix them well. I like to use a whisk. This ensures that all of the flavors are evenly distributed throughout your Kansas City style barbecue sauce — it also helps give you a super smooth texture.
  • Be patient as it simmers. You only need to cook your Kansas City barbeque sauce briefly, but it’s important to let it simmer for the full 10 minutes. The cooking process allows the flavors to really meld and intensify, which will give you a richer and fuller flavored sauce!
  • Adjust as needed. My favorite part about making homemade sauces is that you have full control over the flavors. Be sure to check in on your BBQ sauce as it simmers. If you want it sweeter, don’t hesitate to add some more brown sugar or molasses. If you prefer more of a tang, pour in more vinegar or an extra splash of Worcestershire. Remember, this will only be the best Kansas City BBQ sauce if you actually like how it tastes!


How long does Kansas City BBQ sauce last?

My recipe will keep in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks, though in my experience, it lasts even longer. One of the reasons why this is the best Kansas City BBQ sauce is its long shelf life. You can also freeze it if you want! Let it cool, place it in a freezer-safe container, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight before using — it tastes just as great as freshly made BBQ sauce!

What do you store homemade Kansas City barbeque sauce in?

As mentioned, I like to store my BBQ sauce in mason jars because they are heat-safe. You could also let the sauce cool in the pan and then store it in empty ketchup or BBQ sauce bottles.

What makes Kansas City BBQ sauce different?

This style of BBQ sauce is generally heavier and sweeter. It’s less smokey and sweeter than other varieties thanks to the added ketchup and molasses. Now, you know!

More BBQ Recipes To Try

Thanks so much for reading! Let me know if you think this is the best Kansas City barbecue sauce too!

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This Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce is rich, thick, sticky and sweet. Perfect for all your grilling needs this summer!

Kansas City BBQ Sauce

Course: Sauce, Sauces, Side, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: barbecue, BBQ, bbq sauce
This recipe for Kansas City BBQ Sauce is the perfect finishing touch to your grilled foods. It’s rich, thick, sticky, and sweet… just like it should be. Pair it with brisket, pork, chicken, ribs, and more. This is the best Kansas City BBQ sauce you'll ever try!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 3 cups
Calories: 468kcal
Author: Malinda Linnebur
Print Recipe Save Recipe


  • 2 cups (475ml) ketchup
  • ½ cup (100g) packed dark brown sugar
  • cup (80ml) molasses
  • ¼ cup (60ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a medium sized saucepan combine all ingredients well.
  • Simmer on low for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and pour into a heat safe container (mason jars work well for this).


  1. STORAGE: This will keep in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks and probably even longer.
  2. FREEZER FRIENDLY: Freeze cooled sauce in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. 


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 468kcal | Carbohydrates: 113g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2447mg | Potassium: 1271mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 100g | Vitamin A: 1366IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 171mg | Iron: 4mg

24 thoughts on “Kansas City BBQ Sauce”

  1. 5 stars
    Made this sauce for use with brisket and it is just too easy to make buying processed pre-made bbq sauce make sense. It is delicious!
    Only alterations I made was to reduce the sugar to 2T and used Stevia for my diabetic husband. I also subbed chipotle powder for the cayenne because I do like a little smoke and kick.
    It is delicious!

  2. 5 stars
    O! My!! Goodness!! This sauce is DELICIOUS!! Served it on wings at a Super Bowl party. It was a hit. And so simple to make!! Can’t wait to try it in the smoker. Thanks!

  3. Love this KC style BBQ sauce! I use “no salt added” ketchup so I can control the sodium for my husband who is on a low sodium diet. Now he can still have BBQ!

  4. 5 stars
    Just making this now. It’s winter and I want BBQ sauce! Making pulled pork in the crockpot tomorrow so I’m making the BBQ sauce tonight. Wish me luck for a double success. I love summer food in the winter. Keeps me from getting the Winter Blues in New England!

  5. YAY Malinda!!! 🎉
    Boy, did you really do loads of work around your house.
    They say that when you are super energized that it’s a sign, it’s almost time, you are getting closer for baby.
    How exciting for you and your family, please keep us posted if you can. 😊

    I’m always on the look-out for a new BBQ sauce, I’m not so wild about most store bought bottles.
    I know this one will be made very soon, it is grilling season after all.
    Have a nice day!


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