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Homemade BBQ Sauce for Canning

Canning bbq sauce is easier than you think! The fresh tomato barbeque sauce recipe for canning will ensure you have homemade bbq sauce year-round!

The internet is full of recipes for homemade barbecue sauce. If you do a google search for homemade BBQ sauce recipe, you get 2,280,000 results. Over 2 million!

homemade bbq sauce next to sweet potato fries

(HINT: most of them combine ketchup, mustard and brown sugar and call it done!)

Taking three store-bought, pre-made condiments and mixing them together and calling them BBQ sauce, doesn’t quite do it for me.

Fresh Tomato Bbq Sauce Recipe

Another motivation for me to start making BBQ sauce at home is the wee little one. I pour my favorite BBQ sauce on everything – meat, fries, mac n cheese.


Little one has figured out if mama likes it, it must be good, and wants it on everything, too.

I finally looked at the ingredients the other day and nearly cried.

The first ingredient is high fructose corn syrup. (insert dramatic wailing here)

Even further down the list, it contains nor only high fructose corn syrup but also corn syrup AND sugar.

So basically I was ladling sugar on everything. No wonder it tasted so good!

But to avoid overdosing baby with sugar, I have to avoid it myself. Damn kids are good at accountability.

So I scoured the interwebs, experimented, and finally found a homemade barbecue sauce recipe I can feel good giving to the baby (in moderate amounts) and feel good eating myself.

If you’re swimming in tomatoes, or know of a farmer selling “canning tomatoes” for cheap, stock up and double this recipe.

If you’re not growing tomatoes yet, you absolutely should be.

They’re the best gateway drug…err…vegetable to grow. Even if you’re apartment homesteading, all they need is a pot and a sunny window.

Check out my beginner’s guide to growing tomatoes to get started!

If you’d like to learn more about how to can the right way, check out my friend Melissa’s Home Canning with Confidence course!

How to Make Homemade BBQ Sauce For Canning

peeled and de-seeded tomatoes for canning

The first step to this recipe is to peel and de-seed your tomatoes. Peeling and de-seeding tomatoes may seem overwhelming if you’ve never done it before.

But I explain how to do it easily with step-by-step instructions on my post How to Prepare Tomatoes For Canning.

homemade bbq sauce for canning

You’ll combine tomatoes, onions and diced garlic cloves into a crockpot and let cook on high for 4 hours or so.

If you don’t want to wait, simply add them to a large stock pot and cook over medium heat until they’re soft and cooked-through.

fresh tomatoes and onions in a food mill

Then you’ll process your tomato-mixture in a food mill or food processor or use an immersion blender to puree them.

If you want a texture like store-bought BBQ sauce, you’ll need to get rid of the solids.

If you like a chunkier chutny-style BBQ sauce, simply puree the mixture into a thick paste.

After rinsing your crockpot, return tomato mixture back to it and discard the solids.

Add the white vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, soy sauce and dijon mustard, stirring to combine. Cook for an additional 4 hours until thick.

If you don’t want to wait that long, you can speed up the process by cooking the bbq sauce on the stovetop on high heat.

Consider this recipe your beginning. Make it first, and try it out.

Need more heat? Add peppers! Need more tang? Add more vinegar.

Want more smokiness? Add some liquid smoke!

You can add black pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, more tomato sauce, dry mustard, red pepper, celery seeds, garlic powder.

Customize this basic recipe to your taste. The possibilities are endless!

three different homemade barbecue sauces

Canning Instructions

To can your own barbecue sauce, simply sterilize your jars like normal, pour in the hot sauce in your hot jars while leaving an inch headspace.

Remove the air bubbles, wipe the jar rim and affix your lids and screw bands.

Then you’ll process half pint jars in a hot water bath or boiling water canner for 20 minutes.

After they’ve boiled for 20 minutes in your water bath canner, remove and place jars on the counter top. Let cool overnight before checking the seals.

If you’d like to learn more about how to can the right way, check out my friend Melissa’s Home Canning with Confidence course!

Enjoy the taste of summer all year long!

For more home-canning posts, check out:

Happy Homesteading!

Homemade BBQ Sauce for Canning

Homemade BBQ Sauce for Canning

Yield: 2 half pint jars
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour


  • 10-12 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled and de-seeded
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely diced
  • 1 pepper*, de-seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp molasses (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard


1. Add your tomatoes (peeled and de-seeded), onions and garlic to a crockpot.
2. Cook on high for 4 hours, or until mushy.
3. Remove the pulp by either running your tomato mixture through a food mill, or push it through a fine sieve. (If you like a chunkier BBQ sauce, you can simply add it to a blender and puree).
4. Rinse out your crockpot and return the tomato/onions/garlic liquid to it. (Discard solids).
5. Add your vinegar, brown sugar, molasses (optional), soy sauce, and dijon mustard, stirring to combine.
6. Cook on high, uncovered, for another 4 hours or until the desired consistency.
7. Ladle BBQ sauce into sterilized, hot mason jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace.
8. Wipe rim and apply lid and ring.
9. Process jars in a hot water bath for 20 minutes.


*any type of pepper will work depending on the heat you're going for. If you're making it to share with the kiddos, try just a bell pepper. Want to knock the socks off of your obnoxious uncle who says he can handle anything - ghost pepper. **just wear gloves!

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