Maple Syrup Barbecue Sauce

maple syrup being poured


François Angers/Getty Images


Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 64 servings
Yield: 4 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
19 Calories
0g Fat
5g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 64
Amount per serving
Calories 19
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 57mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 7mg 1%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 32mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is a great recipe for a thick, sweet, barbecue sauce with a fantastic flavor. It is the perfect condiment for grilled pork and poultry, or for pulled pork. 

Don’t get deterred by the ingredient list for this homemade barbecue sauce. After gathering the ingredients, the sauce is a cinch to make. All it takes is a 15-minute simmer on the stovetop and stirring.

Although there are lots of choices for store-bought barbecue sauce, there’s several good reasons for making your own. You know exactly what’s in the sauce, whether it’s the amount of sugar and salt content, allergens, or additives and preservatives. Also, some barbecue sauces are made with high-fructose corn syrup and homemade barbecue sauce is the surest way to avoid it. 

One of the basic ingredients in American barbecue sauce is ketchup. Choosing low-sugar ketchup or a ketchup with no sugar added gives you an opportunity to cut down on the sugar. The other two sweeteners in this recipe are maple syrup and brown sugar, both of which give the sauce its deep, caramelized flavor. 

Unlike other barbecue recipes that use apple cider vinegar, this sauce is made with lemon juice. The lemon zest provides additional zing. 

There is very low salt in this sauce, unlike store-bought barbecue sauces, which are high in sodium. 

The consistency of this sauce depends on how finely you chop the onions, the finer the better. If you prefer the barbecue entirely smooth, you can puree it afterwards. 

The sauce keeps for up to one months in the fridge but if you don’t need a full batch—the recipe makes about 4 cups—you can also make half. When you take the sauce out of the fridge, it will be quite thick at first. Leave it on the kitchen counter to come to room temperature, or briefly reheat the needed amount in the microwave, just long enough to liquify it without burning it.


  • 1 cup ketchup

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion

  • 3/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Combine all sauce ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, uncovered, stirring often.

  3. Once cooked through and thickened, remove from heat. Let sauce cool for 10 to 15 minutes before using.

  4. If making a few days ahead of time, let mixture cool completely, about 30 minutes. Store in a container with lid in refrigerator for up to a month. Reheat in microwave for a minute or two before using on grilled meats. 

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