Sweet and Tangy Watermelon BBQ Sauce Recipe

Ribs cut from beef, coated in barbecue sauce, close-up
Ian O'Leary / Getty Images
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
53 Calories
2g Fat
7g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 53
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 364mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 2mg 9%
Calcium 11mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 56mg 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.)

Watermelon is a summer favorite in our house. Just about everyone loves biting into a juicy slice at a backyard barbecue or picnic, but getting your watermelon fix is not limited to the summer months. This sweet and tangy watermelon BBQ sauce is as tasty as it sounds, and better yet, it's extremely versatile. This fresh watermelon bbq sauce recipe can be used as a marinade, baste, glaze, or even dipping sauce, and it's just as good over grilled chicken as it is for dipping roasted vegetables.

In this recipe, the watermelon and brown sugar are the fresh and sweet flavors that perfectly balance the salty tang of balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and Dijon mustard. We've also added some red pepper flakes for a little kick, but if you like things a little spicier, go ahead and up the dose. Perhaps our favorite thing about this recipe beyond the flavors is that there is no need to prep ahead of time. Just mix all of the ingredients together and you're on your way to one tasty dinner—any time of the year!

One of our favorite ways to use this watermelon barbecue sauce is as a marinade for chicken, pork, fish or shellfish. The instructions below will give you our best practices for getting the perfect marinade.


  • 1/2 cup watermelon juice

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Stir watermelon juice, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, oil, Dijon mustard, garlic, and pepper flakes together.

  3. Pour enough sauce over your vegetables, chicken, pork, fish or shellfish to marinate reserving some for basting or dipping later. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.


  • The recipe easily doubles or even triples for larger meals or parties.
  • If grilling, broiling, or roasting, be sure to baste with additional sauce while your vegetables or meat cook to seal in the flavor.
  • Sauce not used for marinating or basting can be spooned over cooked vegetables and meats before serving.
  • You can easily purchase ready-made watermelon juice for the convenience factor, but we prefer to make our own. Not only will it be fresh, but you can avoid any additional sugars or additives in store-bought brands. To make your own watermelon juice, simply scoop your fresh watermelon into your blender (being sure to avoid any black seeds), blend for about 30 seconds, and you'll have fresh watermelon juice. You can choose to strain the juice to remove some of the extra thickness, but we prefer it a little frothy and thick.

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