Easy homemade barbecue sauce recipe sweetened with pure maple syrup and molasses. This Maple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce is amazing for all grilling adventures!


Maple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce - a refined-sugar free, easy recipe that can be made in just 30 minutes!

Is it too early to talk about barbecue sauce?

Forgive me if I’m jumping the gun on barbecue season, but over here in No Winter’s Land, it’s been grilling weather for 88% of the winter.

Plus, BBQ season is more of a state of being than an actual season, yes? As in, we can grill any time we dang well please, am I right??

I’m just going to come out and say it: best barbecue sauce I ever did make right here.

You’d never know this sauce is naturally sweetened and way better for you than store-bought sauce, because it’s such a magnificent balance of sweet/spicy/smoky/whiskey.

Zero sugar, zero corn syrup, no weird food coloring. Quick note to my gluten-free friends: this isn’t technically gluten-free on account of the whiskey, but you can omit the booze and still end up with a stellar sauce.

 Maple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce - a refined-sugar free, easy recipe that can be made in just 30 minutes!

I will say, this sauce requires a million ingredients (okay, not a million, but more than I would like), but you probably have every last one of them already.

How to Make Maple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce:

My favorite part about making this sauce is it’s a one-stepper. One.and.done. All’s you do is toss the million ingredients into a saucepan and let that sucker simmer for 20 to 30 minutes (or a little longer if you’re a real go-getter).

 Maple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce - a refined-sugar free, easy recipe that can be made in just 30 minutes!

What this level of convenience means for procrastinators like me, is you can whip up this barbecue sauce right before you barbecue on a moment’s notice. BOOM insta-delicious Q.

Wanna see one of the best parts about barbecue sauce? This:

Grilled Chicken BBQ Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Maple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Leftover grilled chicken bbq grilled cheese sandos are just too legit for words.

My vegetarian friends: black beans were made for barbecue sauce! Over and out.

2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce 1/4 cup tomato paste ¼ cup apple cider vinegar 2 tablespoons brown mustard 1/4 cup molasses ⅓ cup maple syrup ¼ cup worcestershire sauce 2 teaspoons liquid smoke 1-½ teaspoons paprika ½ teaspoon ground cumin ⅛ teaspoon cayenne, optional 3 tablespoons bourbon

Put this sauce to great use! Here are some recipes from The Roasted Root you can incorporate it into:

Please make this.

My cookbook, Paleo Power Bowls, is now available! CLICK HERE to check it out. Thank you for your support!

If you make this recipe, please feel free to share a photo and tag @The.Roasted.Root on Instagram!

Maple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce - a refined-sugar free, easy recipe that can be made in just 30 minutes!

Maple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

4.37 from 49 votes
Easy naturally sweetened barbecue sauce recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings: 3 cups of sauce


  • 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke see note*
  • 1-½ teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper optional
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon


  • Add all ingredients except for the whiskey to a large saucepan. Whisk to combine and heat over medium. Bring to a full (but controlled) boil. Reduce the heat and allow sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes, until thick.
  • Add the whiskey and continue cooking another 5 minutes.
  • Remove saucepan from heat and allow it to cool. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Transfer sauce to a sealable container and refrigerate until ready to use. Sauce will keep for up to 3 weeks.
  • Use as a meat marinade or for drizzling on all the foods ever.


*You can omit the liquid smoke and replace it and the regular paprika with smoked paprika.


Serving: 1/4 cup · Calories: 77kcal · Carbohydrates: 15g · Protein: 1g · Fiber: 1g · Sugar: 12g
Author: Julia
Course: Salsas, Sauces, Spreads, Dips, & Dressings
Cuisine: American
Keyword: barbecue, bbq, bourbon, homemade bbq sauce
Did You Make This Recipe?I want to see it! Tag @the.roasted.root on social media!
Julia Mueller
Meet the Author

Julia Mueller

Julia Mueller is a recipe developer, cookbook author, and founder of The Roasted Root. She has authored three bestselling cookbooks, – Paleo Power Powers, Delicious Probiotic Drinks, and The Quintessential Kale Cookbook. Her recipes have been featured in several national publications such as BuzzFeed, Self, Tasty, Country Living, Brit.co, etc.

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4.37 from 49 votes (49 ratings without comment)

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Questions and Reviews

  1. Lawwdddd yesss to this sauce! I have a giant bottle of that same bourbon you have up there hangin’ out in the background, turns out I needed a regular size bottle but all the store had was the extra big as eff bottle so I was like ‘Welp, I’ll use it somehow!’. Now I know what I’m using it for..that finger lickin’ sauce right up in there!

  2. I’m not sure I’ve ever bought BBQ sauce – or at least I haven’t in the last 25 years or so. I found a recipe that was pretty good, but I’m definitely going to have to try this one. It sounds scrumptious! And like it may replace the other one. But I will have to go out and buy some bourbon.

    1. There’s nothing like a homemade Q sauce! My first experience with barbecue sauce was dipping a McNugget in those little McDonald’s BBQ sauce packets, so you can imagine I just loooooathed the stuff for the longest time. I didn’t realize how good it could be until I made it at home.

      Just a heads up – I’ve made the sauce without the bourbon and it was still great, if you want to save the trip to the store 😉

  3. BBQ sauce knows no seasons. It’s just always a must. Especially with a little bourbon in it!

  4. It is NEVER too early for BBQ sauce! That sando looks freakin awesome. Positively finger-lickin’ good!

  5. THIS SAUCE. I’ve got buffalo and you’ve got the BBQ and together we’ve got a seriously flavorful meal. I’m going to throw this on my almonds next time.. is that acceptable?

  6. Homemade bbq sauce is a whole other beast from the storebought gunk. A whole more delicious beast. Love the maple and alcohol infusion!

  7. Here’s hoping this sauce is the bees knees. I am entertaining a lady and want to impress her with my ribs! Also Hoping she enjoys my other anatomical features, as well. She hates ketchup! Loves Bourbon, and adores Maple Syrup.
    The plan is for a dry rub Memphis style marinade with your sauce on the side. The other side will be occupied by Uncle Bill’s Eggy Potato salad, and Big Bellied Bertha’s Baked Beans. Cocktails feature Bourbon Lemonade and Mint Julips

    1. Thanks for the great chuckle, William! I hope you and your lady enjoyed the sauce and that certain anatomical features were enjoyed by the two of your as well 😀 BTW, the meal you laid out sounds absolutely incredible! I hope your woman knows how lucky she is! xo

  8. This BBQ sauce is EASY and fast to make and goes really well with grilled tofu, portabello nd summer squash.

    1. That’s one of my favorite parts about the recipe – it’s just so simple! Thanks so much for the feedback, Robert! xo 😀

  9. Can this recipe be water bathed to make it shelf stable?? If so, directions please! Many thanks. We make and sell hundreds of gallons of pure maple syrup every year!

  10. I need to try this when i have all of the ingredients. I had to substitute white sugar for molasses and i used smoked maple syrup. It is fabulous.