Maple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

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 baaaaaaahbecuuuuue saaaauuuuuuwce?

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/smokey/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 @TheRoastedRoot on Instagram!

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

Maple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: barbecue, bbq, bourbon, pesto sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 3 cups of sauce
Author: Julia

Easy naturally sweetened barbecue sauce recipe



  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. Add the whiskey and continue cooking another 5 minutes.
  3. 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.
  4. Use as a meat marinade or for drizzling on all the foods ever.

Recipe Notes

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


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  1. Abby @ The Frosted Vegan

    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. Susan

    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. Julia Post author

      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. William J Hornby

    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. Julia Post author

      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

  4. Robert David

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

    1. Julia Post author

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

  5. Laurie

    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!


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