Barbecue sauce is a staple in many households, adding flavor and richness to grilled meats and other dishes. While store-bought barbecue sauces are convenient, they can often lack the depth and complexity of homemade versions.

The good news is that you can easily enhance store-bought barbecue sauce with a few simple additions. In this article, we will explore some creative ways to take your store-bought barbecue sauce to the next level.

1. Sweeten it Up

If you prefer a sweeter barbecue sauce, there are several ingredients you can add to achieve that desired taste.

One option is to mix in some honey or brown sugar for a natural sweetness. This will not only enhance the flavor but also provide a slight caramelized effect when grilling.

2. Add Some Heat

If you like your barbecue sauce to have a spicy kick, there are numerous options available to add heat.

You can start by mixing in some hot sauce or cayenne pepper for an instant fiery boost. For those who enjoy smoky flavors, consider adding chipotle peppers in adobo sauce or smoked paprika.

3. Freshen it Up

To give your store-bought barbecue sauce a fresh twist, consider incorporating some citrus zest or juice.

A squeeze of lemon, lime, or orange can add brightness and balance the richness of the sauce. Additionally, finely chopped herbs like cilantro or parsley can bring freshness and vibrancy to your dish.

4. Spice it Up

If you’re looking for an exotic twist on traditional barbecue sauce, try adding spices from different cuisines. For example, mix in some ground cumin and coriander for a Middle Eastern-inspired flavor profile or add curry powder for an Indian twist.

5. Enhance the Smoky Flavor

To enhance the smoky flavor of store-bought barbecue sauce, there are a few ingredients you can consider adding.

Liquid smoke is a popular choice that can be found in most grocery stores. Alternatively, you can use smoked sea salt or smoked paprika to achieve a similar effect.

6. Make it Tangy

If you prefer tangy barbecue sauce, there are several ingredients you can add to achieve that desired taste.

Mix in some apple cider vinegar or Worcestershire sauce to give your sauce a tangy kick. You can also experiment with different types of mustard for added depth of flavor.

7. Experiment with Fruit

Fruits can bring a unique and unexpected twist to your barbecue sauce.

Try adding pureed fruits like pineapple, mango, or peaches for a sweet and fruity flavor profile. The natural sugars in the fruits will caramelize when cooked, creating a delicious glaze on your grilled meats.


With just a few simple additions, you can elevate your store-bought barbecue sauce and make it truly your own. Whether you prefer it sweeter, spicier, tangier, or fresher, there are countless possibilities to explore. So next time you reach for that bottle of store-bought barbecue sauce, don’t be afraid to get creative and customize it to suit your taste preferences.