Quick Homemade BBQ Sauce for Meatballs


Today’s recipe is a quick little sauce mixture that I’ve relied on so many, many times over the years. I clipped this recipe out of a newspaper a long time ago, and it was actually two recipes: one for meatballs and another for homemade BBQ sauce to go with it.  For some reason I never stuck with the homemade meatballs (I found the ready-made ones in the freezer section of stores to be soooo convenient), however I did really like the homemade BBQ sauce and I’ve been using it ever since.

Quick homemade BBQ Sauce  - my favorite sauce for meatballs in the crockpot

The full size version of this recipe makes enough to cover lots of meatballs in a crockpot and that’s how I’ve used this recipe many times.  It’s an easy solution for something to bring to a potluck for a crowd and whenever I bring meatballs with this sauce, they always disappear fast!

When my kids were younger and still living at home, I would usually cut this recipe in half and still use it with meatballs in the crockpot. I often made it with a batch of cheesy potatoes and it was a favorite easy Sunday night supper.

Now that hubby and I are empty nesters, I’m actually cutting this homemade BBQ sauce recipe down even more to a quarter sized portion and using my tiniest crockpot.  I still like to use the sauce with store bought meatballs, but now usually use the Trader Joe’s meatless meatballs for a plant-based supper option.

So even though life has changed over the years, the usefulness of this recipe has not changed.  It’s been a very handy recipe to have around!

Quick and simple homemade BBQ sauce

As mentioned above, the base of this recipe is ketchup. (I’m currently liking the Heinz ketchup flavored with honey).  Once the ketchup is measured out, I stir in the brown sugar. Then the four spices are added in (chili powder, salt, dry mustard, and worcestershire sauce), and I’ve always liked that the same measurement is used for all of them. It’s another one of those little things that helps keep this recipe simple and easy to make in different sized batches.

I’m sure this BBQ sauce could be used for other things as well, but at our house it’s become my go-to sauce for meatballs in a crockpot and that’s pretty much how I always use it. 

Homemade BBQ Sauce for meatballs in the crockpot

I’ve included three options in the printable recipe below too. Option 1 is the large size batch for a crowd, option 2 is a smaller sized batch for a family dinner, and Option 3 is smaller yet if there are just one or two of you.

No matter how you decide to use it, I think you’ll enjoy the simplicity and flavor of this quick DIY BBQ sauce. It might just become a keeper in your recipe box for years too!

This recipe was first published Nov, 2010 and updated June, 2019

Homemade BBQ Sauce

This quick and simple BBQ sauce is a favorite at our house for meatballs in the crockpot. It goes together fast and is easy to make in different size batches. Three different sized batches are included in the instructions below.
Prep Time5 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Homemade Condiments
Author: The Make Your Own Zone


Option #1 – Large Batch For A Crowd:

  • 2 cups Ketchup
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Dry Mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

Option #2 – Family Size:

  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Dry Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

Option #3 – Empty Nester Size:

  • 1/2 cup Ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Dry Mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Worcestershire Sauce


  • Choose one of the options above and begin by combining the ketchup and brown sugar in a mixing bowl.
  • Add in the spices and stir to mix everything together.
  • My favorite way to use this sauce is with frozen meatballs. Place the meatballs in a crockpot and pour the sauce over them, stirring to coat the meatballs with the sauce. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or on high for 3 to 4 hours.

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  1. Made the crockpot meatballs for dinner tonight. Yummy! Served over rice with a side salad. I used the family size option for my family of four, 32 frozen meatballs. I think this sauce would also be great on chicken. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Bev, th is sauce is great on meatballs!! Thank you so much for sharing. I will be making them again this weekend for our family picnic!