BBQ Sauce With Coca-Cola

5 from 1 vote
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This BBQ sauce with Coca-Cola is sticky, sweet, spicy, and perfect for smothering on grilled chicken. The Coke gives it a complex and rich flavor, while the spices and jalapeño give it a perfect kick. 

A jar of BBQ sauce with a can of Coke


There’s nothing more American than barbecue sauce and Coca-Cola. And it just so happens that this pairing goes together perfectly. Most people think of drinking Coke on a hot day while firing up the barbecue, but I think it’s even better if you use the soda while cooking. In fact, this BBQ sauce with Coca-Cola might be the best sweet barbecue sauce.

The Coca-Cola gives the BBQ sauce a sweet and sticky quality and adds a hint of caramel flavor. It’s also rich and earthy, which matches the Worcestershire sauce. Add in some heat from a jalapeño and black pepper, some smokiness, and a bunch of amazing seasonings and spices, and you have a lip-smacking, finger-licking, perfect BBQ sauce for the summer.

Why You’ll Love This Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce Recipe

This is one of the best BBQ sauce recipes and also one of the best Coca-Cola recipes I’ve found. Here’s why I know you’ll love it.

  • Easy. This barbecue sauce is big on flavor but small on effort. It only takes 35 minutes to make, and the instructions are so easy to follow. Plus, you only need one pot, so you won’t leave your kitchen a mess. 
  • Crowd-pleaser. Barbecue is the ultimate food for a party or large group of people, and this Coca-Cola BBQ sauce is sure to be a hit with everyone. It’s the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and smoky, with that classic Coke flavor. 
  • Better than store-bought. There are a lot of great BBQ sauces at the grocery store, but they just aren’t the same. Why buy an overpriced barbecue sauce when you can make an even better one at home?
  • Easy to scale. If you’re having a big barbecue, or just want to prep a lot of sauce for a few meals, you can easily double, triple, or even quadruple this spicy BBQ sauce recipe. It’s so easy to make a larger batch and it doesn’t add too much time to the recipe.
  • Perfect summer pairing. When I think of a hot summer day, I think of drinking an ice-cold Coca-Cola and eating BBQ. This classic Coke barbecue sauce is the perfect combination of those nostalgic flavors.
Overhead view of the ingredients needed for Coca-Cola BBQ sauce: a can of Coke, a bowl of ketchup, a jalapeño, a bowl of garlic, a bowl of oil, half an onion, a bowl of brown sugar, a bowl of Worcestershire sauce, a bowl of liquid smoke, and a bowl of onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and paprika

Ingredients Needed

Here are all the ingredients you’ll need to make this sweet and sticky homemade barbecue sauce. Make sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of the article for the exact amounts of each ingredient.

  • Oil – I use olive oil, but you can use the oil of your choice.
  • Jalapeño – Make sure to remove the seeds unless you really like heat.
  • Garlic
  • Onion – A yellow onion is best for this recipe, but white and red onions will work, too.
  • Ketchup
  • Coca-Cola
  • Brown sugar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Liquid smoke
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika
  • Black pepper – For best results, use freshly cracked pepper.

How to Make BBQ Sauce With Coca-Cola

This rich and umami-packed sauce tastes like it’s been cooking for hours, but it only takes 35 minutes to make. Here’s how to do it.

  • Sauté. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, then add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Cook until they’re soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the other ingredients. Pour the Coke and the rest of the ingredients into the pot, and stir to combine.
  • Cook. Bring the sauce to a simmer, and cook until it starts to thicken, which should take about 15 minutes.
  • Blend. Use an immersion blender or a standing blender to puree your BBQ sauce to the desired consistency. 

Tips and Tricks

Here are a few of my favorite tricks for making this smoky and spicy barbecue sauce.

  • Cook it longer. This sauce has so much flavor even though it doesn’t cook for very long. But if you have the time, you can bring out even more flavor by cooking the sauce for an hour or two. This will amplify the flavors of caramel, sugar, heat, smoke, and Coca-Cola. If you do cook the sauce longer, monitor it and add more Coke (or water) if it gets too thick or starts to burn. 
  • Adjust the heat. Spiciness is an essential flavor with BBQ sauce, but everyone has a different heat tolerance. If you like spice, you can add additional jalapeños, the jalapeño seeds, a spicier pepper, or some cayenne powder. If you don’t like spice, feel free to cut back on the amount of jalapeño, or omit it entirely. 
  • Let it rest. Once this sticky Coca-Cola barbecue sauce is done, you can serve it immediately. But if you let it rest in the fridge for a while, the flavors will meld together and get even stronger. For best results, put the BBQ sauce in the fridge for an hour or two before serving.
A plate of barbecued chicken with a brush

Serving Suggestions for Homemade BBQ Sauce

My favorite way to eat this smoky barbecue sauce is by making BBQ Coca Cola chicken. I’ve included instructions for how to make it in the recipe card at the bottom of the page. You can also use the sauce in any recipe that calls for barbecue sauce. Here are a few recipes that this sticky and spicy BBQ sauce would be perfect in.

You can also use it as a dip for French Fries or Onion Rings!

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

This homemade barbecue sauce has a long shelf life. It will last for a whole month in the fridge if you store it in an airtight container. If you need to reheat BBQ sauce, you can do so on the stove over medium-low heat, or in the microwave on 80% power in 20-second increments.

Can You Freeze Homemade Barbecue Sauce?

You definitely can. Barbecue sauce freezes well, and will last for 4 months in the freezer if stored in an airtight container. Make sure that the sauce is fully cooled before freezing.

Overhead view of a jar of BBQ sauce next to a spoon and measuring spoons

More Easy Sauces to Make

I love to make sauces at home. They’re easy to make, and so much better than any sauces at the store. Here are a few more of my favorites.

Close up of a spoon pulling out a spoonful of BBQ sauce from a jar
5 from 1 vote

BBQ Sauce With Coca-Cola

By Erin
Packed with Coca-Cola, this homemade BBQ sauce is sweet, sticky, spicy, and smoky. It's the perfect summer sauce, and so easy to make.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 3 cups


  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 12- ounce can Coca-Cola
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  • When the oil is hot, add the onions, garlic, and jalapeño. Sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, and whisk to combine.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce starts to thicken, about 15 minutes.
  • If you prefer a smooth BBQ sauce, use an immersion blender or standing blender to puree until the sauce is your desired consistency.
  • To make Coca-Cola chicken, preheat a grill to medium-high. Season chicken drumsticks with salt and pepper, then grill for 10 minutes, turning frequently. Cover with sauce, then cook for another 10 minutes or until done, adding more sauce as you turn them. Serve with additional BBQ sauce for dipping.


  • Leftover BBQ sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 month or in the freezer for 4 months.
  • Adjust the spiciness based on your heat preference.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 87kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 423mg | Sugar: 16g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Erin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Course: The Basics
Cuisine: American
Servings: 3 cups
Calories: 87
Keyword: barbecue sauce, BBQ sauce, BBQ sauce recipe, coca cola chicken, coca-cola recipes, homemade bbq sauce, how to make BBQ sauce
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About Erin S

Welcome to Dinners, Dishes, & Desserts where my love of food meets my busy life. My name is Erin and I’m a casual home cook who loves to feed people. On this blog, you’ll find hundreds of quick and easy recipes made mostly from scratch. My days are spent in the kitchen, creating new recipes to share with family and friends.

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  1. In your BBQ sauce it says sauté onion with other ingredients,but it does not say in the ingredients needed how much onion.
    Not talking about onion powder.

    1. You aren’t looking at the FULL recipe card at the bottom. You can use the jump to recipe button or scroll down (you scrolled past it to get to the comments). But the full recipe with all of the amounts and detailed instrucions are there.

  2. I love the extra little twist of flavor that using Coca Cola in this recipe brings. It’s a bit unexpected, and it works so well.