Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce

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Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce is a thick, sticky sweet sauce perfect for grilled chicken, brisket, or pulled pork with cherry, sweet and spicy flavors.

Homemade BBQ Sauce takes your favorite Summer Recipes from great to amazing! In less than an hour, you can make any of these Sauce Recipes from common pantry items.

Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce in jar


If you’ve ever tried Slow Cooker Dr Pepper Pulled Pork, you know what a delicious, easy difference a can of Dr. Pepper can make. This sweet, spiced soda adds a warm flavor and depth to glazes, marinades, and, of course, BBQ sauce for all your favorite barbecue recipes!

There are so many ways to make BBQ Sauce, and we all have our favorite, but this simple homemade sauce is one that everyone will love. Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce is thick, sweet, and tangy with almost no heat so it’s one of the best kid friendly sauces.

This easy homemade barbecue sauce starts with sautéed onions to add a layer of caramelized savory sweetness. The remaining ingredients are all common pantry items, like brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce, plus that signature bold soda, Dr. Pepper. 

Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce slow cooks over low heat for about 30 minutes, reducing the brown sugar and syrup until you get a thick, sticky sweet sauce. The cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce balance out the sweetness, so you are left with the perfect sauce for dipping, glazing Grilled Chicken, or slathering over Pulled Pork!

For the folks that don’t like Dr. Pepper, before you right this sauce off, rest assured it isn’t an overpowering flavor! The Dr. Pepper lends a subtle flavor to this barbecue sauce but what it is really doing is making it thick and sticky. A sticky, thick sauce is great for grilling, smoking, or slow cooking meat, like BBQ Ribs and Brisket, so the sauce doesn’t slide or burn off.

If you are still on the fence, we know people have strong opinions about Dr. Pepper, you can always use other sodas or some of the variations below to create a sauce you adore! And if you are part of the Pepper Pack, aka a big fan, there are some suggestions to get that 23-flavor punch you crave.


Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce ingredients

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  • Soda: Use other sodas like 7-Up, Root Beer, and Coke to subtly change the flavor of this BBQ sauce recipe. You can even use flavored sodas like grape, orange, or cream soda!
  • Seasonings: Add different depth to this barbecue sauce with seasonings like chili powder, garlic powder (or fresh minced cloves garlic), liquid smoke, or cumin.
  • Spicy BBQ Sauce: For those that like a spicy sauce, add cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, or your favorite hot sauce.
  • Ketchup: If you prefer a ketchup based barbecue sauce, substitute ketchup for the tomato sauce and reduce the brown sugar to 1/3 cup.
  • Vinegar: You can swap any vinegar for the cider vinegar like balsamic vinegar, white vinegar, or red wine vinegar.
  • Smooth: After your sauce cools, you can puree with an immersion blender or food processor for a smooth barbecue sauce.

Pepper Pack Dr. Pepper Flavor

To bring out the Dr. Pepper in Dr. Pepper Barbecue Sauce, add ingredients found in their signature 23-Flavors. Here are some ways you can incorporate the bold flavors of Dr. Pepper.

    • Fruit Flavors: Add a tablespoon or two total of apricot jam, blueberry jam, blackberry jam or orange marmalade.
    • Spices: In a maximum of 1/4 teaspoon each, add ground spices like allspice, star anise, cardamom, or coriander,
    • Extracts: Add a few drops of vanilla extract, almond extract, cherry extract, or lemon extract. Remember a little goes a long way with concentrated extracts!



  • Serve: Serve this Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce hot, or cool down and serve at room temperature for up to 2 hours.
  • Store: This homemade BBQ sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week sealed in a glass jar or other airtight container.
  • Freeze: Cool sauce completely and freeze in a sealed container or freezer safe bag for up to 6 months.

Dr. Pepper Barbecue Sauce in pot

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Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce

5 from 4 votes
  • Yield: 12 servings
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Course: Sauce
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder

Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce is a thick, sticky sweet sauce perfect for grilled chicken, brisket, or pulled pork with cherry, sweet and spicy flavors.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion , diced
  • 12 ounces Dr. Pepper , 1 can (1 1/2 cups)
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce , or crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar , packed
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Add oil to a dutch oven on medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook until they start to brown, stirring occasionally, about 5-6 minutes.

  3. Add in the Dr. Pepper, tomato sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and stir until combined.

  4. Cook for 30-35 minutes until the mixture has cooked down by half and thickened.

  5. Use hot or store in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 12 servings, Amount per serving: 90 calories, Calories: 90g, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 334mg, Potassium: 180mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 19g, Vitamin A: 194g, Vitamin C: 3g, Calcium: 22g, Iron: 1g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce

Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce collage

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  1. I’m making this as I type. My kitchen smells amazingly delicious! My pork butt roast is in the instant pot cooking. This is going to be the best pulled pork I’ve ever made!!! I’m drooling ?!!

    I’m thinking of making a large batch of sauce and I would like to how long I can store it in the refrigerator.

  2. I used to BBQ in competition on a professional level and the only word of advice I can give is NEVER substitute diet soda for regular…the sweetener gives a bad taste…now you know one of my secrets…