Korean BBQ Sauce

This Korean bbq sauce is the perfect combination of sweet, savory and spicy… this Korean BBQ sauce is perfect on pretty much anything. I love it in these braised Korean pork taco recipe!

You guys we need to discuss this sauce.

So versatile, sticky and delicious.

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com #recipe #BBQ

It’s the perfect combination of sweet, savory and spicy. Oh and sticky. Did I mention that? It’s also a cinch to make.


I originally found this recipe via a Google search one day. I didn’t have the right amount of ingredients (story of my life) so I had to improvise it and it turned out amazing! Over time I’ve up’d this and changed that and this sauce is the result. Since then I’ve slathered it on grilled chicken, used the whole jar as a sauce for wok-seared chicken and stir-fry veggies over rice as a sauce for braised pork tacos. It’s also scrumptious on grilled shrimp, salmon, a shoe… anything really.

Here’s how it all went down.

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com brown sugar

Like all good sweet and savory sauces, you’ll need 3/4 cup of dark brown sugar.

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com tamari

Next add in 3/4 cup of low-sodium tamari.

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com water

Then pour in a 1/4 cup of water. Is it me or does this picture make my hands look O-L-D? I’m wearing sparkly nail polish annnd yet there they are. I blame all the dish washing.

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com rice wine vinegar

Next measure and add in 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar.

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com chili paste

And then 1-1/2 tablespoons of chili paste. This adds the back-of-the-throat heat so feel free to dial it up or down to your tastes.

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com sesame oil

Next add in 1-1/2 teaspoons of sesame oil…

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com black pepper

Then 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper…

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com whisk

Next, give it a whisk to break and dissolve the brown sugar.

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com grated ginger

Then grate up about a heaping teaspoon of fresh ginger…

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com peeled garlic

Peel 5 cloves of garlic…

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com garlic in press

And squeeze the life out of them…

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com squeeze


Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com pour into sauce pan

Give it one final whisk before pouring the sauce into a saucepan. Of course you could whip this this whole recipe up in the actual pan itself and save yourself from washing one more bowl. (Protect those hands!)

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com corn starch

Measure out one tablespoon of cornstarch and add it into a small cup or bowl…

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com tablespoon of water

Measure in one tablespoon of water…

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com smooth

And stir until smooth.

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com bring to a boil

Place the Korean BBQ sauce onto your stove top and heat on high.

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com simmer

Bring the sauce up to a boil and whisk, whisk, whisk.

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com add cornstarch water

Once it’s at a good boil, pour in the cornstarch and water thickener.

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com pour

Once the sauce is thick it’s good to go and you can just pour it right on into a bowl, jar or into a hot wok filled with chicken and veggies.

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com sauce

Truly it’s that easy.

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com spoon1

There are endless options with this sauce. Make this sauce when you’re in the mood for something outstanding or keep it in the fridge and use it later in the week for that night you are in no mood to cook. Either way this sauce is the answer.

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com drip

I mean seriously.

Korean BBQ Sauce l www.SimplyScratch.com chicken

Today I slathered it on chicken in the last few minutes of grilling. The sugar in the sauce caramelizes beautifully, wouldn’t you say?

Korean BBQ Sauce ll www.SimplyScratch.com

So simple.


Korean BBQ Chicken l www.SimplyScratch.com sauce

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance!

Yield: about 2 cups

Korean BBQ Sauce

Korean BBQ Sauce
The perfect combination of sweet, savory and spicy. This Korean BBQ sauce is perfect on pretty much anything.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Additional Time 2 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium tamari (or low-sodium soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons of chili paste (like Sambal Oelek)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 heaping teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic, finely grated or squeezed through a garlic press
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water


In a saucepan combine the brown sugar, tamari, water, rice wine vinegar, chili paste, sesame oil, black pepper, ginger and garlic. Heat on high and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, combine the cornstarch and water until smooth.

Once the sauce is at a boil, add in the cornstarch slurry and whisk until thick.

Once thick, let cool slightly before pouring into a clean jar. You could also add immediately to any stir-fry, or let it completely cool and brush on grilled chicken, shrimp skewers or salmon in the last few minutes of cooking.

Store in an airtight container for two to three weeks.

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35 Responses to “Korean BBQ Sauce”

  1. #
    Millie l Add A Little — May 29, 2014 at 2:12 am

    Oooohh!! Love the look of this sauce! I would love to use it on thinly sliced beef in lettuce wraps!

  2. #
    Abigail — May 29, 2014 at 7:30 am

    I love a nice sticky bbq sauce with cold green onions. the combo is always so so nommy

  3. #
    Cassie — May 29, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Is it bad that I want to just eat the sauce with a spoon? LOVE this!

  4. #
    Evan @ Getinmymouf — May 29, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Was looking for a marinade to make a Korean BBQ burger, so I think this one might be the winner!

    Hey, what kind of garlic press do you use? I need a replacement and yours looks pretty cool. Thanks!

  5. #
    Caroline {TheBarbeeHousewife} — May 29, 2014 at 9:45 am

    I have to make this! It looks fabulous!

  6. #
    Bridget Black — May 29, 2014 at 11:18 am

    this looks delicious! printed and making tonight with salmon!

  7. #
    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — May 29, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    I can almost taste it! Looks amazing! Pinned!

  8. #
    Anna (Hidden Ponies) — May 30, 2014 at 1:07 am

    This looks perfect! And I think I have all the ingredients, yay šŸ™‚

  9. #
    Liz@Virtually Homemade — May 30, 2014 at 10:01 am

    This looks awesome! It looks like it’s gluten free too – just been put on a serious gluten free diet by my doc. Nice to have options šŸ™‚

  10. #
    Derrick — June 7, 2014 at 3:28 am

    I love your recipes, and the pictures are perfect. I have to give you a solid tip, for the chili paste, you need to use Korean Chili paste. Gochujang has a flavor like nothing else. It is pretty easy to find. Trust me, once you try it you will be hooked!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — June 10th, 2014 @ 1:54 pm

      Thanks Derrick! I’ll keep it in mind and try to find it for next time! šŸ™‚

  11. #
    Kelly — July 3, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    I tried making this sauce and it was delicious! I put it on some chicken thighs that I grilled on the stove with a little bit of vegetable oil and it tasted great with it. I served it with macaroni salad, steamed corn, rice, and some crab rangoons I made and it was all wonderful. From my experience with making it with the grilled chicken I would recommend putting the sauce on at the very last moment after the chicken is cooked and then grill it a little and put it on a plate right away. Or just put the sauce on after you grill the chicken. The reason I say this is because the first time I made it I put the sauce on a few minutes before I took the chicken off the pan and I guess the sugar in the sauce ended up burning on the stove and everything turned out kind of sticky and burnt tasting a little so you really don’t want to leave the sauce on the pan for too long. The second and third time I made the chicken with the sauce it turned out much better when I put the sauce on just before I took the chicken off the pan. And it wasn’t burnt at all. I really liked the sauce and it definitely tasted like Korean BBQ chicken which I love! The sauce was easy to make and tasted delicious so I’ll definitely be making this again. Thank you so much for the recipe!

  12. #
    Kelly — July 3, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    I was wondering if the 3/4 cup dark brown sugar that you use is just loosely leveled for this recipe or if you pack it into the cup? The picture looks like it’s packed in but I just made it loosely shoveled and leveled since I wasn’t sure.

  13. #
    Brayden — November 7, 2015 at 12:23 am

    Holy Crap!!! I just made this sauce and it is awesome! I altered it a little with chopped green onions and adjusting the pepper paste for spice. This is seriously one of the best sauces I’ve ever had!!!!!! The best part is that it’s universal. This stuff goes on everything! Amazing Recipe!

  14. #
    Corey — February 17, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    So my friends always comment me for how crispy and juicy my fried chicken wings turn out, I think I’ve perfected my technique. However, I’ve only ever made buffalo sauce for the wings and I’ve been wanting to try a different sauce. I think I’ll give this one a try.

  15. #
    Cynthia Morton — June 25, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    The sauce looks great i do not have chili paste can I use chili sauce instead and if so how much Thank you

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — June 28th, 2016 @ 8:27 am

      Hi Cynthia! They’re a little different but you could give it a try. Without testing it myself, it’s hard to say. Keep me posted!

  16. #
    Neena @ Paintthekitchenred.com — September 8, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Beautiful photographs and so appetizing! I made the recipe and really liked the flavor. I’ve used it on numerous dishes to just drizzle on. Thank you for sharing.

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — September 10th, 2016 @ 10:24 am

      I’m so glad Neena! Thanks for taking the time to come back and leave a comment! <3

  17. #
    Scott — September 18, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    I made this using just a korean chili sauce that well resembles ketchup but is way spicy just wow. I also love fresh ginger so i used about 2 and a half Tbsp used this on bbq ribs rubbed with a dry hot and sour soup mix then slow smoked for about 6 hrs died and went to bbq heaven

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — September 20th, 2016 @ 9:49 am

      That’s great Scoot! I love your modifications and those slow smoked ribs sound amazing! Thanks for leaving a comment!

  18. #
    Troy — February 7, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    Can I make this in a large batch and hot bath can this is jars?

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — February 10th, 2017 @ 7:59 am

      Hi Troy! Since I know little to nothing about canning/hot bath canning, I’m unsure this is a suitable recipe. Sorry!

    • john rankin replied: — August 21st, 2017 @ 9:20 pm

      if you plan on canning this, it doesn’t appear to have enough acid to hot bath it. You would probably need to pressure can this.

  19. #
    Jason Barnes — February 22, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    This is now the only sauce I glaze my smoked pork ribs with – crowd favorite, hands down!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — February 24th, 2017 @ 8:22 am

      Awesome! So happy to hear it, Jason!

  20. #
    Tiki — February 24, 2017 at 2:50 am


    Thank you very much for this great reipe!
    Made this yesterday and l-o-v-e it!

    Had no chili paste either, but cut and mashed down a habanero chili with a bit of salt and it was delicious, seriously could not imagine what I could ‘improve’ or would do different next time.

    Also nice photos!

    Thank you!
    : ]

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — February 24th, 2017 @ 8:20 am

      Thank you, Tiki! I really love your idea to use habanero — I’m definitely trying that!

  21. #
    Tim McNamara — July 3, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    Thanks for the recipe Laurie. I was looking for an alternative to Teriyaki sauce and your Korean BBQ recipe is much better and more balanced with the ginger and garlic flavors. I’m making a batch today !
    Cheers !

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — July 3rd, 2017 @ 8:30 pm

      That’s great, Tim! I’m so glad to hear you like it so much. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment and p.s. your last name is pretty sweet too! šŸ˜‰

  22. #
    Chris Sussman — June 28, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Can you substitute Gochujang for the chili paste? If so, I would assume reduce the amount of sugar? Thanks in advance!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — July 2nd, 2018 @ 9:31 am

      Hi Chris! I haven’t tried it but I would think so!

  23. #
    Joan Worden — March 24, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    Made this tonight to go over vietnamese noodle bowls with left over chicken and it’s exactly what I was looking for! Really good balance of flavors. Thanks!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — March 25th, 2019 @ 10:41 pm

      I’m so happy to hear it, Joan! Thank you for taking the time to make this recipe and leave a review, I really appreciate it!

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