The perfect combination of tangy, peppery, and slightly sweet with a kiss of heat, Alabama white BBQ sauce is a barbecue-pit legend in the south! This flavorful mayonnaise-based white barbecue sauce is made with just 8 ingredients in 5 minutes! This fan-favorite bbq sauce is traditionally served with juicy chicken breasts and vegetables; however, it tastes great on sandwiches, fries, pork and more!
Even if you’re not a ‘Bama fan, I have a feeling one bite of this tasty condiment will have you hollering “Roll Tide” with wild abandon.
About this Alabama white sauce recipe
Creamy, tangy, and finger-lickin’ good, this recipe for Alabama white BBQ sauce is an utter delight. It has the perfect balance of savory, sweet, spicy, and sour and I pretty much guarantee you’ll want to dip EVERYTHING in it. I’m not even joking! I use it as both a marinade for grilling as well as a table sauce for drizzling and serving. And friends? I just can’t get enough.
Why you’ll love this white sauce for bbq
Aside from being exceptionally delicious, this Alabama white sauce is:
- Made with simple ingredients. You can make delicious, BBQ Pitmaster quality white bbq sauce at home with just 8 basic ingredients!
- Quick & Easy. This fast and flavorful barbecue sauce is 100% fuss-free and totally fool-proof to prepare! Plus it takes less than 5 minutes to whisk together – I set a timer.
- Super Versatile. The secret to making your all your grilling favorites taste good? Add Alabama bbq sauce!
- Meal-Prep & Budget-Friendly. Double this easy recipe for Alabama white bbq sauce and store it in the fridge to use throughout the week!
What is Alabama white bbq sauce?
First created back in the 1920’s by “Big” Bob Gibson at his eponymous Bar-B-Q restaurant in Decatur, Alabama white BBQ sauce has since grown to the same level of fame as sweet, tangy, tomato-based Kansas City barbecue sauce or mustardy South Carolina-style sauce.
While the primary component of this “sop n’ mop” is mayonnaise — which is a rather divisive ingredient — I promise, the flavor of mayo isn’t pervasive. I’m gonna go ahead and file this under “don’t knock it till you try it.”
The primary flavors that Alabama white sauce brings to the table are tangy vinegar and lemon juice, plenty of fresh cracked black pepper and spicy horseradish, with a mild sweetness from both the mayo and just a hint of brown sugar. Just trust me: it’s superb.
The idea for using mayo as the base for BBQ sauce might seem strange, but it’s honestly one of the most delightful things I’ve ever tasted. And when you consider how easy it is for chicken to dry out (especially when it’s smoked for hours on end), it’s actually pretty ingenious. The fat-rich mayonnaise actually acts as a moisture barrier to prevent you from eating a dry bird.
So, before you go decrying this Southern staple with the same vehemence as those Pace Picante-loving cowboys who yelled “New York City?!?” make sure to give it a taste. I can almost guarantee you’re gonna love it.
Ingredients in Alabama white sauce
As promised, you need just 10 ingredients to make the absolute best white sauce for bbq. Here’s what you’ll need to gather:
- Mayonnaise – You simply can’t have Alabama-style bbq sauce without a hefty dose of mayo. Make sure to choose a high-quality brand. I suggest Duke’s or Blue Ribbon for an authentic Southern vibe, or use Hellman’s/Best Foods.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Tangy with a slight hint of sweetness, ACV is a real treat.
- Substitution: White wine vinegar or rice vinegar may be used.
- Lemon Juice – Fresh is always best. To get the most juice from your fruit, give it a firm roll on the counter for about 10-15 seconds before you cut into it.
- Horseradish – Repeat after me: Prepared horseradish is not the same thing as creamy horseradish! You can use creamy if that’s what you have on hand, but you can use a lot more as it’s not nearly as potent.
- Cayenne – Feel free to add more or less according to your preferences.
- Kosher Salt & Black Pepper – Seasoning is essential! Make sure to use freshly cracked black pepper for the best, spiciest flavor.
- Dijon or Spicy Brown Mustard – Technically, this is an “optional” ingredient, but I recommend that you use it for added zing. Dijon has that classic sharp mustard flavor, and it pairs well with chicken, fish, and seafood or if you’re using the sauce as a marinade. Spicy Brown Mustard packs a more intense flavor and is slightly spicier than Dijon mustard. It pairs beautifully with meats and pork.
- Substitution: Mustard Powder is the mildest mustard option with the least heat. You will need to scale back the amount used to a heaping ½ tsp or scant ¾ tsp, depending upon your taste.
- Onion & Garlic Powder – If you’re an allium aficionado like I am, you’re going to want to add these.
- Worchestershire Sauce – Umami, sweet, sour, and spicy, this tasty sauce gives extra dimension to this Alabama white sauce recipe.
White barbecue sauce variations
- Make it spicy! Kick up the heat by using spicy brown mustard and adding more cayenne pepper.
- Turn it into a dressing! Turn your white sauce into a creamy vinaigrette by thinning it out with extra vinegar and a couple glugs of olive oil.
How to make the best Alabama white sauce?
Making seriously delicious white sauce from scratch is as easy as 1, 2, 3!
- Combine. Add all the barbecue sauce ingredients to a medium-size mixing bowl. Whisk together until creamy and smooth.
- Chill – optional. While entirely optional, I highly recommend chilling your white bbq sauce in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes so the flavors can marry together.
- Adjust to taste before using. Taste your Alabama bbq sauce and adjust as necessary – adding more lemon or ACV for tang, horseradish for bite, sugar for sweet, cayenne for heat and salt for overall flavor. Use and enjoy your homemade condiment as marinade, mopping sauce, dipping sauce, serving sauce or dressing!
Tips for making this recipe for Alabama white bbq sauce
- Quality brand ingredients: Your homemade bbq sauce will only be as delicious as the ingredients you use! Make sure you use a good-quality mayonnaise and freshly squeeze the lemon juice for the most beautifully flavored sauce.
- Customize it: Recipes are written to be general, so I encourage you to make a recipe your own, or at least adjust the sauce to suit YOUR taste. Mustard, onion powder, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce are all optional ingredients; however, they will make your sauce very robust in flavor! (I typically always add them, especially if I’m making this sauce for a crowd.)
FAQ: frequently asked questions
Why is Alabama white sauce controversial?
I have a feeling it’s because of the primary ingredient: mayonnaise. While most people associate BBQ sauce with tomato-based sauces, Alabama-style barbecue relies on mayo. I know there are LOTS of people out there who think mayonnaise is gross, but let me reiterate: you can barely taste the mayo in this sauce.
It’s mostly used as a way to emulsify all of the other flavors, as well as a vehicle to add fat back to lean meats like chicken when they’re getting smoked or grilled over high heat.
What does Alabama white barbecue sauce taste like?
I consider white sauce to be a vinegar-based sauce, so the primary tongue-tingling you’ll taste is all tangy. Spice from horseradish, black pepper, and cayenne play backup, and there’s a slight hint of sweetness from sugar and mayonnaise. It’s a lot, but it’s really, really good.
Who created Alabama white bbq sauce?
“Big” Bob Gibson is credited with creating the original white sauce back in the 1920’s. He started using it when he was cooking out of his 2-story house before he opened Gibson’s Bar-B-Q in 1925.
Serving white sauce for BBQ
Most will agree, Alabama white sauce was created specifically for chicken. It’s a lovely pairing with any kind of poultry, including roasted, smoked, rotisserie, grilled, or even chicken kabobs. It is similarly delicious on “the other white meat,” like pulled or smoked pork, or any kind of sausages.
That said, I’ll serve this white sauce alongside pretty much anything I grill or smoke: brisket, steaks, or even fish. It’s also great to serve with rice or grains to sop up every last drop of deliciousness.
Storing Alabama white bbq sauce
- Store unused white BBQ sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Do not freeze.
Did you make this delectable, creamy, Alabama White Sauce? If so, let me know how it turned out by rating or commenting below. You can also feel free to tag me on any of your social media posts; I love seeing your beautiful creations and cheering you on!
Until next time, friends! May your bellies always be full and your grills always lit.
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More barbecue recipes!
- Best BBQ Dry Rub (adds robust flavor to barbecue chicken, pork and beef!)
- Easy Pulled Pork (slow cooker or crock pot recipe!)
- Peach Sriracha BBQ Ribs (if you love barbecue baby back ribs, this recipe is for you!)
The best recipe for Alabama white bbq sauce👇
Alabama White BBQ Sauce Recipe
- Medium Mixing Bowl
White BBQ Sauce:
- 2 Cups Mayonnaise – (good-quality + full-fat)
- 6 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar – or more to taste
- 2 TBS Fresh Lemon Juice – about 1 small lemon
- 2 tsp Prepared Horseradish – (SEE NOTES)
- 1-2 tsp Light Brown Sugar - – or granulated sugar
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt – or more to taste
- ¾ tsp Ground Black Pepper – or more to taste
- ½ tsp Cayenne – or more to taste
- Optional but recommended:
Optional, but recommended for the most robust BBQ sauce:
- 2 tsp Dijon or Spicy Brown Mustard – or scant 3/4 tsp Ground Mustard (SEE NOTES)
- ¾-1 tsp EACH: Onion Powder + Garlic Powder – or more to taste
- ½ tsp Worcestershire Sauce – or more to taste
- Combine base ingredients: Measure and add the following ingredients to a medium size mixing bowl – mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon, and horseradish; along with mustard if using. Whisk together until creamy and smooth.
- Add seasonings: Add the sugar, salt, pepper, and cayenne; along with the onion powder, garlic powder and Worcestershire if using. Whisk until combined. Taste and adjust the white sauce as needed, adding more vinegar for tang, sugar for sweet, horseradish for bite, mayo for creamy or salt and pepper for flavor.
- Chill: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and place in the refrigerator. Allow to chill for at least 30 minutes so the flavors can marry and meld.
- Taste and adjust (again): Taste the Alabama sauce and adjust as necessary (using the recommendations above).
- Use as a dipping sauce or grilling sauce (mop) or store for later.To use as a grilling sauce: During the last few minutes of grilling or cooking, brush Alabama white sauce lightly over chicken, turkey, pork, or fish.Using as a dipping sauce: Add barbecue sauce to a small bowl and serve as a dipping sauce with your favorite grilled chicken and meats.
- Mustard: I list mustard as optional, but I always add it to my sauce (along with Worcestershire). You can use Dijon, spicy brown and ground mustard interchangeably in this recipe (with a small adjustment if using dry mustard powder).
- Dijon has that classic sharp mustard flavor; however, it isn’t as hot as spicy brown. Dijon mustard pairs great with marinades, chicken, fish, and seafood.
- Spicy Brown packs a more intense flavor and is slightly hotter than Dijon mustard. Spicy brown mustard goes great with meats and pork.
- Ground Mustard Powder is the mildest mustard option with the least heat. You will need to scale back the amount if using dried mustard powder down to a heaping ½ tsp or scant ¾ tsp, depending upon your taste.
- Horseradish: Prepared is not the same thing as creamy horseradish! You can use creamy if that’s what you have on hand; however, you can use a lot more as it’s not nearly as potent.
- Serving Recommendations:
- Chicken (roasted, smoked, rotisserie, grilled, kebob)
- Pork (pulled, smoked, sausages)
- Rice and Grains
- Storage: Store unused white BBQ sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
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