Zesty White BBQ Sauce Recipe (Great For Chicken And Ribs)

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Did you know that White BBQ Sauce recipe is one of the best twists on traditional BBQ flavors? Remember that it blends creamy mayonnaise with tangy hints of vinegar and zesty spices. Pay attention to its unique color; it stands out in a BBQ spread. It is best used with grilled chicken or as a dipping sauce. If you’re looking for a great option to elevate your BBQ game, try White BBQ Sauce. It’s important to note that its flavor profile is distinct and memorable. Consider adding it to your next cookout; you won’t be disappointed.

Did you know that while traveling through the Middle East and Europe, I came across various sauces with unique charm? But during a restaurant visit in Alabama, I stumbled upon the gem called “White BBQ Sauce.” 

White BBQ Sauce

This creamy, zesty concoction surprised me, unlike the traditional, tangy red barbecue sauces we’re accustomed to.

Often, BBQ enthusiasts find themselves stuck in a rut, using the same old sauces. It’s easy to fall into a cycle of familiar flavors.

During a dinner at a friend’s place in Istanbul, while the kebabs were exceptional, I wished for something different to drench them in. 

Similarly, while enjoying tapas in Spain, the desire for a unique yet versatile sauce grew. The solution? White BBQ Sauce. The first time my kids requested it over ketchup, I knew I was onto something special. 

If you’re seeking a refreshing change for your BBQ game, White BBQ Sauce might be just what you’re looking for.

What Is White BBQ Sauce? 

White BBQ Sauce is a unique condiment originating from Alabama. Unlike traditional red or brown BBQ sauces, it boasts a creamy mayonnaise base, complemented by tangy vinegar, zesty spices, and a hint of sweetness. Its standout white hue offers a visual contrast on a BBQ spread. 

One of the best aspects of this sauce is its versatility: it pairs excellently with grilled chicken vegetables, and even as a dipping sauce for fries or bread.

If you have yet to try it, it’s important to remember that it offers a refreshing flavor departure from conventional BBQ sauces. Consider giving it a go on your next grilled dish.

History Of White BBQ Sauce 

White BBQ Sauce, a distinctive variant in the barbecue world, hails from Alabama. Bob Gibson is credited with its invention in 1925.

Gibson, Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q founder in Decatur, Alabama, introduced this creamy, tangy sauce as a signature dressing for his smoked chickens. 

Unlike the more recognized red or brown sauces, Gibson blends mayonnaise, vinegar, and spices. It soon became one of the region’s simplest yet most beloved BBQ sauces.

Today, thanks to Gibson’s culinary innovation, White BBQ Sauce is not just an Alabama specialty but is relished nationwide.

Interesting Facts About White BBQ Sauce  

  • Origins: White BBQ Sauce is uniquely tied to Alabama, standing apart from other American BBQ traditions.
  • Versatility: Beyond BBQ, it can be used as a salad dressing, marinade, or a dip for fries and vegetables.
  • Base Ingredient: Unlike most BBQ sauces, its primary component is mayonnaise, lending it a creamy texture.
  • Cultural Integration: Some European and Middle-Eastern restaurants have adopted White BBQ Sauce to complement their native dishes.
  • Shelf Life: Due to its mayonnaise content, it’s important to refrigerate after opening to maintain freshness.
  • Popularity: Despite its regional origins, it has gained nationwide attention and has been featured in many food festivals and TV cooking shows.
  • Variations: Some modern recipes include horseradish or mustard to give an extra kick.
  • Pairings: One of the best sauces for smoked or grilled poultry, especially chicken.
White BBQ Sauce

What Are The Regional Adaptations Of This Sauce? 

  • Tennessee Twist: Some versions in Tennessee add a dash of whiskey for an extra smoky flavor.
  • Georgia Touch: Peach puree is occasionally mixed in in parts of Georgia, giving it a sweet undertone.
  • Texan Take: Texas, known for its spicy palate, sometimes infuses jalapeƱo or chipotle for a fiery kick.
  • Carolina Blend: With their vinegar-based BBQ tradition, the Carolinas often increase the vinegar content for added tanginess.
  • Florida Fusion: Coastal areas in Florida might add citrus zest or juice for a refreshing, tropical twist.

What Will Make You Love This White BBQ Sauce? 

  • Unique Flavor: Its blend of creamy mayonnaise with tangy vinegar offers a delightful contrast to typical BBQ sauces.
  • Versatility: It’s not just for BBQ! It’s a great salad dressing, marinade, or dip.
  • Perfect Pair: Consider using it on grilled chicken or seafood; it complements them exceptionally well.
  • Easy Preparation: One of the simplest sauces to make at home with readily available ingredients.
  • Texture: Its creamy consistency enriches dishes, enhancing their overall appeal.
  • A Conversation Starter: Its distinct color and taste make it a topic of interest at gatherings.
White BBQ Sauce

Ingredients List

Mayonnaise2 cups
Ground Black Pepper2 tablespoons
Salt2 tablespoons
Lemon Juice6 tablespoons
Distilled White Vinegar6 tablespoons
White Sugar4 tablespoons

Ingredient Tips 

  • Mayonnaise: Opt for full-fat mayonnaise; it offers the best consistency and flavor.
  • Ground Black Pepper: Freshly ground pepper gives a more robust flavor than pre-ground.
  • Salt: It’s important to use fine salt for even distribution, but if using sea salt, adjust to taste.
  • Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice is always an excellent option for a more vibrant tang.
  • Distilled White Vinegar: Ensure it’s clear and free from sediments for a clean taste.
  • White Sugar: To reduce sweetness, you can adjust the sugar quantity. Alternatively, consider using honey for a natural touch.
  • Mixing: Always mix ingredients gradually to achieve a balanced taste and smooth consistency.

What Are The Variations Of White BBQ Sauce Recipe? 

  • Spicy Kick: Add a touch of cayenne pepper or minced jalapeƱos for a fiery burst.
  • Creamy Mustard: Incorporate Dijon mustard for a deeper, tangy flavor profile.
  • Garlic Lover: Minced fresh garlic or garlic powder can intensify the aroma and taste.
  • Herb Infusion: For a refreshing twist, consider blending in chopped fresh herbs like dill or cilantro.
  • Honey Drizzle: Replace white sugar with honey for a natural sweetness and slightly different texture.
  • Horseradish Zing: A spoonful of horseradish can elevate the sauce’s zesty character.
  • Smoky Touch: A hint of smoked paprika can give the sauce a smoky undertone.
White BBQ Sauce

Recipe Directions

Cooking Method

  • In a medium bowl, add 2 cups of mayonnaise.
  • Incorporate 2 tablespoons each of ground black pepper and salt.
  • Pour in 6 tablespoons each of lemon juice and distilled white vinegar.
  • Add 4 tablespoons of white sugar to the mix.
  • Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth and well combined.
  • Allow the sauce to rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. This ensures the flavors meld together for a richer taste.

Scaling The Recipe

  • Proportional Adjustments: Remember to increase or decrease every ingredient proportionally. If doubling the recipe, double each ingredient; if halving, use half of each.
  • Taste Test: As you scale up, taste becomes crucial. Large quantities might need slight adjustments for perfect flavor.
  • Mixing: For larger batches, ensure thorough mixing for consistency. Consider using a larger bowl or even a food processor.
  • Storage: Scaling up means more sauce. Ensure you have ample storage containers.
  • Decreasing: It’s best to use smaller mixing utensils for even blending when reducing the recipe size.
White BBQ Sauce

Can This Sauce Be Used As A Marinade, Dipping Sauce, Or Dressing For Salads? 

  • Marinade: Its creamy texture and tangy flavor profile make it an excellent choice for marinating meats, especially chicken or pork. The acidic components help tenderize the meat while infusing flavor.
  • Dipping Sauce: Its rich consistency is perfect for dipping. This sauce adds a delightful zesty touch, whether grilled vegetables, fries, or bread.
  • Dressing for Salads: Consider using it as a dressing for salads. The tang from the vinegar, lemon juice, and creamy mayonnaise can elevate a simple salad.

What Are The Best Dishes To Accompany White BBQ Sauce? 

  • Grilled Chicken: Perhaps the number one choice, the sauce’s creamy tang complements the smokiness of grilled chicken perfectly.
  • Pulled Pork Sandwiches: Drizzle the sauce over pulled pork for a moist, flavorful sandwich experience.
  • Seafood: Think grilled shrimp or fish fillets; the zesty profile enhances the delicate taste of seafood.
  • Vegetable Skewers: For a vegetarian option, it’s a great addition to grilled veggies.
  • Potato Salad: Mix it in for a creamy, tangy twist.
  • Burgers: Replace your condiments with this sauce for a unique flavor punch.
  • Coleslaw: A dash can transform your coleslaw’s taste profile.
White BBQ Sauce

What Are Some Classic Dishes That Feature White BBQ Sauce? 

  • Alabama Grilled Chicken: Often considered the signature dish, chicken is perfectly grilled and generously slathered with White BBQ Sauce.
  • Smoked Turkey Sandwich: The sauce adds moisture and tang to smoked turkey slices sandwiched between crusty bread.
  • White BBQ Chicken Dip: A creamy, tangy dip that pairs wonderfully with tortilla chips or crusty bread.
  • Pulled Chicken Sliders: Shredded chicken drenched in White BBQ Sauce, served in mini buns.
  • BBQ Chicken Salad: Grilled chicken chunks tossed with greens and drizzled with the sauce.

What Are The Key Flavor Profiles And Taste Sensations That White BBQ Sauce Offers? 

  • Creaminess: The mayonnaise base offers a rich, velvety texture that envelopes the taste buds.
  • Tanginess: Distilled white vinegar and lemon juice provide a zesty, acidic punch.
  • Sweetness: White sugar balances the sauce’s tang, adding a hint of sweetness.
  • Saltiness: Salt amplifies other flavors and gives depth to the sauce.
  • Peppery Bite: Ground black pepper introduces a warm, slightly spicy kick.
  • Umami: While subtle, combining ingredients lends an umami touch, making the sauce more.
White BBQ Sauce

Can This Sauce Be Stored And Preserved For Future Use? What Is Its Shelf Life? 

Yes, White BBQ Sauce can be stored for future use. After preparation, transfer the sauce to an airtight container and refrigerate. Given its mayonnaise base, its shelf life is typically 7-10 days.

It’s important to avoid cross-contamination by using clean utensils when handling the sauce. Also, pay attention to color, smell, or texture changes, as these can indicate spoilage.

For a longer preservation period, consider freezing the sauce. However, be aware that the texture might change slightly upon thawing. Always label the container with the date of preparation to keep track of freshness.

What Are The Substitutes For White BBQ Sauce? 

  • Tartar Sauce: Creamy with a tangy punch, it’s especially good with seafood.
  • Ranch Dressing: Its creamy texture and herbal notes can stand in for White BBQ Sauce, especially as a dip.
  • Aioli: A garlic-infused mayo sauce that offers richness and depth.
  • Coleslaw Dressing: A tangy, sweet dressing that can work well, especially with poultry.
  • Greek Tzatziki: Yogurt-based with cucumber and dill adds a refreshing twist.
  • Blue Cheese Dressing: Its bold flavor can be a great option for those seeking a stronger taste.
  • Creme Fraiche with Lemon & Pepper: This combo mirrors the creamy tang of White BBQ Sauce.
White BBQ Sauce

How To Adjust The Consistency Of The Sauce? 

  • Thinning: If the sauce is too thick, add more distilled white vinegar or lemon juice. This not only thins it but also enhances its tanginess.
  • Thickening: If it’s too runny, add more mayonnaise for a creamier texture.
  • Balancing: Remember that altering consistency can impact flavor. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  • Creamy Alternative: You can blend in sour cream or Greek yogurt for a richer texture without altering the base flavor.
  • Consistency Check: Always check the sauce’s consistency after it has chilled, as it may thicken slightly in the refrigerator.

Should We Serve The Sauce Cold Or Warm? 

  • Texture: The mayonnaise base tends to separate or break down when heated, altering its smooth consistency.
  • Flavor Profile: Serving it cold enhances its creamy, tangy characteristics, making it a refreshing counterpoint to hot, grilled foods.
  • Usage: As a dipping sauce, dressing, or marinade, it’s typically cold to coat ingredients evenly.
  • Safety: If serving outdoors or at a picnic, it’s best to keep the sauce chilled to prevent spoilage.
White BBQ Sauce

Nutritional Values 

White BBQ Sauce is a creamy condiment rich in fats due to its mayonnaise base, and it also contains moderate sodium and sugars from added seasonings. Its caloric content primarily derives from fats, with minor contributions from carbohydrates.

What Are The Total Calories In White BBQ Sauce? 

The total calories in White BBQ Sauce largely depend on its specific ingredients, particularly the type of mayonnaise used.

Generally, a typical serving of White BBQ Sauce (about 2 tablespoons) can range between 90 to 150 calories, most of which come from fats.

However, for precise caloric information, it’s important to refer to the nutritional label of the specific mayonnaise and other ingredients used or use a nutritional calculator if making it homemade.

Dietary Restrictions Of The White BBQ Sauce 

  • Vegan: Traditional White BBQ Sauce isn’t vegan due to the mayonnaise (which contains eggs).
  • Gluten-Free: Typically, the sauce is gluten-free, but always check the labels of store-bought mayonnaise for any additives.
  • Dairy-Free: Generally dairy-free, but some commercial mayonnaises might contain dairy additives.
  • Low-Carb: While not high in carbs, the sugar content might concern strict low-carb dieters.
  • Low-Fat: Not suitable for low-fat diets due to the mayonnaise base.
  • Kosher/Halal: Ensure all ingredients, especially the mayonnaise, comply with kosher or halal dietary laws.

Nutrition Table

Nutrition Table

What Are The Common Mistakes While Making This Sauce?

  • Overseasoning: Due to its simple ingredient list, over-salting or over-peppering can easily overpower the sauce. It’s important to add seasonings gradually and taste as you go.
  • Not Whisking Properly: Try to whisk the ingredients thoroughly to avoid an inconsistent texture and flavor. It’s essential to achieve a smooth blend.
  • Using Low-Quality Mayonnaise: The base ingredient plays a significant role. Low-quality mayonnaise can adversely affect the flavor and texture.
  • Not Letting Flavors Meld: While the sauce can be used immediately, letting it rest in the refrigerator for a few hours helps the flavors meld and intensify.
  • Storing Incorrectly: Not using an airtight container or leaving the sauce out for extended periods can lead to contamination or spoilage.
  • Overusing Sugar: Adding too much sugar can mask the tangy profile of the sauce. It’s best to balance sweetness with acidity.
  • Not Adjusting Acidity: Depending on personal preference, the vinegar or lemon juice content might need adjustment. Not tweaking this can lead to a sauce that’s too tangy or flat.

What Are Some Creative Uses Of Leftover Sauce? 

  • Pasta Salad Dressing: Drizzle over cold pasta, add veggies, and toss.
  • Sandwich Spread: Replace mayo or mustard with this sauce for a tangy kick.
  • Mashed Potato Flavoring: Mix into mashed potatoes for a creamy, zesty twist.
  • Seafood Topping: Drizzle over grilled or baked fish.
  • Pizza Base: Use it as a unique pizza sauce alternative, especially for BBQ chicken pizza.
  • Bread Dip: Serve with warm bread as an appetizer.
  • Deviled Eggs: Incorporate into the yolk mixture for a different take on deviled eggs.
White BBQ Sauce

Special Tools & Equipment Needed 

  • Whisk: Essential for thoroughly combining ingredients and ensuring a smooth texture.
  • Mixing Bowl: Preferably of medium size, to comfortably mix the ingredients without spilling.
  • Measuring Spoons and Cups: To ensure accurate proportions of ingredients.
  • Airtight Container: For storing the sauce and preserving its freshness.
  • Silicone Spatula: Helps in scraping out every bit of the sauce from the bowl.
  • Sieve: If you want to ensure no lumps, especially if adding additional spices.
  • Glass Jar: Ideal for refrigerated storage, especially if making a larger batch.
  • Tasting Spoons: For tasting and adjusting seasoning as you go.

Frequently Asked Questions  

What Is The Main Ingredient In White BBQ Sauce?

The primary ingredient in White BBQ Sauce is mayonnaise, which gives it its creamy texture and distinguishes it from traditional BBQ sauces.

Can I Make A Vegan Version Of White BBQ Sauce?

Yes, you can substitute the regular mayonnaise with a vegan mayo alternative. The taste might vary slightly, but the overall profile will be similar.

Why Is My White BBQ Sauce Too Runny/Thick?

Consistency can vary based on the mayonnaise brand and other factors. If it is too runny, add more mayo; if it is too thick, add a bit of vinegar or lemon juice.

How Long Can I Store White BBQ Sauce In The Refrigerator?

Properly stored in an airtight container, the sauce can last 7-10 days. However, always do a quick smell and taste check before using.

Can I Use White BBQ Sauce as A Marinade?

Absolutely! Its creamy and tangy profile makes it an excellent choice for marinating meats, especially chicken or pork. Remember, though, it’s best used as a finishing sauce when grilling to prevent separation from direct heat.

Zesty White BBQ Sauce Recipe (Great For Chicken And Ribs)

5 from 3 votes
Course: Sauces


Prep time


Cooking time





White BBQ Sauce, Alabama’s culinary gem, is a creamy, tangy condiment distinct from traditional BBQ sauces. Made with mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice, and seasonings, it’s perfect for grilling, dipping, or dressing. Its unique flavor profile adds a zesty twist, elevating dishes beyond the ordinary BBQ experience.


  • 2 cups 2 Mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons 2 Ground Black Pepper

  • 2 tablespoons 2 Salt

  • 6 tablespoons 6 Lemon Juice

  • 6 tablespoons 6 Distilled White Vinegar

  • 4 tablespoons 4 White Sugar

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Preparation: Begin by gathering all the ingredients. Ensure the mayonnaise and lemon juice are cold from the refrigerator.
  • Mixing Bowl: Take a medium-sized mixing bowl and ensure it’s clean and dry.
  • Adding Base: Pour the 2 cups of mayonnaise into the bowl. This will serve as the primary base for the sauce.
  • Introduce Acidity: Carefully measure and add the lemon juice and distilled white vinegar to the bowl. This introduces the tangy flavor profile.
  • Seasoning: Add the ground black pepper and salt. These seasonings provide the basic flavor structure.
  • Sweetness: Measure out the white sugar and sprinkle it into the mixture. This balances the tanginess of the vinegar and lemon juice.
  • Whisking: Use a whisk to combine all the ingredients. Start with gentle stirs, gradually increasing your whisking vigor. This ensures a smooth, consistent texture and prevents lumps.
  • Taste Test: Once everything is well combined, taste the sauce. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Personal preference plays a role; some might prefer it tangier or sweeter.
  • Resting: Transfer the sauce to an airtight container and rest in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. This allows the flavors to meld together.
  • Serving: After resting, give the sauce one final stir, and it’s ready to be served. Use it for basting, as a dipping sauce, or however desired.

Recipe Video


  • Mayonnaise Base: The quality of mayonnaise can significantly influence the sauce’s taste. Opt for a good-quality, full-fat mayonnaise for the best results.
  • Adjust to Taste: The beauty of this sauce is its adaptability. Feel free to tweak the sweetness, tanginess, or seasoning levels according to your preference.
  • Consistency: If the sauce seems too thick or too thin, adjust with more vinegar or mayonnaise, respectively.
  • Storage: Always store the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It helps preserve freshness and prevents the sauce from absorbing other food odors.
  • Shelf Life: While the sauce can last 7-10 days in the fridge, always do a quick smell and taste check before using it if it’s been stored for several days.
  • Variations: For a different flavor profile, add other ingredients like garlic powder, horseradish, or even hot sauce.
  • Serving Suggestions: The sauce tends to thicken a bit when refrigerated. If it’s too thick upon serving, stir it well or let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes.

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