This Alabama White Sauce is a tangy homemade BBQ sauce that tastes like cocktail sauce and BBQ sauce had a baby… but it is white!
While most traditional BBQ sauces are tomato-based, this unique version is a mayonnaise-based BBQ sauce. It still uses vinegar and some other standard BBQ seasonings, but it also incorporates horseradish which is not found in typical barbeque sauces.
What Does Alabama White Sauce Taste Like?
It is creamy, tangy and slightly spicy. The original was nothing but mayo, vinegar, horseradish, salt, and pepper. The addition of mayonnaise (eggs and oil) is similar to preparation of Fireman Chicken (Cornell Chicken).
Through the years and at different places, there are other variations, making each special and unique.
What is the Origin of Alabama White Sauce?
This tangy sauce was developed by Robert Gibson at Big Bob Gibson’s Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama. A staple of Northern ‘Bama BBQ, it was served with smoked chicken which were removed from the pit and “baptized” in a pool of the sauce.
Historically served on chicken, this sauce will taste great on any type of meat and even veggies.
Why You’ll Love this Alabama White Sauce Recipe
There are so many reasons to love this unique BBQ sauce.
- Different – While it incorporates some traditional BBQ sauce flavors, its creamy consistency veers away from the usual tomato-based sauces.
- Easy – This simple recipe makes it easy to whip up a white sauce in nearly no time.
- Delicious – Alabama white sauce has all of the elements to make it balanced from its the heat of cayenne and horseradish to the sweetness from the brown sugar and the acidity from the tangy vinegar and lemon.
- Versatile – This white barbeque sauce is such a versatile condiment you can use it on nearly any proteins or vegetables from pork tenderloin, beef brisket, and chicken thighs to all sorts of side dishes.
Alabama White BBQ Sauce Ingredients
A blend of simple ingredients, many will be pantry staples.
- Mayonnaise– The most traditional base is mayo. If you are in the South, the only option is Duke’s.
- Apple cider vinegar– Use any type of vinegar you wish including white vinegar or white wine vinegar. The only ones I’d advise against are red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar.
- Light brown sugar– Brown sugar imparts a molasses undertone, just like traditional BBQ sauce.
- Lemon juice– Lemon juice adds brightness to the sauce.
- Dijon mustard– Most versions use a spicy brown mustard but I like dijon. Coarse mustards are also fun for texture.
- Worcestershire sauce– This sauce adds depth to the BBQ sauce.
- Prepared horseradish– If you just want a sweet heat, opt for 1 teaspoon, but go up to 1 tablespoon if you really want your nose to burn.
- Garlic powder & onion powder– Using powders makes it easy to add garlic and onion flavor.
- Coarse kosher salt & ground black pepper– You can add these to taste.
- Cayenne pepper– Add more or less based on personal preference. Be mindful that the more you use, the less white your sauce will be (albeit still flavorful and delicious!).
What to Serve With this Easy Alabama White Barbecue Sauce
Smoked meats are an obvious choice but this white bbq sauce is delicious slathered on other meats and veggies, too. Try it on Instant Pot pulled pork or cedar plank salmon, or drizzle it on grilled chicken or pork chops.
For vegetables, try spooning it over roasted cauliflower, corn on the cob, or broccoli fritters. You can even use it as a base for any mayonnaise-based salad like cole slaw or potato salad — or use it as a salad dressing for a simple green salad.
Put your own spin on this sauce in a variety of ways.
- Heat – Replace the cayenne with paprika, chile powder, or hot sauce.
- Sweetness – For more molasses flavor use dark brown sugar (though this could affect the color of the sauce).
- Mustard – Substitute stone ground mustard for dijon to add texture.
- Sour cream – For a little tang, try adding a dollop of sour cream.
- Acidity – For more tang in your sauce, add extra apple cider vinegar.
Storage, Make Ahead and Freezing
Make Ahead: It’s ideal to make this sauce ahead of time so that the flavors can come together while it’s in the refrigerator.
Refrigerator: Store Alabama white sauce in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in an airtight container or mason jar.
Freezer: We do not recommend storing mayonnaise-based sauces in the freezer.
Questions About Alabama White Sauce
No. Ranch is a blend of seasonings with buttermilk while white BBQ sauce is a mayonnaise base with horseradish, vinegar and seasonings.
Chick-fil-A sauce is a mixture of honey mustard, barbecue sauce, and ranch dressing and most notably, a hue of pinkish-red, not white.
Some variations include the addition of more or less cayenne pepper, chile powder or even hot sauce, making it a blush color.
More Savory Sauces
Alabama White Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
- 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2-3 teaspoons prepared horseradish
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, brown sugar, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire, horseradish, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and cayenne. Adjust the amounts of horseradish and cayenne to personal preference.
- Cover and chill for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Serve with your favorite meat, seafood or veggies.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.