Whenever I’m in Chicago, I make sure to visit Harold’s Fried Chicken.
Not only is the chicken exceptionally crispy, moist, and delicious, but they serve it with a tangy barbeque sauce I haven’t been able to find outside of the Windy City – Chicago Mild sauce.
Throughout the Windy City, you’ll find Chicago Mild sauce slathered over ribs, bbq chicken, burgers, and even french fries.
Technically a barbeque sauce, this tomato and vinegar-based sauce has a big, bold, spicy flavor.
Yet there’s nothing mild about it; this sauce packs some heat but not as much as a traditional hot sauce.
And now you don’t have to travel to the Windy City to enjoy a delicious Chicago Mild sauce.
I’ve put together an authentic sauce that tastes as good as any you’ll find on the West Side.
Plus, it’s super easy to make at home.
In less than 15 minutes, you can enjoy the sweet and tangy flavor of Chicago Mild sauce in the comfort of your own home.
Plus, you don’t need any unique ingredients or special equipment.
Use it on burgers, ribs, sandwiches, or even as a dipping sauce. The hot sauce adds the right amount of heat to spice up your favorite barbecue.
I use it as an alternative to barbeque sauce when I want to give my pulled pork some Chicago-style flavor.
Read on to learn how to make a delicious and authentic Chicago Mild sauce that will add that Windy City flavor to your next backyard barbeque.
What Do You Need To Make Chicago Mild Sauce
Make your own or use your favorite store-bought brand.
I prefer Sweet Baby Rays or Hunts traditional in my Chicago Mild, but any will do.
Adds the right amount of rich tomato flavor and sweetness.
For more tomato flavor, add a bit of tomato paste.
Gives it the authentic Chicago-style heat.
I like Tabasco, but you can use any hot sauce you fancy.
You can also experiment with different hot sauces to change the flavor of your sauce.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Gives the sauce its tangy vinegar flavor.
Adds a touch of exotic spice and deepens the color.
Ground White Pepper
A less intense pepper taste than traditional black pepper.
A little bit of sweet to balance the heat!
Salt and Black Pepper
I recommend using coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Be sure to taste it, so you don’t over-season the sauce.
- Medium saucepan
- Spoon or spatula
- Range or stovetop
How To Make Chicago Mild Sauce
Step One: Add the BBQ sauce, ketchup, hot sauce, apple cider vinegar, paprika, ground white pepper, water, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Mix well.
Step Two: Bring to a simmer under medium-low heat for approximately 10 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken.
Step Three: Taste the sauce and adjust any ingredients until you have your desired flavor.
Step Four: Season with salt and pepper.
Step Five: Continue simmering until the sauce reaches your desired consistency, then remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the sauce to cool at room temperature.
Step Six: Once cooled, serve the sauce at room temperature or chill it in the fridge for one hour before serving.
Other Things To Consider When Making Chicago Mild Sauce
You Can Adjust or Substitute Ingredients
This recipe makes an authentic-tasting Chicago Mild sauce; however, you don’t have to follow it exactly.
The fun of cooking is trying new things to discover great new flavors.
Feel free to adjust any of the ingredients to suit your taste. For example, add more hot sauce for a spicier sauce.
Give your sauce some delicious garlic flavor by adding minced garlic or garlic powder.
For a smokier Chicago Mild sauce, substitute smoked paprika for the paprika or add a few drops of liquid smoke.
And if you want more tomato flavor, add 1 tbsp tomato paste.
Have fun and play around with the recipe to discover different flavor combinations.
What Can I Eat with Chicago Mild Sauce?
The sweet and tangy flavor of Chicago Mild sauce is the perfect sauce for your next outdoor barbeque.
I use it as a marinade for chicken, beef, and pork, and it goes great with barbecued ribs.
But don’t feel limited to just barbeques; this versatile sauce will add a big, bold flavor to many of your favorite dishes.
My favorite include:
- It goes great with barbecued chicken, meat, pork, and fish.
- Serve it with fried chicken or as a dipping sauce for chicken tenders for a Windy City classic.
- Drizzle over french fries instead of traditional ketchup and you’ll be saying “Da’ Bears” before you know it.
- Adds a delicious sweet and tangy flavor to burgers, hot dogs, and even pizza.
- Spice up scrambled eggs for a new twist on a classic breakfast dish.
- Serve with hot links or barbequed sausage.
- Chicago Mild sauce is the perfect sauce to make sweet and spicy pulled pork.
Make More Than You Need!
With so many uses, you’ll want to make a double batch.
This delicious sauce stays fresh in the fridge for up to two weeks, or you can freeze it for up to three months.
I put my extra sauce in an ice-cube tray and keep it in the freezer.
That way, I can pop a few cubes, heat them up, and I have an instant mid-week barbeque.
Chicago Mild Sauce Recipe
This tangy Chicago Mild sauce provides the perfect balance of heat and sweetness. It goes incredibly well with so many dishes and foods. And all you need is a few kitchen staples to make it!
- 1 cup prepared BBQ sauce
- ½ cup ketchup
- 3 tablespoons hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium saucepan, add the BBQ sauce, ketchup, hot sauce, apple cider vinegar, paprika, ground white pepper, water, and brown sugar. Use your spoon or spatula to mix well.
- Heat under medium-low heat on the stovetop for approximately 10 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken.
- Taste the sauce and adjust any ingredients until you have your desired flavor.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Continue simmering until the sauce reaches your desired consistency, then remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the sauce to cool at room temperature.
- Once cooled, serve the sauce at room temperature or chill it in the fridge for one hour before serving.
- Want more heat? Spice up your sauce with a pinch (or two) of cayenne pepper.
- Add one tablespoon of dijon or spicy mustard for a tangier sauce.
- Feel free to add fresh minced garlic or garlic powder for more garlic flavor.
- Use red or white wine vinegar instead of apple for a more sophisticated sauce.
- For a smokier Chicago Mild sauce, substitute smoked paprika or add a few drops of liquid smoke.
- Add one teaspoon of ground ginger to give your sauce some Asian flavor.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 60Total Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 530mgCarbohydrates: 14.5gProtein: 0.5g
Hello. I’m Jeremy – an experienced saucier who has worked in some of the top kitchens over the last few decades. With a love for sauces, food, and nutrition, I decided to create WeWantTheSauce. Here I share my knowledge and expertise; from ingredients and recipes to storage all the way through to recommendations for every sauce imaginable.