Chicago Mild Sauce Recipe


When seasoning your barbecue, a Chicago-style mild sauce is one of the reasonably popular options for spicing up your food without intensifying the flavor. A primary example of this sauce is Harold’s mild sauce, typically a staple for chicken, pork, or beef. However, there are those who adore this Chicago BBQ sauce so much that they put it on almost everything.

If you are an avid lover of all things barbeque or are curious about this particular seasoning, you’ve come to the right place! Here, we will go over our recipe for making Chicago mild sauce.

What Is Chicago Mild Sauce?

Chicago Mild Sauce

Chicago mild sauce is a barbeque sauce that’s not quite as spicy as other seasonings. It still has a kick of flavor, but it’s not as intense as any other hot sauce with a capsaicin level. Harold’s Fried Chicken has its own variation as it provides a tangy, sour flavor from apple cider and vinegar, then transitions into a sweet taste from its barbecue, tomato, and brown sugar ingredients.

Even though the majority of Chicagoans might go with Harold’s mild sauce, there are different versions of this BBQ recipe that aren’t just found in one place. It’s a primary seasoning throughout the South and West sides of Chicagoland. Even when you go to Harold’s, though it’s famous for its chicken, its main attraction is its sauce, which goes well with chicken, fries, beef, and more.

Chicago Mild Sauce

Chicago Mild Sauce Recipe

Chicago mild sauce is a barbeque sauce that’s not quite as spicy as other seasonings. It still has a kick of flavor, but it’s not as intense as any other hot sauce with a capsaicin level.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 10
Calories 60 kcal


  • 1 cup BBQ Sauce (Storebought or Homemade)
  • ½ cups Ketchup Sauce
  • 1 cup Water
  • 3-4 Tbsp Hot Sauce (Storebought or Homemade)
  • 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Paprika
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon White Pepper


Step #1 Prep Your Ingredients and Kitchen Tools:

  • Before getting started, ensure that you have gathered all of the necessary ingredients and kitchen tools for this recipe. Make sure that all ingredients are easily accessible to avoid pauses or potential issues when cooking

Step #2 Turn on the Stove and Start Mixing!

  • Once you’ve gathered all the ingredients for this recipe, take a large pot and fill it with water.
  • Placing the heat on low, add the barbecue and ketchup sauce.
  • Then, you can add the rest of the ingredients to mix it. If you want to be careful, gradually put each ingredient in between mixes. This will allow you to mix evenly and prevent any ingredient from drying out

Step #3 Mix Your Ingredients for 10 Minutes:

  • After you have mixed in all of the ingredients, start mixing your ingredients on low heat for about 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, the mixture should begin to simmer, which means it’s starting to thicken. Once it has the same consistency as barbecue sauce, you can turn off the stove and take the pot off of it. You can always take the pot off before 10 minutes if it’s already thickened.

Step #4 Cooling Off Your Mix and Serve It Up!

  • After 10 minutes, your mix should be thickened, so you can set it aside to cool off.
  • Once cooled, it’s ready for serving!
Keyword bbq sauce, chicago mild sauce, mild hot sauces

What’s beneficial about this sauce is that it can be served at room temperature, so you don’t have to worry about reheating it once made. You can also place it in the fridge before serving so your guests can have a cold condiment to enjoy on their food. 

Tips & Tricks for Chicago Mild Sauce

When making Chicago mild hot sauces, there are various ways to enhance your food experience. Here, we will review our top tips and tricks to get the best out of this savory condiment.

Chicago Mild Sauce

Experiment With Other Spices 

With making this Chicago BBQ sauce, the primary ingredient that is vital to the recipe would be apple cider vinegar, barbecue sauce, and ketchup. However, aside from these ingredients, you can experiment with other spices and ingredients. Sometimes you want more of a spicy kick than a sweet tang of flavor. Several substitutes you can incorporate into this Chicago hot sauce recipe include the following:

    • Black or Garlic Pepper: One of the primary substitutes if you don’t have white pepper, would be its opposite black pepper, as it provides a similar flavoring. You can also substitute this with lemon or garlic pepper.
    • Sriracha: What’s beneficial about the hot sauce being a primary ingredient in Chicago mild sauce is that if you want, you can incorporate other hot sauce alternatives. Sriracha is another substitute, as it provides a similar kick of flavor.
Chicago Mild Sauce


  • Cayenne: Cayenne pepper is an excellent substitute if you don’t have paprika. However, it’s essential to determine how spicy you want the mild sauce to turn out. You can constantly adjust the teaspoon however you like.
Chicago Mild Sauce

Storing and Reheating Chicago Mild Sauce

As previously mentioned, you can always store your mild sauce in the fridge before serving. Place it in an airtight container and put it in the refrigerator. This will allow it to keep fresh for two weeks. Place small batches in either an airtight container or a freezer bag if stored in the freezer. 

Nutrition Information of Chicago Mild Sauce

Curious about this recipe’s calories? Below, we will provide Chicago mild sauce nutrition information. 

Serving: 10

Calories 60kcal
Carbohydrates 15g
Protein 0.4g
Fat 0.2g
Saturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium  529mg


Potassium 130mg
Fiber 0.5g
Sugar 11.3g
Vitamin D 0mcg
Calcium 9mg
Iron 0mg



Whether serving it for a party or just for an intimate dinner for two, Chicago mild sauce is the ideal seasoning from chicken to fries. It’s a completely versatile BBQ sauce that goes well with anything. We hope you enjoyed reading this article!

Join the Conversation

  1. Realtor by day says:

    I am not a cook but I know how to follow a recipe.

  2. Very good flavor.

  3. LogicallyLocked says:

    Great recipe! Made this for my family and we all enjoyed it.

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