Homemade Mumbo Sauce Recipe | The Recipe Critic

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Mumbo sauce is like a dreamy combination of barbecue and sweet and sour sauce. It’s tangy and savory with a glaze-like texture that’s wonderful for coating chicken wings!

I love making homemade sauces because you have full control over how they taste. After this tangy mumbo sauce, you’ll have to try boom boom sauce, comeback sauce, and sweet chili sauce!

Hero image of mumbo sauce in a glass jar.

DC Mumbo Sauce Recipe

Mumbo sauce, also known as mambo sauce, is a tangy and savory condiment from Washington, D.C and Chicago. It’s actually been around since the 1950s-1960s! Made with ketchup, vinegar, hot sauce, and spices, it’s sweet, tangy, and slightly spicy. The best part? You can slather it on anything! Toss your chicken wings, glaze your grilled meats, dip some shrimp, or drizzle it over French fries and other fried foods. Mumbo sauce adds a unique flavor punch that locals adore. You’ll understand the hype once you give it a try!

And why go homemade? Well, with homemade mumbo sauce, you’re the boss of flavor. Tweak the spices, sweetness, and tanginess to your liking. I know you’re going to love it as much as I do! Mumbo sauce is like barbecue sauce with a little extra pizzazz, and it will enhance anything you put it on!

Mumbo Sauce Ingredients

You’ll find a lot of variations of this red-orange sauce, but this is how I like to make it. Feel free to adjust the flavor to your liking! If you’re looking for measurements, they can all be found below in the recipe card.

  • Ketchup: Gives the sauce a sweet and tangy base. If you’re out of ketchup, tomato sauce or tomato paste mixed with a touch of sugar will work as substitutes.
  • White Vinegar: Vinegar adds a pleasant tanginess to the sauce! It brings a subtle acidity that cuts through the richness and complements the sweetness.
  • Soy Sauce: This umami-packed sauce contributes depth and richness to the mumbo sauce. If you’re looking for a substitute, Worcestershire sauce can also be used, although it may alter the taste slightly.
  • Frank’s Hot Sauce: This adds a kick of spice that balances out the sweetness and the tanginess of the mumbo sauce. Adjust accordingly if you don’t want your sauce to be too hot.
  • Brown Sugar or Granulated Sugar: The sweet component of the mumbo sauce comes from brown sugar or granulated sugar. Use whatever you have on hand! I personally like using brown sugar because of the subtle smoky but sweet flavor that it adds!
  • Smoked Paprika or Cayenne Pepper: The choice between smoked paprika or cayenne pepper depends on the level of smokiness and heat you desire. Smoked paprika brings a subtle smoky flavor, while cayenne pepper provides a spicier kick.
  • Salt (if needed): A pinch of salt can help enhance the overall flavors of the mumbo sauce. Taste the sauce before adding salt to determine if it’s necessary.
  • Water (if needed): Water is used to adjust the consistency of the sauce. If you find the sauce to be too thick, gradually add water to achieve the desired thickness.

How to Make Mumbo Sauce

It’s super easy and takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish. Since mumbo sauce uses a lot of simple ingredients and is also simple to make, you can whip up a batch whenever you want to add extra flavor to your favorite meals! One of my favorite ways to use it is over fried chicken.

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a medium saucepan, add the ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, hot sauce, sugar, and paprika.
  2. Mix: Whisk together and heat over medium heat for 2-3 minutes to allow the ingredients to blend together.
  3. Cool and Serve: Remove from the heat and allow to cool before serving. Enjoy as a dipping sauce or glaze!
3-photo collage of sauce ingredients being combined over the stove.

Tips and Variations

Homemade sauces are my favorite because you can customize them however you like. Plus, they’re free of additives and preservatives, and just taste better overall!

  • Let it Chill: Patience pays off! Whip it up a day ahead and let it chill in the fridge overnight so the flavors meld together.
  • Switch Up the Consistency: Want a thicker sauce? Simmer it on low heat for a tad longer, letting it reduce and thicken. Need it a bit runnier? Gradually add water until it reaches your desired consistency.
  • Use For: Mumbo sauce isn’t just for dipping. It’s so versatile! Use it as a glaze for grilled pork or ribs, a marinade for chicken, or a spread for burgers and sandwiches.
  • Extra Flavor: The classic recipe is a winner, but why not add your own twist? Add minced garlic, a hint of ginger, a drizzle of honey, or a splash of lemon juice for an extra flavor punch.

Ways to Use Mumbo Sauce

Like barbecue sauce, this condiment is super versatile and goes with so many different dishes. Using it with meats is a no-brainer, and a great way to add flavor and help tenderize things like grilled chicken! I love that it doubles as a sauce and a marinade! Mumbo sauce is also great for dipping, so get those French fries, onion rings, egg rolls, you name it, ready to go!

Top-down view of sauced chicken wings.

How Long Does it Last?

As long as it’s in an airtight container or jar, your homemade mumbo sauce should stay good for a week or two in the refrigerator. The ingredients may settle as it sits, so give it a quick mix before you use it. If you’re looking for an easy recipe to use it with, try these air fryer fried chicken wings!

Dipping a chicken wing into mumbo sauce.

  • In a medium saucepan, add the ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, hot sauce, sugar, and paprika.

  • Whisk together and heat over medium heat for 2-3 minutes to allow the ingredients to blend together.

  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool before serving. Enjoy as a dipping sauce or glaze!

Serves: 16

Serving2tablespoonsCalories37kcal (2%)Carbohydrates9g (3%)Protein1g (2%)Fat0.1gSaturated Fat0.01gPolyunsaturated Fat0.04gMonounsaturated Fat0.01gSodium455mg (19%)Potassium66mg (2%)Fiber0.2g (1%)Sugar8g (9%)Vitamin A292IU (6%)Vitamin C1mg (1%)Calcium8mg (1%)Iron0.3mg (2%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Sauce

Cuisine American

Keyword mambo sauce, mumbo sauce, mumbo sauce recipe

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