Harold’s Mild Sauce Recipe

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Are you a fan of the iconic Chicago mild sauce but find yourself craving it when you’re not in the Windy City? Look no further! Here, I’ve got you covered with an easy Harold’s mild sauce recipe that you can make right in your kitchen. 

From its tangy tomato base to the perfect blend of spices that give it that signature kick, I’ll walk you through each step to recreate this delicious sauce at home. So get ready to elevate your dishes with a taste of Chicago, no matter where you are. Let’s dive into the world of flavors and bring a piece of Chicago to your table!

Harold's Mild Sauce Recipe

What is the Chicago Mild Sauce?

Chicago Mild Sauce is well known in Chicago. The real mild sauce recipe combines barbecue sauce, tomato ketchup, spicy sauce, and mild spices. Hot links, fried chicken, and ribs are commonly served with this condiment on the South and West Sides of Chicago.

Sauces are often used as spreads or dips for food. A mixture of spices is used to make it. The sauce contains red and green peppers, garlic, onion, and cumin, but the exact recipe is secret.

The sauce has a mild kick, and it goes well with many different foods. Chicago Mild Sauce is not only used as a condiment but also in many recipes, including chili and pasta. You can use the Chicago Mild Sauce as a dipping sauce or add it to your favorite recipes.

What is The Origin Of Harold’s Mild Sauce Recipe?

Harold’s fried chicken, Uncle Remus on the West Side, and Lem’s Bar-B-Q on the South Side are all well known today. Their food tastes even better because of the light sauce they use.

Harold’s Chicken Restaurant attracts you not because of its smell of fried chicken but because of its sweet taste of mild sauce.

Harold’s Chicken mild sauce has many uses in the Windy City, particularly in Black neighborhoods. It pairs well with stuffed chicken, fried chicken, hot links, bacon, and even sauced french fries. You can use it for anything.

Chicago Mild Sauce Ingredients

Chicago mild sauce is a popular condiment in Chicago-style cuisine, particularly used on chicken and fish dishes. While the exact recipe can vary by restaurant or brand, the key ingredients typically include

BBQ sauce – 1 cup

BBQ sauce gives an extra kick of heat in a mild sauce. When it’s mixed with other ingredients like hot sauce, ketchup, vinegar, sugar, and various spices, it creates a signature kick. 

Ketchup – ½ cup

Ketchup provides:

  • A sweet and tangy base for the sauce.
  • Complementing other flavors like vinegar.
  • Sugar.
  • Various spices.

The combination of these ingredients gives Chicago Mild Sauce its signature taste, making it a beloved addition to many dishes in the Windy City and beyond.

Hot Sauce – 3 tbsp

The addition of hot sauce can add a kick of heat to the mild sauce, enhancing its flavor profile for those who enjoy a bit of spice.

Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 tbsp

This tangy ingredient helps provide the signature flavour profile of Chicago Mild Sauce, adding a slightly acidic and fruity note to the sauce. In addition to apple cider vinegar, other common ingredients found in Chicago Mild Sauce include various spices, sweeteners, and sometimes tomato-based elements for added depth and complexity.

Paprika- 1 teaspoon

It adds a vibrant color along with mild heat. Paprika is made by grinding dried red peppers and can vary in spiciness depending on the variety used. In Chicago Mild Sauce, paprika not only contributes to the sauce’s distinctive taste but also enhances its visual appeal.

Ground white Pepper- 1 Teaspoon

White pepper adds mild heat and subtle flavor to the sauce, enhancing the overall taste profile.

Water – 1 Teaspoon

The primary ingredient in Chicago Mild Sauce is water, which serves as the base for the sauce.

Brown Sugar – ½ cup

It provides the sauce with its signature sweetness. Brown sugar is a natural sweetener that adds depth and richness to the sauce, balancing out the acidity of other ingredients like vinegar or hot sauce.

Salt – Asper test 

Salt enhances the overall taste profile by balancing out the sweetness and acidity of the sauce. In my mild sauce, I prefer to use sea salt. 

Onion powder – 1 Tbsp

It adds depth and savory notes to the overall taste profile. Onion powder is made by dehydrating onions and grinding them into a fine powder, which helps enhance the flavor of dishes without the texture of fresh onions. When combined with other ingredients such as vinegar, sugar, and various spices, onion powder plays a crucial role in creating the unique and delicious flavor of Chicago Mild Sauce.

Garlic Powder – 1 tbsp 

Garlic powder adds a savory and aromatic element to the sauce, enhancing its overall taste. When paired with other ingredients like vinegar, sugar, and various spices, garlic powder contributes to the unique and delicious flavor of Chicago Mild Sauce.

How To Make Chicago Mild Sauce

Step 1: Gather All Ingredients

Put all of the items in one place first. It will make the job easier and ensure that no ingredients are forgotten.

Step 2: Mix all the Ingredients

Mix all of the above ingredients in a small pot. Mix them well with a spoon.

Step 3: Stir It 

Put the pot on the stove and lower the heat. For 10 minutes, let the sauce simmer on low heat.

Step 4: Let The Sauce Cool

When the sauce becomes too thick, remove it from the heat and let it sit at room temperature. Eat it after it has cooled down. Then, serve it on a plate.

Tips And Tricks To Make Homemade Mild Sauce

  • For a stronger flavor, use fresh garlic and onion instead of powder.
  • To add more heat, add more cayenne pepper.
  • Worcestershire sauce can be added to balance out the sweetness.
  • To thicken it, simmer for a long time.
  • Before adding the onions and garlic to the saucepan, roast them to add depth of flavor.
  • You can substitute some of the ketchup with tomato paste for a more flavorful sauce.
  • To add color and flavor, chop some fresh herbs.
  • Add a teaspoon of liquid smoke to make it smokey.
  • Add hot chili powder to the standard version to make it spicy.
  • Add half a cup of heavy cream to make it creamier.
  • Use low-calorie tomato sauce instead of ketchup to make a low-calorie variation.
  • Using honey instead of brown sugar creates a somewhat different flavor profile.
  • Add a teaspoon of horseradish at the end for an extra kick.

How To Store Mild Sauce?

You can store the sauce in the fridge for up to two weeks after it’s room temperature. Before you use the sauce, bring it to room temperature and stir it well.

Make sure the sauce is completely cool in the fridge before freezing. You can then freeze it for up to three months by putting it in a bag or container that can be put in the freezer.

The bag should be placed in a bowl of cold water and changed every 30 minutes until the sauce no longer freezes. Once the sauce has been cooked through, heat it again in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it has thickened.

What Can I Eat With Chicago Mild Sauce?

Chicago Mild Sauce enhances the taste of any dish. With this flexible sauce, you can use any of these twelve recipes:

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

Chicago Mild Sauce is a must-have for this famous dish.

Italian Beef Sandwiches:

Taste the Windy City by adding Chicago Mild Sauce to your beef sandwiches.

 Hot Dogs:

Hot dogs with this flavorful sauce make a great summer treat.

Potato Wedges: 

Your potato chips will taste even better with Chicago Mild Sauce.

Chicken Wings:

Sauce always enhances the taste of chicken wings, whether they are grilled or fried.

Macaroni and Cheese: 

This comfort food takes a whole new dimension with Chicago Mild Sauce.

Corn on the Cob: 

The sweet sauce in this dish makes the corn on the cob taste even better.

Fried Chicken: 

You can spice up your fried chicken with Chicago Mild Sauce.

Roasted Vegetables: 

You will love the taste of this sauce on your roasted vegetables.

Baked Potatoes: 

Add Chicago Mild Sauce to baked potatoes for a filling meal.


You’ll love the taste of your burgers when you use this tangy sauce.

Ice Cream: 

Make your ice cream taste different by adding some Chicago Mild Sauce.

Harold's Mild Sauce Recipe

Harold’s Mild Sauce Recipe

Looking to recreate the delicious flavor of Harold's mild sauce at home? Enjoy our easy Harold's mild sauce recipe in no time! Read on for the step-by-step instructions.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Servings6 people
AuthorNaomi Rogers


  • 1 Cup BBQ sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Ketchup
  • 1/2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tsp Paprika
  • 1 Tsp Ground White Paper
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • Salt As per test
  • 1 Tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder


  • Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan
  • Over medium heat, simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally
  • Allow the sauce to cool once it has thickened
  • Refrigerate the sauce for up to two weeks in a covered container


Sodium: 529mg | Sugar: 11.3g | Calories: 65kcal | Fat: 0.2g

Final Words

For those seeking to recreate the iconic flavors of Chicago at home, mastering the art of the mild sauce recipe is essential. This beloved condiment embodies the city’s culinary spirit and adds a unique touch to any dish it accompanies. 

By following this recipe, you can bring a taste of Chicago right to your kitchen and elevate your meals with a burst of flavor that pays homage to the Windy City. Whether drizzled over fries, chicken, or sandwiches, this mild sauce is sure to delight your taste buds and transport you to the streets of Chicago with every bite. Get ready to savor a bit of Chicago’s essence in every mouthful!

Explore More Recipe:

Bachman’s Japanese BBQ Sauce

Nick Tahou’s Hot Sauce Recipe

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