Copycat TGI Friday’s Jack Daniel’s Sauce

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Copycat TGI Friday’s Jack Daniel’s Sauce – an easy, from scratch sauce that is great on chicken, fish, veggies – the possibilities are endless!

jack daniels sauce on a basting brush.

Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce

I love Jack Daniels BBQ sauce from Friday’s & this recipe tastes just like it.

It’s a super flavorful sauce that always gets rave reviews. Making it yourself gives it that extra special touch (and no high fructose corn syrup!) and it has become a staple at our annual summer bbqs.

close up of pastry brush with jack daniel's sauce on it

What does Jack Daniel’s taste like?

Jack Daniel’s tastes similar to a bourbon. It’s a Tennessee whiskey, which is the same as bourbon except its been charcoal filtered so it’s a little less harsh and more charcoal flavors, which makes it great in a sauce (especially paired with grilled foods).

glass bottle full of sauce dripping over edge

Today we paired this Jack Daniel’s with this boneless wings recipe & it tasted just like the Sesame Jack Strips appetizer from TGI Friday’s.

The second day (since there was a lot left), I made grilled chicken breasts & brushed the sauce over them. Delicious.

sauce in bowl next to pastry brush of sauce

How to make Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce

Equipment you’ll need

  • Whisk – I actually need a new one and this one is calling my name.
  • Medium Saucepan – I really like when pans are dishwasher safe.
  • Container – for storing the extra sauce.
  • Silicone brush – for brushing this sauce onto chicken, veggies, etc.

TGI Fridays Jack Daniel’s Sauce Ingredients

Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.

  • Minced Garlic – I give instructions on how to roast a head of garlic below. If you want a short cut, you can buy the minced garlic in oil from the grocery store that I always keep on hand.
  • Olive Oil
  • Water
  • Pineapple Juice – you can use the juice from the crushed pineapple can you’ll need.
  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • Soy Sauce – you can use low sodium if that’s what you prefer.
  • Dark Brown Sugar – dark brown sugar has more molasses and a more complex flavor.
  • Lemon Juice – fresh is best!
  • White Onion – white onions are sweeter & cleaner in flavor than yellow onions with a milder flavor
  • Jack Daniels Whiskey – you can either buy a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey but a shot of jack daniel is all you really need so you can save money and just buy a shooter.
  • Crushed Pineapple – you’ll use both the juice and the crushed pineapple in the sauce.
  • Cayenne Pepper – gives the sauce a medium heat that is perfect on so many foods.

How do you make JD BBQ Sauce?

Making Jack Daniels Sauce is probably easier than you think. You take everyday ingredients (listed below) and bring them to a boil. Once they’re boiling, you let it simmer until it thickens. Easy!

  1. STEP ONE: To a medium saucepan, add water, pineapple juice, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a slow boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat so it is simmering, stirring occasionally.
  2. STEP TWO: Once it is simmering, add the minced (or roasted) garlic and whisk to combine. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and stir.
  3. STEP THREE: Finally, you’ll let the jack daniel’s bbq sauce simmer for 40-50 minutes over low heat, or until the sauce has thickened and reduced by about half. It should be thick and syrupy.
pastry brush dipping into jack daniel's sauce

What to serve with Jack Daniel’s BBQ Sauce

How long does this sauce keep?

You can keep this Jack Daniel’s sauce safely up to 5 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

Longer than that, I’d freeze it. (it’s probably fine longer because it has some natural preservatives in it, but I always am leery). I have not tried to can it.

Is Jack Daniel’s Sauce vegetarian?

Jack Daniels Sauce is vegetarian – even better, it’s vegan! You can use it as a dipping sauce, a glaze, or a marinade so meat eaters and vegetarians alike can enjoy it.

How to roast garlic

If you have time (and inclination), you can roast your own garlic for this recipe. Here’s how:

  1. First, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Next, cut about 1/2″ off of the top of the garlic. Cut the roots so that the garlic will sit flat. Remove the papery skin from the garlic, but leave enough so that the cloves stay together. Put garlic into a small casserole dish or baking pan, drizzle olive oil over it, and cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour.
  3. Finally, remove garlic and let it cool until you can handle it.
jar of jack daniels sauce sitting next to a shooter of jack daniels whiskey.

Need more sauce recipes? Try these different sauces:

Yum Yum Sauce
Spicy BBQ Sauce
KFC Copycat Honey BBQ Sauce

Click here to view my entire collection of sauces and seasonings.

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jack daniels sauce on a basting brush.

TGI Friday’s Jack Daniels Sauce

Melissa | Persnickety Plates
Copycat TGI Friday’s Jack Daniels Sauce – great on chicken, fish, veggies – the possibilities are endless!
4.34 from 156 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cup
Calories 86 kcal


  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic OR 1 head of garlic – see instructions above
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • cup water
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 ⅓ cups dark brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoons minced white onion
  • 1 Tablespoon Jack Daniels Whiskey
  • 1 Tablespoon crushed pineapple
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • In a medium saucepan, add the water, pineapple juice, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar over medium/high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat until mixture is just simmering.
  • Add the minced garlic (OR if you’re roasting your own garlic, over the saucepan, squeeze the sides of the head of garlic until the pasty roasted garlic comes out). Whisk to combine.
  • Add remaining ingredients to the pan and stir.
  • Let the mixture simmer for 40-50 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by about half and is thick and syrupy. Don’t let it boil over.



Adapted from Insider’s Recipes for Brand Name Foods
Instructions for roasting your own garlic is above.
The recipe makes approximately 1 cup once cooked down. For nutrition facts, I assumed a serving size is 1 Tablespoon.


Serving: 1TablespoonCalories: 86kcalCarbohydrates: 20gSodium: 117mgSugar: 19g

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Tried this recipe? Tag me!Mention @melissa_pplates or tag #persnicketyplates!

Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying/pasting and/or screenshots of full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited. Content and photographs are copyright protected.

Photos updated May 25, 2017

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  1. Carole says

    Melissa, thanks for being first to add some “sauce” today. Cheers

  2. cooking with curls says

    Your version looks much healthier than the version that I have been making! I will have to give it a try 🙂

    • Fox says

      How do you normally make it?

  3. Sher says

    I love the flavor of this, but it did not thicken up. I let it “simmer” for about an hour and, when it showed no signs of thickening, I turned it up to let it gently boil. Can you shed any light on this?

    • Melissa {Persnickety Plates} says

      I haven’t made this in a long time (thanks for the reminder that I should!) but it doesn’t get very thick, from what I remember. More syrupy. Did yours reduce at least?

    • Mark says

      After the simmer process, remove from heat and let cool. And then, put in a container and set in the refrigerator overnight. It will thicken up in the fridge.

    • Sally says

      You could also try a bit of clearjel to help it thicken up.

  4. Sher says

    It reduced a bit, but it just didn’t thicken. Guess I’m going to try adding some cornstarch or something to it and hope it doesn’t change the flavor.

  5. Carla Robeson says

    This sauce is an 11 out of 10. I love putting the extra on the mashed potatoes. Now that I have this recipe, I don’t see a need for much else. Thank you ever so much.

  6. Tim Gonzales says

    Just can’t get enough of this sauce it was fantastic on my smoked baby back ribs!!!!
    How long can it be refrigerated for?

    • Melissa Williams says

      Yum. My husband loves smoking ribs 🙂 I think about a week covered in the fridge will be fine.

  7. Nicky k says

    5 stars
    Hi if you change the brown sugar to molasses I’ve found the sauce thickens better , love this sauce

  8. Tori says

    5 stars
    Omg this sauce is delicious but I used Dussé instead of Jack Daniels this second time and when I say i love you for this recipe ????

  9. Shanice Love says

    5 stars
    Love, love love this recipe!! Tastes just like the original sauce!! I added extra brown sugar & it got thicker when reducing. Will be making this again. Thank you!!

  10. Carlos says

    5 stars
    How much water do is ha e to use at the recipe? Please.

  11. Leanne Comstock says

    This will be my first time making the sauce. My friend made it for my old job so I’m making it for my new job to taste. Every time my friend made it, it didn’t matter if it was thick or not so thick it always tasted amazing. I don’t want to eat chicken without it. When I served it at old job we served it with bell peppers, onion and mushrooms. Boy it was a hit. I’m not a garlic person but this stuff is sooooooooooo damn good!!

    • Melissa Williams says

      This makes me so happy – thanks for reporting back!

  12. Tara says

    Can this be a marinade?

    • Melissa Williams says

      I haven’t tried, and it would be a bit thick, but probably? I think of it more of a glaze/sauce than a marinade, but it should work.

  13. christofer says

    5 stars
    today I tried to flavor jd sauce.
    Your recipe is perfect … I would just have a little sugar of 200gr
    and whiskey I tried johnnie walker black


  14. Jaien Gore says

    5 stars
    I made this today and it was great! I didn’t have any lemon juice or olive oil, so I omitted those (it’s too hot just to run to the grocery store for them). My family really enjoyed having something new to eat. THANK YOU for this wonderful recipe.

    • Melissa Williams says

      It is hot! I love hearing that though, thank you for reporting back!

  15. Dan says

    I followed the instructions to a t and wasn’t able to get the sauce to thicken at all. Any idea what could have caused this?

    • Melissa Williams says

      It’s a fairly thin sauce but it should reduce a little & thicken. Other readers have mentioned adding more brown sugar to thicken it up or subbing in molasses.

    • Dan says

      Ok I’ll try that, thank you

  16. Lisa says

    Just a quick question, how long can you leave refrigerated? Thank you!

    • Melissa Williams says

      I think up to 5 days sealed in the fridge. Longer than that, I’d freeze it. (it’s probably fine longer because it has some natural preservatives in it, but I always am leery)

    • Lisa says

      5 stars
      Thank you!❤

  17. Thomas Manley says

    This is really a great recipe and thonk you for sharing it. I quick question….How long can you keep this is the frig and have you tried to can the recipe in 4 oz. jars? Thanks, Tom

    • Melissa Williams says

      Hi Tom – glad you like it! I think up to 5 days sealed in the fridge is safe. Longer than that, I’d freeze it. (it’s probably fine longer because it has some natural preservatives in it, but I always am leery). I have not tried to can it.

  18. Stephanie says

    I made the sauce. It tastes decent but it never got to a syrupy consistency

  19. leah bury says

    how long can you keep it for?

    • Melissa Williams says

      Hi Leah – I think up to 5 days sealed in the fridge is safe. Longer than that, I’d freeze it. (it’s probably fine longer because it has some natural preservatives in it, but I always am leery).

  20. Melissa says

    5 stars
    This is my favorite, thanks for sharing! My whole family loved it!! I use the extra as a salad dressing, and make a salad with the chicken and some pineapple and lettuce.. For the thickness, I did add 1/2 tsp. Cornstarch and it thickened great after cooling, did not change the flavor. Just make sure you don’t dump the cornstarch in, whisk it into some of the liquid then add to the pot or it will clump.

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