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23 June 2021

This homemade mumbo sauce recipe, aka “mambo sauce”, is a tangy DC-style wing sauce with the perfect blend of sweet and spicy. So easy to make!

We’re cooking up our version of Homemade Mumbo Sauce, my friends. Would you care to try some? If you’ve never heard of mumbo sauce, this is a recipe you need to try.

What is Mumbo Sauce?

Mumbo Sauce, or Mambo Sauce, is a popular sauce/condiment from Washington, DC, particularly Capital City. It is a tangy tomato-based sauce that is much like a barbecue sauce or a Chinese sweet and sour sauce.

The origins of mumbo sauce seem to be in dispute, with some saying the sauce originated in Chicago. However, today it is widely used in Washington, DC, where it is commonly served with fried foods and soul food, especially chicken wings.

You’ll find different versions of the sauces created from cook to cook and restaurant to restaurant, with variations in consistency, seasonings, sweetness and heat levels.

You can find some popular brands to try, or make this homemade version that is super easy to make with simple ingredients.

Let’s talk about how we make homemade mumbo sauce, shall we?

Homemade Mumbo Sauce in a bowl and a squeeze bottle

Homemade Mumbo Sauce Ingredients

  • Ketchup. Ketchup is the primary base for making mambo sauce, though you can also use tomato sauce or tomato paste as a substitute. Ketchup brings extra tang and flavor, however,
  • Vinegar. I use white vinegar, though apple cider vinegar is nice as well.
  • Soy Sauce.
  • Hot Sauce. Use your favorite Louisiana style hot sauce. I like to use Valentina Hot as a good sauce mixer, though Frank’s is great, Tabasco or Crystal. I like to use a thicker hot sauce.
  • Sugar. I use palm sugar for mine, though you can also use brown sugar or granulated white sugar. Some recipes call for quite a lot of sugar. I prefer to use less for a less sweet version, though please use it to your own personal tastes.
  • Spices. I use cayenne or heat and flavor. Use paprika for a milder version. You can include other spices to make it your own, including garlic, salt, black pepper, ginger, dried herbs and others.

Homemade Mumbo Sauce Ingredients

How to Make Mumbo Sauce – the Recipe Method

Whisk. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a medium sized pot.

Whisking Homemade Mumbo Sauce Ingredients in a pot

Heat. Heat to medium and cook, stirring a bit, for 10 minutes to let the flavors combine. Remove from heat.

Cool and Serve. Cool and serve, or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Boom! Done! Your homemade mumbo sauce is ready to serve! What are you going to do with yours? Wings? French fry dip? Tangy BBQ sauce? Let’s hear it!

Homemade Mumbo Sauce on a spoon

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • Play with the Ratios. Feel free to adjust the ingredient ratios to make it your own. Prefer sweeter? Use more sugar. Want a milder version? Cut back on the hot sauce. Vary up the spices. This is your sauce. Pineapple juice is a popular addition as well.
  • Serving Ideas for Mumbo Sauce. Mumbo sauce is popularly served with French fries and fried chicken wings, though you can use it on just about anything. Splash it over fried rice. 

That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my homemade mambo sauce recipe. Let me know if you make it. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!

Homemade Mumbo Sauce in a bowl

Buy Mambo Sauce

Try these popular brand mambo sauces.

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

Homemade Mumbo Sauce ready to serve

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Homemade Mumbo Sauce Recipe
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5 from 1 vote

Homemade Mumbo Sauce Recipe

This homemade mumbo sauce recipe, aka "mambo sauce", is a tangy DC-style wing sauce with the perfect blend of sweet and spicy. So easy to make!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Main Course, sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: hot sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, spicy
Servings: 28 tablespoons
Calories: 17kcal

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup ketchup or use tomato paste as a substitute
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce I used Valentina Hot, but use your favorite Louisiana Style
  • 1/4 cup sugar I used palm sugar, but try granulated white sugar or brown sugar - use up to 3/4 cup to taste for sweeter
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne use paprika for a milder version

Instructions

  • Whisk all of the ingredients together in a medium sized pot.
  • Heat to medium and cook, stirring a bit, for 10 minutes to let the flavors combine. Remove from heat.
  • Cool and serve, or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Notes

This will last a few weeks or longer in the refrigerator.
For a thinner sauce, simmer with a bit of water.

Nutrition

Calories: 17kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 231mg | Potassium: 31mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 111IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg