Homogeneous target dose distribution in intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) for sinonasal cancer (SNC) is challenging to achieve. To solve this problem, we established and evaluated a basal-dose-compensation (BDC) optimization approach, in which the treatment plan is further optimized based on the initial plans. Generally acceptable initial IMRT plans for thirteen patients were created and further optimized individually by (1) the BDC approach and (2) a local-dose-control (LDC) approach, in which the initial plan is further optimized by addressing hot and cold spots. We compared the plan qualities, total planning time and monitor units (MUs) among the initial, BDC, LDC IMRT plans and volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) plans. The BDC approach provided significantly superior dose homogeneity/conformity by 23%-48%/6%-9% compared with both the initial and LDC IMRT plans, as well as reduced doses to the organs at risk (OARs) by up to 18%, with acceptable MU numbers. Compared with VMAT, BDC IMRT yielded superior homogeneity, inferior conformity and comparable overall OAR sparing. The planning of BDC, LDC IMRT and VMAT required 30, 59 and 58 minutes on average, respectively. Our results indicated that the BDC optimization approach can achieve significantly better dose distributions with shorter planning time in the IMRT for SNC.