A flavourful homemade sugar free bbq sauce that comes together in only 5 minutes! It's spicy, smoky, sweet and tangy at the same time - perfect for grilling meat and for dipping. Low carb, Keto, gluten free and made with common ingredients.
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Is regular barbecue sauce sugar free?
No! Buying condiments in the supermarket and staying sugar free (aka healthy) is a tricky business. Ready-made sauces are usually laden with added sugar, as well as large amounts of additives straight out of the chemistry textbook.
Sugar acts as a preservative. It extends the shelf life of products. It is cheap. It enhances taste. People love sugar because it triggers the release of dopamine in the reward centre of the brain. Eating sugar makes us want to eat more sugar.
All of this is GREAT for business - and bad for our health.
I don't want to bang on about how evil food manufacturers are. They're in it for the profit, not for charity. What we can do is read labels and make informed decisions about what we put into our bodies.
4 grams of sugar is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of table sugar. When you read that 100g of Heinz Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Sauce contains 34g of sugar, for example, you know what you're in for.
Ingredients for sugar-free bbq sauce
This no sugar bbq sauce or "no sugar added bbq sauce" uses common ingredients most of which you probably have in your kitchen right now:
- Tomato Passata (tinned blended tomatoes)
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Smoked Paprika
- Cayenne pepper and cloves (both optional)
When I made my sugar free ketchup, I used tinned tomatoes. This meant I needed to reduce liquid to get the right consistency.
Here, I decided to use tomato passata. It's already quite thick so your sauce is literally ready in 5 minutes.
Note - this is NOT the thick double concentrated tomato paste but tinned blended tomatoes.
Keto Barbecue Sauce Essential Flavors
Barbecue sauce needs to be 4 wonderful things at the same time.
I used Sukrin Gold, which is a brown sugar substitute made with erythritol and stevia. You can replace it with your sweetener of choice. Allulose, monk fruit sweetener, xylitol or Splenda all work.
As always, do increase the sweetener if you prefer a sweeter sauce.
Some of the sweetness also comes from the tomatoes, so it's worth buying a quality brand of passata. If you wish, you could even use fresh tomatoes. In this case choose a sweet variety, make sure they're really ripe.
Blanch them so you can remove the skins and cook them with a little olive oil on a low heat until you have the desired consistency (my guess - this would take about 30 minutes), then puree.
Vinegar is essential to the barbecue sauce taste. My vinegar of choice is apple cider vinegar, which has a host of health benefits. I know people who drink a glass of water with a spoonful of apple cider vinegar every morning to support their immune system.
Again, any mild white vinegar would work here.
Simple. Get yourself some smoked paprika powder. It will totally transform this sauce and it's not expensive.
Other sugar free barbecue sauce recipes in the blogosphere recommend using hickory smoked sea salt or liquid smoke. These are good options, but if you're on a budget, smoked paprika will do the trick.
I even found this Paleo recipe by Healing Gourmet that recommends using 2 smoked bacon rashers. I thought that was a super interesting idea and do want to try it out one day.
I'd leave out the salt in this case as bacon is salty. You'd also have to cook the sauce for 30 minutes and puree it.
You can go as little or as much as you want. Personally, I love spices, but I've got kids in the house so I have to restrain myself. Either cayenne pepper or plain old chilli work. Mustard or mustard powder are also an option.
Start off with just a pinch and work your way up from there until you have reached your very own happy place.
Last but not least, I consider onion and garlic powder to be absolutely essential for this recipe. I used the powdered version for convenience and time-saving reasons.
It is, of course, possible to use fresh onion and garlic - if you don't mind the chopping and 30 minutes of cooking.
Note - Worcestershire sauce does contain a little sugar - but it's only 1g per 1 teaspoon. With only 2 tsp for the entire recipe it does not increase the sugar content by much at all.
How to make low carb bbq sauce
The instructions are very straight forward:
- Put all ingredients in a pot.
- Cook for 5 minutes to reduce the liquid.
- Adjust seasoning to taste and let cool.
Where to use this sauce
BEEF. It's a condiment I like to use in beef recipes, for example when marinating steaks or for ground beef. The tangy/sweet notes of the tamarind in the sauce works really well in this recipe.
PORK: We have used this homemade sugar free bbq sauce recipe in place of ketchup with sausages and I've marinated pork belly with it.
I grilled the pork belly strips for 30 minutes, then added the barbecue sauce and returned them to the oven for another 25 minutes. Delicious.
SPARE RIBS: I bet it would also be good for bbq ribs and as a topping for burgers (take a look at my Keto Black Burger Buns!).
Fridge: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Freezer: If you make a big batch, store in freezer bags or freeze in ice cube trays for up to 3 months.
More keto sauces
Homemade Sugar Free BBQ Sauce Recipe (Low Carb)from Sugar Free Londoner
Note: The servings slider only changes the first amount in each line and not any subsequent amounts. Please make your own calculations where necessary. ***As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
- Put all ingredients in a pot. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.
- Let the sauce cool down before using. Adjust seasoning to taste.
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First published in May 2018. Updated with more details in June 2022.