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.
Table of contents
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 teaspoon 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!).
DIPPING: Use it as a dipping sauce for these awesomely crispy keto chicken wings or my Low Carb Keto Chicken Nuggets!
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
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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.
- 250 ml / 8.8 oz tomato passata 1 cup
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon Sukrin Gold or more, to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper or more, to taste
- pinch ground cloves optional
- 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.
Looking forward to trying this tomorrow will let u know guys
Keep me posted! Would love to hear how you like the bbq sauce.
I used tomato purée, and used 4 large dates for sweetness instead of the suggested sweetener (mixed them all in the blender before simmering). I also added about ¾ tsp of cocoa powder which immediately helped with the acidity from the tomatoes. It turned out very well and I’ll be making again!!
Thanks for letting us know your tweaks!
Mine tasted like ketchup... I wonder what I did wrong?
Just add a little more spices and sweetener if you prefer a sauce with more kick 🙂
This went so well with our slow cooked pork shoulder and mu husband is using it for air fried chicken drumsticks as well. Even better than the ketchup We added more cayenne as we like spicy.
HI! I'm so excited to try this. However I noticed you said tomato paste.......my tomato paste is so thick. I get the little cans but are you referring to a tomato sauce in a can instead? 🙂 Or can you add some water to the paste if it's too thick.
Hi Jessica. Sorry this was unclear. I mean passata, not the double concentrated tomato paste. Passata is uncooked tomato puree that has been strained of skins and seeds.
Alternatively, you can also take tinned tomatoes, remove the liquid and blend them until smooth. I've amended this in the recipe card. Thanks for your comment!
This is not truly "sugar free" as the title implies, though. It calls for using a "granulated sweetener". Is there a way around this? (Will it taste ok without any sweetener?)
Hi Charlie, if you're using very sweet tomatoes, you may get around using the sweetener. Maybe canned cherry tomatoes or fresh tomatoes of a sweet variety, reduced as much as possible, would work here. I think you'll get a more authentic taste using a bit of additional sweetness though, in the form of erythritol or xylitol.
I made this without the sweetener. I tripled the recipe since I making pulled chicken. I used tomato purée. Since I don’t eat sugar I did taste the sweetness. I liked it but it lacked the kick others mentioned.
This is a VERY GOOD sauce. It has a bit of a kick, but it isn't overly hot -- just my speed.
I'd very much like to make a large batch and can this sauce. Has anyone tried it? Would love to hear about your experience.
I’ve never tried it - but with the ingredients it contains and done properly should probably work.
Does it really only last for a week in the fridge, or is the author being cautious?
You can probably keep it for longer, as it contains vinegar. I always want to be on the cautious side 🙂
I made this recipe....it tastes good...but .it is very thick...I even added a little more liquid...is there something missing in the recipe?
I only used an 8 oz tomato paste but it still looks thick like past.
Hi Carol, it sounds like you used double concentrated tomato paste, the one you can buy in little tubes? I used passata, which contains more liquid and is basically blended canned tomatoes. I think this may be the reason why you ended up adding more liquid to get it to the right consistency. I hope this helps.
FINALLY!! A bbq sauce that really is as yummy as what we've been looking for.
Thank you for this creation!
*I did add just a slight bit more cayenne - only because my husband likes the tang/spice over the sweet. <3
I love the thickness of this sauce, and the gorgeous deep red color! The Worcestershire is the perfect addition for depth of flavor!
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