My homemade BBQ sauce has a touch of sweetness, a subtle bite, and a boatload of flavor! No one will guess that this recipe is sugar free.

This perfect balance of smokiness and acidity is delicious with pork, beef, chicken, baked beans — the possibilities are endless.

Sugar free barbecue sauce in a glass Weck jar with a spoon beside it. Blue napkin in the background, allspice and peppercorns in the foreground.
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Making homemade bbq sauce is easier than you would people think. Most of the ingredients are pantry staples, and it won’t even take you 30 minutes! Barbecue sauce is so versatile, used in so many ways and in so many dishes.

Whether you’re making it as a marinade, to baste, or to dip into, my sugar free version is a great alternative to the options you’ll find in the grocery store which are laden with sugar and high fructose corn syrup, not to mention unpronounceable preservatives.


Never opt for store-bought again with this smoky-sweet recipe that goes great with all your grilling favorites.

We use it on our Meatloaf recipe, BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger Nachos, and any recipe that calls for barbecue sauce.

Why This Recipe Works

  • A keto BBQ sauce that doesn’t lack in flavor, body, or boldness.
  • Common pantry spices.
  • Very quick to make.
  • Delicious with the perfect balance of sweet and smoky

Key Ingredients

Ingredients to make a Keto or sugar free barbecue sauce.
  • Tomato Paste – This will serve as the base for this recipe.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – I recommend using a raw and unfiltered organic version with the mother for its health benefits.
  • Molasses – A dark, viscous liquid with a warm and sweet flavor, find it in the baking aisle.
  • Brown Sugar Substitute – To make this recipe keto and sugar-free, I use a Swerve Brown. You could also use monk fruit sweetener, or straight up stevia (see tips).
  • Ground Mustard – Adds to the tang of the sauce. If you don’t have ground, use 1 tablespoon of prepared yellow mustard.
  • Worcestershire – This strong, tangy condiment will add a nice bite and zesty flavor.
  • Liquid Smoke – Liquid smoke gives all the smokiness and flavor of the grill! A little goes a long way, so don’t use a heavy hand. If you need to substitute, try using smoked paprika. If you like a kick to your sauce in addition to the smokiness, you can use chipotle powder.
  • Allspice – A single seasoning with all the flavors of nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove.
  • Water– just mentioning this as it’s not pictured because I’m pretty sure you already have it, but this is what will give you consistency of the sauce. 😉

A little salt and pepper to taste, and you have a rockstar sauce that’ll heighten any barbecue dish in less than 30 minutes! This recipe is incredibly simple to make and healthier than what you’d get off the shelf. It’s smoky, sweet, and tangy with just the right level of heat. 

How to Make BBQ Sauce Without Sugar

This is an overview of the instructions, be sure to see the recipe card for all the details.

2 image collage showing how to make bbq sauce. First image, ingredients in the pan, second image ingredients are whisked together.
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a saucepan.
  2. Whisk them together until well combined. Heat the mixture over medium heat until it starts to bubble, reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes so the flavors can meld.

Expert Tips

  • Skip chemical sweeteners! – I recommend using Stevia-based sweeteners. For this recipe, I like the Swerve Brown the best. Another one that works is monk fruit sweetener, and I’ve also used straight up Stevia. If you use straight stevia, start out with 1/16 or 1/8 of a teaspoon. Some brands of Stevia have a bitter aftertaste, the best one out there is by Trim Healthy Mama and it tastes great!
  • Make it your own – There are certainly other flavors that you can add to this sauce– garlic, cumin, or red pepper to name a few. The best part of cooking is that you get to create what suits you.
  • Reduce for a delicious glaze – If you want to make this recipe into a glaze, continue carefully boiling it down until you have a nice, thick glaze that can be applied directly to meat.
  • Short cut! I like to simmer the sauce for ultimate flavor, but you honestly don’t need to cook this at all. You can just whisk it together and it’s good to go. If you’re going to use it in a recipe that’s going to be cooked anyway, like my BBQ Crockpot Meatballs, then definitley don’t cook it.
  • Thicker or thinner sauce- If you like a really thick sauce, then use less water than the recipe calls for, start with 1/4 cup instead of the 1/2 cup. If you like it thinner, then add more water. Start with 3/4 cup instead of the 1/2 cup.
A spoonful of homemade keto barbecue sauce being held up above the pan of simmering sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

What ingredients are usually found in BBQ sauce?

You’ll almost always find vinegar and tomato paste in BBQ. Seasonings and spices vary per recipe, but you’ll usually see mustard and black pepper. And all recipes contain a sweetener as well, such as sugar or molasses. If you’re going for a sugar-free barbecue sauce, use molasses and a brown sugar substitute.

How long does it take to make your own BBQ sauce at home?

Not long at all! After 5 minutes of prep time and 15 minutes of cook time, you’ll have 1 ½ cups of sweet, savory barbecue sauce in less than 30 minutes.

How do you thicken BBQ sauce on keto?

The easiest way is to cut back on the amount of water in the recipe. Other thickeners that you could use that are keto-friendly are xantham gum or glucomannan powder. Arrowroot powder could also be used. Be careful with glucomannan, if you use too much it can make your sauce slimy.

Storing and Freezing

  • My low carb BBQ sauce will last 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator and must be refrigerated at all times. Store in an airtight container or a mason jar.
  • This recipe is great to make in bulk if you’re a barbecue lover! If you’re planning on freezing a large batch, let it cool completely first. Frozen, it will last around 3 months. Once you’re ready to use it, move the container to the refrigerator overnight to defrost.
  • I would not recommend refreezing after thawing: instead, try storing your barbecue in several smaller containers so you’re only thawing as much as you need! Zip lock freezer bags work great! Freeze them flat and they thaw much quicker.

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📋 Recipe

homemade barbecue sauce in a glass jar. Sauce is thick and a reddish brown color.

Sugar Free Barbeque Sauce

This Sugar Free Barbecue Sauce has a touch of sweetness, a subtle bite, and a boatload of flavor. This perfect balance of smokiness and acidity is delicious with pork, beef, chicken, baked beans — the possibilities are endless.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: condiment, homemade sauce
Cuisine: American
Diet: Diabetic
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 18kcal
Cost: $3

Equipment

  • Saucepan or bowl
  • Whisk
  • Storage Container, I use a Weck jar.

Ingredients

  • 1-6 ounce can tomato paste
  • ½ cup water
  • cup apple cider vinegar – organic with the mother is recommended health benefits
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ cup brown sugar substitute such as Swerve brown.
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Allspice

Instructions

  • Add all the ingredients to a saucepan and whisk to combine well. Heat the sauce over medium heat until very warm. Reduce the heat to medium-low or low and simmer for about 15 minutes for flavors to meld.

Notes

  • Makes 1 1/2 cups of sauce.
  • Organic apple cider with the mother is recommended for its health benefits.
  • Stevia based sweeteners are recommended, not anything chemical.
  • I like to simmer the sauce for ultimate flavor, but you can skip it if you’re in a hurry or if you are going to use the sauce for another recipe that involves cooking it.

Nutrition

Calories: 18kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 148mg | Potassium: 103mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 45IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg
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