Low-Carb and No Sugar Added DIY BBQ Sauce

Leyla Shamayeva, MS, RD
Total Time 65 min
Prep 5 min, Cook 60 min
Yield ~25 tablespoons (11 cals each)

Whether you're smearing BBQ sauce on a wrap or burger or using it as a dipping sauce for grilled veggies, it'll be more satisfying when it's fresh and homemade.

BBQ sauce is simple to make on your own—you combine all of the ingredients in a pot and let it simmer, stirring only occasionally. And while most recipes call for bottled ketchup as the base, this DIY recipe takes it one step further—you'll be making the entire sauce from scratch. That means that you can avoid added sugars from the bottled ketchup, too.

This recipe yields a product on the lower side when it comes to sugar and carbs, but that doesn't take away from the flavors. There's a hint of apple from the cider vinegar that pairs well with the cinnamon you'll be adding for a unique kick (cinnamon has also been shown to help with blood glucose control). And it's completely up to you how smoky you'd like to make it and whether or not you want it spicy. Cook to your own taste preference!


  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water (or more if too thick)
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon adobo sauce (chipotle pepper optional)
  • 1/4 small yellow onion, grated
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and let simmer on low, uncovered, for about an hour.

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

If you'd like your sauce on the smokier side, increase the chili powder by 1/2 teaspoon increments.

If you'd like your sauce on the spicier side, increase the adobo sauce by 1/2 teaspoon increments.

Alternatively, add 1/4 (or more) of a chipotle pepper.

Cooking and Serving Tips

Make sure to stir frequently, about once every 10 to 15 minutes, while the BBQ sauce is cooking. This will help better incorporate the flavors and ensure that the sauce is evenly cooked throughout.

Let the sauce cool before transferring to a storage container. A mason jar is a good option. Whatever you use, make sure it's airtight. You can store your sauce in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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