If you're looking for everyone's favorite condiment, made keto style with a splash of bourbon, look no further! You could of course leave the bourbon out and it would be really tasty still, but this super flavorful homemade bbq sauce is a dream for anyone looking to cut out the extra sugar in their life! This easy keto recipe is also naturally gluten free!
Normal bbq sauce has on average 12-15 carbs per serving, while this version only has 4 carbs per serving, and you won't be able to tell the difference! Making sugar free barbecue sauce at home is actually shockingly easy, you'll wonder why you spent so much time (and money!) buying the store bought versions. This stuff is a wonderful addition to your low carb diet.
Keep reading for process shots, along with tips and tricks to make this sauce turn out perfect. You can also skip right to the recipe card if you want. Just be aware, that questions are answered in the body of the post.
This post is also available as a Google Web Story.
- Tomato paste - Could be substituted with low carb sugar free ketchup or tomato paste!
- Water - To thin the sauce to your desired consistency.
- Bourbon whisky - optional, but adds such lovely flavor to this sauce!
- Worcestershire sauce - It's kinda like the best ingredient for so many low carb sauces (or otherwise!). When working on low carb recipes, it's great to have a few ingredients that are just guaranteed to elevate the flavor!
- Apple cider vinegar - For a little zip of flavor and acidity. You could use red wine vinegar if you prefer.
- Liquid hickory smoke- Totally optional, but also totally delicious for an unbeatable smoky flavor.
- Dry seasonings - Kosher salt & black pepper are a good place to start! We also add lots of spices, including garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, chipotle powder and cayenne pepper. Go easy on the spices at first, and add gradually to taste. We will warn you, this sauce is a little hot! We like spicy food, and this low carb barbecue sauce is no exception. 😉
- Sugar free sweetener of choice - We honestly can't imagine making this without our favorite brown sugar substitute, which is Swerve! The molasses like flavor complements this sauce SO well! You can use any keto friendly or low carb sweetener you prefer though.
- Mustard - Truly ties this sauce all together!
How to Make Homemade Low Carb BBQ Sauce:
We recommend making this on the stovetop over medium-low heat to keep ingredients from burning.
In a sauce pan, add your tomato paste, bourbon, apple cider vinegar, and water. Whisk to combine.
Add dry seasonings and sweetener to taste. If you're making this sauce for the first time, add the ingredients slowly and taste as you go.
Stir in your liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard. Let simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring every so often. The longer you let this simmer, the better the flavors will become, but 20 minutes should do you good! Also note that if you are going to simmer for a long while, you may need to add a bit of water to compensate for all the water that will evaporate away.
Lastly, blend the sauce if desired (totally optional, but recommended!). Now, you're ready to dig in!
- Tomato Paste- Feel free to sub with tomato sauce. We don't recommend subbing with ketchup if you're concerned about carbs, but if you're not, feel free! That would allow you to leave the apple cider vinegar out too.
- Garlic & Onions- Fresh garlic of course would work for this as well.
- Apple Cider Vinegar- Use white distilled or red wine vinegar if you don't have apple cider vinegar. It balances out the sweetness in the tomato paste.
- Bourbon- Don't drink or hate bourbon? No problem. Just leave it out! You will want to replace it with water though, so that your sauce doesn't become too thick.
- Liquid Smoke- You don't need this ingredient necessarily, but we love the smoky flavor it adds to this sauce.
- Mustard- This is optional, but you want it. Trust us! It doesn't taste like mustard, but instead adds some subtle flavor.
- Spices- For any of the spicier spices (cayenne, chipotle powder, and chili powder) feel free to leave them out if you don't prefer a spicier sauce. We love a kick of heat and think it's just the right amount, but everyone is different!
- Worcestershire sauce- Are you guys picking up the point that many of these ingredients are technically optional but they add a nice subtle flavor? Yeah, same thing with Worcestershire sauce. You can leave it out if you don't have it though.
Can I Use Tomato Sauce Instead of Paste?
Yes! You can. We basically make our own tomato sauce that has a richer flavor by combining tomato paste and water, simply because we always have tomato paste on hand. We like using tomato paste because it's such a great base to many dishes, and we can turn it into sauce on our own.
Using tomato paste is our preference since it's been cooked for longer than tomato sauce, so it mellows out the acidity in the tomatoes, making for a sauce that comes together a little faster. Tomato paste is definitely sweeter than tomato sauce however, which is why we balance the sweetness with more acidity from the apple cider vinegar. We simply dilute the tomato paste with water to turn it into a sauce.
Garlic and Onion Powder vs. Fresh
You can certainly use fresh garlic and onion in this recipe, but we don't like to for a few reasons. Number one, it will definitely increase the carb count in the bbq sauce to use fresh onion and garlic.
Secondly, when we are making a quick sugar free barbecue sauce, we like to stick with dry spices and seasonings so that it can mix easier into the sauce without creating any chunks. You could also work through this by blending your sauce when everything is all cooked, and then straining it to get out any lumps. We don't like to take this extra step most of the time, personally.
What Sweetener Should I Use For This Homemade Keto BBQ Sauce?
You can use whatever granular (or even liquid, like stevia drops) sweetener you like for this, but ideally you want something that won't crystallize after it's been refrigerated. We prefer brown "sugar" Swerve, as the molasses flavor complements this sauce so well. Allulose is a great choice for Keto BBQ Sauce.
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More Recipes To Try:
- Keto Maple BBQ Glazed Shrimp
- BBQ Bacon Keto Cheeseburger
- Homemade Spiced Sugar Free Apple Cider
- Oven Baked Pork Ribs
If you get a chance to try this sugar free barbecue sauce recipe, let us know what you think, would ya?! Leave us a comment, or catch up with us on Facebook or Instagram, or pin to your favorite Pinterest board for later. We love sharing your versions of our creations over on Instagram @afullliving!
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Until Next Time,
Briana & Chamere
Homemade Keto BBQ Sauce (Sugar Free Barbecue Sauce)
- 340 grams tomato paste (could sugar free ketchup)
- 16 ounces water
- 2 ounces bourbon whiskey
- 2 ounces apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder (optional and to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional and to taste)
- ¾ cup Brown sugar replacement (144 grams)
- ½ teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1.5 tablespoons yellow mustard
- In a sauce pan over medium-low heat, add your tomato paste, bourbon, apple cider vinegar, and water. Whisk to combine.
- Add dry seasonings and sweetener to taste. If you’re making this sauce for the first time, add the ingredients slowly and taste as you go.
- Stir in your liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard. Let simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring every so often. The longer you let this simmer, the better the flavors will become, but 20 minutes should do you good! Also note that if you are going to simmer for a long while, you may need to add a bit of water to compensate for all the water that will evaporate away.
- Lastly, blend the sauce if desired (totally optional, but recommended!). Now, you’re ready to dig in!
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- Season to taste the first time you make this. We like things a little spicy, so make sure you go easy on the spices at first!
- Add sweetener to taste.
- If not using bourbon, substitute it for equal amounts of water.
- Tomato paste can be subbed for tomato sauce or sugar free ketchup.