Healthy Barbecue Sauce

With its sweet, smoky, salty and sometimes tangy nuances, barbecue sauce can transform a bland piece of grilled chicken breast into a dish that dances on the taste buds. But most bottled versions are loaded with added sugars — some with 12 to 16 grams of sugar per two tablespoon serving. And, how many tablespoons do you think are doused on your average pulled pork sandwich?

If making your own sauce seems fussy, it’s really not. Simply add the ingredients into a pot and simmer for less than 40 minutes while you do your other weekly meal prep. While it’s not as quick as pulling a bottle off a grocery store shelf, this homemade, healthier sauce provides the smoky-sweet flavor you crave with less sugar.

Try it on this BBQ Chicken Flatbread Pizza or these Barbecue Chicken Baked Sweet Potatoes!

Healthy Barbecue Sauce
5 from 1 vote
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Healthy Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue sauce can transform bland proteins into delicious meals!
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Keyword barbecue sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 38 minutes
Total Time 53 minutes
Servings 12 servings, 2 Tbsp. each
Calories 78 kcal
Author Sabrina Tillman

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • tsp. ground chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. ground paprika
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup all-natural ketchup reduced-sugar
  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • tsp. liquid smoke optional

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
  3. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  4. Add chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  5. Add ketchup, honey, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke (if desired); cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Recipe Notes

  • Look for ketchup that has an ingredient list that does not contain artificial sweeteners, additives, or preservatives. There are many brands on the market that are sweetened with small amounts of natural sugar, honey, or maple syrup.
  • This barbecue sauce is best when made a day before using. It allows the flavors to meld together.

The Nutrition Facts box below provides estimated nutritional information for this recipe.

Nutrition Facts
Healthy Barbecue Sauce
Amount Per Serving (2 Tbsp.)
Calories 78 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Sodium 435mg 18%
Total Carbohydrates 14g 5%
Sugars 10g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.