Skip the sugary store-bought BBQ sauce and make this easy and healthy BBQ sauce recipe at home! It has the same bold, sweet and spicy flavor that you love from regular BBQ sauce, just made healthier.
I don’t know if it’s the thought of summer or what, but I’ve been craving BBQ flavored things. And not just snack stuff like barbeque Popchips (although I do love those). I’ve been wanting the saucy stuff.
My first thought was to run to the store to grab a jar of BBQ sauce, but I quickly realized that healthier bottled BBQ sauce is kind of hard to find. Most store-bought sauces are loaded with sugar and some brands like Sweet Baby Ray’s still use high fructose corn syrup… and it’s the FIRST ingredient!! They’re also packed with a hefty dose of sodium and added preservatives. Not cool.
Ultimately I said no thanks to the bottled sauces and grabbed ingredients to make my own healthy BBQ sauce at home instead.
Turns out, the process of making homemade BBQ sauce is crazy easy. Literally everything goes into one pot and it takes less than 20 minutes to cook. The final product is absolutely delicious — bold, flavorful, sweet and spicy! I personally think the homemade version tastes way better than most store-bought sauces I’ve tried. I basically want to put it on any and everything.
I know many of you will be using BBQ sauce this summer and I’m happy to share this easy recipe with you. It makes about 2 cups and you can use it in a variety of ways. As a marinade, dipping sauce, salad dressing… the possibilities are pretty much endless. I’ve been using the sauce to test a couple different recipes that I’m super pumped to share. Keep your eyes peeled for the first one this week!
Healthy BBQ Sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon olive or coconut oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped small
- 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon tamari or coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- dash of cinnamon
- Add oil to a medium sized saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Make sure to stir the mixture frequently and watch the garlic because it can burn easily.
- Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, maple syrup, molasses, apple cider vinegar, tamari and mustard into the pan. Stir to combine.
- Add in seasonings and spices: salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, chili powder, ground pepper and cinnamon. Stir to combine.
- Allow mixture to come to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook for about 12-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Just be careful because if the heat is too high, the mixture will start to boil and splatter.
- Use right away or let cool and refrigerate for later use.
If you decide you don’t have time to make homemade BBQ sauce and you’re going to pick up a jar from the store, just be sure to read labels. The serving size is usually 2 Tablespoons. Look for brands that don’t have HFCS or some form of sugar listed as the first ingredient. It’s also ideal to have less than 10 grams of sugar and 300mg of sodium per serving.
There are a few brands that make healthier BBQ sauce with natural/organic ingredients. If I don’t have time to make my own I buy Tesserae’s All-Natural Matty’s BBQ Sauce. It has great flavor, no preservatives and it’s sweetened with dates. Woot!
Are you a BBQ sauce fan? I’ve never been one to dip things in BBQ Sauce (honey mustard is my go-to), but I love using it as a marinade for grilled chicken or making BBQ sandwiches.