Low-Carb and No Sugar Added DIY BBQ Sauce


Leyla Shamayeva, MS, RD

Total Time: 65 min
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 60 min
Servings: 25 (1 tablespoon each)

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

10 calories
0g fat
2g carbs
0g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 25 (1 tablespoon each)
Amount per serving  
Calories 10
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 123mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 1g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 0g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 6mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 101mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Whether you're smearing BBQ sauce on a wrap or burger or using it as a dipping sauce for grilled veggies, it's almost always more satisfying when it's fresh and homemade. Fortunately, BBQ sauce is easy to make on your own—you simply combine all of the ingredients in a pot and let it simmer, stirring only occasionally.

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 with the exception of canned tomato paste. That means that you can avoid added sugars from the bottled ketchup, too.

Although this BBQ sauce recipe is low in sugar and carbs, that hardly means it lacks flavor. There's a hint of apple from the cider vinegar that pairs well with the cinnamon added for a unique kick. As a bonus, cinnamon has also been shown to help with blood glucose control.

But the best thing about this BBQ sauce is that 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 and enjoy!


  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsps white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water (or more if too thick)
  • 2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp adobo sauce (chipotle pepper optional)
  • 1/4 small yellow onion, grated
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp 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.

Variations and Substitutions

Here are a couple tricks to turn up the smoky flavor or spicy heat in your DIY BBQ sauce:

  • 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.
  • If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, make this 100% plant-based by using a vegan Worcestershire sauce substitute (as traditional Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies).

Cooking and Serving Tips

Here are a few other things to know about making your own BBQ sauce like a pro:

  • 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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1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Allen RW, Schwartzman E, Baker WL, Coleman CI, Phung OJ. Cinnamon use in type 2 diabetes: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Fam Med. 2013;11(5):452-9. doi:10.1370/afm.1517

By Leyla Shamayeva, MS, RD
Leyla Shamayeva, MS, RD is a registered dietitian with a master's in clinical nutrition. She focuses her efforts on digital health communication.