This low-FODMAP BBQ sauce is the perfect homemade barbecue sauce for everyone! It’s tangy, slightly sweet and bursting with flavor – you’ll never know it’s a sugar-free BBQ sauce and perfect for a low-carb diet, too.
- Why a low-FODMAP BBQ sauce?
- Why you’ll love this recipe
- Is molasses low-FODMAP?
- Is Worcestershire sauce low-FODMAP?
- Why I don’t use liquid smoke
- Liquid smoke substitutes
- Choosing low-FODMAP tomato sauce
- Best low-FODMAP sweetener to use
- Serving suggestions
- How to store
- Other recipes you might like
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
Everyone needs a great sauce to slather on backyard barbecue dishes like these Traeger Beef Ribs made with my Low-FODMAP Seasoning for BBQ, and even this amazing Smoked Flank Steak. Originally, this recipe was used in my Slow Cooker Pulled Pork recipe, but it’s made its way onto everything from burgers to tacos. And, our dinner guests never know it’s a no garlic no onion recipe, perfect for a low-FODMAP diet. It’s truly one of my favorite low-FODMAP sauces, ever. And, this is the BEST I've ever had the pleasure of eating.
There are several ‘camps’ of passionate BBQ lovers, where favorite sauces often depend on region, like Texas Mop Sauce, North Carolina BBQ, Kansas City barbecue or Memphis style, just to name a few. We all have our favorites and I tend love them all.
Why a low-FODMAP BBQ sauce?
A couple of my favorite low-carb keto-friendly barbecue brands are Sweet Baby Ray’s and Kinder’s BBQ because they’re sugar-free. However, they contain ingredients that aren’t FODMAP-friendly if eaten in any kind of quantity.
This is a quick and easy recipe that you can whip up for easy weeknight dinners or for those smoker recipes to feed a crowd. It’s so versatile and one of my favorite low-FODMAP condiments that can be used for everything barbecue.
Don’t follow a low-FODMAP diet? This homemade BBQ sauce is for you, too. Even though this is a no garlic no onion recipe, if you feel like adding some garlic and onion, go for it! It’s plenty zesty all on its own, but add those alliums if you wish for some extra flavor. I find that ½ teaspoon of each does the trick.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- This low-FODMAP sauce makes anything it touches extraordinary. You’ll definitely want to lick the spoon. It’s SO flavorful!
- It’s fast and easy and ready in about 15 minutes
- There’s no refined sugar or high-fructose corn syrup
- It’s healthy, which is something to really feel good about
- You save money making your own healthy BBQ sauce from scratch
- This is made without ketchup! If you don’t have any low-FODMAP ketchup on hand, no worries. I’ve got you covered.
- Customize the ingredients depending on your individual taste
This is very simple to make and made with all low-FODMAP ingredients, suitable for all phases of the low-FODMAP diet:
- Tomato sauce - make sure you choose a brand that doesn't include garlic and onion
- Molasses - Adds a rich flavor and is safely consumed in very small quantities. Blackstrap is best.
- Red wine vinegar - you can also use apple cider vinegar
- Sweetener of choice - there are many low-FODMAP sweetener options. I like to use powdered stevia to keep the recipe low-carb.
- Worcestershire sauce - adds an incredible amount of umami
- Smoked paprika – this is a great liquid smoke substitute
- Mustard powder - you can also use regular mustard
- Allspice - contributes amazing depth of flavor
- Cumin powder - is nutty, warm and slightly smoky
- Powdered clove - adds a strong, pungent, sweetness
- Powdered coriander - optional, but adds a light, sweet citrus flavor
- Red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper - for a gentle kick. Read more about Aleppo pepper in my Aleppo pepper ingredient spotlight.
- Salt and pepper - brings the flavors together
Is molasses low-FODMAP?
When adding molasses to recipes, it all comes down to the amount used. Molasses is considered high-FODMAP in servings over 1 teaspoon. However, this entire recipe includes 3 tablespoons which are spread over 16 servings, so the amount consumed is very small.
You can also feel free to leave it out.
Is Worcestershire sauce low-FODMAP?
Like using molasses, it’s all about serving size or amount used in the recipe. Most brands contain garlic and onion, but the amount ingested is considerably below amounts that tend to cause digestive upset.
Monash University recommends a serving size of up to 2 tablespoons, which is quite a bit and more than would be consumed when just using it as a seasoning.
However, if you prefer to leave it out, you certainly can. This recipe will still be amazing. If you’d like to use a molasses substitute, consider replacing it with a splash of bourbon (which adds a caramel-like flavor), use pure monkfruit extract to replace the sweetener (it has a very molasses-like flavor) or use coconut sugar, which increases the carb content, but imparts a rich flavor, very similar to molasses.
Why I don’t use liquid smoke
There is some debate about side-effects of liquid smoke. It has been shown to contain carcinogens and can cause digestive upset for those sensitive to smoked or barbecued foods.
Many BBQ recipes call for liquid smoke. However, I’ve found that many products contain unwanted ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup, flavorings, colorings and monosodium glutamate (which can cause migraines). Instead, I opt to create that smoky BBQ flavor by adding smoked paprika or other spices that add a natural smoke flavor, without unwanted ingredients.
There are a few products that only contain water and hickory smoke concentrate, like Wright’s Hickory Liquid Smoke. While it hasn’t been tested for FODMAPs, chances are the minute amount used won’t lead to unwanted symptoms.
What is liquid smoke? The simple answer is, in its purest form, it is a natural product that is made from burning wood. Water vapor from fire is condensed and distilled, forming a yellow-ish brown substance that captures the flavor and essence of the actual smoke.
Liquid smoke substitutes
The best liquid smoke substitutes are spices that are readily available in most grocery stores.
My preferred smoky spices are:
I prefer the taste of smoked paprika in this recipe, but feel free to use chipotle powder as a smoked paprika substitute. It will make a slightly spicy BBQ sauce, but will still taste so, so good.
Choosing low-FODMAP tomato sauce
Many tomato sauces are not FODMAP-friendly and contain onion and garlic. Always be sure to read the ingredients before making your purchase. Sometimes garlic, onion and other spices can be added where you least expect it.
I’m a huge fan of the Pomi brand and their velvety smooth Passata, which is a tomato puree with a small amount of salt. It’s great for making barbecue sauces and ketchup. However, any tomato sauce will work for this recipe. Keep in mind that consistency will vary between brands.
Pomi is also my favorite brand to use for low-FODMAP pasta sauces. They have very high quality products, contain only tomatoes and are available in most grocery stores and online.
Best low-FODMAP sweetener to use
There are many options of low-FODMAP sweeteners that work well in this recipe:
- Stevia powder is FODMAP-friendly and is also a great option to keep this recipe sugar-free and low-carb. Stevia drops can also be used.
- Erythritol is considered to be low-FODMAP, even though it is a sugar alcohol (polyol). Some people are sensitive to it (like myself) and it may lead to digestive disturbance.
- Allulose tends to have good digestive tolerance, but can also lead to digestive disturbance
- Maple syrup will add carbs and magical flavor to the recipe. But, is maple syrup low-FODMAP? It is in quantities up to 2 tablespoons, which is far more than would be consumed in a serving of this sauce.
- Coconut sugar is FODMAP-friendly in small servings and imparts a rich, molasses-like flavor. However, in larger servings, it is high in fructans. One serving of this delicious recipe will keep you far below the threshold that would cause upset.
- Maple sugar contains low amounts of fructose and like maple syrup, imparts a rich flavor
- Pure monk fruit has an earthy, caramel flavor and is FODMAP-friendly. Keep in mind that its sweetness is very concentrated and only a very tiny amount is used.
It only takes about 15 minutes to make the best BBQ sauce ever:
- Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan
- Whisk and simmer for 5-10 minutes over medium heat, until slightly thickened
- Season to taste and store covered in the refrigerator
TIP: The flavors will continue to grow and combine the longer it sits. While this can be used right away, it's best to make it a day ahead of time for the best flavor.
This is where you get creative:
- Slather on ribs, barbecue chicken, shrimp skewers and even tofu
- Use for pulled pork, chicken or beef
- Spoon on some sliders or hot dogs
- Use it as a low-FODMAP dip to dunk a toasted cheese sandwich, fries or chicken strips
- Brush on flank steak or use as a steak dipping sauce
You get the idea!
How to store
Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days in an air-tight container. I like using mason jars.
If you won’t use it all in that time, consider freezing it.
- Spicy – Add some cayenne, chipotle powder, increase the amount of red pepper or Aleppo pepper flakes or squeeze in some Tapatio or sriracha
- Bourbon – Add a splash of Kentucky bourbon to the pot! It adds so much flavor and the alcohol will cook off as the ingredients simmer.
- Port wine – While this option will add a few carbs, it adds an amazing rich flavor. Add 2 tablespoons to the pot while it’s simmering.
- Lower the sodium – Make a low sodium BBQ sauce by eliminating or cutting back on the Worcestershire or leaving out the additional salt
- Whole30 BBQ sauce – Replace the Worcestershire with coconut aminos and replace the sweetener with a pureed sweet fruit, such as mango or pineapple. Mango BBQ sauce is phenomenal! Also consider adding ½-1 cup of pureed pineapple. Keep in mind that these will increase the carb content a bit and it will have to simmer just a little longer on the stove if you choose to add pureed fruit.
- Warming spices – Play with flavor variations by adding a small amount of cinnamon or turmeric powders. About ⅛ teaspoon is plenty.
- Garlic-infused olive oil – For a hint of garlic flavor, add up to 2 tablespoons of garlic-infused olive oil
- Liquid smoke – If you like a super smoky BBQ sauce, this will add a touch of hickory flavor. Start with ¼ teaspoon and add more to taste.
- Anchovy paste – Adding ½ teaspoon provides an extra layer of umami. It’s SO good and does not impart a fishy flavor.
- Tamarind paste – Create a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce by adding a teaspoon. This adds a bright, citrus-like flavor and is one of my favorite additions.
Absolutely. Place in an airtight container and freeze for up to six months. I like using mason jars.
If it's made from only tomatoes it is low in FODMAPs. However, most brands contain onion, garlic and undeclared ‘spices’, so be sure to check the ingredient label for unwanted high-FODMAP ingredients.
Tomato puree is made from tomatoes that have been cooked until very soft, then pureed to a liquid. Paste is cooked longer than puree, creating a thick paste, with intense tomato flavor.
Both products are made from ripe tomatoes. The fruit is cooked, then pureed into a liquid. Sauce can be chunky and slightly thinner than puree. Puree is consistently smooth and uniform in texture and thicker than typical tomato sauce.
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it by giving a star rating and leaving a comment!
Other recipes you might like
Low-FODMAP BBQ Sauce (no ketchup)
- 15 ounces tomato sauce (1 can)
- 3 tablespoons molasses (blackstrap is best)
- ⅓ cup red wine vinegar (can also use apple cider vinegar)
- ⅓ cup powdered stevia (or sweetener of choice)
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or Aleppo pepper - read more about Aleppo pepper in my Aleppo pepper ingredient spotlight)
- ⅛ teaspoon powdered clove
- ½ teaspoon powdered coriander (optional)
- Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan
- Simmer over low heat 5-10 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened, whisking often
- Season to taste
How to storeStore in the refrigerator for up to 10 days in an air-tight container. I like using mason jars. If you won’t use it all in that time, consider freezing it in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
VariationsSpicy – Add some cayenne, chipotle powder, increase the amount of red pepper or Aleppo pepper flakes or squeeze in some Tapatio or sriracha Bourbon – Add a splash of Kentucky bourbon to the pot! It adds so much flavor and the alcohol will cook off as the ingredients simmer. Port wine – while this option will add a few carbs, it’s amazing in BBQ sauce and adds a rich flavor. Add 2 tablespoons to the pot while it’s simmering. Lower the sodium – make it low sodium by eliminating or cutting back on the Worcestershire Whole30 BBQ sauce – replace the Worcestershire with coconut aminos and replace the sweetener with a pureed sweet fruit, such as mango or pineapple. Mango BBQ sauce is phenomenal! Also consider adding ½-1 cup of pureed pineapple. Keep in mind that these will increase the carb content a bit and it will have to simmer just a little longer on the stove if you choose to add pureed fruit. Warming spices – play with flavor variations by adding a small amount of cinnamon or turmeric powders. About ⅛ teaspoon is plenty. Garlic-infused olive oil – for a touch of garlic flavor, add up to 2 tablespoons of garlic-infused olive oil Liquid smoke – if you like a super smoky BBQ sauce, this will add a touch of hickory flavor. Start with ¼ teaspoon and add more to taste. Anchovy paste – adding ½ teaspoon provides an extra layer of umami. It’s SO good and does not impart a fishy flavor. Tamarind paste – create a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce by adding a teaspoon. This adds a bright, citrus-like flavor.
*Net carbs = carbohydrates - fiber
Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools and does not include optional ingredients unless otherwise indicated.