This easy Sugar-Free BBQ Sauce Recipe is a total game-changer! Perfect for the keto diet, it’s tangy, sweet, spicy, and smoky, with no added sugar. This low-carb bbq sauce is super easy, and much quicker to make than regular bbq sauce because of my secret ingredient. Use this easy homemade sauce as a dipping sauce, or a spread, or smother it over meat and veggies as a marinade.
This post was originally published on May 1st, 2020, with the title “The Best Sumac BBQ Sauce”.
I do generally love a good homemade BBQ sauce but I’m really excited about this Sugar free Barbecue Sauce recipe. It’s what Bob Ross would refer to as a happy little accident.
❤️ Why you will love this recipe:
- Easy recipe: Making your own bbq sauce couldn’t be easier. Throw it all in a pot, let it simmer for 10-20 minutes, and boom! You have sugar-free barbecue sauce.
- Quick: Because we’re cutting out the liquid from the vinegar, you can simmer it for half the time and it will be nice and thick.
- Simple ingredients: I used natural, wholesome ingredients straight from my pantry.
- Healthy sauce: This perfect sauce is much healthier than the sugar-loaded store-bought bbq sauces. We can skip the high fructose corn syrup and use natural sugars like stevia instead.
- It tastes amazing! It’s smoky, sweet, spicy, and tangy (thanks to the sumac). It’s much better than store-bought sauce!
- Fits many diets: A wonderful thing about this tangy keto bbq sauce is that it works for most diets including paleo, vegan, and low-carb/keto.
🗝️ Key Ingredients & Substitutions
- Tomato sauce: Canned tomato sauce or passata is ideal for this easy bbq sauce recipe. I’ve also used 2 cans of diced tomatoes and just blended them to turn them into tomato sauce. If you need to use tomato paste or tomato puree, cut the amount down to 1 cup and make sure to use vinegar instead of sumac.
- Liquid smoke: Smoky bbq sauce is so delicious! Liquid smoke is ideal as it doesn’t really add many carbs and it adds the perfect smoky flavor. I buy mine on amazon but some grocery stores carry it as well.
- Sugar substitute: Instead of regular sugar, I like to use either a brown sugar substitute or an erythritol/stevia mix for this (which is a sugar alcohol). Feel free to use whatever low carb sugar substitute you have on hand. You can also adjust the amount of sweetener in this low carb barbecue sauce to suit your taste.
- Spices: Allspice, ground cumin, ground black pepper, sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and some hot paprika. You can substitute cayenne pepper or chili powder for the hot paprika, or if you don’t want this delicious sauce to be spicy, try sweet paprika instead.
- Sumac or vinegar: Sumac is my secret ingredient for making tangy sauces quickly. Because you don’t add extra liquid as you would with vinegar, there is less to cook off. Apple cider vinegar can easily be used instead though, as I know sumac may be difficult to find in some places.
🥣 How to make this low carb BBQ sauce?
I said it’s easy, I really meant it! Here are the 2 easy steps:
- Add all of the ingredients to a medium-sized pot and pop it on the stove over medium heat.
- (optional) If you used canned diced tomatoes, blend everything together until smooth with an immersion blender.
- Stir occasionally until it’s thick, keeping it at a steady simmer.
- Cool completely before serving or storing.
Fridge: Store in an airtight container (a glass jar like a mason jar would be best) in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
🥅 How many carbs are in this easy keto BBQ sauce recipe?
The total grams of carbs is 4g, with only 1.2g net carb.
🍅 I don’t have any passata or tomato sauce – what can I use instead?
I’ve used cans of diced tomatoes instead and it works really well! Just blend it before adding it into the pot, or use a hand blender and blend everything in the pot together before cooking (<< that’s what I did – hand blender!). It will take a little longer to simmer as there is more liquid in the canned diced tomatoes, but it will be equally as delicious in the end!
🤔 What is sumac?
It sounds fancy, I know. Sumac is a flowering shrub or small tree that grows in East Asia, Africa, and North America. It is technically in the cashew family (Anacardiaceae) but when it comes to the spice, we are using the fruit of the sumac plant. The fruit is dried and then ground into the powder we’re using today. You can use sumac in so many ways – on meat, roast vegetables, in rice, as a garnish for hummus and salads, or even as a tea. Studies have shown it also helps decrease blood pressure.
Where do you buy it? Most UK supermarkets now stock it (I bought mine at a mini Tesco initially), and it can be easily found online worldwide.
🍽️ What to serve with this low carb sauce?
- Keto Chicken Wings
- Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks
- Air Fryer Chicken Legs
- Whole Roast BBQ Chicken
- Air Fryer Chicken Tenders with no bread crumbs)
- Pork Chops
- French fries (not keto/low carb)
- Sweet Potato Fries (not keto/low carb)
- Spread on pizza instead of marinara
😋 More sugar-free sauces for a low-carb diet:
- Sugar Free Ketchup Recipe
- Stout BBQ Sauce Recipe
- Keto Enchilada Sauce
- Taco Truck Green Sauce
- Keto Mayonnaise
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- 690g (2 1/2 cups) Passata (or canned tomato sauce), see note 1
- 3 tbsp liquid smoke
- 100g (1/2 cup) brown sugar substitute (or keto-friendly sweetener of choice)
- 2 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 2 teaspoon sumac (or 118ml (1/2 cup) apple cider/white vinegar)
- 1/2-1 teaspoon paprika (hot or sweet), to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2-3 teaspoon salt, to taste
- Place medium pot on the stove over a medium heat.
- Add all of the ingredients and bring it up to a rolling simmer, not too hot that it splatters everywhere though.
- Stir occasionally until it’s thick. About 10 minutes for sumac, and 20 for vinegar.
- Cool completely before serving or storing.
- What can I use instead of passata or canned tomato sauce? I’ve used cans of diced tomatoes instead and it works really well! Just blend it before adding it into the pot, or use a hand blender and blend everything in the pot together before cooking (<< that’s what I did – hand blender!). It will take a little longer to simmer as there is more liquid in the canned diced tomatoes, but it will be equally as delicious in the end!
- To store: Store in an airtight container (a glass jar would be best) in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 32 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 8Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 443mgCarbohydrates: 4gNet Carbohydrates: 1.2gFiber: 2.8gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
Nutrition information and calculations will vary with the use of different brands or ingredients. These figures are estimates. Please get in touch if you have questions!