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Low Sugar BBQ Sauce Recipe

NJBC Eats: Homemade Low Sugar Barbecue Sauce 

By Clarissa Padua | July 3, 2024

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Summer barbecues are a beloved tradition, and there's no better way to enhance your meals than with delicious BBQ flavors. Store-bought sauces often contain a lot of sugar, but this recipe uses simple, wholesome ingredients to create a flavorful, low-sugar alternative that you can enjoy while on your wellness journey.


  • 1 cup tomato sauce (no added sugar)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar-free sweetener (e.g., Stevia or Erythritol) or 1 tablespoon honey for a naturally sweetened option


  1. Combine Ingredients: In a medium saucepan, mix together the tomato sauce, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and yellow mustard.
  2. Add Spices: Stir in the smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, black pepper, and salt until well combined.
  3. Sweeten the Sauce: Add the sugar-free sweetener or honey. Adjust the amount to your preferred level of sweetness, keeping in mind the goal of maintaining a low sugar content.
  4. Simmer: Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to help the flavors meld and the sauce thicken.
  5. Adjust Consistency: If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of water to reach your desired consistency. If it's too thin, let it simmer a bit longer until it thickens.
  6. Cool and Store: Once the sauce reaches your preferred consistency, remove it from the heat and let it cool. Transfer the cooled sauce to a clean jar or bottle and store it in the refrigerator.
Clarissa Padua, RD, is a registered dietitian at New Jersey Bariatric Center, a medical & surgical weight loss center with offices in Springfield, Somerville, Hoboken, East Brunswick, Sparta and Totowa, New Jersey. She provides pre-operative and post-operative nutritional counseling to New Jersey Bariatric Center’s Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve, LAP-BAND (gastric band) and revision patients, in addition to dietary counseling for patients in our Medical Weight Loss program.
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