Homemade Barbecue Sauce Recipe

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This homemade barbecue sauce is a great replacement for the sugar-filled stuff you get at the store.

A lot of you have asked me for this but I put it off for a while because frankly, I buy my barbecue sauce. It’s clean, and I love it. But I also understand that many of you may not have access to buying clean barbecue sauce. So I relented and whipped this up for dinner the other night.

Clean Eating Barbecue Sauce shown in three white spoons lined up on a table. The sauce is a rich, reddish-brown color.

My ex husband loved it, Mini Chef refused to even try it (he’s was going through a phase), I enjoyed it but wish I had put it on the chicken while it was still on the grill. I just schmeared it on after the chicken was done, and that was not such a hot idea. In fact, next time, I think I’ll marinate the chicken in the sauce first before barbecuing it because The flavors never got a chance to really get into the chicken. But it was good! We even dipped polenta squares into it. Yum! And needless to say, I think it will be a while before I buy barbecue sauce again. this was just too easy and too yummy.


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Clean Eating Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Need a healthier barbecue sauce? Look no further! This clean eating barbecue sauce is delicious as a marinade or brushed on at the grill.
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 13 servings
Calories: 138kcal
Author: Tiffany McCauley


  • 15 oz. canned tomato sauce (no sugar added)
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste (no sugar added)
  • 1 tsp. low sodium soy sauce OR coconut aminos
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • ¼ cup unsulphured molasses
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar


  • Combine all ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl and mix well using a whisk.
  • Use as you would any other bbq sauce!


Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 138kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 293mg | Potassium: 386mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 540IU | Vitamin C: 5.4mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1.8mg

This recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted 6/19/11.

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I'm Tiffany, a writer for MSN and the AP Newswire, a cookbook author, digital publisher, food lover, and mom. I create healthy, clean eating recipes for everyday living.

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  2. disqus_CG3A0cfd6q says:

    can you can this?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Sorry, but I don’t know the first thing about canning. You would have to show the recipe to a master canner.

  3. I cannot wait to make this!  I absolutely love baked chicken breast with BBQ sauce but I have avoided the bottled version.  Now I can enjoy it again without the guilt!  Thank you!

  4. Is there any way to use pure Maple Syrup instead of the molasses? I am overseas and I don’t think our Commissary carries this.

  5. Jessica Trimble says:

    Made this the other day for chicken and everyone (including a 3, 4, and 2 yr old) ate it up! Thanks for putting quality recipes out there.

  6. ThruGodAllThings says:

    I wanted to do some clow cooker BBQ chicken sandwiches. Do you think this sauce will cook good on the chicken in the crockpot?

  7. How long does this store in the refrigerator? I would store it in a mason jar. Thanks!

  8. Was wondering if raw honey was used or just “regular” honey?

    1. Gretchen – You can use any honey you like. Raw or regular, the flavor will still be the same.

  9. Sarah-Jane says:

    hello I am from Australia and was wondering by tomato sauce do you mean ” Ketchup” or a tomato paste?? thanks 🙂

    1. Sarah-Jane – Here in the states, tomato sauce is like spaghetti sauce without all the added flavorings.

  10. This sauce is SO good… Thank you for sharing!

  11. I love this sauce. I love it even when it isn’t cooked which isn’t the case with bottled sauce. Great recipe. Thank you!

  12. I’m throwing a Sangria party and plant to serve pulled pork, which calls for bottled BBQ sauce. This will be great, as I can make as much as I need (one recipe makes 2 1/2 cups).

  13. Any idea if coconut aminos would be good instead of soy sauce? I try to avoid soy because of gmo’s and have been looking for a bbq without brown sugar forever!! Thanks so much!!

  14. I made this last night and it is EXCELLENT!! I’m so excited to find a BBQ sauce not loaded down with sugar. We can’t wait to cook more stuff to use up the leftover. Thank you!!

  15. Is there away to make this with fresh tomatoes instead of Cannes? I’m doing the advocare clean eating diet and your not supposed to do anything in a can.

    1. Randi – I have not yet attempted to make tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes. It’s on my list, but I haven’t done it yet. So yes, I’m sure there’s a way to do it, but you’d have to find a way to make the tomato sauce.

  16. I actually found tomato sauce in a box (like the chicken broth box) and tomato paste in a tube. Tomatoes in the can are just really bad for you. By the way, I am loving this site!! Gonna do some bbq chicken and they bbq zucchini for dinner!

    1. Randi – I think it depends on the can. If it’s BPA free, I don’t think there’s any reason to avoid it. Unless you have another reason? Hope you enjoy the chicken and zucchini!

  17. I forgot to pick up tomato paste can I use something in it’s place?

  18. What is coconut aminos – where can it be purchased? I would love to try this recipe; however,
    since I am a breast-cancer survivor, I was advised not to use soy sauce in my cooking: can this be substituted with something else?

    1. Phyllis – Coconut aminos are basically “soy sauce” made from coconuts. I get mine at whole foods. Check your local health food store, or you can find it listed in my amazon store here on my site. Link is at the top of the page here.

  19. Christina Burroughs says:

    Hi! I was wondering if you can tell me what size are the 10 servings this recipe makes? Im guessing this makes roughly 3 cups of sauce?

    1. Christina – It’s listed in the nutrition data below the recipe. 1 serving is 1/4 cup. Enjoy!

  20. The recipe turned out great, my BBQ chicken sandwiches were very tasty with your sauce recipe thanks:). The fresh layer of snow we got here in WI won’t deter us from firing up the grill and doing BBQ pork loin with the extra sauce:)

  21. I don’t know why but I feel like I want to cook this sauce, rather than just mix and use? Have you tried it simmered together?

  22. I feel like I am the lone wolf out there. I made this tonight and I honestly didn’t care for it. The tomato taste was way too strong. I added a little more balsamic and soy sauce and it helped a little. I also added 1 tbs black pepper and 1 tsp cayenne pepper (should have done 1/2 tsp) so it now has quite the kick. What else would you recommend to help with the tomato taste?

    1. KD – I’m sorry you didn’t care for it. 🙁 If you really get desperate, you could always mix in another BBQ sauce. Bone Suckin’ Sauce is clean and it’s amazing stuff.

  23. nicolette says:

    I don’t mean to sound rude, but anything that comes in a can is not technically “clean.” I tweaked this myself making my own tomato puree with fresh tomatoes and it came out fabulous.

    1. Nicolette – Actually, that’s not true. It depend on what is in the can and how it is processed. And of course, BPA free cans help. But the process of canning itself is not “unclean”. It’s what is done to the food before it is canned, or what other ingredients are added that count. Of course, it’s always best to make things fresh and from scratch. But in a pinch… Glad you enjoyed the sauce! 🙂

  24. How many ounces does this yield roughly? I would like to try canning it as above mentioned.

    1. Hanna – Well, it makes 10 (1/4 cup) servings. So that’s 2 1/2 cups. If you go by liquid measure, that would be roughly 20 oz. But that’s a very rough guestimate.

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