Homemade Barbecue Sauce Recipe

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


  • 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
  • ยฝ cup oil
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • ยผ 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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  1. This sauce is SO good… Thank you for sharing!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Cristy – Glad you enjoyed it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. 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!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Krista – My pleasure! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. 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).

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kathi – Fantastic! I hope you and your guests enjoy it!

  4. 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!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Maureen – Sure can! The last batch I made I used coconut aminos. Worked great!

  5. 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!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Ingrid – My pleasure! You glad you enjoyed it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. 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. The Gracious Pantry says:

      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.

  7. 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. The Gracious Pantry says:

      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!

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

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Samantha – You can leave it out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. 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. The Gracious Pantry says:

      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.

  10. 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. The Gracious Pantry says:

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

  11. 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:)

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Angie – Fantastic! Enjoy! ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. 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?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Brooke – No, I haven’t cooked it. But if you try it, let me know how it turns out!

  13. 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. The Gracious Pantry says:

      KD – I’m sorry you didn’t care for it. ๐Ÿ™ If you really get desperate, you could always mix in another BBQ sauce. Bone Suckin’ Sauce is clean and it’s amazing stuff.

  14. 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. The Gracious Pantry says:

      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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      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.

  16. Enjoyed the BBQ until the next day, my family didn’t like the consistency. The sauce didn’t stay smooth, does anyone have a suggestion to keeping it smooth and also from separating??

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Nicole – Heat it up again and add some olive oil. That should smooth it out pretty well.

  17. I have to say, I have a son who is allergic to apple & “natural smoke flavor” & this is the FIRST BBQ sauce recipe I’ve found that doesn’t have either! I had given up on a safe BBQ sauce, because when I’ve tried just omitting the liquid smoke, it never actually tasted like BBQ sauce. I’ll definitely be trying this! Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Keira – Awesome!! I hope you enjoy it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Larry Sakun says:

    I have a BBQ recipe that calls for 4 C. brown sugar, I understand if you use molasses, the sauce will be thicker….

    How muck molasses should I use??????

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Larry – I had to look this one up. What I found was this: 1 cup Molasses. = 3/4 cup Brown Sugar (firmly packed) But I’m not sure if that much molasses is a good idea. I would maybe mix in a bit of real maple syrup to offset it a bit. Otherwise the flavor could be a little off.

  19. Leanne Dolan says:

    By unsoldered molasses, do you mean unsulphured? Thank you.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Leanne – Yes! Thank you for letting me know. It’s been fixed. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. What kind of oil do you use?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Holly – Any type you usually use. I’ve used olive, grapeseed… even coconut oil. Whatever you have handy is fine.