Healthy Barbecue Sauce

Healthy Barbecue Sauce

With its sweet, smoky, salty, and sometimes tangy nuances, barbecue sauce can transform grilled chicken breast into a dish that dances on the taste buds.

But most bottled versions are loaded with added sugars — some with 12 to 16 grams of sugar per two-tablespoon serving.

If making your own sauce seems fussy, it’s really not. Simply add the ingredients into a pot and simmer for less than 40 minutes while you do your other weekly meal prep.

While it’s not as quick as pulling a bottle off a grocery store shelf, this homemade, healthier sauce provides the smoky-sweet flavor you crave with less sugar.

Try it on this BBQ Chicken Flatbread Pizza or these Barbecue Chicken Baked Sweet Potatoes!

4.22 from 28 votes

Healthy Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue sauce can transform a bland piece of grilled chicken breast, but most bottled versions are loaded with added sugars. Get a healthier recipe.
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Keyword barbecue
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 38 mins
Total Time 53 mins
Servings 12 servings, 2 Tbsp. each
Calories 78 kcal
Author BODi


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • tsp. ground chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. ground paprika
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup ketchup, reduced-sugar
  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • tsp. liquid smoke (optional)


  1. Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
  3. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  4. Add chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  5. Add ketchup, honey, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke (if desired); cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
Nutrition Facts
Healthy Barbecue Sauce
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 78 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Sodium 435mg19%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Sugar 10g11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


• Look for ketchup that has an ingredient list that does not contain artificial sweeteners, additives, or preservatives. There are many brands on the market that are sweetened with small amounts of natural sugar, honey, or maple syrup.
• This barbecue sauce is best when made a day before using. It allows the flavors to meld together.

Container Equivalents
1 Yellow

2B Mindset Plate It!
An accessory that can be added to any meal.

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