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How many times have you reached for the BBQ sauce only to catch a glimpse of the nutrition facts, gasp, and set the bottle back down in shock?

Most people on the keto diet know how difficult it is to find low carb or keto-friendly condiments to smother over your favorite dish. After all, with the majority of ketoers averaging 30 grams of net carbs per day (or less), who wants to waste those carbs on sauce?

Sit tight, because your prayers about about to be answered. The keto barbecue sauce recipe below takes just 5 minutes of prep time and 30 minutes of cook time, plus it contains just 2.2 grams of net carbs per serving.

How Do You Make Low Carb, Sugar-Free BBQ Sauce?

A leading brand of BBQ sauce bought from the store can weigh you down with 18 grams of total carbohydrates per serving — and a serving size is just 2 tablespoons. Even worse, it contains 16 grams of added sugar, zero fat, and zero protein[*]. Even most BBQ sauce recipes you find online are packed with sugar, adding molasses or honey in the recipes.


Store-bought BBQ sauce is commonly made from a combination of corn syrup, corn starch, molasses, and fruit juice — none of which are doing your waistline, or your attempt to enter ketosis, any favors.

Ingredients Used

By making homemade, keto BBQ sauce, you can avoid any unwanted, artificial ingredients. Plus, you can tweak the ingredients to make your concoction as spicy or tangy as you like. Some of the main ingredients in this sauce include:

  • Tomato sauce (not tomato paste)
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Hot sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Brown mustard
  • Spices, including onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, and cayenne powder
  • Liquid smoke

Where’s the Sugar?

You probably noticed there is no sugar in this recipe. That’s because sugar — even natural sugar like molasses, maple syrup, brown sugar, or honey — raises the carb count considerably. While keto-friendly sweeteners such as stevia and monk fruit work well for baking, some people complain of a distinct aftertaste, which wouldn’t quite work in a BBQ sauce.

Therefore, you’ll find this particular recipe has a distinct smoky flavor, rather than a sweet dipping sauce you may be accustomed to.

This sauce is easily customizable to your preferences without increasing the carb content. Looking for heat? Add a touch more hot sauce and cayenne pepper. Want your BBQ sauce a little more tangy? Add an extra dash of apple cider vinegar.

The Secret, Healthy Ingredient to Low Carb Barbecue Sauce: Apple Cider Vinegar

One ingredient you don’t see too often is apple cider vinegar. While it’s not commonly used, it should be — it’s a nutritional powerhouse. Apple cider vinegar has been shown to:

  1. Increase healthy weight loss
  2. Improve heart health
  3. Improve skin health

#1: Apple Cider Vinegar Can Help Aid Weight Loss

A study published by “Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry” showed just how effective consuming apple cider vinegar (ACV) is for weight loss. They took subjects that consumed two tablespoons of ACV a day over a 12-week period and saw that the individuals lost almost four pounds without any other lifestyle modifications[*].

#2: Apple Cider Vinegar Helps Keep Your Heart Healthy

ACV has been shown to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins) while also increasing “good” HDL cholesterol[*]. This helps the heart function properly since cholesterol can build up in the arteries and harden, making the heart work harder than it has to.

#3: Apple Cider Vinegar Can Help Improve Your Skin Health

Did you know that ACV contains important elements such as acetic acid, lactic acid, and citric acid? These different acids have all been shown to prevent the growth of certain bacterias known to cause acne[*]. Apple cider vinegar has been used as a home remedy for many skin ailments, helping to remove warts and skin tags, and reduce acne scars, wrinkles, and age spots.

Recipe Ideas for Your Keto BBQ Sauce

Looking for a few fun keto recipes to pair with your sauce? Here are three low carb recipe ideas to pair with your homemade condiment, all of which are gluten free and keto friendly.

BBQ Pulled Beef Sando

Smoky Keto BBQ Sauce: Pulled Beef Sando

Place a chuck roast in the slow cooker for 10–12 hours and you’ll have a delicious pulled beef sandwich. While this recipe calls for its own sauce, you can easily top it with your low carb BBQ sauce.

Spicy Korean BBQ Lettuce Wraps

Smoky Keto BBQ Sauce: Spicy Korean Lettuce Wraps

Forget the bun and grab a head of butter lettuce. In this recipe, you’ll take ground beef, onion, and ginger and roll it up in a wrap. By tweaking the recipe to swap in your low carb, American-style BBQ for the original sauce, you suddenly have not one, but two recipes.

Crispy Keto Chicken Tenders

Smoky Keto BBQ Sauce: Crispy Chicken Tenders

Why hunt on Amazon.com for a reduced sugar ketchup, when you can just dip these chicken tenders in your homemade BBQ sauce? This recipe for BBQ chicken tenders would be perfect for tailgating, or as an appetizer or kid-friendly meal.

Enjoy Keto Barbecue Sauce With All Your Favorite Dishes

Fire up the grill, light the smoker or pull the Crock-Pot off the shelf, because it’s time to whip up some of your favorite recipes. This keto-friendly sauce allows you to enjoy your best barbecue dishes, without the carbs or sugar.

If you’re planning an entire barbecue menu, check out the side dishes on this site for suggestions. You might enjoy cauliflower “mashed potatoes,” low carb creamed spinach, jalapeno poppers, or good ol’ french fries. You’ll soon have a low carb meal fit for your whole family.


Smoky Keto BBQ Sauce

keto bbq sauce

Most BBQ sauces are packed with sugar and carbs (up to 16 g for one serving!) This keto BBQ sauce allows you to enjoy your BBQ sauce without getting kicked out of ketosis.

  • Author: Sara Blackburn
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 oz
  • Category: Sides
  • Cuisine: American


  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp brown mustard
  • 1 tbsp monk fruit sweetener
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. To a small pot, add all ingredients.
  2. Over medium heat, bring sauce to a boil
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Store in refrigerator.


  • Serving Size: 1 oz
  • Calories: 25
  • Fat: 0.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 7.1g (Net Carbs: 4.9g)
  • Protein: 0.4g

Keywords: keto bbq sauce


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Responses (2)

  1. In your barbecue sauce, Where do the carbs come from the tomatoe sauce?
    Sounds good I plan to try it.

  2. Good BBQ sauce, definitely worth making again. Just as an FYI, though very small amount, the Worcester sauce does have molasses and “corn sweetners”.

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