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Homemade BBQ Sauce without Ketchup

Homemade BBQ Sauce without Ketchup

Last Updated on 17th December 2021 by

If you ask most people what barbecue sauce is made out of, the first ingredient they list will likely be ketchup. However, you can make homemade BBQ sauce without ketchup and I’m going to show you how.

Most barbecue recipes for homemade sauce that doesn’t use ketchup will still use it tomato base. That’s essential to give barbecue sauce the proper flavor and look. Without that tomato base, it won’t really be barbecue sauce as you know it.

Why make a homemade BBQ sauce recipe without ketchup? What do you gain by leaving out the ketchup? Actually, the ketchup is one of the worst offenders when you’re trying to keep your meal healthy. It is packed with sugar and may have a bunch of preservatives as well, so it’s not a bad idea to leave it out if you’re trying to make your meal a little healthier. No one thinks of barbecue as a healthy meal, but you can make some small changes like leaving out the ketchup to make it a bit healthier.

So, this version of how to make homemade Texas BBQ sauce without ketchup is healthier than conventional barbecue sauce, but it still has that great barbecue flavor and look.

How to Make Homemade BBQ Sauce without Ketchup  

This recipe takes about 30 minutes to make and requires a handful of ingredients and no complicated cooking process. In other words, it’s not a big inconvenience to make your own homemade BB Q sauce, and I think you’ll be happy with the results. That’s especially true if you use fresh, high quality ingredients to make a high-quality BBQ sauce.

I would also recommend that you use homemade tomato sauce for the recipe rather than canned sauce. You will get a healthier BBQ sauce with controlled ingredients. You will be able to know exactly what’s going into the sauce and control just how healthy that is. It’ll probably taste better as well.

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How to Make Homemade BBQ Sauce without Ketchup


  • ¼ tsp of garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp of black pepper
  • ½ cup of blackstrap molasses (you can also use maple syrup)
  • ¼ tsp of onion powder
  • ½ tsp of sea salt
  • ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cup of tomato sauce


  • Combine all of your ingredients in a saucepan with a whisk. Heat on medium to high heat until your mixture boils.
  • Allow the sauce to continue boiling for one minute, then lower the heat and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Pour your sauce into a Mason jar for storage. Let it cool before sealing it and put it in into the fridge. After you open the jar, the sauce will last for about four weeks.

Experiment for Healthier Results

One of the advantages of making this easy homemade BBQ sauce without ketchup is that you can have barbecue sauce whenever you like. You don’t have to rely on the grocery store to have it in stock, which is a reason many people turn to recipes like this for help. They may be looking for BBQ sauce they can make at home when it’s not available nearby or when they don’t have any in their cupboard and don’t want to go out to purchase some.

For many people, it can be inconvenient to go to the grocery more than once a month. They may have no vehicle of their own or may live quite far from a local grocery. In cases like these, it makes sense to be able to know how to make your own sauces and other foods and not have to rely on the grocery for everything. You can often use items from your own kitchen and cupboard to make something rather than buy it pre-made.

Of course, another advantage to making BBQ sauce like this is that you can control how healthy it is and what kind of ingredients go into it. If you have an allergy, as some people are allergic to onion and garlic, you can control that by leaving those components out of the sauce.

If you’re making homemade BBQ sauce without ketchup instant pot version or on the stove, you can decide what goes in it what stays out. You can control the amount of sugar and other ingredients in it. Some people will substitute the molasses out for honey or maple syrup or whatever they have on hand. Artificial sweeteners can be used in the place of these natural sweeteners to control the sugar content and make the sauce healthier.

You can make homemade BBQ sauce with bacon and onions but without ketchup, adding and changing ingredients from the list as you see fit. There are so many great ways that you can modify this recipe to give it a different flavor. I love experimenting with my barbecue sauce and adding exotic seasonings to it to give it a different taste.

Honey barbecue is definitely a classic, but you can deviate from that to try something very different. I would definitely suggest trying spicy barbecue sauce, using pepper sauce, hot sauce, chili flakes, and other heat sources. You can also change up the flavor in subtle ways using something like cilantro or parsley give it an herb-infused flavor.

There are few different bases you can use as well, and you can deviate from the tomato base to use a vinegar or mustard based recipe if you like. You’ll get something very different that might be a big hit with you and your family.

I would suggest looking up a few regional barbecue styles as well, as different areas that country use different barbecue sauces, including the white barbecue sauce that Alabama is famous for. It’s a mayonnaise-based sauce with a unique look and flavor you’re not likely to find anywhere else, and it’s one of those sauces you can make at home if you like.

You can make a stronger, more pungent sauce using cider vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes. This Carolina barbecue sauce is very stripped back and very powerful.

If you prefer your barbecue sauce very sweet and you’re not too concerned about how healthy it is, you can try the Kansas City style sauce, which combines tomato base with a brown sugar or molasses as a sweetener. It’s supposed to be very sweet, using lots of sugar and making a rich sauce.

If you’re using barbecue sauce for basting your meat and you cook it on the grill, you definitely want to keep the sugar content low. This will keep the sauce from burning as the meat cooks, and you can’t really use a sweet barbecue sauce for smothering your meat with before it goes onto the grill. If you want to cook the sauce into the meat, make sure you use something that has very little to no sugar in it.

Here are a few ideas for barbecue sauces you can make without ketchup. You don’t even have to have tomato sauce as the base for some of these, and I hope this gives you some ideas you can use when you’re looking to make your own barbecue sauce at home with whatever you have on hand.

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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!

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