Homemade Low Sodium BBQ Sauce with Brown Sugar

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Homemade Low Sodium BBQ Sauce is the sweet and tangy condiment you need this summer. It’s easy to prepare, and with only 31 mg sodium per ¼ cup, you’ll want to slather it on everything!

low sodium bbq sauce in a white bowl and a glass jar

What’s the best way to enjoy a flavorful BBQ sauce and stay within your daily sodium limits? Skip the store-bought versions and make your own! It’s surprisingly easy and deceptively delicious. Taking control of your sodium intake is a bonus! 

Store-bought BBQ sauces can be extremely high in sodium. Kraft Original Slow Simmered Barbecue Sauce contains 350 mg per 2 tablespoon serving, and Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce 290 mg sodium per 2 tablespoon serving. 

This sauce gives you a low sodium option with all the flavor of a purchased sauce and the ability to tailor it to suit your tastes. Try it once, and you’ll be hooked!


Here’s what you need to make this recipe.

ingredients for homemade low sodium bbq sauce with brown sugar

No Salt Added Ketchup – You’ll need one 14-oz bottle of no salt added ketchup. It is available in most grocery stores, next to regular ketchup.

No Salt Added Tomato Sauce – Use a store-bought version, check the label to ensure it’s the no salt added variety, or make a batch of my Easy Low Sodium Tomato Sauce.

Onion: Onion is an aromatic, an ingredient used to add aroma and flavor to a dish. It takes a few minutes to chop, but the levels of flavor it adds make it well worth it.

Garlic: Garlic is also an aromatic in its own right. Pairing it with chopped onion makes it more delicious.

Apple Cider Vinegar: Vinegar gives this sauce its terrific tang, which perfectly balances the sweetness of the brown sugar. 

Brown Sugar: Brown sugar is my favorite way to add sweetness to this sauce. You can replace it with honey if you prefer.

Chili Powder: Chili powder adds a delicious spiciness to the sauce without the heat. Make sure your chili powder is sodium free.

Salt-Free Seasoning: Use your favorite salt-free seasoning to add layers of flavor to the sauce.

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – I use just a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes for a hint of heat. Add more for a spicier sauce.

Liquid Smoke: Liquid Smoke is available in most grocery stores. It gives the sauce the smoky bbq flavor we love.


Medium Pot

Wooden Spoon

Immersion Blender or Blender

homemade low sodium bbq sauce in a clear glass jar

How to Make Homemade Low Sodium BBQ Sauce 

This sauce comes together quickly in a few simple steps. 

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium pot over medium-high heat. 
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat until the sauce simmers. Cook, stirring occasionally to keep the sauce from sticking and burning, for 20-25 minutes. 
  3. Blend sauce to desired smoothness.
process shots of making homemade low sodium bbq sauce with brown sugar

Variations on a Delicious Theme

Creating your own homemade BBQ sauce to suit your tastes is easy. I love-love-love a sweet and tangy sauce, but if you prefer a savory sauce with less tang, use less sugar and vinegar. Try using half the amounts listed in the recipe to start and adjust as needed to please your palate. 

If you love spicy, increase the crushed red pepper or add a minced jalapeno pepper to the pot with the onions. Ground chipotle chili peppers or a chopped chipotle in adobo will also add delicious heat to your sauce. 

Liquid Smoke gives this sauce a smoky depth, but add a teaspoon or two of smoked paprika for even smokiness.

overhead shot of jar of bbq sauce with spoonful on top

BBQ Sauce FAQs

How much sodium is in this BBQ sauce?

This recipe contains 31 mg sodium per ¼ cup.

How do I store this sauce?

If you’re not using the sauce immediately, let it cool to room temperature. Pour the cooled sauce into an airtight container and store it in the fridge.

How long will this sauce last?

This sauce will last up to two weeks if stored properly in an airtight container in the fridge.

bbq sauce in a small, white bowl with pastry brush

More Tasty Recipes From Scratch

If you haven’t found your favorite salt-free seasoning, let me introduce you to my All Purpose Salt Free Seasoning Blend. You’ll want to sprinkle it on everything!

spice mix in measuring spoon, small bowl

Did You Make this Recipe?

Let me know how much you loved the recipe by leaving a rating or comment. Share a picture of this recipe on Facebook or Instagram with #SaltSanity. Watch the web story here.

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  1. Low Sodium Dairy Free Coleslaw – Salt Sanity
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