Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Homemade Chipotle Barbecue Sauce (soy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free)

Just in time for summer BBQs comes an easy recipe for homemade barbecue sauce! It is sweet and tangy with a nice kick from the chipotle chili powder.

I don't shop around much for barbecue sauce and therefore am not on the up-and-up with ingredients and allergens commonly found in sauces. I have no doubt though that many BBQ sauces contain soy sauce and therefore wheat, many recipes probably contain large amounts of cane sugar, and some contain other types of processed ingredients that most of us would like to avoid.

Here I use a combination of organic strained tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and olive oil. Along with a bit of onions, garlic, and chipotle, this sauce is mighty tasty and very easy to make!

Use this sauce to marinate chicken, fish, tofu, or tempeh (if you tolerate soy). It can also be used to top cooked beans or whole grains (this is how Tom uses it). If you have any ideas on how you like to use BBQ sauce then let us know. Enjoy! :)

Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

I use organic strained tomatoes from the company, Bionaturae. I like this product because it comes in a glass container thereby eliminating the use of the BPA-lined cans so often used for tomato products. For more of a smoked flavor try adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika to the sauce. Store any unused sauce in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 10 days or freeze for longer storage.

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
6 to 8 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
one 24-ounce jar strained tomatoes
1/2 cup grade B maple syrup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
2 teaspoons Herbamare or sea salt
1 to 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder (I use 2 teaspoons)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat a 3-quart pot over medium heat. Add olive oil and let it heat up for a minute before adding the onions. Sauté onions in the oil for about 10 minutes, or until they are very soft and golden brown. Add garlic and sauté a minute more.

Next add the remaining ingredients, stir, cover and simmer on medium-low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and transfer sauce to a blender and blend until smooth. If you would like a thinner sauce then add a little water. Taste and adjust salt and seasonings to your liking.

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Thanks Ali!

    I was just searching for an "everything free" barbecue sauce recipe and then you posted this. I will try it with chicken breasts on the grill tomorrow evening.

  2. That looks awesome, Ali! I love all the ingredients ... blackstrap molasses is an especially good one! I think I'd keep a small amount in the refrigerator and freeze the rest (or maybe divide it into a couple of small jars for freezing--we don't use a lot of barbecue sauce at once).

    Thanks! :-)

  3. Ali!! Wow! I cannot WAIT to try this :-)
    I love condiments but usually (ok, never) eat them because they are full of junk. This sounds soo yumm!
    Any ideas for what I could replace the blackstrap molasses with? I would love to use it-- but since it's from cane sugar, and I am allergic to that, I can't.
    Hope you are well! Thanks for the new recipe, I am printing this one :)

  4. ForTheLoveofFood - I bet this sauce would be good on chicken breasts; you could probably marinate them for hours in the sauce before grilling. Happy Cooking! :)

    Shirley - I think freezing the sauce is a great idea. I thought I might do that with some of ours, but Tom has been putting it over everything and so I don't think it will last long here (tonight he drizzled some of it over mung beans, quinoa, and greens from our garden - I know it sounds interesting - don't ask). :)

    CoconutGal - Hmm, I think I would just omit the molasses and add an extra tablespoon of maple syrup. This recipe is so easy to make, I am sure you will enjoy it! Thanks.

    -Ali :)

  5. As a native son of the south, I love my BBQ sauces. :)

    And I especially like discovering different sauce recipes.

    Can't wait to try this one.

  6. I wonder, could you freeze this like baby food, in ice cube trays? Then you could drop a few cubes in a container with whatever you want to marinate, let it thaw, and voila! Done!

  7. We love BBQ sauce in the summer on grilled chicken breasts, this looks great - Father's day will be a feast of your latest recipes! Yumm!! Can't wait to try them all!!

  8. Dear Ali,

    My husband has about 5 different brands of BBQ sauce in the fridge right now. I call him a BBQ sauce connoisseur! Maybe I will make your sauce for Father's day and surprise him with a new variety. I'll let you know how it goes over.

  9. Reginald - Enjoy the sauce!

    Ella's Mom - What a great idea you had to freeze the sauce in ice cube trays. It would be so easy to pop a few cubes out in the morning and toss with whatever you want to marinate. Great idea, thanks for sharing!

    Deb - Gee thanks; hope you all have a fantastic Father's day!

    Joyce - I hope your BBQ sauce-loving husband like this one! I found the flavor was even better the second day - so you may want to make this on Saturday to use for Sunday. Let me know what he thinks. :)

    -Ali :)

  10. I am so, so excited for this recipe! I just copied and pasted it into a word doc and am printing it now. I can already see that it is a good recipe. Need to go to the store today to pick up ingredients.

    Smoked paprika is one of my most adored spices. It adds a layer of smoky flavors without the use of liquid smoke. I think you are right on to add it in addition to the chipotle.

    Thanks for the recipes, I am enjoying opening my email and finding them!

  11. Tom and Ali,

    We made this sauce for dinner tonight and used it as a dipping sauce for chicken nuggets. I used your nugget recipe in the cookbook but changed it up a bit with the suggestions you gave in the breading blog post. I didn't add the smoked paprika, never used that before. I served them with steamed broccoli and your gluten-free biscuits. It was a great meal thanks to you!
    I just kept my laptop open on the counter with your recipe up, though I may print this out now and slip it into the cookbook.
    Thanks! Lisa in NY

  12. L - Thanks for your comment, hope you enjoy the sauce! :)

    Lisa - Thanks, glad your dinner was such a hit! I bet this would be good as a dipping sauce, I don't know why I didn't think of that before! I am glad you shared this with us! :)

    -Ali :)

  13. Could this sauce be preserved in Mason jars? I'd like to make a big batch of it and store it in the pantry for whenever we need it. Or does it have to be kept in the fridge?

  14. Susan - Since I am not an expert canner by any means I don't feel I can answer your question. Freezing is always an option. :)

  15. dear ali & tom,

    today i made the bbq sauce, just added a hint of vanilla and i absolutely adore this recipe! thank you so much for this blog, i am looking forward to getting you book!

    best regards from germany


  16. Hi Ali I love your blog and have your book and every recipe has been delicious. Do you know how long this would keep in the fridge once prepared? thanks. Jen

  17. I eat different than the rest of my family, I'm looking forward to trying this as the sauce in my Veggie Bowls, to have a new taste. (veggie bowls are just brown rice or quinoa with sauted veggies and a sauce) I think I'll use southwestern type veggies,onions, tomatoes, peppers,.... to go with this sauce. I know it's going to be good.

  18. Wow, this is just about what I was looking at using for mine! - Tomato paste from Muir Glenn is BPA free. I will add some mustard to the mix, cumin, oregano, basil, garlic powder,to flavor (thanks for the smoked paprika hint!!)

    I tried to fix the Kraft crap we had and it was hard to stop eating that (GMO corn syrup as main ingredient!)Can't wait to try this fresh.

  19. Ali,
    I am not a fan of typical bottled bbq sauces. I made this sauce and I was suprised at how simple it was to make and how absolutely delicious it is!

    Thank you for sharing!

  20. This sauce was delicious! Thank you!


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)