Looking for a perfect sauce for your grilled meat or veggies? I’m sure this thick, flavorful, and deliciously smoky sauce will be one of your favorites — and not only because it needs just a mere 5 ingredients and 1 minute to prepare!
P.S. Don’t forget to check the tips for variations at the end of this post to tweak the recipe to your taste.
How to make the 1-Minute 5-Ingredient Smoky Keto BBQ Sauce
As the title suggests, making this sauce is super-easy: Just grab your ingredients, mix together, and that’s it! In case you have time, it’s a good idea to let the flavors mingle for a few hours — or even overnight in the fridge.
So, let’s take a look at how to prepare this scrummy sauce:
Take 1 cup (240 ml) keto-friendly ketchup. If you don’t have any, check my suggestions for substitutions at the end of the post (before the General Prattling section). This photo somehow doesn’t look very appetizing but believe me, the ketchup tastes good!
Add 1/4 cup (60 ml) erythritol-based brown sugar substitute like Sukrin Gold. Even it’s granular, it dissolves well.
Add also 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar…
…2 teaspoons smoked paprika…
…and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.
Use immediately — or for the best taste, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate a few hours or even overnight.
Transfer into a serving bowl.
So yummy with grilled meat or veggies!
How I came up with this super-easy keto sauce recipe
This week has been unbelievably busy with our Ketokamu soup tasting tour, so I needed a very simple and quick-to-make recipe for this week’s blog post. For that, I went through my idea list of the quickest recipes and found an idea for a simple keto BBQ sauce. Well, it was just an idea about an easy, smoky sauce — I hadn’t listed any ingredients.
I pondered over the needed ingredients and decided to use tomato sauce as a base. I thought I don’t need to cook it, anyway, as this easy keto ketchup recipe also uses tomato sauce and is not cooked. And the result is delicious!
In addition to tomato sauce, I needed sweetener as I was aiming at relatively sweet sauce. At first, I wanted to use Sukrin Gold Fiber Syrup, but to my surprise, I was running out of it. I didn’t have a single drop left in my pantry. I only had several bottles of Sukrin Clear Fiber Syrup — which they don’t even manufacture anymore!
However, I decided to use Sukrin Clear Syrup anyway in my first test because I was afraid my favorite brown sugar substitute, Sukrin Gold, wouldn’t dissolve well to uncooked, cold sauce. Sukrin Gold is granular, and I have terrible experiences using granular sweeteners in uncooked foods.
In addition, I needed something acidic. Good old apple cider vinegar sounded best. It has a mild, fruity flavor that suits basically with any savory dish. Talking about savory, I didn’t want to add any salt to this dish. On the other hand, a salty sauce like tamari might enhance the flavors, so I might add a dash later, I thought.
It took me a while to think of the perfect source to provide the smoky flavor to the sauce. At first, I thought of liquid smoke, but when I found a small container of smoked paprika from my pantry, I knew it would be just what I needed: in addition to round, smoky flavor, it would boost the other flavors in this sauce.
I was ready to conduct my first experiment. I took 1 cup (240 ml) tomato sauce, 1/4 cup (60 ml) Sukrin Clear Fiber Syrup, 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar, and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika. I whisked everything together and tasted. To my big disappointment, the flavor was pretty awful — the tomato sauce didn’t work at all! It also didn’t work for the consistency: the sauce was more of a liquid — or seasoned tomato juice — rather than a thick sauce that I had been hoping for.
I added 1 teaspoon tamari to make the result a tad saltier, but it didn’t rescue the sauce. Just the opposite, the taste turned out even worse!
I do have a ketchup recipe in my Low Sugar, So Simple book. It’s the best sugar-free ketchup I’ve tasted. Well, no wonder, I developed the recipe very carefully and have made several adjustments on the way. I also have commercial stevia-sweetened ketchup that I tend to give my son whenever I don’t have homemade sugar-free ketchup in my fridge.
After short thinking, I replaced the tomato sauce with sugar-free ketchup — and the Sukrin Clear Fiber Syrup with Sukrin Gold — even I was strongly doubting the granules will dissolve in the cold sauce. I also left out the tamari as it made the sauce taste horrible. And to increase the smokiness, I doubled the amount of smoked paprika.
To my big surprise, Sukrin Gold dissolved in the sauce in seconds! The taste was now completely different: delicious and flavorful, and the consistency was thick. Just what I had hoped!
However, there was still missing something from the taste. The sauce clearly needed a natural flavor enhancer. I added a pinch of my favorite natural flavor enhancer, onion powder, to a small amount of sauce. Well, that didn’t work at all! The taste was very peculiar.
I took a spoonful of the plain sauce and sprinkled some garlic powder on top. Now the taste was perfect! Garlic powder was the missing piece — it really perfected the flavors and worked as the best natural flavor enhancer.
Now, the sauce was everything I had hoped: thick, smoky, flavorful, and deliciously sweet — without being overly sweet. I ate it with grilled meat. And what a heavenly combo it was!
Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy:
- 1 cup = 240 ml keto-friendly ketchup
- 1/4 cup = 60 ml (1.5 oz = 45 g) Sukrin Gold brown sugar substitute
- 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well.
- Serve immediately, or for the best taste, cover an refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors mingle.
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Watkins Gourmet Spice, Organic Garlic Powder, 22.0 oz. Bottle, 1 Count (21808)
La Chinata Sweet Smoked Paprika Powder (2 Pack)
Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar With the Mother– USDA Certified Organic – Raw, Unfiltered All Natural Ingredients, 16 ounce, 2 Pack
Sukrin Gold - The Natural Brown Sugar Alternative - 1.1 lb Bag (4 Pack)
Low Sugar, So Simple: 100 Delicious Low-Sugar, Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Recipes for Eating Clean and Living Healthy
|Per 1/4 cup (60 ml)
(The Five-Ingredient Sugar-Free Ketchup from Low Sugar, So Simple book used in calculations.)
How to vary the recipe
The taste of this sauce is very mild — so it’s a very family-friendly sauce. If you prefer more piquant and hot flavors, feel free to add cayenne pepper or sugar-free hot sauce like Louisiana Hot Sauce. From chipotle, you’ll get both heat as well as more smokiness. Talking about smokiness, you can also add liquid smoke or completely replace the smoked paprika with liquid smoke.
Another way to make the sauce more “adult-friendly” is to add Bourbon. It lends a very special — yet a very fascinating flavor to this sauce. Add a dash and taste test — then add more if needed.
Even this simple version is extremely flavorful, feel free to add more seasonings if you like. Some good choices are cumin, dry mustard, coriander seeds, black pepper, white pepper, thyme, oregano, or regular paprika.
In case you cannot get decent sugar-free keto-friendly ketchup – that is, ketchup that has natural sweeteners like stevia and is very low in carbs – you can prepare this BBQ sauce using plain tomato sauce.
Now, you must be wondering why I recommend tomato sauce — you might remember when I told about my first sauce experiments earlier in this text that tomato sauce didn’t work at all. Well, that was because the tomato sauce was uncooked! The key to success is to cook the tomato sauce until thick and flavorful.
So, how to make this keto BBQ sauce to work with tomato sauce: Use 1 ½ cups (350 ml) tomato sauce for the recipe (the rest of the ingredients are the same as in the BBQ sauce recipe; check them from the recipe box above). Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring every 5 minutes, until the sauce is thick. This takes about 30 minutes.
Warning: the sauce may splatter when it thickens, so be careful! If it splatters, reduce the heat and cover the saucepan with a lid.
Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate in an airtight container.
We launched our Ketokamu soups “Kukkis” and “Parsis” in Ruohonjuuri stores on Tuesday (by the way, the product photos are taken by me). The success was so overwhelming that the soups were sold out in two days! We had our tasting tour in 8 different Ruohonjuuri stores. The feedback has been extremely positive — but unfortunately, we couldn’t sell soups because we were running out of them! Luckily, we had a few soups reserved for tasting so that at least people could taste what they were about.
The producer, Kasvis Galleria, will make bigger batches of Kukkis and Parsis in a couple of days, and we hope to get more soups to the stores at the end of next week. Our tasting tour will still continue some time.
Here are some photos of our Ketokamu Kukkis and Parsis tasting tour, first Markus and Olli, and then me:
Oh yes, as I’m totally in love with Greek food, I ordered some dried olives seasoned with thyme (they are unbelievably tasty!), high-quality olive oil, and sardines in olive oil from a Greek online food store. Besides, I ordered some mastic resin (or mastic gum) — those tiny boxes on top of the tahini jars. I’m planning to make a keto version of traditional Greek ice cream, kaimaki. By the way, that tahini I’m planning to use for sugar-free halva.
And I totally forgot to tell that the first sample of our chocolate-covered nuts and berries arrived last week. Foodin prepared some tests in their factory according to my recipes. The result was awesome, so we will bring these treats to the market on October.
Last but not least: my newest book, Järkevä ketoruokavalio (a Finnish book about a keto diet for the whole family), was launched this week. I also got my copies. Looks good!
Next week — if nothing unexpected happens — I will be in Greece writing my next book and some magazine articles. I hope to invent some delicious recipes, too!