Homemade BBQ sauce from tomatoes

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This tasty BBQ sauce is sweet, tangy, and entirely homemade! That means that you get to control exactly what goes into it. This recipe for BBQ sauce is made from fresh tomatoes, onion, and garlic rather than processed foods like ketchup or tomato sauce. That means that you do not have to worry about sneaky added sugars and sodium. 

This recipe is gluten free and calls for gluten free tamari rather than soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce. If you do not have a gluten allergy you could also use regular soy sauce. This BBQ sauce recipe is gluten free, egg free, dairy free, and vegan friendly. 

Fully cooked homemade BBQ sauce made from fresh tomatoes.

How do you make BBQ sauce from scratch without ketchup?

How do you make BBQ sauce from scratch without ketchup? BBQ sauce is a tomato based sauce. Many BBQ sauce recipes use ketchup as a base. The problem with this is that ketchup contains a lot of added sugars and sodium. If you do not want to use ketchup you can also use tomato paste or fresh tomatoes as a base for your BBQ sauce. 

In this recipe fresh tomatoes are used rather than ketchup. The tomatoes are combined with fresh garlic and onion to give the BBQ sauce a little extra flavor. 

Tomatoes, garlic, and onion roasting to make homemade BBQ sauce.

What are the main ingredients in BBQ sauce?

What are the main ingredients in BBQ sauce? Here are some of the most common ingredients that appear in BBQ sauce recipes. 

  • Tomatoes. BBQ sauce is a tomato based sauce so a tomato product such as ketchup, tomato sauce, tomato paste, or fresh tomatoes will be a main ingredient in most BBQ sauce recipes. 
  • Vinegar. Vinegar is another common ingredient that is added to BBQ sauce. Vinegar gives the BBQ sauce its characteristic tangy flavor. Apple cider vinegar is most commonly used but other types of vinegar can be used as well.  
  • Sugar. Most recipes for BBQ sauce contain some form of sugar. Different recipes for BBQ sauce use different types of sugar but the most common sugar products that are used in BBQ sauce are brown sugar, honey, and molasses. Molasses is often added to give BBQ sauce a rich, caramel-like flavor.
  • Mustard. Mustard is added to BBQ sauce to give it a little extra flavor. Grainy brown mustard is the most common type of mustard that is used in BBQ sauce.
  • Worcestershire sauce. Worcestershire sauce is another common ingredient in BBQ sauce. We do not use Worcestershire sauce in this recipe because most brands of Worcestershire sauce are not gluten free or vegetarian. Instead we add a little extra gluten free tamari to our BBQ sauce. 

Is BBQ sauce vegetarian?

Is BBQ sauce vegetarian? It may surprise you to hear that you cannot assume BBQ sauce is vegetarian. This is because BBQ sauce is usually made with Worcestershire sauce. Worcestershire sauce is not usually vegetarian because it is made with anchovies. This recipe for BBQ sauce is made with tamari or soy sauce rather than Worcestershire sauce so it is vegetarian and even vegan friendly. 

Uncooked but blended homemade BBQ sauce.

Is BBQ sauce gluten free?

Is BBQ sauce gluten free? This is important to know if you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. You cannot assume that BBQ sauce is gluten free. This is because BBQ sauce is often made with Worcestershire sauce. Worcestershire is usually made with malt vinegars that contain gluten. This recipe for BBQ sauce is made with gluten free tamari rather than Worcestershire sauce so it is gluten free. 

Can you freeze homemade BBQ sauce?

Can you freeze homemade BBQ sauce? Yes, you can freeze homemade BBQ sauce. In fact, homemade BBQ sauce freezes rather well. If you want to freeze homemade BBQ sauce you should wait for the sauce to cool then pour the sauce into a freezer bag or freezer safe storage container. Homemade BBQ sauce will last up to 3 months in the freezer. 

Homemade BBQ sauce from tomatoes

This sweet and tangy BBQ sauce is made from fresh tomatoes! This recipe makes a small batch of BBQ sauce that is suitable for one pizza or as a dipping sauce for one meal. This recipe can easily be scaled up by doubling or tripling the recipe.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Lactose, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: dairy free, egg free, gluten free, nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 2 2/3 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 2/3 medium sized onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp gluten free tamari
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 tsp molasses (sub honey)
  • 2 tsp grainy brown mustard
  • 2 tsp hot sauce
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 dash liquid smoke (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat your broiler on high.
  • Remove the garlic skin and chop the onion into 3-4 pieces.
  • Broil the tomatoes, onions, and garlic on high for 8-10 minutes. You should let the veggies get a nice char on them to add a smoky flavor.
    You should put the garlic right next to a few tomatoes so that the juices of the tomatoes seep into the garlic. This will help prevent the garlic from burning.
  • Let the veggies cool for a few minutes and blend all of the ingredients on high for 3-4 minutes. You should blend the mixture for longer than you think you need to so that the tomato skins break down.
    If you want to cool the veggies quickly you can toss them in the freezer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Simmer the sauce over medium low to medium heat for 15-20 minutes to thicken the sauce and cook the sugars.
    If you are making a double or triple batch of BBQ sauce you might need to let the sauce cook a little longer. Cook the sauce until it is a thick consistency.

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  • Cherry tomatoes. We recommend using cherry tomatoes to make BBQ sauce if possible. Cherry tomatoes generally have a bolder, sweeter flavor than other types of tomatoes. If you do not have cherry tomatoes or if cherry tomatoes are too expensive then you can use other types of tomatoes. If you use another type of tomato then you should cut the tomatoes in half or quarter them before you broil them. 
  • Molasses. If you do not have molasses you can substitute the molasses with equal parts honey. 
  • Apple cider vinegar. You can use another type of vinegar if you do not have apple cider vinegar. Many types of vinegar will work but you should avoid thick, syrupy vinegars with strong flavors such as balsamic vinegar. Red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, and white vinegar are all good options. 
  • Grainy brown mustard. You can use other types of mustard in your BBQ sauce if you do not have a grainy brown mustard. Brown mustards with strong flavors work best, but any type of mustard will work in a pinch. 
  • Liquid smoke. If you have liquid smoke you can add a pinch to give the BBQ sauce a nice smoky flavor. If you do not have liquid smoke you can also add another smokey spice such as smoked paprika or chipotle chili powder.  
  • Gluten free tamari. If you do not have a gluten intolerance you can use regular soy sauce in this recipe. 

Recipes that use BBQ sauce


Cooked gluten free Hawaiian pizza with bbq sauce, pineapple, jalapeño, and red onion.

We love to use homemade BBQ sauce on this recipe for vegetarian Hawaiian pizza. The sweet, tangy BBQ sauce complements the sweet pineapple and spicy jalapeño. 


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