Naturally Sweetened Apricot BBQ Sauce

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Since it contains no sugar, this easy BBQ sauce is good for those watching their sugar intake and works for the Whole 30 diet. It’s great on burgers, pulled pork, pork chops, chicken or anywhere you want a little sweet and smoky.

Naturally Sweetened Apricot BBQ Sauce

While I confess that I love sugary things just as much as the next person, I’ve discovered the pleasant surprise that I can enjoy my favorite foods without the added sugar, which I know isn’t good for my health, if I’m honest with myself.

Over the last few years, I’ve figured how to sweeten family favorite recipes with fruit, honey, or maple syrup. Milk and Honey Cornbread, Mamabars, and Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes are all big hits at our house. And now, so is this BBQ sauce.

Yes, you can make delicious BBQ sauce that’s not loaded with sugar!

If you’ve ever read the ingredients on a bottle of BBQ sauce, you know that it can be pretty scary. That stuff, though often super cheap with a coupon, is rife with preservatives, high-fructose corn syrup, and a lot of non-food items.

Naturally Sweetened Apricot BBQ Sauce

I’ve got several yummy barbecue sauce recipes in my cookbooks; they each have a minimum amount of brown sugar. However, I wanted to make sure I made one that my mom and dad could eat. They’re still holding strong on the Whole 30, over 3 months after they started. They’ve both lost 20 pounds or more!

I tested this recipe first with pineapple juice, but that didn’t give it enough sweetness. I was running errands when the idea came to me: sweeten it with fruit-only jam! Yay!

As luck would have it, there was a fruit-sweetened Apricot jam at the store. Yum! If you don’t care about the sugar issue, feel free to use regular jam.

This sauce is delicious on burgers, pulled pork, pork chops, grilled chicken, anywhere you like to have a little sweet and smoky tomato sauce. The sauce is good in the fridge for about a week, so freeze it if the batch is too big for you to use it in that amount of time.

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5 Favorite Recipes for the BBQ |
Naturally Sweetened Apricot BBQ Sauce
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins
Since it contains no sugar, this easy BBQ sauce is good for those watching their sugar intake and works for the Whole 30 diet. It's great on burgers, pulled pork, pork chops, chicken or anywhere you want a little sweet and smoky.
Course: Sauces
Cuisine: American
Keyword: BBQ, BBQ Sauce
Servings: 12
Calories: 26 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion (about 1 cup chopped)
  • 15- ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam or preserves preferably naturally sweetened
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, and cook, stirring until tender, about five minutes.
  2. Add the tomato sauce, jam, chile powder, ginger, mustard, and cinnamon. Stir well and simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. For a smoother sauce, blend with an immersion blender until you have the texture you prefer.
  4. Serve as a condiment or brushing sauce for your favorite meats.
  5. To freeze, cool the sauce and pour it into small containers with lids. Chill completely and store in the freezer.
Recipe Notes

Nutritional values are approximate and are based on 1/4 cup of the recipe. Refrigerate leftovers promptly and use within 4 days.

Nutrition Facts
Naturally Sweetened Apricot BBQ Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 26 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 192mg8%
Potassium 137mg4%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 252IU5%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 8mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Jenni says

    I don’t often (or ever) have chipotle chili powder on hand. Would regular chili powder work? Or I have chipotle in adobo sauce sometimes. Would that work?

    Sounds yummy and perfect for summer as we are aiming for sugar free

  2. Cherie says


    Very timely and while fits in my new low carb menu list when used with reason – thanks!

  3. MH in OH says

    On the topic of sugar reduction – didn’t you post a chocolate cupcake sweetened with maple syrup a while back? You were trying to make brownies but it turned out more like a cupcake or vice versa? I’m not sure if it was on this blog or Life as Mom – and I wasn’t able to find it with a quick search. Please point me in the direction of that. Thank you!

  4. What type of onion would you recommend?

  5. Megan says

    Just made this for a BBQ chicken pizza. It is gooood! Nice kick from the chili powder, but not too much. Also like the smokiness that comes from the chipotle.

    • Megan says

      I ended up with 1 2/3 cups sauce rather than 3.

      • Good to know. That may be the result of differing stove performance. If you prefer you could cook it for a shorter time next time.

    • Glad you liked it!

  6. Dave says

    I made this once before and the whole family loved it, but for some reason now I’m not reading the recipe right. Does the recipe call for a 15 ounce can of tomato sauce, or one 5 ounce can of tomato sauce? I can’t really tell from the formatting. Thanks.

  7. Dave says

    Thanks. I made a double batch for a memorial day BBQ yesterday and everyone loved it with ribs.

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