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Tomato Free BBQ Sauce

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This BBQ sauce is made without ketchup or tomatoes and is 100% delicious! Easy to make with simple ingredients. Use in all your favorite BBQ recipes. It’s sweet + tangy! 

No matter if you are allergic to tomatoes or avoiding nightshades, you will love how easy it is to make this tomato free BBQ sauce. It works in all your favorite cookout recipes including on chicken, ribs, on the grill, in the oven, and even as a dipping sauce. 

Free from: wheat, gluten, dairy, casein, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, fish, shellfish, crustaceans, mollusks, celery, corn, sesame, mustard (optional), lupin, sulfites, and more

jar of tomato free bbq sauce with a spoon dipping inside

Why you’ll love this recipe 

If you’ve never made BBQ sauce from scratch before you are missing out! It is so simple, quick, and easy to customize to your favorite flavors!

  • Free of nightshades and tomatoes 
  • Comes together in 20 minutes 
  • Use as a glaze for meats or tofu, toss shredded pork butt in this sauce, or use as a dipping sauce! 

Try it out on pizza for a fun twist! 

Tomato Free BBQ Sauce Ingredients

This recipe is really adaptable and customizable. Want more heat? Add more chili! Want less? Add none. For allergy substitutions, see below. 

  • Sweet Potato – This is the base of our sauce. It gives it body, flavor, and thickness. You can also make this with pumpkin puree if you would like to try that! I personally prefer the flavor of a sweet potato. 
  • Honey / Maple Syrup – Added for sweetness. Use whichever you have on hand or which you prefer. For an allergy friendly maple syrup, check out Anderson’s Maple Syrup. 
ingredients for tomato free bbq sauce in various glass bowls on the wood table

You’re also going to need:

  • Onion
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Molasses
  • Smoked paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, mustard powder, salt 

Substitutions 

If you are totally avoiding all nightshades, you will want to not use paprika or chili powder in this recipe. The smoked paprika was added for both heat and smoky flavor. You can substitute for a few drops of liquid smoke, an equal amount of cumin powder, or smoked tea (lapsang souchong). 

If you don’t have powdered mustard, feel free to use a teaspoon of yellow mustard. 

However, if you are allergic to mustard, you will want to omit the ingredient entirely. 

If you are vegan, use maple syrup in place of the honey. 

Instructions 

For the full recipe with measurements, please see the recipe card below. 

Start with your sweet potatoes. Peel them, cut them into large chunks, and place them in a pot of water to boil. Cook them on medium-high until the sweet potatoes are fork tender. Drain the water and mash the sweet potatoes. 

blending ingredients in the blender
sauce in a pot before cooking it down

In a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients, including the mashed sweet potatoes. 

Blend on medium-high until a smooth sauce is achieved. For me, this was on speed 6 for about a minute of blending. 

Transfer the sauce to a medium pot and place on a low heat. Cook this down for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom. The sauce will be done with a finger will leave a clear path on the back of a spoon. Just be careful as this is hot!

close up of a spoon dipped into the finished tomato free bbq sauce with a line through to show the thickness of the sauce

That’s it! The sauce is now done and ready to use. Transfer the sauce to an airtight container to keep it in the fridge, but make sure you let it cool down first. 

Top Tips for Tomato Free BBQ Sauce

  • Don’t overcook the sweet potatoes. Cook them until they are fork tender but no more. You don’t want them watered down. Remove them from the water as soon as they are cooked.
  • If you like a spicier BBQ Sauce, feel free to add as much red pepper flakes as you like! This recipe is just a general guideline for how spicy it is.
  • If you can’t use nightshades for spice, add cumin for a really nice smokey flavor!
baked bbq chicken with tomato free bbq sauce

How to Store 

Keep the cooled BBQ sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for 7 to 14 days. It won’t last as long as store-bought sauces because there are no preservatives in this sauce. 

More tomato free recipes

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close view of tomato free bbq sauce in a jar with a. spoon dipping in the sauce

Tomato Free BBQ Sauce

This BBQ sauce is made without ketchup or tomatoes and is 100% delicious! Easy to make with simple ingredients. Use in all your favorite BBQ recipes. It’s sweet + tangy!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: allergy friendly, sauce, tomato free
Allergen: Celery Free, Corn Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Fish / Shellfish Free, Peanut Free, Sesame Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Wheat Free
Yield: 8 servings
Calories: 103kcal

Equipment

  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • Sauce pot
  • blender or food processor
  • Storage jar
  • knife
  • cutting board

Ingredients

  • ½ yellow onion
  • 1 cup sweet potatoes cooked and mashed
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika see notes for alternatives
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder see notes for alternatives
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder see notes for alternatives
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup water

Instructions

  • In a medium sized pot on the stove, boil your peeled and roughly chopped sweet potatoes until fork tender. Drain the potatoes and mash lightly with a fork. Set aside.
  • In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients. Blend on medium-high speed for 1 minute or until the sauce is smooth.
  • Transfer the sauce to a sauce pot and cook down for 15 minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom.
  • Use sauce immediately or store in the fridge for 14 days. Use this BBQ sauce just as you would tomato based sauces. Can be baked, broiled, bbq’ed, or used as a dipping sauce. Enjoy!
  • Makes generous 2 cups of sauce

Notes

Substitutions
If you are totally avoiding all nightshades, you will want to not use paprika or chili powder in this recipe. The smoked paprika was added for both heat and smoky flavor. You can substitute for a few drops of liquid smoke, an equal amount of cumin powder, or smoked tea (lapsang souchong). 
If you don’t have powdered mustard, feel free to use a teaspoon of yellow mustard. 
However, if you are allergic to mustard, you will want to omit the ingredient entirely. 
If you are vegan, use maple syrup in place of the honey.
How to Store
Keep any leftover sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 14 days. 

Nutrition

Calories: 103kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 0.5g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Sodium: 165mg | Potassium: 210mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 2457IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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26 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    For some reason it wouldn’t let me select 5 stars! This recipe is delicious, my family loved it!!! It’s been hard to cook for our family, with myself avoiding gluten and processed grains, and my daughter avoiding dairy and tomatoes! Thanks so much for this, this opens up so many options!

  2. 4 stars
    DELISH – I have been searching for a tomato free bbq sauce for over a year and this is THE BEST!!! I am so pleased with how this turned out! I would lower the sweetness a bit next time, and instead of adding chili powder I would add extra paprika in its place.

  3. 4 stars
    Great recipe! Except I found it quite sweet, so next time I would add more apple cider vinegar. I like a little tang to my BBQ sauce. But I will definitely make again.

    1. So happy that you enjoyed the recipe! And can totally see it being on the sweet side so I’m glad you were able to easily adapt it for your tastes. Enjoy!

  4. 5 stars
    This is my go to sauce now! I can’t do tomatoes and this is really close to a tomato based sauce. My family enjoys it also. Thank you.

  5. Turned out delicious!
    Question about storing it in the refrigerator. In the instructions, it says it’s good for 7 days in the refrigerator. In the actual recipe, it says 1 month. I was wondering which was correct.

    1. I’m so happy that you liked this recipe! And good catch, let me fix that. A homemade BBQ sauce should stay fresh for 2 weeks in the fridge if it’s in an airtight container. I’ve found that mine taste great for 7 days in a mason jar but they are are good for about 2 weeks. Since there are no preservatives in them, I probably wouldn’t use them after that.

  6. I absolutely am going to try this but before I do. I am also allergic to onions. Would I be ok omitting it or would it change the taste too much?

    1. I think it should be okay to make without the onions since it is just a half an onion. Just make sure to give it a taste and if you are able to eat peppers, a roasted red pepper in this would be good. Let me know how it goes!

  7. Recently it was discovered that I need to avoid just about all nightshades so I have been on the hunt for a sauce to use when I grill. I found this recipe and decided to give it a try (I tried another recipe yesterday but I did not the the taste). I must say this is fantastic and it what I will be making in the future.

    1. Yes! BBQ sauces can be frozen in a freezer safe, airtight container for up to 3 months. The taste and texture shouldn’t really be changed by freezing. Allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge and give it a good stir before using.

  8. I made this! Phenomenal!! I avoid all nightshade so used liquid smoke.
    The only thing I did different is I added some rutabaga with the sweet potato. Sooo delicious!

    1. Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed this BBQ sauce. And I love the idea of adding some rutabaga in here. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hello there! Just plain white vinegar would be a good swap as it would provide some tang without the apples. It has slightly more acidity than ACV so I would start with half the amount and taste it. Orange juice would also be a good fit if you are able to eat oranges.

  9. 5 stars
    I am astounded how good this is! I followed the recipe except l added 1/2 top allspice. My daughter is allergic to garlic also, so l used elephant garlic. Make this sauce, you won’t be disappointed.

    1. I’m so happy to hear that you love this so much! Thank you so much for the review. That’s perfect that you were able to adapt the recipe to best suit your needs. So happy to read this and wishing you many happy recipes!

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