a glass jar and white bowl filled with Easy BBQ Sauce

The Best Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

 This low sugar easy homemade BBQ Sauce recipe from Alison Needham is refined sugar-free, tangy, delicious – and sweetened with California Prunes!

a jar of California Prune BBQ Sauce with a basting brush on top

How to make BBQ Sauce from scratch

Sure, making homemade BBQ Sauce from scratch takes a little more effort than buying a bottle from the store – but it’s totally worth it. Here’s how to make this healthier sauce:

Heat oil on the stove, and add chopped onion and garlic. Stir until golden brown.

Add bourbon to the onions and garlic, let simmer for a few minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes.

See! That wasn’t too difficult!

How to use this healthier BBQ Sauce recipe

There are so many delicious ways to enjoy this healthier BBQ sauce! Here are a few of our favorites:

Use it to glaze meats on the grill

Use on a pizza

Make pulled chicken or pork

Stir into baked beans

Use as a dip for fries and nuggets

a jar of prune BBQ sauce
a spoon coated with Homemade California Prune BBQ Sauce

How long does Homemade BBQ Sauce last?

It will keep for up to a month in the refrigerator.

Is Homemade BBQ Sauce healthy?

This recipe is naturally sweetened, Paleo-friendly, with a gluten-free option!

Use this sauce to make Pulled Chicken Sandwiches!

We love a good timesaving hack. Alison uses her Instant Pot to whip up these Pulled Chicken Sandwiches in under an hour!

Pulled Chicken sandwiches topped with coleslaw on a plate with french fries
a glass jar and white bowl filled with Easy BBQ Sauce

Easy BBQ Sauce Recipe | Naturally Sweetened with California Prunes (Low Sugar + Paleo Friendly)

Alison Needham
Recipe by Alison Needham for California Prunes  This low sugar easy BBQ Sauce recipe is refined sugar-free, tangy, delicious – and sweetened with California Prunes! Use it to glaze meats on the grill, make pulled chicken or pork, stir into baked beans, or as a dip for fries and nuggets. It will keep for up to a month in the refrigerator. Naturally sweetened | Paleo-friendly | Gluten-free option 
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dip
Cuisine Quick & Easy
Servings 10
Calories 159 kcal


  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion about 1 medium onion
  • 4 medium cloves of garlic minced
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups prune purée
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce or coconut aminos
  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari or coconut aminos
  • 2 TBSP maple syrup
  • 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TBSP dijon mustard
  • 1 TBSP smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke optional


  • Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and saute, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and slightly golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the bourbon, and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the paste darkens slightly. Add the prune purée, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, paprika, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine.
  • Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cook for 30 minutes to incorporate the flavors. Stir in the liquid smoke, if using. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper if desired.


Makes 2 1/2 cups (about 600 ml)
Making prune purée is easy. Here’s a simple recipe.
16 ounces (450g) pitted prunes + 1/2 cup (120ml) hot water
Combine the prunes and water in a blender. Pulse to combine, then blend until a paste consistency forms, scraping the sides if necessary. Store the purée in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.


Calories: 159kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 2gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 623mgPotassium: 459mgFiber: 3gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 724IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Alison Needham, BBQ Sauce
Tried this recipe? Want to save it for later?Share it on social and tag @CAPrunes or #CAPrunes!

More delicious sauces + spreads starring California Prunes

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Naturally-Sweetened Teriyaki Sauce

This easy homemade Teriyaki Sauce recipe uses prune pureé in place of refined sugars. Keep a batch on hand to whip up delicious meals that you can feel good about serving to your family. Need some inspo? Be sure to check out our recipe for Chicken Teriyaki Bowls!

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Our friend Sarah from The Delicious Life created this Homemade Nutella that lower in fat AND refined sugar free. We’re completely smitten.

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Prune Marmalade

There are so many delicious ways to use prune marmalade. Add it to your favorite cheese board or use it as a filling for cupcakes, cakes or cookies. Use this sweet spread on top of pizzas, muffins, or bagels. It would also be a fabulous addition to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

a graze board with fruits, nuts, cheese and Prune Pinot Jam

Prune Pinot Jam

Our friend Sarah‘s Prune Pinot Jam is a delicious addition to a charcuterie board. It’s also an excellent way to upgrade your toast, porridge or bruschetta!

Did you try this recipe? Maybe you’ve got a favorite recipe using California Prunes that you’d like to share with us? Snap a pic and share it on social using #caprunes.

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