Can I Have BBQ Sauce on Whole30?

One of the most common questions people have when starting the Whole30 program is whether they can have BBQ sauce. After all, BBQ sauce is a delicious and versatile condiment that adds flavor to many dishes. In this article, we will explore whether BBQ sauce is allowed on the Whole30 program and provide some alternatives for those who want to enjoy that tangy, smoky flavor while staying compliant.

What is Whole30?

If you’re not familiar with it, Whole30 is a 30-day program designed to reset your body and improve your relationship with food. It focuses on whole foods like meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats while eliminating added sugars, grains, dairy, legumes, and alcohol. The goal of Whole30 is to identify how certain foods may be affecting your health and well-being.

BBQ Sauce Ingredients

Traditional BBQ sauces often contain ingredients that are not allowed on the Whole30 program. These may include added sugars like corn syrup or molasses, grains like wheat or cornstarch used as thickeners, soy sauce containing gluten or soybean oil which are not permitted during the 30-day program.

Hidden Sugars

Many store-bought BBQ sauces contain hidden sugars like high fructose corn syrup or brown sugar. These ingredients can spike your blood sugar levels and lead to cravings during the Whole30 program.

Making Your Own Compliant BBQ Sauce

If you’re missing that tangy flavor of BBQ sauce during your Whole30 journey, fear not! You can make your own compliant version at home using simple ingredients.


  • Tomato paste: Use a sugar-free tomato paste as the base for your sauce.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Provides a tangy flavor without the need for added sugars.
  • Smoked paprika: Adds that signature smoky flavor to your BBQ sauce.
  • Garlic powder and onion powder: Enhance the overall taste of the sauce.
  • Coconut aminos: A soy-free alternative to soy sauce, providing a savory umami flavor.
  • Salt and pepper: Season to taste.

Note: Remember to double-check ingredient labels to ensure they are compliant with the Whole30 program. Some brands may add unwanted ingredients, so always read carefully.


  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.
  2. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld together.

Beyond BBQ Sauce

If making your own BBQ sauce isn’t your thing or you’re short on time, there are compliant options available in stores. Look for sauces that are labeled “Whole30 Approved” or check their ingredient list for compliance. Some brands have created delicious sauces made with natural ingredients that can satisfy your BBQ cravings while staying on track with Whole30.

In Conclusion

In general, most store-bought BBQ sauces are not compliant with the Whole30 program due to added sugars, grains, or soy-based ingredients. However, you can make your own compliant BBQ sauce at home using simple ingredients or seek out Whole30-approved options in stores.

Remember, the Whole30 program encourages you to focus on whole, unprocessed foods, so making your own sauce allows you to have full control over the ingredients used and ensures compliance with the program’s guidelines. Enjoy your flavorful creations while staying on track with your health goals!