May 22, 2024
Learn all about gluten-free barbecue sauce and its implications for people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Discover the best store-bought and homemade options available in the market and get creative tips on hosting a gluten-free barbecue during summer.


Gluten intolerance and celiac disease have become more prevalent in recent years, and it is estimated that around 1% of the global population has celiac disease. People with celiac disease have to adopt a strict gluten-free diet to manage the disease, and individuals with gluten intolerance may experience discomfort, bloating, and other symptoms when they consume gluten.

Choosing gluten-free options is essential for these individuals, and it can be particularly challenging when it comes to barbecue sauce. Hence, it is important to understand whether barbecue sauces contain gluten, what the health implications of consuming gluten are, and where to find safe and delicious gluten-free options.

The Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Barbecue Sauces

Gluten-free barbecue sauces are those that do not contain wheat, rye, or barley, which are the primary sources of gluten. Instead, they use alternative sources of thickeners and flavoring agents that do not contain gluten. Choosing gluten-free barbecue sauce is important as the traditional barbecue sauces use a variety of additives and thickeners to enhance their texture and taste, and some of these thickeners contain gluten.

A number of gluten-free barbecue sauces are available in the market that cater to different dietary needs and preferences. Some of the best gluten-free barbecue sauce options include:

  • Stubbs Original BBQ Sauce
  • Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce
  • Primal Kitchen Classic BBQ Sauce
  • Organicville BBQ Sauce
  • Heinz BBQ Sauce

Each of these brands has a unique taste profile and ingredients that make it stand out from the rest. For instance, Stubbs Original BBQ Sauce is gluten-free, vegan, and does not contain any high-fructose corn syrup. Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce is low on gluten, cholesterol, and fat, and contains natural flavors and spices that pack a punch.

Gluten-Free Barbecue Sauce and Your Health

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, and it affects the digestive system of people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Gluten triggers an immune response in the body, leading to an attack on the small intestine’s lining and causing inflammation and discomfort. Long-term gluten consumption can lead to nutrient deficiencies, anemia, and osteoporosis, among other health conditions.

Individuals with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity need to avoid consuming gluten to manage their condition. Using gluten-free barbecue sauce can be a smart choice as it helps prevent exposure to gluten and allows such individuals to enjoy their meals with peace of mind.

Homemade Gluten-Free Barbecue Sauce Recipe

While store-bought gluten-free barbecue sauces are convenient, many individuals prefer to make their sauces at home as it allows them to customize the ingredients and flavors to their preferences.

Here is a step-by-step recipe for making delicious, safe, and gluten-free barbecue sauce at home.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes until soft.
  3. Add paprika and chili powder and stir well.
  4. Add ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, and black pepper, and stir to combine.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove the sauce from heat and let it cool.
  7. Transfer the cooled sauce to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week.

This recipe is gluten-free and contains natural thickeners and flavoring agents that mimic the taste of traditional barbecue sauces.

Is My Barbecue Sauce Gluten-Free? The Truth About Store-Bought Sauces

While many store-bought barbecue sauces are gluten-free, it is essential to read the label carefully to ensure that the product is safe for consumption. Some of the ingredients in barbecue sauce that may contain gluten include modified food starch, caramel color, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, maltodextrin, and soy sauce.

One easy way to identify gluten-free barbecue sauce is to look for the gluten-free certification label on the packaging. This label indicates that the product has been tested and certified to be gluten-free by an independent agency. However, not all brands may have this certification. In such cases, you need to look for the ingredient list and avoid any sauces that contain gluten sources.

Popular brands that offer gluten-free barbecue sauce options include Heinz, Stubbs, and Sweet Baby Ray’s. Heinz offers a range of gluten-free sauces, including its classic barbecue sauce, Kansas City-style sweet and smoky barbecue sauce, and Carolina Mustard Style BBQ sauce. Stubbs Original BBQ sauce, Sticky Sweet BBQ sauce, and Hickory Bourbon BBQ sauce are all gluten-free, vegan, and do not contain high-fructose corn syrup. Sweet Baby Ray’s offers a wide range of gluten-free options, including its original sauce, honey barbecue sauce, and hot sauce.

Gluten-Free Barbecue: Enjoying the Summer Season without the Worry

Hosting a gluten-free barbecue is easier than you might think. To ensure that all your guests can enjoy the food without the worry of gluten intake, you can opt for gluten-free rolls, sauces, and marinades. You can also offer various meat, vegetable, and fruit options that are inherently gluten-free, such as grilled corn, kebabs, and salads.

Creative ways to make traditional barbecue dishes gluten-free include using gluten-free flour to make battered fried chicken, replacing breadcrumbs with almond flour or cornmeal in meatballs, and using gluten-free pasta in pasta salads.

It is crucial to label the dishes and sauces to indicate whether they are gluten-free or not and ensure that serving utensils do not mix with those used for non-gluten-free dishes.


A gluten-free diet is essential for people with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Barbecue sauce is a staple in outdoor cooking, and it is important to choose gluten-free options that avoid exposure to gluten and allow individuals to enjoy their meals with peace of mind. Store-bought gluten-free barbecue sauces and homemade options can help cater to different preferences and dietary needs. By following these tips, hosting a gluten-free summer barbecue can be a breeze.

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