Saturday, December 2, 2023
HomeHealthy Eating15+ Gluten-Free Sauce Recipes (BBQ, Pasta & More!)

15+ Gluten-Free Sauce Recipes (BBQ, Pasta & More!)

One of the trickiest parts of eating a gluten-free diet is that it eliminates using many pre-made, store-bought dressings, pasta sauces, and condiments. Luckily, I’ve compiled a list of 12+ gluten-free sauce recipes–including BBQ sauce, gravy, spaghetti sauce, enchilada sauce, and more–that you can quickly and easily whip up at home. Plus, I’m sharing some of my favorite ready-made jarred gluten-free sauce options to make dinner even quicker.

For those of you who are familiar with my book that chronicles my experience with autoimmune disease, you know that adopting a gluten-free diet (over ten years ago!) was one of the first and most profound changes I’ve made in the name of health.

Since 2011, I’ve oscillated from an open relationship with gluten—occasionally getting frisky with a pie of thin-crust pizza—to a strict, celiac-style breakup and have learned so much about food preparation in the process.

spoon holding gluten-free miso paste

I’ve discovered how to decipher red flag words on restaurant menus, which gluten-free pasta brands taste like the real deal and what which will disintegrate right into your pasta water, and more importantly, how to cook gluten-free pasta to avoid that mess. But the biggest learning curve has been with gluten free sauces and condiment recipes, both store bought and the ones (like gluten free gravy for the holidays) that I’m more likely to make at home.

Now that I’ve made cooking gluten-free a central part of my work as a culinary instructor and chef, I wanted to put together all the information and resources I wished I’d had when I first took the plunge. It’s certainly a very different landscape for dietary restrictions than it was almost a decade ago. But that’s not to say that going gluten-free is without its challenges.

You can read my full dispatch on gluten-free living on Mind Body Green here. But I also wanted to shine a spotlight on the best gluten-free sauces to have in your arsenal that will make cooking quick weeknight gluten-free or low FODMAP dinners a breeze.

blender pouring gluten-free enchilada sauce on a pan of enchiladas

The biggest learning curve when I first went gluten-free was trying to navigate all the condiments that were now a landmine for wheat additives. The basic béchamels of the world were easy to spot when compared with a pulled pork taco that might have ½ a cup of non-gluten-free barbecue sauce thrown in there.

Over the years I’ve gotten a lot better at asking questions at restaurants and reading the ingredient labels at stores before buying products. But more importantly, I’ve started making a lot of these gluten-free sauces at home.

ribs on a sheet pan with gluten-free BBQ sauce on top

I’ve put together some of my favorite easy gluten-free condiment recipes like gluten-free tomato sauce, gluten-free BBQ sauce (and more!) and also the best store bought gluten-free sauce brands to buy if you’re looking to cut some corners (no judgement!).

Especially if you venture to a friend’s backyard, it helps to have a basic knowledge of which brands are safe to put on your hot dog and also the sauces to watch out for if they’re not homemade.

With health and hedonism,



condiments on a shelf at the supermarket

Is ketchup gluten free?

Ketchup is what my friend refers to as a “primary condiment.” Like mustard and mayonnaise, ketchup tends to be the base for many other sauces and condiments. Luckily, like those other two, most commercially made Ketchup brands are gluten-free, including the classic Heinz!

How about BBQ Sauce?

Unfortunately, though ketchup is the main ingredient for many barbecue sauces, they are not guaranteed to be gluten-free. Make sure to check for a gluten-free certification on the bottle, and when evaluating a BBQ sauce’s ingredient list, scan for red flag ingredients like malt vinegar, soy sauce, and worcestershire sauce — all of which are not usually gluten-free (more on those below).

My favorite brands of gluten-free BBQ sauce are Stubbs (for a classic smoky sweet flavor) and Primal Kitchen for something unsweetened, which is one of my favorites for topping gluten-free pizza crusts!

Pizza crust on sheet pan with gluten-free spaghetti sauce and spoon

Is soy sauce gluten free?

Soy sauce is a tricky one. It used to be brewed from pure soy, but in the industrial era has become made in part from wheat. Some types of soy sauce like tamari tend to be gluten-free and taste almost identical (tamari is a little darker and richer). Still, make sure your tamari says gluten-free on the bottle.

Some of my favorite gluten-free soy sauce brands are La Choy (naturally gluten-free), Kikkoman (look for GF specified label) and San-J tamari products.

Is horseradish gluten free?

Most horseradish and wasabi (which is usually made with horseradish) tends to be gluten-free as it’s a combination of water, vinegar and the root. Just double check to make sure there’s no malt vinegar used if you’re celiac.

My favorite brand of horseradish is Bubby’s.

Is worcestershire sauce gluten free?

If you can’t tell by now, malt vinegar is a big no no ingredient in many condiments, including worcestershire sauce, which uses it as the base. However, many brands are not changing their recipe to be celiac-friendly, including the most famous producer Lea & Perrins, who changed their US based products to be made without malt vinegar. You still need to be careful in the UK, where malt vinegar is a staple!

My favorite brand is WanJaShan.

gluten-free meatballs in a pan with gluten-free pasta sauce

Some other gluten-free condiments in my pantry:


chicken enchiladas in a casserole dish with red sauce
Gluten-Free Enchilada Sauce

Mexican cuisine is fairly gluten-free friendly, but you always have to be careful of thickeners in store bought enchilada sauces. This recipe for roasted tomato gluten-free enchilada sauce is one of my favorites for making it at home. For green version (that is also low FODMAP) I like FODY Foods brand!

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Spicy Gluten-Free Spaghetti Sauce

Tomato sauce is naturally gluten-free and most generic brands like Rago and Prego are deemed as such. But my favorite brand of gluten-free spaghetti sauce in a jar is Rao’s Homemade Marinara or Arrabiata Sauce. But if you’re looking for something more complex than just basic pureed diced tomatoes with herbs, it’s best to make your own at home. Homemade puttanesca sauce is so easy, and this recipe will blow any store bought brand, gluten-free or not, out of the pasta water. But you can also always tweak a store bought jar to make it spicy with a little harissa. It’s perfect with gluten-free beef meatballs and also tastes delicious as a base for gluten-free chicken parmesan!

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Green Chile Gluten-Free BBQ Sauce

This condiment gets a little help from store bought gluten-free BBQ sauce, but the added ingredients really turn it into something special that you can’t get at a store. I love this sauce to have some heat to it, so I leave the seeds in the jalapeno. You can choose how hot you’d like it and opt to remove the ribs and seeds. It tastes amazing with baked baby back ribs!

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Gluten-Free Gravy

Gluten-free gravy is a must on my family table and this recipe with apple cider, shallots and rosemary will put your old version to shame. You can use AP gluten-free flour, white rice flour or even paleo flour as the thickener. If you’re serving any vegetarians or vegans, this can also be made with vegetable stock. I usually make it a day in advance and then if adding any turkey drippings reheat on the stove and simmer until thickened again.

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crispy saucy chicken in a cast iron skillet
Gluten-Free Teriyaki Sauce

Kikkoman is now also making gluten-free teriyaki sauce. But if you already have gluten-free tamari on hand, this sauce is easy to whip up on your own. I like to make my homemade version a little healthier by using maple syrup instead of refined white sugar. It’s a great marinade for pork or chicken, and a nice gluten-free sauce to have on hand to drizzle on your rice.

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The Best Low FODMAP Salad Dressing

Gluten-containing grains are off limits on a low FODMAP diet, so you know if there is a low FODMAP dressing or condiment, that automatically means it’s a gluten-free sauce. This simple gluten-free vinaigrette is all you need for any salad at home and you won’t have to worry about any mystery thickener or stabilizer that can make a store bought dressing not gluten-free.

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Gluten-Free Steak and Vegetable Marinade

My husband is the artist behind this magical marinade that works equally well for both vegetables and grilled red meats. The vinegar is dealer’s choice, but balsamic will give you slightly more sweetness. This gluten-free marinade is low FODMAP if you omit the garlic and use maple syrup! And vegan if you just do the latter. It’s one of my favorite all purpose gluten-free condiments!

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Moroccan Lamb Meatballs with Romesco Sauce and Spaghetti Recipe
Gluten-Free Romesco Sauce

Romesco is a delicious Spanish condiment made from ground almonds and roasted red peppers. It’s delicious alongside grilled meats and seafood. Unfortunately though, if you see romesco on the menu at a restaurant, you need to double check that the sauce isn’t made with stale bread to thicken it. My version that I make all the time at home couldn’t be easier. It relies just on the nuts and olive oil to get that thick creamy texture. Here’s another version that includes sundried tomatoes and is also low FODMAP! It’s a favorite for topping gluten-free chicken meatballs.

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Gluten-Free Carrot-GInger Dressing

I used to have a crazy obsession with sushi restaurant salad dressing. I’d practically lick the bowl and/or use the remaining sauce to dip my sushi in. But unfortunately, like most dishes at Japanese restaurants, a lot of these dressings contain soy sauce. Luckily, that amazing orange carrot-ginger dressing is very easy to make at home with the substitution of gluten-free Tamari for the soy sauce. My favorite brands are San-J or Eden Organic. For a more traditional, slightly milder and less concentrated version, Kikkoman is now making gluten-free soy sauce too. Finally, La Choy soy sauce is all gluten-free! I love this riff on my ginger dressing that uses kimchi for a little kick!

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Gluten-Free BBQ Sauce

My friend Tom made the distinction between primary condiments, like ketchup, mayo, and mustard, and secondary condiments like barbecue sauce, which usually contain a whole host of other premade sauces in the ingredient list. The problem with secondary condiments is there are a lot of potential sources of gluten to keep track of. Soy sauce is one of the items that can give dark BBQ sauces their color and umami flavor. And a lot of store bought brands, including Sweet Baby Rays and KC Masterpiece, use wheat to thicken their product. This is a great list of gluten-free BBQ sauces, including my personal favorites Stubbs Original and Annie’s Organic. We also love FODY Foods for a low FODMAP option. But the best way to prepare healthy barbecue sauce is to do so yourself! This recipe for Chipotle-Honey Gluten-Free Barbecue Sauce is allergy-friendly and made with honey – it’s also perfect for dipping gluten-free fried chicken in!

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English muffin with salmon and avocado on a serving tray with herbs, eggs hollandaise and salmon
Gluten-Free Hollandaise

Unlike béchamel, this mother sauce is usually made from an emulsion of butter and egg–no flour necessary. But if you are sensitive to dairy, you are better off trying this version which uses ghee and anti-inflammatory turmeric. It’s also served over paleo eggs benedict!

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kale salad with beets and avocado on a plate with fork
Gluten-Free Oil-Free Tahini Dressing

This two-ingredient oil-free salad dressing with tahini is one of the easiest gluten-free sauces to make at home, allowing you to forgo bottled options that are often full of stabilizers. I like it on top of basic kale salad, grilled fish and pretty much anything else I can get my hands on.

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sweet potato enchilada recipe
Gluten-Free Queso Sauce

This queso is delicious as a dipper but you can also use it as another gluten-free enchilada sauce option. It is made completely from vegetables and vegan to boot!

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Mint Greek Tzatziki Sauce in a Bowl
Gluten-Free Pesto

Making pesto at home is much more affordable than buying it, even though it is a reliable gluten-free condiment at the store. This version uses arugula and pumpkin seeds for a fun spin on traditional basil and pine nut.

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Fresh Soba Noodle Spring Rolls with Almond Butter Dipping Sauce from @CookieandKate #LoveRealFood Cookbook | Gluten-Free, Healthy, Vegetarian

Do you have any favorite gluten-free condiment brands that I missed? Any favorite gluten-free sauces that you need recipes for? Let me know in the comments!

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