I absolutely love Chick-Fil-A – especially their sauces. Problem is, my favorite sauce, the aptly named Chick-Fil-A Sauce is not healthy by any means. Each packet of the sauce is 140 calories – and you cant eat just one. So, I embarked on the journey to make a fast, healthy, low-carb, and keto friendly copycat Chick-Fil-A Sauce. Sounds impossible, but once you try this recipe, I guarantee you will be a believer!
This sauce is incredibly simple to make with ingredients off the shelf and can be made super quick. Best part is – it’s much healthier than the original sauce, coming in at around 20% of the calories, but no compromise on flavor!
What IS Chick-Fil-A Sauce?
Chick-Fil-A Sauce is an incredibly interesting sum of it’s parts. At it’s core, it’s mayo, barbeque sauce, mustard, honey, lemon juice, and spices. An amalgamation of flavors that pairs incredibly well with almost anything and everything. I put it on chicken, beef, fish, salads, and even other sauces. Its ingredients list leads it to be super versatile, but is what also poses the problem of it being unhealthy.
What ingredients are you substituting and why?
Mayo is the main ingredient, which brings the fat, which brings flavor. However, we can easily substitute it with fat-free Greek yogurt. You might be thinking – why not use full fat Greek yogurt? You can, but I wanted to aim for as low as calories as possible because I like to douse my food with the sauce! The lack of fat reduces the depth of the sauce a tad, but this can be remedied with the optional mushroom powder, which I will talk about further down!
The BBQ sauce took a lot of trial an error due to the different brands, their levels of sweetness, smokiness, and various flavors (such as hickory, etc). I finally found the right proportions and flavors with Ray’s Sugar Free BBQ sauce. It has the right amount of sweetness and smokiness such that it doesn’t overpower the flavor of the other ingredients. For example, Ray’s Sugar-Free Hickoy BBQ sauce was too heavy in the hickory flavor and smokiness, which just overpowered the other ingredients and basically made the sauce a different BBQ sauce.
Mustard is one of my favorite condiments ever – it’s incredibly flavorful, colorful, tons of varieties, and best of all: very low calories. For this copycat Chick-Fil-A Sauce, we need straight yellow mustard. Nothing fancy – just regular old yellow mustard. You can use other mustards such as dijon, honey, or spicy, but it will affect the overall balance of the sauce, so you will have to play with the ratios.
The lemon juice is what I believe to be the secret ingredient in this sauce. Without it, there’s not enough acidity and the sauce falls flat. I recommend using a not-from-concentrate lemon juice (from a lemon or Lakewood Ranch brand), but if you use something like Real Lemon, start with half the recipe amount and see how it tastes to you! If you don’t have lemon juice, substituting with a little vinegar will work in a pinch (I recommend rice wine vinegar).
Not only does Honey bring sweetness to the sauce, it also brings some viscosity. Replacing it was difficult, but in the end, we mitigated the shortcomings. First, simply use your favorite low carb sweetener: I use allulose for most every sweetness application in my cooking, but erythritol will work just as well. For adding viscosity of honey, that requires a little something else…
Making the Sauce more, Sauce-like
The sauce on it’s own is a bit, ‘watery’ – especially with the lack of mayo and honey. We can fix this by adding a bit of xanthan gum – 1/32 tsp to be exact. If you are using regular xanthan gum, make sure to sprinkle a little at a time and vigorously whisk to prevent clumping (you can use a big whisk, or the world’s tiniest whisk). If however you are using perfected xanthan gum, you don’t have to get an arm workout whisking as hard!
You can also substitute with guar gum, 1 for 1, with the xanthan gum. In this application they will serve close enough in similarities that they can be used interchangeably.
I don’t have a 1/32 tsp
There’s three ways to solve not having a 1/32 tsp for the xanthan gum:
- You can use a 1/8 tsp, and on a piece of paper, cut the volume into 4, thus yielding 1/32 tsp
- You can make 4x the recipe and use a 1/8 tsp instead.
- You can purchase a set of tiny teaspoons. This works great for low-carb and keto cooking, and is key to making my amazing Low-Carb & Keto Friendly Ice Cream
Mushroom powder is a completely optional ingredient to add to the sauce, but it adds great umami – which is something that can be improved since we lack fat in the sauce. I found that anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 a tsp works great and takes the sauce to the next level. You could also use MSG, but the sodium level of the sauce is on point, so MSG would simply make it saltier.
If however, you don’t care about being healthy, you can simply buy Chick-Fil-A Sauce from the store now!