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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Vegan BBQ Sauce Recipe: Easy, Quick, and Healthy

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This Vegan BBQ Sauce is a simple homemade sauce that is healthier than store bought, and totally amazing! It has a tangy flavor, with a slightly smoky and sweet finish. It works great as a dip, for seasoning veggies, or whatever you enjoy most!

vegan bbq sauce in a large bowl

If you’re not a fan of store bought BBQ sauce, you’re in luck! This homemade vegan bbq sauce is easy, and quick to make. With just a few basic ingredients, you can create a delicious sauce that also happens to be healthier than store bought versions.

Just because you follow a vegan diet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the summer grilling and BBQ season. There are so many ways to enjoy meat-free recipes that still have that char-grilled flavor, and the sweet and tangy hint of barbecue.

Start by enjoying your favorite vegan burgers, or maybe make a carrot dog. Consider pulled jackfruit, with this homemade bbq sauce!

I promise you that it’s easier than you think to make your own BBQ sauce, and it will taste so much better than the lack luster store bought brands. With just a few simple ingredients, this easy recipe will give you one of the best homemade sauces you have ever tried! The best part – it’s super easy to customize based on how sweet or spicy you like your sauce to be!

Make this grilling season the best ever by adding a simple sauce that will bring a big WOW to any recipe you choose!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Easy to make at home
  • Adjust the flavors and seasoning to meet your flavor preference.
  • Less sugar than store bought brands
  • Uses all whole food ingredients
  • Versatile sauce to use for all your favorite recipes!
  • No high fructose corn syrup like store bought brands
  • Budget friendly!
  • Better flavor and texture than store bought versions!

How to Make Vegan Barbecue Sauce

Ingredients

This homemade recipe uses simple vegan ingredients, easily found at any grocery store!

ingredients for vegan bbq sauce

Tomato Sauce: Use a plain jar or can of tomato sauce. Avoid sauces with added spices, and herbs. This will detract from the desired smoky flavor of the sauce.

Apple Cider Vinegar: Adds some tang to the sauce. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, you can use white vinegar in its place.

Rice Syrup: Helps to thicken the sauce, and adds a touch of sweetness. You can also try blackstrap molasses if you can’t find rice syrup.

Brown Sugar: This sauce uses much less added sugar than typical sauces, but it’s still necessary to add a bit to give the sauce that slightly sweet flavor. You can also use coconut sugar, cane sugar, or maple syrup as a substitution. You can adjust the brown sugar down based on your personal preference – depending on how sweet you want this sauce to be!

Vegan Worcestershire Sauce: Worcestershire sauce has an umami flavor. Regular Worcestershire sauce is made with anchovies, so be sure to get the vegan version which you can also find in stores. Check the ingredient label. If you can’t find vegan Worcestershire sauce, you can use soy sauce.

Spices: A combination of smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper round out the flavors of this easy barbecue sauce. If you like a spicy bbq sauce, try a dash of cayenne pepper, chili powder, hot sauce, or crushed red pepper flakes.

Equipment Needed

  • Medium Saucepan for heating the ingredients.
  • Whisk or Spatula to stir and combine.
  • Mason Jar for storing.

Instructions

Heat Ingredients: Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Stir or whisk until combined.

tomato sauce and spices in a pot

Slowly Simmer: Reduce heat to medium low, simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes until the sauce is thick. Cook it for longer if you prefer a thicker sauce.

tomato sauce and spices in a pot

Storing: Store your homemade barbecue sauce in an airtight container or mason jar in the fridge for up to one week.

vegan bbq sauce in a mason jar

Recipe FAQs

Which BBQ sauces are vegan?

When you go to the store you’ll likely find many BBQ sauces that are vegan. While BBQ sauce is usually served with animal products, it isn’t actually made with animal products. The main sneaky non-vegan ingredient in some popular brands of bbq sauce is honey. So if you are looking for a store bought version, be sure to take a look at the ingredient list before purchasing.
The Heinz Brand has many sauces that are vegan including their Carolina Mustard Style, Carolina Vinegar Style Sweet and Tangy, Original Sweet and Thick, Hawaii Style Sweet and Fruity, Kentucky Bourbon Style Rich and Savory.

Is sweet baby ray’s barbecue sauce vegan?

Yes, Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce is vegan. It is also Keto, and gluten-free.

What is the best vegan BBQ sauce?

The best sauce really depends on your flavor preference. There are a few vegan bbq sauce brands out there, but many people like Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce (it happens to be vegan and gluten-free). It’s a good option if you don’t have the time to make your own homemade version.

Serving Suggestions

Expert Tips

  • Add some liquid smoke for an extra smoky flavor.
  • To make it hotter, add a dash of cayenne pepper, chili powder, hot sauce, or crushed red pepper flakes.
  • I chose to use vegan Worcestershire sauce in this recipe. The traditional one would work too but then it wouldn’t be a vegan bbq sauce.
  • The flavors in this sauce will taste different when the sauce is hot vs. cold, so if you want to adjust any seasonings, wait until the sauce is cold to taste it.
  • To make this a super healthy barbecue sauce, cut the amount of brown sugar and rice syrup in half in this recipe. Then each serving will only have 3 grams of sugar and 19 calories!
vegan bbq sauce in a large bowl

More Healthy Vegan Sauces!

If you have tried this vegan bbq sauce recipe, or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Vegan BBQ Sauce

This Vegan BBQ Sauce is a simple homemade sauce that is healthier than store bought, and totally amazing! It has a tangy flavor, with a slightly smoky and sweet finish. It works great as a dip, for seasoning veggies, or whatever you enjoy most!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American, Vegan
Servings: 16 tablespoons
Calories: 29kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp rice syrup depending on how sweet you like your bbq sauce
  • ⅛-¼ cup brown sugar depending on how sweet you like your bbq sauce
  • 3 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

  • Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir or whisk until combined.
  • Simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes until the sauce is thick. Cook it for longer if you prefer a thicker sauce.
  • Store in an airtight container or mason jar in the fridge for up to one week.

Notes

Expert Tips
  • Add some liquid smoke for an extra smoky flavor.
  • To make it hotter, add a dash of cayenne pepper, chili powder, hot sauce, or crushed red pepper flakes.
  • I chose to use vegan Worcestershire sauce in this recipe. The traditional one would work too but then it wouldn’t be a vegan bbq sauce.
  • The flavors in this sauce will taste different when the sauce is hot vs. cold, so if you want to adjust any seasonings, wait until the sauce is cold to taste it.
  • Nutrition information is calculated using 1/4 cup brown sugar and 2 tbsp rice syrup. Tip: To reduce the sugar in this recipe, use 1/8 cup of brown sugar and 1 tbsp of rice syrup. Then each serving of this bbq sauce will have 19 calories and only 3 grams of sugar!

Nutrition

Serving: 1tbsp | Calories: 29kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 188mg | Potassium: 93mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g

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