Vegan BBQ Sauce

Why buy a vegan BBQ sauce when you can make it at home? It tastes way better than store bought: oh and it takes just 10 minutes!

Vegan BBQ sauce

BBQ sauce: make it or buy it? While of course it’s a tad easier to buy a store bought barbecue sauce, let us be the first to assert that this vegan BBQ sauce will make you into a believer. The flavor is so tangy and savory that you’ll be convinced at first bite. Even better, it’s seriously easy to make: it’s just a matter of tossing a few things into a pot and simmering for 10 minutes. Most of the ingredients are things you’ll already have in your pantry! Alex and I were surprised of how much flavor comes out of these simple ingredients…and it turns out as a relatively healthy barbecue sauce too. If you’re ready, then we’re ready: let’s make this vegan BBQ sauce!

Try all the homemade sauces! Mustard BBQ Sauce, Sugar Free BBQ Sauce and White BBQ Sauce.

Vegan barbecue sauce | Healthy BBQ sauce

How to make vegan BBQ sauce

Now, a few of the reasons we love to make our own vegan BBQ sauce at home. First, the flavor: which we’ve covered above. Second, you can control the ingredients that go into your sauce, so you don’t have loads of sugar or preservatives. So, it makes for a relatively healthy barbecue sauce. And finally, of course: it’s seriously easy. Just a few things into a pot and a quick simmer and you’re done.

What makes a BBQ sauce not vegan? Well, it’s basically a spiced-up form of ketchup. The main ingredients that would make a barbecue sauce not vegan are honey and Worcestershire. To make this a vegan sauce recipe, we’ve used maple syrup and soy sauce instead.

Here’s how to make vegan BBQ sauce:

  1. To a saucepan, add ketchup, vinegar (apple cider & white), maple syrup, spices, hot sauce and salt.
  2. Simmer for 10 minutes, until slightly thickened.
  3. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

We liked to use an organic or natural ketchup. Take a look at the ingredients on the container and make sure there isn’t anything weird like additives, preservatives, or high fructose corn syrup.

Vegan BBQ sauce

Ways to use vegan BBQ sauce

Of course, there are a multitude of ways to serve vegan BBQ sauce. Here are some of our favorite vegan recipes that can benefit with a bit of barbecue sauce:

  1. Perfect Vegan Black Bean Burger: Our perfect vegan burger is made even more perfect with barbecue sauce.
  2. BBQ Bean Tacos with Pineapple Salsa: Here BBQ sauce makes for a delicious sauce for simmered pinto beans for this taco filling — you can substitute 1 cup of this BBQ sauce for the sauce in the recipe.
  3. Grilled Teriyaki Mango Skewers These skewers are painted with teriyaki sauce, but they’d also be fabulous painted with homemade healthy barbecue sauce!
  4. Seasoned Baked Potato Wedges We don’t know about you, but we’d absolutely dip these baked potato wedges in BBQ sauce! (Use the vegan variation of all olive oil here.)
  5. BBQ Soy Curls: These soy curls might sound odd, but they’re the latest greatest in whole food plant proteins! Slathered in BBQ sauce, they have a texture a little like chicken: and they’re so addicting! You’ve got to try these.
  6. BBQ Grilled Cauliflower Because grilled cauliflower goes over the top with a really good barbecue sauce.
Healthy BBQ Sauce

Looking for other sauce recipes?

Outside of this vegan BBQ sauce recipe, here are few more of our favorite homemade sauce recipes:

This recipe is…

This recipe is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, plant-based, dairy-free, and refined sugar free.

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Healthy BBQ Sauce

Vegan BBQ Sauce

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (9 votes, average: 4.78 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 0 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups 1x


Why buy a vegan BBQ sauce when you can make it at home? It tastes way better than store bought: oh and it takes just 10 minutes!


  • 1 cup organic ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat for 10 minutes on low heat.
  2. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 1 month.
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Vegan BBQ sauce, Healthy barbecue sauce

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    Shalini Adams
    April 1, 2020 at 10:41 am

    Made this today! The sauce is so good. Gonna give it a try with Tasty’s recipe for vegan pulled pork burgers

  • Reply
    Shalini Adams
    April 1, 2020 at 10:44 am

    Oh I live in India, maple syrup is too expensive here. I subbed jaggery.. it’s brown sugar with a lot of molasses.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2021 at 2:37 pm

    I like to add 1/2 to 1 tsp (to taste) of curry powder to the mix for fries and vegan hot dogs or even a twist for a marinade.

  • Reply
    May 5, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    Made this the other day exactly as written and it was fantastic! This recipe is definitely a keeper!

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