Vegan BBQ Sauce Recipe

This Homemade Naturally Sweetened Vegan BBQ Sauce recipe is the best easy barbecue sauce ever! It’s a healthy homemade BBQ Sauce recipe perfect for your next sandwich or when you’re heading to the grill!

A small jar is full of a tomato mixture. The text on the page reads, "Date-sweetened BBQ sauce."

This healthy barbecue sauce from scratch is an all-natural alternative to store-bought, processed sugar filled BBQ sauces in the stores. This is a great, easy homemade BBQ sauce perfect for veggie burgers, sandwiches, and even for dipping french fries. This is a slightly sweet, but all natural BBQ sauce recipe thanks to plant-based ingredient!

I first read about the concept of removing all processed sugar from your diet in Marilu Henner’s book, Total Health Makeover. Have you heard of it?

I read it years ago, and she recommended making your own ketchup. I have to confess to being more than a little surprised when I learned there were people who made their own ketchup. Seriously? Isn’t that just a little over the top?

Is BBQ sauce vegan?

Most store-bought barbecue sauces are vegetarian or vegan. That’s right. Most store-bought BBQ sauce is vegan. So, you don’t need to search for specific vegan BBQ sauce brands. I refer to them as accidentally vegan BBQ sauce!

However, when you turn the bottle over and scan the ingredients list, they usually contain a lot of sugar. And it’s hard to find one that doesn’t include the highly processed, highly controversial high fructose corn syrup.

Isn’t it interesting that so many things are labeled sort of ambiguously. But with high fructose corn syrup, they come right out with it. High fructose. It’s right there in the name!

But my BBQ sauce recipe is an alternative to highly processed sugar. It’s 100% natural, plant-based, sweet, delicious, and pretty easy to work with too.

What You Need

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Tomato Sauce
  • Pitted Dates approximately 8 Mejdool
  • Tomato Paste
  • Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Liquid Smoke
  • Ground flax seeds
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Dehydrated onions
Several ingredients on a white counter, including tomato sauce, liquid smoke, dates, and more.
These are the ingredients to make homemade vegan BBQ sauce.

How to Make Homemade BBQ Sauce

If you’re wondering how to make vegan BBQ sauce, you’ve come to the right place. I’m so excited to tell you how easy it is to make this homemade vegan barbecue sauce recipe! It has only a few ingredients and just a couple of steps.

Place the following homemade barbecue sauce ingredients in a food processor: Tomato Sauce, tomato paste, liquid smoke, vegan Worcestershire sauce, medjool dates, and spices.

Looking down on a food processor full of tomato sauce, tomato paste, dates, and more.

Then pulse several times until the ingredients are combined. Use a spatula to push down raw vegan bbq sauce ingredients and then pulse again until smooth.

The pureed ingredients in a food processor bowl.
Use a food processor to make this healthy vegan bbq sauce!

Best Homemade Barbecue Sauce

This is one of the best homemade BBQ sauce recipes because of one special ingredient: Dates. Who knew dates were more than the thing that you always picked out of the annual, store-bought fruit cake?

Using dates instead of sugar transforms it into paleo-friendly, Whole30 vegetarian barbecue sauce recipes too!

Cooking with Dates

Because it’s made with dates, this is a vegan sugar free bbq sauce recipe. I should clarify. It’s refined sugar free.

I bought medjool dates from Costco and they were nice and tender and ready to be tossed in the food processor. However, some dates are a little more firm. If you find yourself with the firm variety, just soak them in hot water for about 10 minutes before starting this recipe.

A mason jar is full of barbecue sauce and a spoon is full the sauce is sitting next to it.

Is BBQ sauce healthy?

A lot of so-called healthy BBQ sauces are full of processed sugars. However, this is a simple BBQ sauce recipe with limited ingredients, minimal steps, and whole, plant-based ingredients. Simply put, it’s a healthy BBQ sauce recipe.

Because there are no processed, refined sugars in this homemade BBQ sauce, it’s actually quite healthy. It’s a lightly sweet, smokey tomato-infused flavor.

Let’s talk about the nutrition of this bbq sauce from scratch. The two main ingredients are dates and tomatoes, so we’ll focus on those:

  • Dates also are rich in things like Vitamin A, Iron, Potassium, and even Calcium. The list goes on so this is just the highlights.
  • Tomatoes provide a rich source of lycopene, a carotenoid pigment.
  • Tomatoes are also loaded with things like Vitamin C, Biotin, Potassium and so much more.

That’s the thing about natural, whole foods, not only are they cholesterol-free, but their total list of nutrients is long…and growing with every research study.

Looking down on a mason jar full of barbecue sauce.
This is the healthiest BBQ sauce, thanks to using healthy dates instead of sugar!

Keto BBQ Sauce

If you want a keto BBQ sauce, simply leave the dates out of this recipe and replace it with some zero sugar sweetener, like stevia, Swerve, or MonkFruit. Some of these sweeteners are more concentrated than others so start with a teaspoon and increase it in small increments until you achieve a desired level of sweetness. Using a sweetener also transforms this into a low calories BBQ sauce recipe too!

Here are the estimated nutritional comparisons per serving with and without dates:

With dates per serving:

Calories: 39 Carbs: 9g Protein: 0 Fiber: 1g Net Carbs: 8g

Without dates per serving:

Calories = 13 Carbs = 2g Protein = 0 Fiber = 0 Net Carbs: 2g

How to Serve Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Looking for vegan recipes with BBQ sauce? Be sure to Serve this easy bbq sauce over your favorite veggie burgers and sandwiches. For example, this barbecue sauce is perfect on my Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers! It’s a perfect combination! Make these easy, healthy Lentil Burgers and add a big dollop of BBQ sauce to those as well!

Of course, there’s my Vegan Lentil Meatballs. Because vegan meatballs with BBQ sauce is amazing!

I would totally add some BBQ sauce to my Vegan Chopped Cheese Sandwich. So, use this barbecue sauce recipe on any recipe you want!

How long does homemade barbecue sauce last?

This homemade BBQ sauce will last up to 10 days in the fridge when stored correctly. I transfer the sauce to a mason jar and seal the lid tightly. Always return it to the fridge after using it.

More Grilling Recipes

If you love this vegan BBQ sauce, here’s even more grilling recipes you’ll like too:

A veggie burger is topped with lots of vegan BBQ sauce and greens. A mason jar of BBQ sauce is behind it.

That’s it for the best of the best Vegan BBQ Sauce recipes!

Date Sweetened BBQ Sauce for your Veggie Burgers

Date-Sweetened BBQ Sauce

Avoid processed sugar by making your own Date-Sweetened BBQ Sauce and make your summer grilling even healthier than before!
5 from 1 vote
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 39kcal
Author: Namely Marly


  • 15 oz can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 cup Pitted Dates approximately 8 Mejdool
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 2 tablespoons Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Liquid Smoke
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dehydrated onions


  • Make sure your pitted dates are soft. If not, soak them in hot water for about 10 minutes, drain and pat dry.
  • Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds. Use a spatula to press down any ingredients that may have moved to the top of the container and pulse again, until you received the desired saucy consistency.
  • Transfer to a lidded, glass container (like a mason jar), cover and refrigerate

(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)

Nutrition Facts
Date-Sweetened BBQ Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 39
% Daily Value*
Sodium 283mg12%
Potassium 190mg5%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 7g8%
Vitamin A 220IU4%
Vitamin C 2.6mg3%
Calcium 12mg1%
Iron 0.5mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.


6 Responses to Vegan BBQ Sauce Recipe

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for Marlysusan Reply

    Thanks for this. I will be trying this next time I need BBQ sauce.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      So glad you like it!!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyCasey Reply

    I am definitely drooling over here, this BBQ Sauce looks as though it is to DIE for! Cannot wait to try!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      It is SO good, Casey! I’m eating it on all my veggie burgers. I may have even dipped a french fry or two in it, but don’t tell anyone. 🙂

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyNichole Reply

    I never thought to sweeten bbq sauce with dates! Brilliant!!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      I know! Isn’t it so cool to think about having homemade BBQ sauce without all those additives? I love it!

Rate / Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.