Vegan BBQ Sauce

This vegan BBQ sauce recipe creates the best easy barbecue sauce ever! It’s a homemade sweet and smoky sauce that’s perfect for your next Vegan Sandwich or when you’re heading to the grill!

A spoon holds vegan bbq sauce over a glass jar full of the sauce.

I’m a sauce girl all the way. I dip my french fries in a lot of ketchup and I drizzle my veggie burgers with lots of vegan barbecue sauce. What can I say? This smoky sauce is perfect for Black Bean Burgers, sandwiches, and even for dipping Air Fryer French Fries.

Is BBQ sauce vegan?

Most store-bought barbecue sauces are vegetarian or vegan. However, when you turn the bottle over and scan the ingredients list, it’s hard to find one that doesn’t include the highly processed, highly controversial high fructose corn syrup.

Making your own BBQ sauce means you get to control the ingredients and the quantities, which makes it so much better!

What You Need

Ingredients are laid out on a white table. The labels next to them read, liquid smoke, brown sugar, paprika, onion & garlic powder, molasses, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire, tomato paste, and tomato sauce.

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 — You’ll need one 15-ounce can of tomato sauce. I try to buy BPA-free cans when it comes to tomato ingredients because of their acidic nature.
  • Tomato Paste — You’ll need only 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, which you can buy in small cans or tubes.
  • Molasses — The best molasses is unsulfured, but not blackstrap which is too bitter.
  • Brown Sugar — You can use light, dark, or homemade brown sugar.
  • Vegan Worcestershire Sauce — Find this salty sauce in health food stores or online or you can make vegan Worcestershire sauce yourself. It’s easy than you think! You can substitute soy sauce or gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar — I find apple cider vinegar works best but you can substitute white wine vinegar.
  • Liquid Smoke — We’ll use liquid smoke to add the smoky flavor we desire in this sauce. You can find it in the BBQ sauce section of most grocery stores.
  • Smoked paprika — You can find smoked paprika in the spice aisle of most grocery stores.
  • Spices — This recipe calls for a teaspoon of garlic powder and onion powder or dehydrated onions.
Looking down on a white bowl on a white counter. There is a dark sauce in the bowl and a measuring spoon holds some of the dark sauce.

What is Vegan Worcestershire Sauce?

Worcestershire sauce was actually created in the city of Worcester, England. It’s a fermented sauce made with molasses and a variety of spices, yielding a tangy, sweet, and salty flavor. Because the original recipe is made with anchovies (fish), it’s not vegan, but you can find vegan versions at healthy food stores. It may seem pricey but it lasts a long time. You can substitute soy sauce or tamari for a gluten-free version.

How to Make Vegan BBQ Sauce

  1. Stir all ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat.
    Looking down on a saucepan with a tomato sauce mixture with other ingredients ready to be stirred together.
  2. Let it come to a simmer and then cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 5 minutes. 
  4. Transfer to a lidded, glass container (like a mason jar), cover, and refrigerate.

Storage Tips

This sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 10 days. It can be frozen in appropriate freezer-safe containers for up to 2 months.

Keto BBQ Sauce

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

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

With sugar per serving:

Calories: 43 Carbs: 11g Protein: 0 Fiber: 1g Net Carbs: 10g

Without sugar per serving:

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

Serving Suggestions

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 with:

Frequently-Asked Questions

How long does homemade barbecue sauce last?

Storebought BBQ sauce can last a long time thanks to preservatives. However, homemade BBQ sauce will last up to 10 days in the fridge when stored correctly. Always return it to the fridge after using it.

Is BBQ sauce healthy?

A lot of store-bought BBQ sauces are full of high-fructose corn syrup. However, homemade BBQ sauce can be made with healthier proportions and with only the necessary ingredients, making it a much healthier option.

More Grilling Recipes

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

A closeup of a spoon with bbq sauce hovering over a jar full of the sauce.

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

A closeup of a spoon with bbq sauce hovering over a jar full of the sauce.

Vegan BBQ Sauce

Make this homemade vegan BBQ Sauce to add some pizzazz to your summer grilling!
5 from 3 votes
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 43kcal


  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • cup molasses
  • cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegan worcestershire sauce (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dehydrated onions


  • Stir all ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Let it come to a simmer and then cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Transfer to a lidded, glass container (like a mason jar), cover, and refrigerate. It will keep in the fridge for up 50 10 days.

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

Calories: 43kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 93mg | Potassium: 153mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 108IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg

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.

This post was originally published in 2019 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.

8 Responses to Vegan BBQ Sauce

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyCharlotte Reply

    5 stars
    I love this sauce. it’s so easy!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Charlotte. So glad you liked it!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyNichole Reply

    5 stars
    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!

  3. 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. 🙂

  4. 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!!

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