Quick Vegan Barbecue Sauce

Quick Vegan Barbecue Sauce

This easy, no-cook vegan barbecue sauce recipe takes nearly no time to make. Though I’m all for good store-bought sauces as shortcuts, I’ve never found a prepared BBQ sauce I’ve really liked, so I rely on this one. It’s especially delicious with plant-based protein foods—tofu, tempeh, and seitan—prepared on the grill. See Barbecued Tofu, Tempeh, or Seitan for ideas and directions. Photos by Rachael Braun.

Makes: about 2 1/2 cups

  • 15- to 16-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon molasses (or substitute an extra tablespoon
    of agave or maple syrup)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or basil

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk together.

If time allows, cover and let stand for an hour or so to allow the flavors to combine more fully. If you need to use it right away, by all means do so, as it will still be quite good.

Nutrition information
Per 2-tablespoon serving: Calories: 32;  Total fat: 1g;  Protein: 0g;  Carbs: 6g; Sodium: 266 mg


  • Use a few drops of hot sauce or Sriracha sauce if you’d like a spicier effect
  • Use a teaspoon of liquid smoke or 1 to 2 teaspoons mesquite seasoning if you’d like a smoky flavor.

Quick Vegan Barbecue Sauce recipe

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22 comments on “Quick Vegan Barbecue Sauce

  1. Nava Post author

    Elisha, sorry, your question went under my radar. It is tomato sauce that comes in a can…literally labeled tomato sauce. A 15-ounce can should be sufficient for this.

  2. Cyd

    awesome recipe!! I used my food processor to purée cherry tomatos. This Made my sauce a bit thinner than normal BBQ sauce, but the flavor was exceptional!!

  3. Rebecca

    I was short on the tomato sauce (only had an 8-oz can for 1 cup) so I substituted some Annie’s organic ketchup for the last 1/2 cup. This sauce was amazing!

  4. Nava Post author

    Thanks, Rebecca and Kris — I make this a lot, as I find store-bought sauces have an odd aftertaste. I tried to make this as easy and as flavorful as possible and glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Nava Post author

    Zaeem, most tomato sauces taste pretty much the same, though I tend to choose organic products like Muir Glen. But I think you’d be good to go with whatever brand you prefer.

  6. Kim

    My family loves this sauce! We make barbecue lentil sliders with it. Thank you for all you share on your site!

  7. emily heap

    I’m soooo excited I found your website! I’m about a month in almost completely vegan & I am so happy to find a BBQ sauce!! As well as all your other amazing recipes too. Getting off of processed foods etc is one thing..now I gotta put my big girl pants on and learn to cook. 😉 So on that note..what is smoked flavoring and where can I buy it? is it vegan and or an organic product, I assume so, but I’m really new to what isn’t all natural. Crazy right? But it’s also so exciting & an adventure. Anyway..sorry for the long post… Thanks again!

  8. Nava Post author

    Let’s say up to a week in the fridge; you can also freeze any unused portion for later use. Enjoy!

  9. Emily

    I think some of the confusing regarding “tomato sauce” may be that the Brits and other commonwealth countries call tomato sauce what Americans know as ketchup. In those countries, American “tomato sauce” is called tomato puree. Hopefully that can clear this up for non-Americans 🙂

  10. Sondra

    Wish I had read the comments before making this. The ketchp vs. tomato sauce detail ruined dinner.

  11. Nava Post author

    Sondra, I’m sorry for the confusion. I’m not sure what went wrong on your end, so if you see this, let me know and I’ll try to help.

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