Vegan Recipes/ Vegan Sauces, Dressings, and Condiments

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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  • Reply
    June 27, 2012 at 2:39 am

    What is the tomato sauce?a can of tomatoes, ketchup or puree?

  • Reply
    August 7, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Cisneros Cares
    September 6, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Blend some tomatoes with tomato paste. Best tomato sauce.

  • Reply
    January 6, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    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!!

    • Reply
      January 7, 2013 at 10:16 pm

      Thanks, Cyd — glad you enjoyed it. Chances are if you refrigerate it overnight, it will thicken up a bit.

  • Reply
    January 9, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    March 15, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Made it tonight. Quick and easy — and it tasted terrific!

  • Reply
    March 15, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    What brand of tomato sauce would u reccomend to make the bbq taste good?

    • Reply
      June 21, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      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.

  • Reply
    RuthAnn Funderburk
    August 4, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    I loved this sauce. I added a 1/4 tsp of liquid smoke. Yummmm

    • Reply
      August 4, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      Great idea RuthAnne!

  • Reply
    September 14, 2014 at 7:03 pm

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

  • Reply
    September 15, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Thanks for your kind thoughts, Kim! I’m glad you and yours enjoy this and the rest of the site.

  • Reply
    emily heap
    October 11, 2014 at 3:09 am

    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 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!

  • Reply
    July 4, 2015 at 9:15 am

    About how long would this last in the fridge for?

    • Reply
      July 4, 2015 at 10:29 am

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

  • Reply
    October 5, 2015 at 5:27 am

    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 🙂

  • Reply
    January 3, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    Definitely gonna do this with the quorn pigs in blankets I’m making in school on Wednesday.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2016 at 5:02 am

    Great idea! 🙂

  • Reply
    April 13, 2016 at 7:02 am

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

    • Reply
      April 15, 2016 at 8:49 am

      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.

  • Reply
    August 14, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    I followed the recipe before reading the cmments, and the resulting sauce is very thin. I’m going to cook it a little to thicken it up.

    Ketchup is thick and comes in a bottle in the U.S.. It contains “tomato concentrate, distilled vinegar, high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, salt, spice, onion powder, natural flavoring”. Is this what the Brits call tomato sauce?

    My can of tomato sauce contains “water, tomato paste, onion powder, citric acid, garlic powder”. The difference seems to be the corn syrups, vinegar, and texture.

    It would be nice to know whether we were expected to use ketchup, tomato paste, or tomato sauce. This was the only vegan recipe I saw that was not ketchup-based, which is why I chose it.

    All’s well that ends well!

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