This BBQ sauce recipe combines a delicious smokey aroma with a mouthwatering sweet, tangy, and savory flavor.
It’s a simple recipe you can make with pantry staples in 15 minutes. It’s bold, rich, and excellent with anything grilled. It’ll leave you and your guests craving for more.
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Are you ready to take your backyard BBQ to the next level?
If so, then this homemade barbecue sauce is the recipe for you. No worries, the recipe is easy to make with simple pantry staples.
Plus, it’s naturally vegan, so everyone can enjoy it. The result is a flavor explosion that will leave your friends and family begging for more.
The best thing about making BBQ sauce at home is that you can tweak the taste based on your preferences.
For example, if you like it extra spicy, you can easily increase the heat. If not, you can omit the spice altogether. More tanginess? Adjust the vinegar. Less sweetness? Reduce the sugar. You get the point.
This homemade BBQ sauce recipe pairs perfectly with anything cooked on the grill, from veggies to meats and tofu. It’s also excellent for a burger or a sandwich.
And while this isn’t your typical Kansas City-style, Memphis-style, or North-Carolina-style bbq sauce, we are sure you’ll love it nonetheless.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Use your favorite ketchup brand.
We recommend yellow American mustard, but Dijon mustard works too.
Apple cider vinegar
Substitute red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar for apple cider vinegar.
You can use white or brown sugar.
Substitute maple syrup, agave syrup, dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, honey, coconut sugar, or palm sugar for regular sugar.
Soy sauce adds richness, umami, and depth of flavor, and it’s essential in this recipe.
Substitute tamari if gluten-free, coconut aminos, or Worcestershire sauce for soy sauce.
We use smoked paprika to add a pleasant smokey flavor.
Substitute liquid smoke or chipotle powder for smoked paprika. Chipotle powder is delicious if you want to add smokey spiciness to your BBQ sauce recipe.
Garlic and Onion Powder
Try to use at least one of the two.
- Hot sauce: add if you like your barbecue sauce spicy. Cayenne pepper works too.
- Cumin: add a pinch to make the sauce aromatic.
- Molasses: for an extra sweet tang.
How to make BBQ Sauce
To a saucepan, add ketchup, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and optionally hot sauce.
Whisk while bringing to a light simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Partially cover the saucepan with a lid to allow the steam to escape. The lid is essential to protect you from the sauce splattering as it simmers.
Let the sauce cool down at room temperature, then store it in a mason jar.
Make BBQ Tofu
BBQ tofu is the best tofu you’ll ever eat (no jokes). It’s meaty, chewy, tangy, sweet, sour, and flavorful from a simple rub and BBQ sauce coating.
You can make it in the oven in about 30 minutes, and you’ll devour it in 30 seconds.
Check out our BBQ Tofu recipe.
In a sandwich
Sure, BBQ sauce is delicious with your usual ribs and chicken wings; however, here we encourage you to try it with our plant-based version of pulled pork sandwich, which we make with pulled BBQ Tofu, Coleslaw, buttered and toasted buns, vegan mayo, and this delicious BBQ sauce.
As a dip or brushed on grilled foods
We love it on our grilled tofu and with plant-based sausage, and you can have it on your favorite grilled protein. It adds a bold, sweet and tangy flavor that is irresistible.
Other serving suggestions
Try it with/on:
- Baked beans (coming soon)
- As pizza sauce on BBQ chicken pizza (coming soon)
- Plant-based chicken wings, aka cauliflower wings (coming soon)
Make ahead: BBQ sauce is excellent to make ahead because it thickens as it sits and it keeps well for days.
Refrigerator: let the sauce cool down at room temperature, then store in a mason jar on the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Freezer: let the sauce cool down completely, then transfer it into a freezer-friendly container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw: in the refrigerator over several hours.
More sauce ideas
These easy sauce ideas are perfect for any occasion:
- Vegan mayo (vegetable oil, soy milk, lemon juice, salt, etc.)
- Chimichurri (parsley, red pepper flakes, olive oil, garlic, etc.)
- Chipotle sauce (mayonnaise, pepper in adobo, lime juice, garlic, etc.)
- Tahini sauce (tahini, lemon juice, garlic, water, etc.)
- Marinara sauce (onion, canned tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, etc.)
More BBQ recipes
Get ready for summer with these tasty and creamy recipes:
- Broccoli salad
- Dill potato salad
- Creamy pasta salad
- Grilled asparagus
- Grilled zucchini
- Grilled eggplant
For more condiment ideas, check out our dressing and sauces category page.
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce optional
- Add all ingredients to a sauce pan.
- Whisk while bringing to a light simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.Partially cover the saucepan with a lid to allow the steam to escape. The lid is essential to protect you from the sauce splattering as it simmers.
- Let the sauce cool down at room temperature, then store it in a mason jar.
- Serve in a sandwich, with grilled foods, as a dip, or pizza sauce.
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