BBQ sauce is essential for any backyard cookout! It's delicious on tempeh, tofu, vegan chicken nuggets, or even veggies! It works great as a dipping sauce too, but you may be wondering, is BBQ sauce vegan?
The answer is...it depends. There are many store-bought varieties of barbecue sauce that are free of animal products. But there are a few ingredients you will want to look out for when searching for BBQ sauce for your next vegan cookout.
What is BBQ sauce made of?
Traditional barbecue sauce is typically made with a base of tomato sauce or ketchup, with vinegar and sweeteners like molasses or brown sugar. Because all of these ingredients are vegan, many varieties of store-bought or homemade barbecue sauces are vegan.
There are, however, a few things you will want to keep an eye out for when purchasing your next bottle.
Non-vegan BBQ sauce ingredients
While the base for most BBQ sauces is vegan, some brands may add nonvegan ingredients to their products. For this reason, it's essential to check the ingredients list before purchasing. Keep an eye out for these animal-derived ingredients:
Some brands of barbecue sauce actually use anchovies, a type of small fish, to add saltiness to their product. Anchovies may also be included in the form of Worcestershire sauce which is made from fermenting the fish. Be sure to avoid these ingredients when looking for a vegan bbq sauce.
While many bbq sauces are sweetened with molasses or brown sugar, some use honey. Honey is made from flower nectar collected by bees who break it down into sugars that are dehydrated in their honeycombs. While some vegans do consume honey, others avoid it as they consider it animal exploitation. If you are choosing not to eat honey, you will want to check to be sure it is not in your barbecue sauce before purchasing.
Gelatin, which is derived from animal bones, may be used as a thickening agent in some barbecue sauces.
Some brands of barbecue sauce may use artificial food colorings to achieve a richer color. While many food colorings are considered vegan because they are made synthetically, some vegans choose to avoid them over concerns with animal testing. Additionally, the food coloring carmine is made from crushed dried beetles and is not considered vegan.
Non-vegan barbecue sauce brands
These barbecue sauces all include non-vegan ingredients:
- Kraft Mesquite Smoke Barbecue Sauce
- Kraft Sweet Honey Slow-Simmered Barbecue Sauce & Dip
- Kraft Spicy Honey Slow-Simmered Barbecue Sauce & Dip
- Sweet Baby Ray’s Maple Barbecue Sauce
- Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Barbecue Sauce
- Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
- Bull’s-Eye Tennessee Style Sweet Whiskey BBQ Sauce
- Heinz Memphis Style Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce
Vegan BBQ sauce brands
Don't be discouraged by the amount of non-vegan barbecue sauces that are on the market. There are plenty of vegan varieties available for purchase too! Check out some of these vegan bbq sauces for your next cookout!
- The Original Sweet Baby Ray's
- Annie’s Original BBQ Sauce
- Annie’s Smoky Maple BBQ Sauce
- Annie’s Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce
- Kraft Original Slow-Simmered Barbecue Sauce & Dip
- Kraft Hickory Smoke Slow-Simmered Barbecue Sauce & Dip
- Kraft Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce
- Kraft Sweet Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce & Dip *
- Organicville Original BBQ Sauce
- Organicville Tangy BBQ Sauce
- Primal Kitchen Classic BBQ Sauce
- Primal Kitchen Golden BBQ Sauce
How to make homemade vegan BBQ sauce
You may also decide to skip the store-bought bbq sauce altogether and make your own at home! This is a great option because you don't have to guess at any of the ingredients, you know exactly what's going into it! Find out how to make my super easy vegan barbecue sauce here!
Vegan cookout recipes
Has all of this talk of barbecue sauce got you looking forward to your next cookout or barbecue? Be sure to try out some of these delicious vegan recipes!
- Vegan Steak
- Seitan Kebabs
- Grilled Tofu
- BBQ Tempeh
- Vegan Italian Sausages
- Seitan Burger
- Vegan Ribs
- Vegan Hot Dogs
- BBQ Soy Curl Sandwiches
Don't forget the vegan potato salad, German potato salad, ramen noodle salad, vegan coleslaw, or chickpea salad for your next cookout!
📌 Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for new vegan recipes!
Ocean Waller says
365 Whole Foods Market Original Barbecue Sauce is also vegan. 👌
Good to know, thanks! 🙂