This homemade vegan BBQ sauce is quick and easy to make with a few simple ingredients. It’s not overly sweet like some barbeque sauces, yet full of a classic smoky flavor. Use it for BBQ tofu, tempeh, vegan chicken nuggets, and as a dipping sauce for just about anything.
I was never a big fan of barbecue sauce. It was just too sweet and so many store-bought brands seem more like a smoky flavored syrup. I decided that I could probably make my own and uses less sugar. I tried swapping out the sugar for maple syrup hoping that it would still be good, and it was even better!
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- It's quick and easy to make in about 5 minutes.
- You probably already have the ingredients in your pantry.
- It has a fraction of the sugar of store-bough barbeque sauces.
🧾 Ingredients and substitutions
- Tomato Paste - this is the tomatoey base of your barbecue sauce.
- Vinegar - to give your barbecue sauce some tangy acidity. You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
- Liquid Smoke - this will give your sauce that smokey barbecue flavor. If you don't have any, you can use 1 tsp of smoked paprika instead.
- Steak Seasoning - to flavor your sauce. (This has black and red pepper, garlic, salt, and paprika).
- Salt - for flavor.
- Sweetener - (optional) maple syrup works great, but you can also use sugar, molasses, coconut sugar, stevia, or even apple sauce.
- You can omit the sweetener completely, but it will be a strong acidic flavored sauce. I recommend that you add small amounts of the sweetener of your choice until the sauce tastes good to you. (People who don't eat sugar, will be more sensitive to the taste and need less than others who eat more sugary foods).
- Use organic tomato paste and make it organic barbecue sauce too!
- Put all the ingredients into a saucepan with about 1 tablespoon of sweetener.
- Stirring frequently, heat over medium-high heat until it starts to boil.
- Taste the sauce and add more sweetener 1 tablespoon at a time until it has reached the desired sweetness. (I like about 2-3 tablespoons of sweetener, my kids like about 4 tablespoons of sweetener total.)
- Let the barbecue sauce bubble slowly for about 1 minute to allow the flavors to mix and then turn off heat.
The BBQ sauce will keep well in the refrigerator in an airtight sealed container for up to 1 week.
You can swap out the maple syrup for any natural sweetener that you like. I've made many variations with apple sauce and molasses too and they all came out great too.
Don't like smoky flavor? Simply leave out or reduce the liquid smoke.
How to use your BBQ sauce
Use this as a dipping sauce for
- Vegan Meatballs
- Fried Tofu
- Vegan Popcorn "Chicken"
- Fried Cauliflower or Baked Cauliflower Nuggets
- Vegan Chicken Nuggets
- Vegan Chicken Patties
Use this vegan BBQ sauce to make
📌 Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for new vegan recipes!
A classic tasting barbecue sauce made with natural sweeteners and seasoned to perfection!
- 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1-5 tablespoons maple syrup (I like about 3-4 tbsp) or other sweetener of choice
- 3 tablespoon liquid smoke (hickory flavored) I use Colgin brand but other brands can be stronger so add to taste if using another brand.
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 1/2 teaspoon steak seasoning or (make your own by adding 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp granulated garlic, 1/2 tsp salt)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Put all the ingredients into a small saucepan except for only 1 tablespoon of the sweetener of choice.
Stirring frequently, heat over medium-high heat until it starts to boil.
Taste the sauce and add more sweetener 1 tablespoon at a time until it has reached the desired sweetness. (I like about 2-3 tablespoons of sweetener, my kids like about 4 tablespoons of sweetener total.)
Let the barbecue sauce bubble slowly for about 1 minute to allow the flavors to mix and then turn off the heat. (You may want to add another tablespoon or two of water to thin it to the desired consistency.)
- You can adjust the amount of maple syrup or other sweetener used to your taste.
- I use Colgin brand liquid smoke. Other brands are thicker and can be stronger so add to taste if using another brand.
*Nutrition facts are calculated with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.
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