Homemade Vegan BBQ Sauce

This vegan and gluten free tomato based BBQ sauce is quick, easy, and delicious. You will be finding reasons to put it on everything.

I'm breaking all the rules. When I say BBQ sauce please know I am generalizing the term. This BBQ sauce is sweet and tangy with a little bit of heat. I don't know what "category" or "region" of BBQ sauce you would put it in exactly. She's doing her own thing.

I think it's also important to note that I grew up on the East coast of North Carolina therefore I like my BBQ sauces vinegar heavy. Eastern NC BBQ is vinegar based with no tomato at all. If you don't love vinegar adjust the amount accordingly. I've provided measurement suggestions in the recipe below.

What you'll need:

Ketchup - you can use tomato sauce and tomato paste but let's be honest ketchup is easier and more convenient. Use a high quality ketchup and you're good to go.

Brown sugar - Can you use other sugars/sweeteners? Yes, absolutely. Brown sugar is my preferred sweetener in BBQ sauce. Feel free to use maple syrup for a refined sugar free version.

Apple cider vinegar - Use ACV and not other vinegars. Apple cider vinegar is what gives BBQ sauce it's tang. We want that tangy goodness. Use as much or as little as you prefer. I like a lot.

Worcestershire - To add another level of savory and smoky.

Molasses - For depth of flavor plus I love molasses.

Tabasco - Heat is important to balance out all the other flavors at play. Omit if you are sensitive to spicy foods. Add more if you enjoy a bit of kick.

Spices - paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt. You can also use BBQ seasonings like Chef Paul Prudhomme's Barbecue Magic Seasoning instead of individual seasonings.

Cooking the sauce:

It's easy peasy. Combine all the ingredients in a medium sauce pan and bring to a mild simmer. The longer you simmer the sauce the thicker it will become. You can use immediately and trust me you will want to!

Homemade Vegan BBQ Sauce

Vegan | Gluten Free | Soy Free

Yields: About 3 cups


2 cups ketchup

1 - 1 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (see notes)

1 heaping cup brown sugar

1 tbsp molasses

1 tbsp Worcestershire

1 tsp Tabasco

1/2 tsp each paprika, onion powder, garlic powder (or use BBQ seasoning mix)

Black pepper and salt to taste


1. Whisk together all ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a rolling bubble and reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes or until desired thickness is achieved.

2. Can be served immediately. Allow to cool before storing. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.


If you like your BBQ more sweet than tangy start with 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and work up from there.

If you make this recipe tag @vexkitchen on Instagram. I love to see your creations!