15-Minute BBQ Sauce (Vegan + GF)


We wanted to make the Easy Vegan BBQ Sauce from our cookbook even better, but the truth is, friends, it’s already magical. It’s perfectly sweet and tangy, just a little spicy, and FULL of flavor. This slightly modified version has all that flavor, and we simplified it even more. 

It’s made in 1 pot in just 15 minutes and happens to be gluten-free and vegan — and can be naturally sweetened, too. It’s delicious on sandwiches, veggie burgers, and beyond!

Lemon, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, coconut sugar, water, mustard, spices, and salt

How to Make BBQ Sauce

Making BBQ sauce at home is easy, cost-effective, and you can adjust the ingredients based on your taste preferences and sensitivities. We consider that a win-win-win!

To start, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Ketchup provides the tomatoey, slightly tangy base, and in our testing, it was far superior in flavor to tomato paste. If you’re wanting to skip store-bought ketchup or keep it naturally sweetened, we recommend our DIY Ketchup!

Large white saucepan with ketchup, spices, mustard, coconut sugar, tamari, salt, and vinegar

Then for the remaining ingredients, we include apple cider vinegar and lemon juice for classic BBQ sauce flavor (tangy and bright), tamari or soy sauce for depth of flavor, and coconut sugar (or brown sugar) for sweetness.

A little yellow mustard is essential for getting the flavor just right (we tested without it, and it was a no-go!) and a blend of chili powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, and cayenne give this BBQ sauce that smoky, spicy, savory WOW factor! Sea salt and black pepper are the classics that round it out.

Using a whisk to combine the ketchup, mustard, spices, and other ingredients

Cook the mixture, whisking occasionally, until it turns into a thick, darker sauce and the flavors have had a little time to develop (it tastes even better the next day!). And just like that, it’s ready to bring all your meals to life (it would even make cardboard taste good — don’t try that though!).

Whisking homemade BBQ sauce in a pan

We hope you LOVE this BBQ sauce! It’s:

Perfectly sweet
A little spicy
Quick & easy
& SO good you’ll want to lick the pan!

Use this sauce in our BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches with Avocado Slaw, Best Vegan “Pulled Pork” Sandwich, Smoky BBQ Black Bean Burgers, or BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches (recipe coming soon!). Or use it as a dip for Easy Baked Sweet Potato Tater Tots or Gluten-Free Onion Rings. It’s also great for all your BBQ and grilling needs!

More DIY Condiments

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 10 minutes

Total Time 15 minutes

Servings 10 (2-Tbsp servings)

Course Condiment, Dip, Sauce

Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan

Freezer Friendly 1 month

Does it keep? 2 Weeks

  • 1 cup ketchup (or store-bought // ensure organic for vegan-friendly)
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 ½ Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce (ensure gluten-free as needed)
  • 1/2 tsp plain yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp chili powder blend (NOT cayenne or chili flakes)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper or ground chipotle pepper
  • 1/8 tsp each sea salt and black pepper
  • Add all the ingredients to a large saucepan and whisk thoroughly to combine. Warm over medium heat.

  • Once bubbling, reduce the heat to low and continue simmering for 8-10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Reduce the heat or cover if splattering.

  • Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed (keeping in mind the flavors will develop as it cools), adding more sugar for sweetness, vinegar for brightness (and to balance the sweetness), chili powder for smokiness, or cayenne or chipotle powder for heat.

  • Let cool completely before transferring to a storage container, such as a glass jar. Sauce will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 1 month in the freezer. Serve at room temperature for best flavor.

*Recipe as written makes ~1 ¼ cups BBQ sauce.
*Slightly modified from the Easy Vegan BBQ Sauce in our Everyday Cooking cookbook.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Serving: 1 two-tablespoon serving Calories: 46 Carbohydrates: 11.9 g Protein: 0.4 g Fat: 0.1 g Saturated Fat: 0 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 297 mg Potassium: 84 mg Fiber: 0.3 g Sugar: 10 g Vitamin A: 334 IU Vitamin C: 1 mg Calcium: 6 mg Iron: 0.2 mg


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