Instant Homemade Barbecue Sauce (Mild to Medium Heat)


This flavorful, instant homemade barbecue sauce is a beloved easy recipe that was buried in our news section. So I’ve given the post a refresh and am moving it to a permanent home in our recipes!

Instant Homemade Barbecue Sauce (Mild to Medium Heat) - An all-natural recipe that's ready to simmer or use as is!

A few summers back, Tony and I were on a mission to find our holy grail of natural barbecue sauces. We wanted something that we could pick up whenever needed, so we scoured our local stores. But I kid you not, we found only one brand in our area that didn’t have high fructose corn syrup (and usually in the first three ingredients no less!). It was Annie’s. I love Annie’s Homegrown. They are a great natural food company. But, I’m sorry, their barbecue sauce is the pits. It’s a spiced up tomato-y concoction with flavors that do not meld.

So when I reviewed American Vegan Kitchen and saw the Smokin’ BBQ Portobello Sandwiches recipe with homemade barbecue sauce, I thought, “Why not? What have I got to lose?” The entire recipe, as I wrote about prior, is delicious. But the barbecue sauce itself (a component of the recipe) is awesome, even on its own. In fact, I have made it at least a dozen times since, with a few modifications …

For starters, the author’s version of this homemade barbecue sauce is way, way, WAY too hot for our taste buds, so I have toned it down a lot. I’ve also simplified the recipe a little and included two versions: a truly instant non-fat version (we use this when we don’t have fresh onion or garlic on hand or when the sauce will be simmering in a recipe regardless) and a slightly richer simmered version (still takes just 15 minutes and is low in fat).

Instant Homemade Barbecue Sauce (Mild to Medium Heat) - An all-natural recipe that's ready to simmer or use as is!

Special Diet Notes: Instant Homemade Barbecue Sauce

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally vegan / plant-based, and optionally vegetarian.

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Instant Homemade Barbecue Sauce (Mild to Medium Heat)
Prep time
Total time
I've adapted this recipe from American Vegan Kitchen.
Serves: 1 cup
  1. Whisk all ingredients together or add to a blender and puree. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
  2. For best flavor, add to a dish that is still cooking or in the crockpot to help the flavors meld, or you can simmer it as described in the notes below. But in a pinch, you can use it as is.
Chipotle Tip: I de-seed the chipotles as much as possible (yes, it's a little messy, but those seeds can be toooo spicy), and then puree the chipotles in adobo to make it ready-to-use and easy-to-measure. It can be stored this way for a little while in the fridge or freezer.

Fresh Simmered Option: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add ¼ cup minced onion and saute for a few minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic cloves and sate for 1 minute more. Whisk in the remaining ingredients, omitting the onion powder, and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer, and let simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. If it thickens to much for your desires, add a little water, as needed.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. Ok bravo for making your own BBQ sauce!! I soooo would rather do that than the preservative-packed stuff in the plastic bottle!! I have ALL of these ingredients on hand (it must be fate). I bet I could make a batch of this and even freeze it for later?! Thanks for this recipe!

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