This post contains affiliate links for which I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) should you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please see my disclaimer for more information.
Usually there are no animal products in BBQ sauce, so many BBQ sauces are vegan.
There are however some ingredients that may be potentially non-vegan in some BBQ sauces, which can be a concern for strict vegans.
Keep reading for a breakdown of what ingredients to look out for when searching for a vegan BBQ sauce.
Non-vegan ingredients in BBQ sauce
BBQ sauce is a tomato-based sauce that typically includes vinegar, a sweetener such as cane sugar, spices, and seasoning. Of course ingredients vary between products, and some non-vegan ingredients may be included.
Below are some non-vegan and potentially non-vegan ingredients that you may find in some BBQ sauce.
Honey – Some barbecue sauce is sweetened with honey, which is not vegan. Many brands will have a variety of barbecue sauces and usually at least one will be made with honey.
Anchovies – Some barbecue sauce is made with anchovies, which are fish. Keep in mind that Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies, so you should avoid that as well if you see it as an ingredient in barbecue sauce.
Potentially non-vegan ingredients
Sugar (including brown sugar) – Sugar itself does not contain animal products, but cane sugar is sometimes filtered through bone char. Some vegans don’t worry about this, but if it is a concern for you, you can stick with barbecue sauces that are certified vegan or that use a different type of sugar.
Keep in mind that brown sugar may also be filtered through bone char. Beet sugar and coconut sugar are never filtered through bone char, and organic sugar usually isn’t either.
Wine vinegar – Vinegar is usually vegan, but it can sometimes be filtered through non-vegan ingredients. This is more common with wine vinegars. Some vegans don’t worry about this, but if it is a concern for you, just avoid barbecue sauces that contain wine vinegar.
Natural flavor – Many packaged products contain natural flavor as an ingredient. This can be sourced from plants or animals, and it is usually not disclosed on packaging.
Some companies won’t reveal whether their natural flavor is plant-based, so it is sometimes impossible to know. Some vegans don’t worry about this, but if you’re concerned with what the natural flavors in barbecue sauce products are sourced from, you can stick with sauces that are confirmed vegan by the company.
Artificial colors – Most artificial colors do not contain any animal ingredients, but they are sometimes tested on animals. Again, this is something that not all vegans are concerned with, so it’s up to you whether or not you avoid them.
Vegan BBQ sauces
The following barbecue sauces are either certified vegan or confirmed to be vegan by the brand. This means that any sugar in these products is not filtered through bone char and any natural flavors are derived from plants.
- Organic Original BBQ Sauce
- Organic Smoky Maple BBQ Sauce
- Organic Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce
- Original BBQ Sauce
- Original BBQ Sauce (certified vegan by Vegan Action)
- Chipotle BBQ Sauce Unsweetened (certified vegan by Vegan Action)
- Maple BBQ Sauce (certified vegan by Vegan Action)
- Korean BBQ Sauce & Marinade (certified vegan by Vegan Action)
Good Food For Good
- Organic Classic BBQ Sauce
- Organic Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce
BBQ sauce for non-strict vegans
The following brands make barbecue sauce that some vegans will be comfortable consuming. The sauces below do contain some ingredients that are potentially non-vegan, so it’s up to you to decide if you are okay with that or not.
Some ingredients to be aware of in the sauces below are sugar that may be processed with bone char, natural flavor of unknown sources, and vinegar that may have been filtered with non-vegan ingredients.
If any of these ingredients are a concern for you, you can purchase a barbecue sauce that is certified vegan instead.
Heinz BBQ Sauce
- Original Sweet & Thick BBQ Sauce
- Kansas City Style Sweet & Smoky BBQ Sauce
- Texas Style Bold & Spicy BBQ Sauce
- Carolina Mustard Style Sweet Mustard BBQ Sauce
- Carolina Vinegar Style Sweet & Tangy BBQ Sauce
Kraft BBQ Sauce
- Slow-Simmered Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce
- Slow-Simmered Hot & Spicy Barbecue Sauce
- Slow-Simmered Original Barbecue Sauce
- Slow-Simmered Thick & Spicy Barbecue Sauce
- Slow-Simmered Sweet Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce
- Slow-Simmered Hickory Smoke Barbecue Sauce
Stubb’s BBQ Sauce
- Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce
- Hickory Bourbon BBQ Sauce
- Original BBQ Sauce
- Simply Sweet Reduced Sugar BBQ Sauce
- Smokey Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce
- Spicy BBQ Sauce
- Sticky Sweet BBQ Sauce
- Sweet Heat BBQ Sauce
Make your own vegan BBQ sauce
There are plenty of recipes online for homemade barbecue sauce. When choosing a recipe, just make sure it doesn’t contain any of the ingredients listed above, such as honey or anchovies. Look out for Worcestershire sauce too, although you can purchase vegan Worcestershire.
Here are some recipes to choose from:
- Homemade Vegan BBQ Sauce by Making Thyme for Health
- Vegan BBQ Sauce by Karissa’s Vegan Kitchen
- Vegan BBQ Sauce by Rainbow Plant Life
If you are concerned about how sugar is processed, ensure you use a certified vegan sugar or organic sugar.
If a recipe calls for ketchup, you can decide how strict you want to be about what brand of ketchup you use. You can check out my post “Is ketchup vegan?”