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Is BBQ Sauce Vegan? We Analyzed Popular Brands

Last updated: December 5, 2021

Is BBQ Sauce Vegan?

A concoction of ingredients gives BBQ sauce its essential flavors, including molasses, Worcestershire, Anchovies, etc.

These ingredients, however, are extracted from animals, making the end product unsuitable for vegans. As vegans are the ones who avoid all edible and non-edible products that involve animals, animal cruelty, and the exploitation of animals, consuming animal-derived ingredients in their sauce is unacceptable or against their values.

Since many BBQ sauces use these ingredients, there is a high chance that not all BBQ sauces are vegan. There are, however, many vegan options available in the market. All we have to do is learn to recognize non-vegan ingredients.

We can identify them quickly by looking at their ingredients before making the right choice of consuming the sauce.

Common ingredients in BBQ sauces

Common ingredients in BBQ sauces

Let us analyze the ingredients that put many BBQ sauces in the non-vegan category.


The most common animal extracted ingredient to check for in the BBQ sauce is honey. Honey gives a sweet earthy flavor to the BBQ sauces.

But the use of honey has always been a controversial topic among vegans. Some vegans maintain that honey is a vegan ingredient since bees aren't hurt in the process of making it. But others believe that deriving honey from honey bees is equivalent to stealing.

Honey is a by-product of bees' hard work that they create for their natural use. Taking away that honey is like stealing. Just as cows make milk for their calves, not for us, milk is therefore categorized as non-vegan. In the same manner, honey is too.

Since many BBQ sauce companies use honey in their products, the sauce containing honey as the base is usually considered non-vegan.


Anchovy is a common name mentioned in the list of ingredients on the label behind the BBQ sauce jars and bottles. Anchovies are the most non-vegan component that many BBQ sauces have.

Anchovies are small fishes used to prepare Worcestershire sauce, making it the main ingredient in many BBQ Sauces. It is used to give the sauce a unique flavor. But because killing fishes for taste and consuming them is not a vegan stance, this ingredient is considered non-vegan.

Note: Some people identify themselves as ostrovegan, meaning they are comfortable consuming oysters. These vegans may also feel consuming anchovies acceptable.

Processed Sugar

Sugar in itself is a vegan item. But the process of making it white is as non-vegan as it gets. Processed sugar is filtered with Bone Char- which is used for the decolorization of sugar.

It's also called 'natural carbon.' However, it is made from the bones of cattle that are slaughtered in slaughterhouses. The use of Bone Char in the filtering of sugar makes processed sugar non- cruelty-free.

Natural Flavours

When you flip a BBQ sauce bottle and check out its label, you will commonly find the use of 'Natural Flavour' mentioned there. The source of how these flavors are derived is not clearly stated.

Therefore, it is looked out for. Many sauces do use a natural flavor that is derived from the vegan process only. But a lot don't. For example, castoreum. Castoreum is listed under natural flavors but is derived from Beavers' buttocks. Therefore, when looking for natural flavors, knowing the source of where they come from is crucial. Flavorings could also be an issue since it's an umbrella term.

These ingredients are used very frequently in many BBQ sauces. Some brands do not use these ingredients, which vegans can consume without any guilt. Therefore we need to learn vegan options when making a choice.

what are polular bbq sauce vegan brand

Let us analyze different BBQ sauce brands that are popular throughout the world. The Original flavor of Heinz, Kraft, Stubb's, Bull's-Eye, and Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce are all vegan friendly.

Heinz BBQ sauce

Heinz was the first mainstream company to sell bottled barbecue sauce in 1940. The original Heinz BBQ sauce is vegan. Most of its variations are vegan. But even the most classic flavors contain sugar processed with Bone char which takes it into the controversial zone.

List of Heinz BBQ sauces that are vegan:

  • Heinz Carolina Mustard Style BBQ sauce
  • Heinz Kentucky Bourbon Style Rich and Savory BBQ sauce
  • Heinz Carolina Vinegar Style Sweet and Tangy BBQ sauce
  • Heinz Original Sweet and Thick BBQ sauce
  • Heinz Hawaii Style Sweet and Fruity BBQ sauce

People looking for vegan options can go for these variations.

Bull's Eye BBQ

The original Bullseye BBQ is vegan. Most of its varieties are vegan, as follows:

  • Original BBQ Sauce
  • New York SteakHouse BBQ Sauce
  • Hickory Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce
  • Dark Beer BBQ Sauce
  • Roasted Onion BBQ Sauce
  • Red Hot Chilli Hot Sauce
  • Memphis Style Sweet & Spicy Hot Sauce
  • Smokey Chipotle Hot Sauce

However, some flavors do not classify as vegan, including:

  • Smokey Bacon BBQ sauce
  • Tennis Style New Whiskey Glaze

Kraft BBQ sauce

Almost all Kraft BBQ sauces are vegan except the Honey, Sweet Honey, Spicy Honey, and Mesquite Smoke varieties. These are non-vegan because they contain honey.

There are many vegan varieties too:

  • Original Barbecue Sauce and Dip
  • Hot and Spicy Barbecue Sauce and Dip
  • Thick and Spicy Barbecue Sauce and Dip
  • Sweet Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce and Dip

Stubb's BBQ sauce

Almost all the varieties of Stubb's BBQ sauce are vegan. To name a few:

  • Pepper Bar-B-Q sauce
  • Hickory Bourbon Bar-B-Q sauce
  • Original Bar-B-Q sauce
  • Spicy Bar-B-Q sauce
  • Sticky Sweet Bar-B-Q sauce
  • Sweet Heart Bar-B-Q sauce

Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce

The original sauce from Sweet Baby Ray's is vegan. There are a few varieties that do not classify as vegan-friendly. It is because they contain 'Natural Flavors' derived from unknown sources. Their Maple Barbecue sauce and others with honey are considered non-vegan

Some Vegan Sauces, to name a few, are:

  • Original Barbecue sauce
  • Sweet 'N' Spicy Barbecue sauce
  • Hawaiian BBQ sauce
  • Sweet Golden Mustard Barbecue sauce
  • Hickory and Brown Sugar Barbecue sauce
  • Sweet Vidalia Onion Barbecue sauce
  • Buffalo Wing sauce
  • Kickin' Bourbon Wing Barbecue sauce
  • Sweet Teriyaki Marinade
  • Steakhouse Marinade

Choosing the proper vegan BBQ sauce

Keep in mind that all these vegan sauces have multiple flavors, and they have different tastes. What suits your taste and morals is dependent on you. It is straightforward to find vegan products at the supermarket, online stores, and local stores. Always remember to check the label when it's time to buy.

Most barbecue sauces are already naturally vegan (aside from some containing regular granulated sugar, which is sometimes not vegan because it's processed with animal bone char). The main thing you're going to want to look out for in these sauces is Honey, Worcestershire, Processed Sugar, which many do not consider vegan.

Some brands also include sardines or anchovies in their barbecue sauces, but these are much rarer. Therefore, to find the perfect BBQ sauce, you need to identify the ingredients you, as a vegan, do not want to consume. We also must understand that the 'perfect' choice is subjective since many vegans have different preferences.

Therefore, to choose the perfect BBQ sauce, One needs to look for ingredients they want to avoid and be more vigilant.

Finding the perfect flavor

BBQ sauces are a flavor bomb in themselves. Paired well with rice and beans, it can alleviate the taste of the meal with a few dashes.

Looking out for Vegan flavors that suit the taste is pretty simple. Any flavors that include Honey, Anchovies, or Inorganic processed sugar are to be avoided. Whether you're used to sauces that are heavier on the vinegar, or you find yourself leaning more toward tomato-based sauces, there are some truly delicious options gracing grocery store shelves these days.

However, most of the original BBQ sauces flavors are vegan and can be the best pick.

Finding the best flavor is more about knowing what flavors you like. There are BBQ sauces that are sweeter, tangier, more smokey. Your preference will be affected by which of these elements you want. Therefore, find the best flavor, know your taste, recognize the vegan choices, and make a conscious decision.

Making your BBQ sauce at home

People are increasingly inclined towards whipping up their BBQ sauce. Reasons for this are:

  1. DIY dressings give them control over what ingredients are included in their sauce.
  2. It makes figuring out what flavors work well together for them more manageable.
  3. It is an easy, pocket-friendly way of enjoying BBQ flavors.

If you want to be cent percent sure that your BBQ sauce is vegan, make it yourself. Opting for homemade sauces saves you the tedious task of looking and researching the ingredients.

Here are two top-rated BBQ sauce recipes. They are made with minimal ingredients, are vegan, and save time and energy. Both of the recipes are very versatile and can be customized to your taste and preference.

Recipe for homemade vegan BBQ sauce

Recipe 1


  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • Two tablespoon molasses
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar ( Consider using brown sugar if you don't have coconut sugar)
  • Two teaspoon lime juice
  • One teaspoon smoked paprika
  • One teaspoon salt
  • One teaspoon onion powder
  • One teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Put all of the ingredients mentioned above in a small saucepan and whisk until thoroughly combined. Bring this vegan sauce to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and simmer for 20 minutes.

Recipe 2


  • Tomato Paste
  • Vegan Worcestershire sauce \ soy sauce
  • Mustard
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Black pepper
  • Salt


Step one: Start whisking all ingredients together in a medium-sized pot.

Step 2: Bring to a simmer on medium heat. Then put the pot on lower to medium-low heat, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Stir frequently.

Step 3: Slowly remove from the heat and use or store.

Both the recipes are easy and flavorful; it won't even take you 10 minutes to cook a rich vegan BBQ sauce. You can always customize this sauce according to your taste and preference.


Veganism isn't about being "perfect." It is about making a positive change.

First, let's get something straight: The goal of eating vegan is to help animals and do our best in reducing their suffering while still living everyday life. Vegans primarily believe that every living being has a right to live without getting slaughtered, including animals.

Therefore, humans should not kill animals for their flesh. Vegans also consider it unethical to hurt an animal for fulfilling human needs. These animals are inevitably mistreated when a manufacturer mass harvests animal products. These are the main reasons why vegans choose to avoid everything that comes from animals.

The goal is to live a life of wholesome good roundedness that keeps our personal choices' impact on the environment minimal. Thus, helping animals can be as simple as choosing a vegan BBQ sauce rather than a non-vegan one. However, not compromising taste and morals will get us a long way ahead in this mindful journey.

Lastly, we understand that going vegan is quite a challenge in itself. It's a 360-degree lifestyle change, and it takes dedication to ensure that no product you buy contains animal derivatives.

However, being a vegan doesn't mean that you need to stop enjoying your favorite BBQ sauce!

The next time you're craving something sweet-spicy, grab one of the Vegan BBQ sauces and enjoy your meal without any feeling of guilt. You can find numerous vegan brands in stores; however, you must consider running a few checks to ensure the product is genuinely vegan or not. You can also make your BBQ sauce with the recipe we shared.

Let us always remember to be more compassionate in life and our food choices.

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