Barbecue sauce is not just for pork or chicken! I make baked beans and sloppy joes with it, and even use it as a sauce for grilled portobello mushrooms.

By Del Sroufe,


  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, plus more as needed
  • 3 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce, or 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
  • 3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • Sauté the onions in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes, until they start to turn brown and translucent. Add water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time as needed, to keep the onions from sticking to the pan. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
  • Stir in the tomato sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, molasses, mustard, pepper to taste, and 1 cup of water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often to prevent scorching, for about 45 minutes, until thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If desired, transfer the sauce to a blender and puree until smooth (or use an immersion blender).
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Comments (20)

(5 from 5 votes)

Recipe Rating

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Mary C jones

Best sauce ever. This recipe will rock your friends & family. Worth the effort.


It wouldn't thicken for me. But it was tasty!

Marcia Keeth

This recipe is a favorite in our house. It’s also easy to vary, based on your tastes and availability of ingredients. I love onions, so I alway use much more than the recipe calls for, and I sauté them to a golden brown before adding the rest of the ingredients. I use whatever mustard I have on hand yellow or brown. I've often used a large (16 ounce) jar of crushed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce and water. Once the sauce is cooked down a bit, I add the beans and slow cook the whole thing on the stove top rather than heat up the oven. It’s delicious. We like to serve this with kale and baked sweet potatoes — a perfect meal.


Can I use blackstrap molasses?

Megan Edwards

Hi Belinda, Yes, blackstrap molasses will work just fine in this recipe. Let us know how it goes!


If you are at Del's sauce just because you want to make Easy Vegan Baked Beans, I have a hack for you. I don't really like cooking, but I like to eat, so I cook. I can follow a recipe just fine. I was planning on making this sauce and the beans this week, but my son asked for Impossible burgers last night and I decided to make the beans to go with. However, waiting 45 minutes for the sauce to thicken was not in my timelines. Here's my hack. Take all the ingredients for the Del BBQ Sauce minus the cup of water and put them in the instant pot. Then add two cans of pintos or whatever your preferred beans are. I set the instant pot for 20 minutes and let the steam release on its own. Tada, beans! In half the time of making the sauce and then the beans. I admit, I had low expectations, but the beans came out pretty darn good. I will be using this recipe in the future. This is a great alternative to the higher sugar canned baked beans.


Adding that I did not saute anything first and I eyeballed all the ingredients. I also used frozen diced onions. Don't be afraid to substitute for your likes and/or to make things easier.


Kathy, I love to cook! but am always looking to save time. Thank you so much for sharing your time saving hack.


How much is a medium onion? 1 cup? more? less? Maybe give this by weight instead?


Whatif we don’t have unsulphured molasses? What can be used as a substitute?


I don't think it's critical and depends more on your taste/tolerance for them. Except for some forms of baking, most recipes have a lot of wiggle room as long as you maintain the liquid to solid ratio. After my first attempt I rarely make a recipe as written and sub in things I prefer.


Adding 1 cup of water is mentioned in the recipe but not in the ingredients. It would be helpful if FOK could amend this. It would be easy to overlook the water requirement!! I did make this recipe today to make BBQ backed beans. The sauce is delicious and easy to make.

Joyce Taron

I have made this BBQ sauce many times. It is reliably yummy. Thank you, Del.


Could someone please tell me which mustard to use. If its English, wholegrain or dijon?


Lorraine it’s yellow hotdog mustard

Tracy M

How can this yield 2 3/4 cups from 1 cup of tomato sauce and 1 cup water?

Joyce Taron

It must be all the onion?


Besides the tomato sauce and water which total 2 cups, the rest of the liquids in the recipe total 7 oz so a yield of 2 3/4 should be correct depending on how much you reduce the sauce in cooking.


It is yellow mustard like French’s. Also called hot dog mustard.


Consider ALL the ingredients

About the Author

Headshot of Def Sroufe

About the Author

Del Sroufe

Chef Del Sroufe is co-owner and executive chef of Wellness Forum Foods, a whole-food, plant-based meal delivery and catering service in Columbus, Ohio. He is the author of Forks Over Knives - The Cookbook and Better Than Vegan. Del teaches cooking classes and helps people transition to a healthy plant-based diet.
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