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Healthy Homemade BBQ Sauce

from 2 reader reviews

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

Make this healthy BBQ sauce from scratch. It’s so easy to do with tomato sauce, a few seasonings, a little brown sugar, and most importantly, Medjool dates.

To make this healthy BBQ sauce from scratch, you will need:

  • large Medjool dates
  • tomato sauce
  • apple cider vinegar
  • smoked paprika
  • garlic powder
  •  Worcestershire sauce (vegan, if desired)
  • low sodium soy sauce
  • real maple syrup

Pin it now to save for later:bbq sauce in glass jar with red checkered cloth

Can You Make BBQ Sauce From Scratch?

Of course you can! BUT aren’t there plenty of commercial brands to choose from? It is definitely so much easier to just open a bottle and pour. So why bother even doing making your BBQ sauce from scratch?

Sure, go peruse your grocer’s shelf and you will find many varied types and brands of BBQ sauce. You’ll find the maple-sweetened, brown sugar sweetened, smoked, hot and spicy…you name it! If you pick any of those bottles up and take a look at the ingredients, you’ll likely also find corn syrup, a whole slew of preservatives, and “natural flavors” you are sure of. Make your own BBQ sauce, and you control exactly what goes in it.

This healthy homemade BBQ sauce is:

  • tangy
  • savory/sweet
  • rich and thick
  • flavorful
  • free from processed sugar, corn syrup,  or preservativesbbq sauce in a jar with red checked cloth

Tips and Tricks for Making the Healthy Homemade BBQ Sauce

Please read through all tips and tricks to ensure that your BBQ sauce will be as tasty as mine!

  • Start with 12 large Medjool dates. Take the pits out and soak in hot water for about 30 minutes.
  • If your dates are quite fresh and soft, the 30 minutes given in the recipe directions should be enough. If, however, your dates are older and somewhat dried and hardened, you will need to soak longer – up to a couple of hours.
  • You will know your dates have fully soaked and are ready to use when they are very soft and almost mushy.
  • Drain and toss the soaking water from the dates and put dates in a high-speed blender.
  • Your blender should be powerful enough that the skins of the dates are able to be fully pulverized and blended in. I love my Vitamix for this job! (Affiliate link)
  • This is a vegan food blog and so the ingredients and recommended products will be vegan. If you eat vegan, you will want to ensure your Worcestershire sauce is also vegan. Worcestershire sauce is typically made with anchovies – and so definitely not vegan. I use Organics brand. This brand is not certified vegan. However, I’ve called the company and while they will not come out and say their product is vegan, they did say that no animal products were used. Reading the label, I do not see any ingredients that are even questionable. At the time of this writing, I’m going to give Organics Worcestershire Sauce a vegan thumbs up.
  • Annies is another vegan brand you can use. I have found this on Amazon (affiliate link)

Putting it together!

  • Put all other ingredients in the blender along with the pitted, soaked, Medjool dates and blend at high speed for about 3 minutes or until all of the dates have been pulverized and blended,  and you have a smooth sauce.
  • Pour this blended smooth sauce into a medium sized saucepan, and heat on low for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should not burn on low and with no sugar added, it should not develop that over-cooked sugary stick/burn on the bottom of the pan.
red bbq sauce in a pan stirred with a spoon
Heat on low for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the sauce to thicken
  • This BBQ sauce will be rich and flavorful. But, because we didn’t use processed sugars, the texture might be a little different than you are accustomed to, if you only use prepared bottled sauce. It will not be as sticky syrupy- which, to me is a good thing.

Items I found Useful Making this Recipe:

(Affiliate links) I am an Amazon affiliate. This means that clicking on and purchasing through one of the links might earn Veggie Fun Kitchen compensation at no additional cost to you.

Now doesn’t this look good enough to eat with a spoon? Let’s get on with the recipe! bbq sauce in a measuring cup on a spoon

The Recipe for Healthy Homemade BBQ Sauce

Thank you for reading through the post. If you’ve made this recipe and loved it, please consider leaving a review and five stars. I would greatly appreciate it.

BBq sauce in glass jar with red checkered cloth

bbq sauce in a jar with red checked cloth

Healthy Homemade BBQ Sauce

This healthy BBQ sauce made from scratch is plant-based. It uses medjool dates and real maple syrup for sweeteners.  Make this healthy homemade BBQ sauce today in your high speed blender and stovetop.
from 2 reader reviews
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sauce, Topping
Cuisine: American
Keyword: BBQ Sauce made from scratch, Healthy Homemade BBQ Sauce, Plant-based BBQ sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Date Soaking: 30 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 17 servings
Calories: 69kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey


  • 12 Medjool dates, pitted about 1 1/2 cups loosely packed
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce canned
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce vegan
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce low sodium
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup real
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  • Take the pits out and soak the Medjool dates for about 30 minutes. (Dry or old dates will need longer to soak - up to 3 hours.) The dates will be very soft when done soaking.
  • Discard soaking water from the dates.
  • Add the dates and all other ingredients to a high-speed blender.
  • Blend on high for about 3 minutes or until all of the dates have been pulverized and well blended.
  • Pour sauce into a medium sized saucepan. 
  • Stirring often, cook on low heat for about 15 minutes or until thickened.
  • If you don't plan on using right away, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. 


Serving: 2Tablespoons | Calories: 69kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Sodium: 210mg | Potassium: 234mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 175IU | Vitamin C: 2.1mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 0.6mg

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By on March 7th, 2019

About Cindy Rainey

Veggie Fun Kitchen by Cindy Rainey
Welcome to Veggie Fun Kitchen where you will learn to recreate family favorites the plant-based/vegan way! Let me know if I can help. I'm here for you.

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