3 Healthy, Easy Barbecue Sauces You Need At Your Next Cookout

Barbecue sauce gets a bad rap on health, but a fantastic rap on flavor. The usual store-bought varieties, and even the thick, savory sauces lathered on meat served at restaurants, are laden with added sugar and sodium.

Luckily, you don't have to sacrifice your favorites for tasteless grilled chicken alternatives. Pour barbecue sauce all over your proteins with these much healthier recipes.

You don't have to worry whether they'll taste good, either: These recipes were curated by Andrea Nordby, previously the renowned culinary director of Boston's popular South End Buttery and currently head chef of the plant-based meal kit company Purple Carrot. She's well-seasoned (ha, get it?) at whipping up tasteful tofu, and if these sauces taste good on those bland blocks of protein, you know they'll taste even better on real meat or veggies.

1. Tangy Mustard Barbecue Sauce


1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon agave
1/4 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon granulated onion


In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth.

2. Five-Spice Asian Barbecue Sauce


1 tablespoon ketchup
2 tablespoons sweet soy
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sriracha
1/8 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water


Combine the ketchup, sweet soy, rice wine vinegar, sriracha, and five spice powder, and place over a medium low heat to bring to a slow simmer.

In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with 1/2 cup of cold water, and then whisk into your barbecue sauce.

Bring the sauce to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until it becomes a thick glaze, about 5 to 6 minutes.

3. Sweet Apricot Barbecue Sauce


2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon apricot preserve
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons barbecue spice blend
2 tablespoons water
Pinch of salt


Peel and mince 2 garlic cloves.

Place a small saucepan over medium-high heat and add vegetable oil.

Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the ketchup, apricot preserve, apple cider vinegar, barbecue spice blend, water, and a pinch of salt.

Stir sauce, reduce heat to low, and allow sauce to thicken, about 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.