Blueberry BBQ sauce is smoky, tangy, sweet, and can be made with fresh or frozen blueberries. You'll love the deep, rich color and the way sautéed onion and maple syrup enhance the sweet-tart flavor of blueberries. Smoky chipotle takes it to a whole new level of delicious!
This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and a breeze to make.
Why You'll Love It
Blueberry BBQ sauce is a fun twist on classic tomato-based barbecue sauce. It's every bit as versatile and packs serious flavor! It's also gluten-free, vegan, and made without refined sugar.
And you don't need any fancy equipment to make a batch of blueberry BBQ sauce, just a large saute pan and a blender.
- blueberries - either fresh or frozen
- onion and garlic - we like white or yellow onion for barbecue sauce, since there's already plenty of sweetness from the blueberries and maple syrup.
- tomato sauce - instead of using ketchup like most bbq sauce recipes, I like to start with canned tomato sauce. Depending on where you are in the world, this might be called something different. It's simply cooked, pureed tomatoes with salt added.
- maple syrup - adds amazing flavor and gives our sauce its thick and sticky consistency.
- vinegar - apple cider vinegar and balsamic
- dried chipotle - we always have a jar of chipotle flakes on the spice rack because it's so convenient. If all you have is canned chipotle in adobo sauce, that works, too! It won't take much, though, since they're very spicy.
See recipe card for quantities and full instructions.
How to Make Blueberry BBQ Sauce
- Start by sauteing the onion for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chipotle flakes and cook for 1 minute.
- Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes until thickened and slightly reduced.
- Let it cool for about 15 minutes, then blend the sauce until it's as smooth as you like.
Tips and Substitutions
There are several ways you can tweak the flavors in this sauce to suit your palate.
- For a more subtle smoky flavor, reduce the chipotle flakes or use smoked paprika instead.
- Make it spicy with cayenne or by using chipotle in adobo instead of dried chipotle flakes.
- For a less sweet barbecue sauce reduce the maple syrup to ¼ cup.
Since this is a vegan recipe blog, I've got lots of plant-based barbecue ideas for you! Blueberry BBQ sauce can replace any of the sauces in these recipes:
It's also perfect for dipping vegan "chicken" nuggets and tofu nuggets!
How long does it keep?
Stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container, blueberry barbecue sauce keeps for up to 1 week. May be frozen for longer storage.
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Blueberry BBQ Sauce
- 2 teaspoons oil, optional - for oil-free diets, use a splash of water if needed
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- scant 1 teaspoon dried chipotle flakes - or 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- 2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen - if using frozen, thaw first
- 1 cup tomato sauce - cooked, pureed tomatoes + salt; usually sold in 8 oz. cans
- ½ cup water
- ⅓ cup maple syrup - reduce to ¼ cup if you prefer a less sweet sauce
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- black pepper
- Preheat a saute pan over medium heat and add the oil, if using. Saute the onion for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and chipotle flakes, and cook for 1 minute. (If using canned chipotle in adobo, add in step 2.)
- Add the blueberries and all remaining ingredients Stir and bring to a simmer. Adjust heat to maintain a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes or until thickened and slightly reduced.
- Remove from heat and let cool 15 minutes. Transfer to a blender, and blend until smooth. Pour into a jar, and let cool. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.