Skip to Content

Savory Tweaks: 5 BEST Barbecue Sauce Substitutes

Are you out of barbecue sauce and searching for alternatives?

With this guide, you’ll learn about five amazing substitutes to help you get the flavor you crave.

Discover the best substitutes for barbecue sauce, so you can enjoy your favorite dishes without missing out.

What’s Barbecue Sauce?

Barbecue sauce is a delicious condiment and marinade that adds smoky, sweet and spicy flavors to meats, burgers, sandwiches and all manner of barbecue dishes.

This sauce is widely available in both pre-made store-bought options as well as homemade varieties.

For those looking for a quality barbecue sauce to buy at the store or make at home, there are a few tips to keep in mind when selecting or making your own.

When buying pre-made, ensure it has natural ingredients without high fructose corn syrup or preservatives; similarly, you can use healthier homemade ingredients when creating your own recipe.

Additionally, look for a sauce with perfect balance between sweet and smoky flavors for the most enjoyable barbecue experience.

When serving and using your favorite BBQ sauces, do not be afraid to mix things up.

Use various types of sauces with different dishes to get interesting flavor combinations that are easy to turn into family favorites.

For example, pair sweetness by mixing honey mustard BBQ sauces with tang from teriyaki fusion sauces.

It’s also important to remember that if you find yourself out of BBQ sauce, you can still achieve delicious flavor combinations with other ingredients like ketchup or mustard base sauces along with mayonnaise and spices – even Worcestershire Sauce – making an excellent substitute for those short on barbecue sauce options.

Regardless of your replacement choice though, these 5 substitutes will complete any dinner.

5 Best Barbecue Sauce Substitutes to Consider

When it comes to the world of barbecue sauce, there are almost endless possibilities for substitutions.

Depending on the type of recipe you’re cooking, certain ingredients and combinations will work better than others.

Here are five of the most popular alternatives to traditional barbecue sauce that can help you finish off any dish with a signature flavor.

1 – Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki sauce is a quick substitute for barbecue sauce and can be used to marinate and baste meats.

It has a sweet, tangy and savory flavor that adds life to your food.

For best results, use lower sodium versions of teriyaki sauce because it contains quite a bit of sugar.

If you don’t have teriyaki sauce on hand, you can make your own by combining soy sauce with fresh or canned pineapple juice, garlic powder, ground ginger, brown sugar and sesame oil.

This mixture can be cooked over low heat until it thickens slightly before using.

2 – Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce is a popular sauce that is used widely in Chinese cuisine.

This thick and sweet dipping sauce is made up of soybeans, garlic, and chilies, and has a very intense flavor.

It’s often served as a condiment with appetizers or as part of a meal.

When it comes to barbecued meats, hoisin sauce can be a great substitute for barbecue sauce.

Its creamy texture, tangy flavor profile, and spicy kick all make it perfect for marinating or glazing meat dishes.

Simply brush your favorite cuts of meat with hoisin sauce before grilling or barbecuing them over an open flame for some added sweetness and smokiness that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds.

3 – Chili-garlic Sauce

Chili-garlic sauce is a fiery combination of key ingredients—chili peppers, garlic, and vinegar.

It’s a great substitute for barbecue sauce if you’re looking to add a bit of heat.

Usually, it has a reddish tinge because of the chilis used, but the overall flavor can come in different degrees of sweetness and heat.

It pairs well with grilled pork chops and chicken wings, as well as sauces like teriyaki or hoisin sauce.

If you want to make your own at home, all you need is chili peppers, garlic cloves, canola oil, lime juice or vinegar (or both), some sugar or honey (optional) and salt.

Blend all the ingredients until smooth, then marinate your proteins for about 30 minutes before grilling.

4 – Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is a great substitute for barbecue sauce when you need something tangy and savory.

This condiment is made with vinegar, anchovies, molasses and various herbs and spices.

It’s similar to steak sauce but with more complex flavors, including a hint of sweetness.

To use Worcestershire sauce as a barbecue sauce substitute, pair it with another bold and savory ingredient such as tomato paste, brown sugar or honey and use it to baste meats while grilling.

It can also be used as an all-purpose table condiment.

5 – Mustard Sauce

Mustard sauce is another popular alternative to barbecue sauce and it can be an excellent accompaniment to all kinds of grilled or smoked meats.

Mustard sauces are made from a blend of mustard and spices, including garlic, paprika, Worcestershire sauce or other ingredients.

The most common type of mustard sauce is based on yellow or Dijon mustard and has a milder flavor than traditional barbecue sauces.

It often has a hint of sweetness that pairs well with pork ribs or chicken wings.

Mustard sauces can be found in stores pre-made, or you can make your own at home using a few simple ingredients.


In conclusion, barbecue sauce can be substituted in a number of ways, depending on personal tastes and the type of dish.

For the health-conscious, choose a blend of ketchup and vinegar; for those looking for tanginess without the sugar, a blend of Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice works well.

If you’re in a pinch, both bean dip and hoisin sauce offer depth of flavor without the sugar or oil found in traditional barbecue sauces.

Finally, if you’re looking for an all-around flavor enhancer with no added sugar or calories, mustard is a good option to keep on hand.

Each substitution has unique characteristics that can be used to enhance different dishes while still creating that classic barbecue flavor profile.

5 Best Barbecue Sauce Substitutes to Consider

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes


  • 1 – Teriyaki Sauce
  • 2 – Hoisin Sauce
  • 3 – Chili-garlic Sauce
  • 4 – Worcestershire Sauce
  • 5 – Mustard Sauce


  • Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  • Organize all of your ingredients.
  • Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!