BBQ sauce on a board and white plate

This Korean BBQ Sauce is perfectly spicy, sweet, sticky and packed with so much flavour. This sauce requires just 7 ingredients AND it’s naturally sweetened with dates! It’s easy to make and so versatile, you can use it on just about anything! Vegan + Refined Sugar Free (Gluten free option)

vegan BBQ sauce in a white bowl

You guys, this Korean BBQ Sauce is going to blow. your mind!! It’s SO flavourful with the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, thanks to the dates and gochujang used in this recipe. YEP thats right, this BBQ sauce is sweetened with dates! No refined sugar used here. Oh, and yes it does still come out sticky and delicious, just like the store bought ones.

homemade korean BBQ sauce ingredients

There are so many things I LOVE about this sauce. First, lets talk ingredients. You only need 7 ingredients and you probably already have most of them at home!

  • dates, to give it sweetness
  • rice vinegar, for a bit of tang
  • gochujang, for the spiciness
  • soy sauce, for the saltiness
  • ginger, for the zing
  • garlic, because everything needs a bit of garlic
  • corn starch, to thicken

Yep, thats pretty much it. 7 ingredients vs. the store bought ones with like 20 ingredients…

BBQ sauce close up photo

This sauce is also SO easy to make. Blend and thicken, thats pretty much it. It lasts in the fridge for a pretty good amount of time too. I use this sauce on like, everything. In stir-frys, baked tofu, baked cauliflower, baked tempeh, buddha bowls and my most often made: Pulled Jackfruit Korean BBQ bowls!

vegan BBQ sauce close up photo

This sauce has slowly become a staple in my household. My dad and boyfriend gave it the nod of approval, so I hope you’re convinced on trying this Korean BBQ Sauce out!

sugar free korean BBQ sauce in a jar

I’m already thinking of other sauces to make that are date sweetened & healthier than store bought ones… any requests? 😉

Korean BBQ Sauce made with dates

This might become the BBQ sauce you always have in your fridge (like me, hehe). It’s:

  • spicy
  • flavourful subtly sweet
  • sticky
  • made with dates
  • the perfect sauce for any stir fry, bakes proteins and over vegetables
  • pretty (really) damn tasty.
barbecue sauce in a jar

Tips and Tricks to making this Korean BBQ Sauce

  • I highly recommend using fresh dates or dates that are VERY soft and blend-able. A high speed blender will definitely help with this. You can also try straining the blended mixture if you like your BBQ sauce completely smooth.
  • This Korean BBQ sauce should be a similar texture to the ones you buy in jars, not too runny but not too thick. If you find your sauce is too runny, add 1/2 tsp more of corn starch.
  • Add sesame seeds, sesame oil or green onions for more flavour.
  • Try this Korean BBQ Pulled Jackfruit using this sauce!
barbecue sauce in a white bowl

If you recreate this Korean BBQ Sauce recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!

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Korean BBQ Sauce (Vegan & Refined Sugar Free)

  • Author: Lisa Kitahara
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1.5 cups 1x


This Korean BBQ Sauce is perfectly spicy, sweet, sticky and packed with so much flavour. This sauce requires just 7 ingredients AND it’s naturally sweetened with dates! It’s easy to make and so versatile, you can use it on just about anything! Vegan + Refined Sugar Free (Gluten free option)


Units Scale
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch of ginger (2 tsp grated)
  • 3/4 cup dates
  • 1.5 tbsp gochujang*
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp corn starch + 1 tbsp water, mixed


  1. Add all ingredients into a blender except corn starch + water slurry until smooth.
  2. Add the mixture into a sauce pan over medium high heat and allow it to come to a boil.
  3. Once it begins to boil, reduce the temperature down to medium low and add in the corn starch slurry. Whisk quickly until it thickens.
  4. Remove from heat and allow the sauce to cool. Transfer into an airtight jar and store in the fridge for up to 10 days.


*chili paste OR Sriracha can be substituted in a pinch.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Condiments
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Korean

Keywords: Korean BBQ Sauce

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vegan sugar free Korean BBQ Sauce

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About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.

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  1. Reduced soy sauce to 1/4c (subbed rest with water) and cranked up the ginger and rice wine vinegar because I love those flavors. Will absolutely keep this on hand! Thank you, Lisa!

  2. I made this last week and was surprised how easy and yummy it was. Definitely not going to buy this sauce from the supermarket ever again 🙂