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Vegan BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches

bbq sandwich on a wood cutting board

Learn how to make the BEST BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches! Soft bun, melty cheese, and the star of the show: Slow-cooked shredded jackfruit seasoned with a homemade spice rub and smothered in tangy barbecue sauce.

The flavor and texture is out of this world, and you won’t believe how delicious this vegan sandwich can be!

bbq sandwich on a wood cutting board

THIS IS A RECIPE FOR VEGAN BBQ JACKFRUIT SANDWICHES. Updated June 20, 2024

Jackfruit Recipes

I’ve tried a lot of jackfruit recipes in my day, but this one is something special. If you love BBQ recipes like BBQ pulled pork, this vegan sandwich is going to be your new favorite!

It was inspired by Panera Bread’s BBQ Smokehouse Chicken Sandwich, but instead of BBQ Chicken, this recipe is completely plant based thanks to jackfruit.

You’ll just need canned jackfruit, some BBQ sauce, and a handful of pantry spices to make this pulled jackfruit sandwich taste just like the famous Panera Bread version. Best part? It’s actually very easy to make and perfect to serve for lunch or dinner, or to enjoy at your next family BBQ!

And if you can’t get enough tasty vegan recipes, make sure to check out my cookbook Vegan Party Planning. It’s full of delicious dinner recipes that are fancy enough to serve to a crowd, but simple enough to add to your current meal prep routine.

Now, let’s learn how to make these delicious Vegan BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches!

What Does Jackfruit Taste Like?

On it’s own, canned jackfruit can have a tangy and briny flavor. For this reason, I recommend using jackfruit that is canned in water – not brine – to create a neutral base for our BBQ sandwiches.

The reason jackfruit works so well for making a plant based version of pulled pork or BBQ pulled chicken recipes, is because of the texture. Shredded jackfruit has a meat-like look and feel, and it holds up well during the cooking process.

Speaking of the cooking process, how you cook jackfruit is really key. Which is why I like this slow cooked method. It involves two easy steps. Simmering and then baking. Simmering allows for the seasonings to get inside of the jackfruit and make it super flavorful, and baking helps dry out any excess moisture and creates those tasty charred edges (truly the best part!)

If you’ve had mushy jackfruit in the past….same. And let me tell you, I wasn’t a huge fan. But like I said, THIS is the best way to cook jackfruit and after one bite, you’ll never make jackfruit any other way!

Ingredients for Making BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches:

Jackfruit: Look for “Young” or “Green” Jackfruit canned in water, not brine. Rinse it well in the colander and drain well too (This is important for best results)

BBQ Sauce: Any BBQ sauce you like will work for this. I used Primal Kitchen’s Mango Jalapeño BBQ Sauce and highly recommend it! It’s naturally sweetened, not too fruity despite the name, and it has more of a peppery kick than a super hot spice, if you know what I mean.

Smoked Paprika: This is one of my favorite spices! I use it all the time, and since it’s way more flavorful than sweet paprika, a little goes a long way. This is the ingredient that creates that smokey BBQ flavor in this recipe!

Watch me make it step by step in this video!
How to Cook Jackfruit:

The full recipe can be found on the recipe card below, but here’s a quick overview to give you an idea!

Step 1: Simmer

The secret to my 2 Step BBQ Jackfruit Recipe is that the canned jackfruit is first simmered in BBQ spices like chili powder, smoked paprika, poultry seasoning, and a little brown sugar and since I know some of you will ask, coconut sugar or maple syrup will work in place of the brown sugar if you prefer!

Note: I think that brown sugar gives this an absolutely irresistible BBQ flavor so that’s what I recommend using for best results.

Then add the BBQ sauce and water and let it simmer on the stovetop until all of the liquid absorbs into the jackfruit. We’re basically speed-marinating here!

At this point the jackfruit is nice and tender but the texture isn’t quite on point just yet...which brings me to step two: Roasting.

Step 2: Roast

Next toss the jackfruit with a little more BBQ sauce and a very necessary tablespoon of olive oil to create the perfect texture while it roasts in the oven.

While roasting, the edges char slightly but the inside stays juicy and tender! That’s exactly what we want!

And at that point, it’s ready to serve as a sandwich (or along side potato salad and grilled corn on the cob) but we’re making sandwiches today so that brings me to Step 3: Assembly.

bbq chicken sandwich on a cutting board

Step 3: Assemble

Toast a hamburger bun until lightly golden brown, then layer on your warm BBQ jackfruit, vegan cheese, thinly sliced red onions – or crispy fried onions like these – and top with a little more BBQ sauce for good measure!

Grab some extra napkins and enjoy!

Recipe FAQs

Can I meal prep BBQ Jackfruit?

Absolutely! This recipe makes about 6 servings which means I usually have leftovers (and I’m always VERY happy about that!) I like to reheat the leftover jackfruit on the stove or in the microwave with some more BBQ sauce. I typically use it to make more sandwiches again the next or turn it into BBQ Jackfruit Tacos with black beans, purple cabbage, corn, cilantro and a drizzle of my One Minute Sauce.

vegan jackfruit tacos
I used leftovers to make BBQ Jackfruit Tacos and it was delicious!

WHAT SHOULD I SERVE THESE SANDWICHES WITH?

GREEN POTATO SALAD

VEGAN MAC AND CHEESE

SCALLION, CHIVE AND GARLIC MASHED POTATOES

SWEET POTATO + BLACK BEAN BOWLS

bbq sandwich on a wood cutting board

2 Step BBQ Jackfruit

Nicole Vranjican
Shredded barbeque jackfruit seasoned with a homemade spice rub and smothered in tangy bbq sauce. Perfect for sandwiches or served with your favorite bbq sides!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cans young jackfruit in water
  • 1/3 cup onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil divded
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt I use Morton's
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup bbq sauce I use Primal Kitchen Mango Jalapeño BBQ Sauce
  • 1.5 cups water

Making a sandwich? It's SO good! You Will Need:

  • 6 hamburger buns
  • 6 slices vegan cheese I recommend VioLife Mature Cheddar
  • thinly sliced red onions
  • extra bbq sauce for serving

Instructions
 

Sauté

  • Drain and rinse 3 cans of jackfruit in a colander. Then let it sit and continue to drain while you sauté the onions in a large frying pan with 2 tbsp olive oil (Save the remaining tablespoon for later.)
    Sauté for 3 minutes and then add the garlic and jackfruit to the pan.
    Add the salt, chili powder, smoked paprika, poultry seasoning, and brown sugar and cook for 3 more minutes.
    Then add just 1/2 cup of the BBQ sauce (save the rest for later) and the water to the pan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low – about a 2 or 3 out of 10 – and cover with a lid.
    Let it simmer for 30 minutes or until all of liquid is absorbed. Just check back to stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

Bake

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with a non-stick mat or parchment paper for easy clean up. Set aside.
    Next, use two forks to shred the jackfruit, leaving a few pieces in tact for a nice variation in texture.
    Then add the remaining 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Mix well and transfer to the baking sheet.
    Spread into a thin layer and bake for 15 minutes. Stir carefully then retrun to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the jackfruit is ever-so-slightly charred around the edges.
    Serve warm with extra BBQ sauce on the side or my favorite: make a sandwich with toasted hamburger buns, a generous helping of BBQ jackfruit, vegan cheese, red onion and extra BBQ on top.
    SO delicious! Hope you enoy!
Keyword bbq, jackfruit, Sandwich

If you like this recipe please leave a comment and rate this post below! And if you’re on Instagram, tag me in a pic so I can see your recreation! @nikkivegan

For more free vegan recipes, don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel here.

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Nicole Vranjican

Hey! I’m Nicole and I make practical vegan recipes for REAL life. I cook with simple, easy to find ingredients and I’m passionate about creating delicious plant-based meals that everyone will love!

I hope you enjoy my recipes and videos :) Happy Cooking!

Find me on: Instagram

6 Comments

  1. Jill
    July 16, 2021 / 1:07 pm

    I can’t wait to make this. It looks easy but I like the details to layer the flavor! Not all BBQ jackfruit is the same! I have definitely had some dissatisfying versions from restaurants. Its not just about dumping bbq sauce on jackfruit to make it taste good. I will update my review once I make your version but I can tell already that this looks like a winning recipe! Thanks so much for your attention to detail in your recipe creations!

    • Nicole
      Author
      August 24, 2021 / 9:13 pm

      Thank you, that means a lot to me! And I agree, I’ve had some lackluster jackfruit in the past!

  2. Cathy
    July 18, 2021 / 9:29 pm

    5 stars
    This is so good. I served it at a party today with non vegans and was told my jackfruit was better than the pulled pork. It is great and I can’t wait to make it again.

    • Nicole
      Author
      August 24, 2021 / 9:10 pm

      OH WOW!! I can’t tell you how thrilling that is to hear!! Thank you Cathy and great job! I’m so happy all of your non vegan friends enjoyed it 😊😊

  3. Riana Dolland
    May 17, 2024 / 10:53 pm

    Hello,
    I love your website and recipes. Thank you!
    I was wondering if you still have the coupon for the Ritual multivitamins?

    • Nicole Vranjican
      Author
      June 17, 2024 / 2:03 pm

      Hey! Thank you, I’m so glad you like my website! That’s so nice to hear. I don’t think my link is still active but here it is Click https://ritual.com/30nikkivegan I’ll reach out to them and see if I can get you a new on if that doesn’t work 🙂

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