BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches (vegan!)

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches (vegan!) on a board

I’ve gotten SO many requests for a BBQ Jackfruit recipe. It took me a little time to get this one just right, but here we are! These are meaty, juicy, smoky, a little spicy… and a total mess to eat, but isn’t that what saucy sandwiches are all about?

If you haven’t been asking for a jackfruit recipe, you’re probably now asking – what the heck is jackfruit?

Well, it’s a funny-looking fruit that doesn’t really have much flavor (it’s certainly not sweet and fruit-like). When you pull apart the pieces it has the texture of shredded meat. It doesn’t usually grow in this part of the world, but it’s becoming easier to find in the canned section of grocery stores (I got mine at Trader Joe’s).

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches (vegan!)

While the texture certainly feels meaty, the jackfruit itself is low on flavor like I said. That means the sauce you put with it really has to count. I’ve had so many jackfruit sandwiches at restaurants where the BBQ sauce was way too sweet, so my sauce here is on the smoky/spicy side, packed with flavor from chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, smoked paprika, and cumin.

I sauté the jackfruit with an almost-caramelized onion to deepen the flavor even more.

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches (vegan!) BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches (vegan!)

This is a great make-ahead party meal. The BBQ sauce and the jackfruit can both be made in advance and reheated. When you’re ready to serve, make the quick cabbage slaw to go on top for crunch. It’s simply made with thinly shredded cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Serve these with pickles and whatever fixings you like!

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches (vegan!)

Oh, and don’t forget extra BBQ sauce on the side for serving – so juicy!

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches (vegan!)

5.0 from 4 reviews
BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches (vegan!)
Serves: 4 to 6
BBQ Sauce
  • 2 chipotle peppers + 2 tablespoons of sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 (20-ounce) can jackfruit, drained
  • ½ cup water
Quick Slaw
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ tablespoon lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For serving
  • 8 slider buns or 6 hamburger buns
  • Desired fixings: pickles, mustard, serrano peppers, etc.
  1. Make the BBQ sauce: In a food processor, blend the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, mustard, paprika, cumin, and a few grinds of pepper until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the jackfruit by pulling shredding the pieces with your hands (see photo), discarding any harder pieces of the core (I didn't have many). In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil to medium heat. Add the sliced onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 8 to 10 minutes, turning down the heat as necessary. Add the shredded jackfruit and cook 5 minutes, stirring. Add a splash of water if necessary to keep it from sticking to the pan. Stir in the ½ cup water and half of the BBQ sauce. Turn the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and stir in half of the remaining BBQ sauce, reserving the rest for serving.
  3. Make the slaw: In a medium-large bowl, combine the cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and pinches of salt and pepper.
  4. Serve the sliders with the jackfruit, the remaining BBQ sauce, the slaw, and desired fixings.


If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.


  1. Pamela on said:

    I’ve been wanting this recipe! Thanks so much for sharing. I recently purchased a fresh jackfruit thinking I could us it for these sandwiches…. big fail, lol. I’ll look for the can at TJ’s.

  2. Brittany Audra @ Audra's Appetite on said:

    I agree with you-so many BBQ sauces are way too sweet with tons of added sugar! These look amazing 🙂

  3. Christy on said:

    So excited for this! I put it in my meal planner!!

  4. Beth Ann on said:

    Hi Jeanine,
    So it looks like you use the core part of jackfruit as well?
    I’ve used other recipes that says not to use, and that feels like waste, but the “core” part doesn’t look like it shreds so easily.
    I have used all of the fruit gently shredding in food processor for tuna salad substitute.
    Could you share the actual process of how you shred for the barbecue sandwiches?
    Thank you for all you do!
    Beth Ann

    • Hi Beth Ann, I took out a few of the core pieces that were especially hard (I’ll put that in the notes, thanks for pointing that out), but not much. And I just broke it apart loosely with my hands like it shows in the photo. I think the food processor would shred it too much, you still want some texture to it. Hope that helps!

      • Beth Ann on said:

        Thanks so much dear! 😊

  5. Gaby Dalkin on said:

    Well, aren’t these the most stunning sandwiches ever!

  6. Liese on said:

    I like to use canned jack fruit in different meals but find that Trader Joe’s brand, while well priced, is mostly core pieces, so for recipes needing shreds I think the tins from Korean or Asian stores are better. Looking forward to the smoky sauce since we are not fans of sweet BBQ sauce!

    • Thanks for the tip! I’ll look for jackfruit at my asian market next time. I didn’t have a problem with the TJ’s can.

  7. It’s not a replacement for chicken if you’re looking for an equal exchange of protein (it is a fruit not a plant protein). There’s actually not too much sodium here, much less than if you bought a bottle of store-bought BBQ sauce.

  8. Catherine on said:

    Hi Jeanine!

    Super fan and fellow taco lover here – I made your BBQ jackfruit tacos from your recipe and they were SO good. I use siete tacos (coconut flour ones) and topped with kite hill jalepeno flavor cream cheese, roasted poblano peppers and cilantro of course!

    I don’t think you’ve made one single recipe that’s not amazing!

    • Hi Catherine! Yay, I’m so happy you’re loving the recipes! Thanks for coming back to comment 🙂 xoxo

  9. This was such a delicious dish! Like every recipe of yours that I’ve tried, this was spot on. Added some goat’s milk cheddar in addition to pickles to top. Thank you Jeanine!

  10. Mohit from on said:

    Hi, i tried the recipe this weekend. One of the best vegan recipe I’ve found till now. Thanks for posting.

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