BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches

These BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches are the ultimate party food. They're easy to make ahead and have wonderful meaty texture and spicy/smoky flavor.

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 guys are meaty, juicy, smoky, a little spicy… and a total mess to eat, but isn’t that what saucy sandwiches are all about?

What is Jackfruit?

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 most commonly grows in Africa, Asia, and South America. Though I’ve never had it ripe, it’s said to have a sweet flavor akin to other tropical fruits like pineapple and mango.

Around here, jackfruit is becoming easier to find in the canned section of grocery stores (I got mine at Trader Joe’s). The canned fruit is green, or unripe, so it doesn’t really have much flavor (it’s certainly not sweet and fruity). When you pull apart the pieces, it has the texture of shredded meat – perfect for making a vegan BBQ sandwich!

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches (vegan!)

A Smoky BBQ Jackfruit Sauce

Like I said, canned jackfruit’s texture certainly feels meaty, but it’s low on flavor. That means the sauce you put with it really has to count. I’ve had so many BBQ sandwiches at restaurants where the 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!)

These BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches are Perfect for Parties

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!)

We love these sandwiches with sweet potato fries. If you’re on the lookout for more party recipes, try this pasta salad or this vegan 7-layer dip!

4.8 from 6 reviews
BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches (vegan!)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These BBQ sandwiches are the ultimate party dish. Prep the components ahead of time, and heat the jackfruit and assemble the sandwiches right before serving!
Recipe type: Main dish
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. Next, add the shredded jackfruit and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. If necessary, add a splash of water 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.



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Pamela

    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

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

  3. Christy

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

  4. Beth Ann

    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

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      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

        Thanks so much dear! 😊

  5. Gaby Dalkin

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

  6. Liese

    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!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      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. Jeanine Donofrio

    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

    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!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      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!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Katie! I’m so glad you loved it!!

  10. Mohit from

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

  11. Vegas Vegan

    If you have the time, put all the ingredients in a slow cooker. Add water to cover all the ingredients. Cook overnight on low. Really tenderizes the jackfruit (especially the hard insides), plus its a no-brainer for work lunches the following day. You can even shred the jackfruit even more when its cool for a pulled pork-like sandwich.

    • Em

      ALL the ingredients? The BBQ sauce ingredients & jackfruit ingredients or just the jackfruit ingredients?

  12. Kristin

    I recently stumbled upon your site and am loving your recipes. I’m excited to try your version of jackfruit sandwiches.
    I do want to disagree with you about the jackfruit not having much flavor. Fresh, ripe jackfruit is SUPER sweet and flavorful. The canned jackfruit for this recipe is green/unripe and it is a completely different experience than having it fresh, which I would recommend to anyone that can get their hands on it. Be well!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Kristin, thanks for the info! Yes, I was referring to the canned type (the only kind that’s widely available in the US), but I’ll be more specific next time. And I’ll have to seek out a fresh Jackfruit 🙂

  13. Amalia

    Hey Jeanie,

    I want to try making this but possibly with fresh jackfruit. Any suggestions on how to do that? Possibly cookit a bit or soak it in water? Not really sure where to begin. HALP!!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Amalia, I haven’t used fresh jackfruit (it’s not available where I live), so I’m not sure!

  14. William Willis

    FYI, the “jackfruit” in your pictures (the product which is available in canned form) isn’t actually the fruit part of the jackfruit. What you’re using in your recipe is the pith which surrounds the fruit in a jackfruit. That’s why it’s not fruit-like. The fruit in a jackfruit is actually pleasantly sweet, has a firm texture, and isn’t too juicy. If you have an Asian market nearby, you should be able to find a fresh jackfruit. Pretty much every part of the fruit is useable except for the outer green/brown rough part. It’s a wonderfully versatile fruit and even the fruit part is very satiating unlike many watery fruits.

  15. Indrani

    Our new favorite recipe!! That was extremely tasty! Thank you 🙂

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.