This is the best homemade vegan buffalo sauce recipe and it is ridiculously easy to make! Even without using butter, you can prepare a creamy and rich sauce that tastes so good with simple ingredients. Completely dairy-free and so much healthier than store-bought.
We have made this delicious vegan buffalo sauce more often than I can count! We have used it to make chickpea buffalo quesadillas, cauliflower bites and spicy tofu burgers so often. It is so easy to make your own vegan buffalo sauce!
And if you love spicy food like we do, I bet you will also LOVE this recipe.
This buffalo sauce has nothing to do with a store-bought buffalo sauce, it is so much better! This recipe makes for an ultra creamy and rich spicy sauce that's loaded with flavor. No preservatives or ingredients you cannot pronounce. And you will want to pour it on just about everything.
I love that this homemade buffalo sauce includes whole foods and actually is good for you. You won't even need any vegan butter to make it, which means it is completely dairy-free and made without processed oil. But I promise you cannot even tell this is a healthy vegan buffalo sauce recipe, it is so flavorful and has just the perfect amount of heat!
So, what's the secret to all that beautiful creaminess? Hemp seeds! I promise you won't even taste these tiny seeds at all, the cayenne red pepper hot sauce mostly takes over on flavor. But, the hemp seeds blend to such a rich creamy texture, you won't miss the butter at all.
I also love that hemp seeds are pretty easy to blend to super smooth, so this recipe will work well even if you don't have a high speed blender. Plus, hemp seeds are rich in healthy omega-3 fats, plant-based protein and fiber too. It's a win-win!
This recipe takes 5 minutes to make and all you need are a few simple pantry ingredients and a blender. It is also great for meal prep: use it in salads, over buddha bowls, in sandwiches, in veggie burgers, as a dipping sauce, to make vegan wings and so much more. Also makes for the BEST buffalo sauce to use to prepare cauliflower buffalo wings, which is great to serve at a game day such as the super bowl. We are addicted!
I hope you give it a try! 💛
What is Buffalo sauce
Traditional buffalo sauce is a spicy hot sauce that's part of the American culture and is found in many pub-style restaurants. Often served warm over cauliflower or chicken wings with veggie sticks or in burgers as well.
It is a buttery hot sauce that's creamy and traditionally made with cayenne pepper hot sauce, melted butter, vinegar and spices. The butter makes the sauce ultra-rich and creamier too and the sauce usually has a nice spicy kick to it while being rich and super creamy.
Buffalo sauce usually has some vinegar part of the recipe and often also includes Worcestershire sauce, which gives it a flavor that's more tangy than some other hot sauces.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Quick and easy recipe (done in 5 min, no soaking required!)
- Made from scratch
- Healthier than store-bought buffalo sauces (no preservatives and lower-in-salt)
- Easy to adjust flavor and spicy level to your taste
- Great for meal-prep and to keep in the fridge
- No cooking required
- Made using simple ingredients
- This buffalo sauce is higher in plant-based protein and rich in healthy omega-3 fats
- Dairy-free, nut-free, oil-free and made without butter (no melted vegan butter either!)
Ingredients you'll need
- Your favorite cayenne red pepper hot sauce: I used the classic recipe from Frank's red hot cayenne pepper sauce that's naturally vegan, but you can use other brands if you prefer.
- Hemp seeds: responsible for the amazing creaminess without having to use melted butter.
- Sweetener: I used maple syrup, but any sweetener will work such as granulated sugar, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, etc
- Vegan Worcestershire sauce: be aware that a classic Worcestershire sauce contains small fish, thus making it not vegan. I used the vegan Worcestershire sauce from the brand 365 that I found at Whole Foods Market, but the Worcestershire sauce from the brand Annie is vegan too.
- White vinegar: apple cider vinegar would work too, it adds a subtle extra tangy flavor to the sauce.
- Spices: salt + paprika (sweet or smoked) + garlic powder.
How to make this vegan spicy buffalo sauce
Simply combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until super smooth.
Depending on your blender, you might want to take a break or two to scrape the walls of the blender and blend again. You want to keep blending until all the hemp seeds are crushed and there are no little pieces anymore, which should take up to 2 minutes.
Also, feel free to start with less cayenne pepper sauce, so you can add more later depending on your heat tolerance.
Taste and serve
Taste and adjust ingredients to your preference. Serve right away or you may want to warm it up on the stove before serving if you were looking for a warm buffalo sauce.
- Check on the labels to ensure the products you are using are vegan!
- If you don't have Worcestershire sauce or cannot find one that's vegan, then simply swap for tamari to help provide some depth in flavor.
- If you love a slightly smoky buffalo sauce, then be sure to use smoked paprika or even, add a dash of liquid smoke to your sauce.
- If you don't have any hemp seeds, then feel free to use raw cashews instead, it will make your sauce just as creamy or even more! In that case, I highly recommend soaking them in boiling water for 20-30 minutes before draining and blending. Also, you might need to add a little more liquid to your blender until you reach desired consistency.
How to adjust the spice level of this sauce
It is very easy to adjust how spicy you want your buffalo sauce to be. The recipe is actually less spicy than many other buffalo sauces I have tried, so it might be perfect if you like gentler - but still spicy - meals like me.
You can play around with the amount of ingredients to get to your perfect ratios, but start with these modifications if you need to adjust the heat:
To make it spicier: Add more hot sauce! Or add some extra cayenne pepper powder to the basic recipe.
To make it milder: You can simply start with less of hot sauce and add a little more water as needed for consistency to compensate.
If you made the recipe and you find it too spicy, then you could add more hemp seeds + extra splash of water. You can also add a little extra maple syrup to help temper the heat. If adding more hemp seeds/water dilutes the tangy flavor too much, then add also an extra splash of vinegar.
There are so many ways to serve this vegan buffalo sauce! I'll often just prepare a batch, keep it in the fridge and find all sorts of ways to add this tasty sauce to my meals. Here are a few ideas:
- Vegan buffalo burger
- Over cauliflower wings (as seen in the pictures, see below for the recipe)
- Drizzle over tacos or nachos
- Healthy grain bowls (would work great over this tofu buddha bowl or this falafel rice bowl!)
- Vegan buffalo chickpea quesadillas
- Drizzle over vegan pizza
- Dipping spicy sauce for French fries
- We love it over this baked vegan mac and cheese or this squash mac and cheese
- Try it in these chickpea lettuce wraps!
This is also a GREAT sauce to drizzle over your meals. In that case, transfer the sauce to a drizzable container such as this one from Katfort that you can buy online.
This sauce stores very well in the fridge for about a week. If you like to pour it over your food, then transfer the sauce into a pourable airtight container or glass container (a mason jar is great for that). Also, give it a good shake before serving to ensure all the ingredients are well combined.
We love it cold, but a buffalo is typically served warmed up. To heat it up, I recommend warming it on the stove in a small saucepan until warm to your liking.
How to make vegan buffalo cauliflower wings
Craving vegan cauliflower wings? Here is how I make mine:
- Follow my teriyaki cauliflower recipe to make the baked cauliflower bites (simply do not make the teriyaki sauce).
- While the cauliflower bites are baking, make the buffalo sauce.
- Toss the baked cauliflower in as much as you want of the buffalo sauce and serve with celery and carrot sticks.
You can also slightly warm up the sauce before combining it with the breaded cauliflower, but I usually don't as the cauliflower is warm enough when just out of the oven.
Most classic buffalo sauce includes butter, which makes them not vegan. You can now more easily find store-bought vegan buffalo sauces in grocery store that are made with either oil or vegan butter. Making your own buffalo sauce from scratch allows you to avoid processed oil and adjust flavor to your taste.
Yes! To be sure, ensure that your vegan Worcestershire sauce and cayenne pepper sauce is naturally vegan, which is often the case.
More vegan creamy sauces you might like
- Vegan chipotle mayo
- Avocado green goddess sauce
- Vegan queso dip
- Vegan onion gravy
- Vegan tzatziki sauce
- Thai peanut butter sauce
- Vegan creamy pesto sauce
- Gochujang aioli
- Hoisin peanut sauce
I hope you enjoy this vegan buffalo sauce as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Vegan Buffalo Sauce without butter
- ½ cup cayenne pepper hot sauce - I used the classic Frank's red hot sauce
- ½ cup hemp seeds - raw cashews work too (might need more liquid to help blend)
- ½ cup water
- ½ tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp maple syrup - or any other sweetener
- 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce - see notes
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp salt - or to taste
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika - optional, for smoky flavor
- In a blender, combine all the ingredients and blend until smooth. You might have to stop the blender a few times to scrape the walls and blend again.
- Taste and adjust flavor to your preference. See below for tips on how to adjust the spicy level.
- Enjoy as a dipping sauce or generously pour over breaded cauliflower, tacos, nachos, bowls, sandwiches, pasta dishes, potatoes and so much more. You can slightly warm up the sauce in a small sauce pan on low-medium heat before serving.
- Store the sauce in an airtight container for up to a week. Stir before serving.
- To make it spicer: Add more hot sauce! You could also add some red cayenne pepper powder. To make it milder: Start with less hot sauce (you might need to add an extra splash of water to compensate for the texture). If you already made it and find it too spicy, then you can try to add more hemp seeds (+ water). You can also add a little extra maple syrup to help temper the heat. If adding more hemps/water dilute the delicious tangy flavor too much, then add also an extra splash of vinegar.
- I used Original Frank's Hot Red to make this sauce, but feel free to use your favorite hot sauce.
- I used the vegan Worcestershire sauce from the brand 365 at Whole Foods.