Apple Jalapeno BBQ Sauce Recipe

October 8, 2017

This amazing Apple Jalapeno BBQ Sauce recipe is sure to tingle your taste buds. The perfect blend of savory, sweet, and a kiss of heat!

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipes

I created this sauce on a whim after craving something a little different on my ribs that the usual bottled BBQ sauce. I slathered it heavy all over my APPLE JALAPENO SMOKED RIBS and the results went viral (we’re talking 5 million views on Facebook so far…). I also poured in on top of Simple Smoked Pulled Pork, drizzled it on BBQ Chicken Nachos, and brushed it on a Smoked BBQ Fatty. This sauce is good on everything!

How to Make Homemade BBQ Sauce

I absolutely love making my own BBQ sauce from scratch, and have developed a pretty awesome formula for crafting perfectly balanced sauces. When making homemade BBQ sauce, your best bet is to remember these 4 key elements: fresh ingredients, store bought ingredients, sweetness, and acidity. For every one of my favorite sauces, I combine fresh ingredients (in this recipe, it’s the jalapenos), store bought ingredients (ketchup as the base), sweetness (apple juice) and acidity (apple cider vinegar).

Apple Jalapeno BBQ Sauce Recipe

In every homemade BBQ sauce recipe you make, just try to shoot for those 4 key elements and from there you can play around and make it your own. Maybe you swap the ketchup for some store bought BBQ sauce, the fresh ingredient could be peach puree, the acidity could be from some balsamic vinegar, and the sweetness from honey. Bam, that’s a new BBQ sauce recipe right there! Can’t you can see how easy it is to create gourmet combinations for homemade BBQ sauce??

If you want an even more in-depth explanation of how I build my sauces, you should definitely watch my Facebook LIVE cooking class all about BBQ sauce! It is about 30 minutes, but will teach you everything you need to know to become a master sauce mixer in your home kitchen. You can watch that video HERE.

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe Video

More BBQ Sauce Recipes

If you like this Apple Jalapeno BBQ Sauce recipe, be sure to check out these other homemade BBQ sauce recipes that I can’t get enough of! The Carolina style sauce is written into the pulled pork post, so don’t miss that one.

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipes

Carolina Style BBQ Sauce RecipeNo Sugar Added Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

apple jalapeno bbq sauce

Apple Jalapeno BBQ Sauce

This apple Jalapeno BBQ sauce is the perfect mix of savory and sweet with a little kiss of heat.
4.78 from 9 votes
Prep Time : 5 mins
Cook Time : 20 mins
Total Time : 25 mins
Servings : 2 cups


  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 medium jalapeno (finely diced (seeds removed if you want mild sauce))


  • In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Transfer to a lidded jar and chill in the refrigerator overnight before using. Will last 2 weeks in the fridge if stored in an airtight container.


The spice level in this recipe is adjustable. If you like it spicy, you can dice the whole jalapeno (seeds and everything) and if you like it more mild, remove the seeds and white ribs inside the pepper before dicing.
If you are making the sauce same day, it will totally work fine. Waiting overnight is recommended to fully enhance the flavors, but I get that sometimes it doesn't work out.
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57 thoughts on “Apple Jalapeno BBQ Sauce Recipe

    1. Yep, introducing the jalapeños can cause it to spoil. Honestly, I have personally used it after two weeks but I would hate to have it go bad after that time and somebody get sick. Better safe than sorry.

      1. If you’d like this to last longer in the refrigerator, consider using jalapeño powder (make your own with a dehydrator and a blender/spice grinder) in place of the fresh jalapeño. Great recipe!

  1. What’s the minimum time it has to refrigerate before using? And is there a reason for this? This is my second time making and it’s amazing. Thanks!

    1. Hey Andrew! The only reason for the refrigeration time is the sauce actually gets better as it sits overnight. All the flavors marry together. It’s not required though, you can use it right after you make it!

  2. Its better to leave it over night as the sauce will thicken the colder it gets. The first time I used it hot off the stove it was too watery… The second time I rushed the boiling process… And as they say, 3rd time is a charm because that shizzzle was perfect. I bbq every week for a group of 15 friends and the chicken doesnt last 2 mins off the grill… Makes me feel good that my friends eat my food right off the grill.

  3. Hi Susie – I have an over abundance of jalapenos from my garden and for some reason my wife and I thought it was a good idea to buy 4 bushels, yes bushels, of apples from our local orchard. With that said, this apple jalapeno BBQ sauce not only sounds great but will help me use some of these goodies. Not one to just make a small batch of something (just made 6 quarts of apple butter -yum) I was wondering if this recipe is suitable for canning. Have you tried? Have your tried freezing it? Your thoughts as well as this recipe are greatly appreciated.

    1. Canning is a tricky one because you’ve got to get the correct amount of acid to prevent spoilage. I haven’t tested it enough to recommend a safe way to can. However, it freezes beautifully. I typically freeze in s quart size freezer bags (double bagged). In the deep freezer they will last over 6 months.

  4. Hello Suzie – I usually use granulated garlic and granulated onion. Would using the granulated verse powder form change the recipe? Any drawbacks you can think of?

    1. You can try it! You’ll be missing a lot in terms of sweetness and thickness, so you’ll likely need to make some adjustments in the amount of sugar and cook time. The results won’t be quite the same, but it could work! If you try it, come back and let me know if it worked out!

  5. Honestly, I made this and it tasted like canned spaghettios due to your ketchup ratio. I’d suggest not that, at all, and use paste.
    As for the jalapeños in it.. don’t get it. Should deff roast and then purée. Raw items just float to the bottom and don’t gradually go through. Especially how you were calling this ‘Apple jalapeño’… roast both (actually apples) then put in. Positive critisim.

    1. Thanks for your feedback. If you decide to make this with roasted apples and jalapenos and tomato paste, you should come leave another comment and let me know how it turned out! I get that some people don’t like ketchup based sauces, but it definitely works for me!

  6. Wow! These ribs are easily some of the best I have ever made thanks to this sauce!!! I used an electric smoker and transfered to the oven at the half way point (3 ish hours later) also, I injected the meat with apple juice and it kept things reaaaly tender and full of a nice apple flavour. I used hickory pellets… Because that was all I had at the moment but the hickory flavour complemented the apple/jalapeno sauce and sweet spice mix quite well. I added 2 tbl spoons of tomato paste to the sauce to make it slightly thicker but all in all the sauce is the key to the ribs.

  7. This Might be a stupid question but where do I find molasses? I live in Puerto Rico and I definitely want to try this sauce, never seen molasses but I never looked

    1. Not a stupid question at all! Molasses is the dark syrup extracted from sugar cane during processing. It’s sometimes called black treacle as well. I hope you can find some! The closest substitute if you can’t find any is an equal amount of honey.

  8. Actually the seeds are not the true hot in peppers. It’s the rib membrane that contain the real heat. The seeds are only hot because of bringing on the membrane.

    1. Hi Mollie- I haven’t tried it, but know there are some specifics for getting the right ph balance for canned goods. I have frozen it in quart freezer bags and it works great.

    2. Mollie, Susie’s BBQ sauce recipe should water bath process just fine. I would increase the acid a bit. Instead of 1/3 cup vinegar, use 1/2 cup. If using pint jars process for 25 min in water bath. Hope this helps.

  9. Thanks for your video it was very professional but not to polished and very informative. I will be maki g your sauce this weekend for smoked baby back ribs. I will let you know how it turns out. By the way I do prefer using pulped tomatoes and tomato paste rather than ketchup. I add a bit more brown sugar to compensate.

  10. Easily one of the best bbq sauces I’ve had! We do a lot of barbecuing and I’m the kind of person who makes most everything I can from scratch, so this recipe is an awesome addition to my arsenal!

  11. I would love to try this recipe but I don’t like apple juice when you get done preparing this rib and take a bite out of it can you taste the apple juice in the rib or no?

  12. I’m doing 12 racks of baby backs for a friend’s pheasant hunting camp. Would a double recipe be enough sauce?
    I did two racks at home and they were outstanding. Just can’t remember how much sauce I had leftover.


  13. Susie,
    Just found your website & love it! Great job. Your recipes I have already tried are fabulous.
    Re this recipe, for a deeper apple presence could a cup of grated apple be substituted for the apple juice? Or for some of the ketchup?

  14. We have been using this recipe for almost everything since we found it…we usually make it in double batches and freeze half. Use FRESH Jalapenos!!

  15. I’m making my second batch right now. Love this recipe! Doubled both but added extra jalapenos to the second batch. Love the versatility with the heat level. As to the person critiquing the process for the jalapenos I like the little chunks, it is apple and “jalapeno”! My opinion!! Overall great recipe! Thanks for sharing. I found it on Facebook originally.

  16. This is Awesome sauce and the secret to amazing ribs. In an attempt to increase the apple flavor, I add 1/4 cup of home made apple sauce and substitute apple cider. I just made my 4th batch of this wonderful sauce. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  17. Making this today, have so many apples so i was wondering can I use real apples in this recipe? If i use real apples should i still add the apple juice or just a little less? Also going to do habanero without the seeds and membrane instead of jalapeños.

    1. You can absolutely use real apples. If you find the consistency too thick then I would say to use some of the apple juice.

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