Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

August 20, 2020

This Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce is everything you need in a good, homemade sauce. Rich and sweet, with a bright punch, and the most gorgeous red color you’ve ever seen from a BBQ sauce.

Jar of cherry chipotle BBQ sauce with a basting brush lifting out of the jar lightly coated in sauce.

What is Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce?

Only the most uniquely delicious BBQ sauce to hit the meat scene. This sauce is rich and incredibly flavorful with notes of sweetness from the cherries, smoky heat from the chipotles, and a bright lift from fresh lime zest and juice. This is a sauce that will instantly elevate anything you baste or brush it on. Some of my favorite uses for this cherry chipotle sauce is slathering all over a smoky pork tenderloin or a whole spatchcocked chicken. 

Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

How to Make Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

This sauce is up there on the list of most simple sauces to make, ever. Here’s how you’ll make it happen (full printable instructions and measurements are in the recipe card below):

  1. Gather your ingredients. The unique ingredients list is what makes this sauce shine. Don’t be scared by some of the more interesting ingredients, everything is easy to find at the grocery store and it all comes together beautifully.
  2. Combine and simmer. Everybody goes in the pot and simmers until the flavors are combined and the cherries are super soft.
  3. Cool and blend. Let the sauce chill out a bit before putting in a blender with a tight fitting lid and giving it a whir. Pay attention to how amazing the color gets when you blend up those cherries!
  4. Taste and season. Save adding the salt and pepper to the sauce until this step. Give it a taste and add in as much seasoning as you like!
  5. Slather, dip, and baste. This is the fun part. Slather this sauce all over your favorite grilled or smoked meats and bring extra napkins to the table for all of the finger licking that is about to happen.

What Kind of Cherries Can I Use?

This recipe calls for a quantity of pitted cherries, it doesn’t matter if they are fresh or frozen.  I’ve tried both while recipe testing to make sure either one would work and both turn out absolutely amazing. The cherries are a vital component to the final flavor of the sauce though, so make sure you stick with a really sweet cherry, like a bing or other dark sweet cherry.

Pie cherries may not be the best option here, just because they are a little more sour. If that’s all you can get your hands on, go for it! Just be aware that you may need to add a little more honey or introduce some brown sugar to the sauce to balance it all out.

Glass jar filled with cherry chipotle sauce, fresh cherries in the background.

Storing, Freezing, and Canning Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

  • Fridge: A whole batch of Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce will cover quite a bit of your favorite grilled or BBQ meats, but if you have any left over be sure to store it in your refrigerator in a tightly sealed jar or container. The cherries can cause the sauce to spoil eventually, so I’ve found it is best if you can use it up within a week.
  • Freezing: My favorite option for storing this sauce! Especially when cherries are in season and you want to make a huge batch. Portion the sauce into labeled (name and date) freezer quart bags and lay completely flat. Freeze in a deep freezer, if possible. The flat bags can stand up nicely and take up very little freezer space. Use within 6 weeks from a regular freezer or 6 months in a deep freezer.
  • Canning: This sauce cans beautifully. The lime juice and ketchup give the sauce a high enough pH to stay fresh on a shelf, if properly sealed. Once opened, store in the refrigerator and use within a week.


Making your own BBQ sauce at home is easy and delicious, and it makes great neighbor gifts as well. If you’re looking for a handful of great BBQ sauce recipes, check out some of these unique sauces on our site:


Making some epic BBQ should be easy, and Hey Grill Hey is here to help!  Join my members-only group The Grill Squad today for access to my master classes (I even have one on how to make your own rubs and sauces), podcasts, and so much more. It’s an amazing community of grillers that will help support you and increase your confidence of all things BBQ.

Hey BBQ Sauce lover! Did you know Patio Provisions has Signature Hey Grill Hey rubs and sauces deliciously made and shipped directly to your door? Head over there to purchase your own 3-pack of sauces today!

Cherry chipotle bbq sauce in a glass jar with a basting brush dipping into the sauce.

Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

This Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce is everything you need in a good, homemade sauce. Rich and sweet, with a bright punch, and the most gorgeous red color you've ever seen from a BBQ sauce.
4.8 from 5 votes
Prep Time : 5 mins
Cook Time : 25 mins
Total Time : 30 mins
Servings : 16 people
Calories : 37kcal



  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen sweet cherries (pits removed)
  • 1 chipotle pepper
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (taken from the can of chipotle peppers)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper (to taste)


  • Combine and cook ingredients. In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, stirring often.
  • Cool and blend. Turn off the heat and allow the sauce to cool before transferring to a blender. Blend until the sauce is smooth.
  • Taste and season. Sample your sauce and add in salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Enjoy your BBQ sauce. Slather the sauce on chicken or pork, or use it as a dipping sauce on the side. Store any leftover sauce in a tightly sealed jar or container. Will last for 1 week in the refrigerator.


As written, this recipe has only the slightest kick of spiciness. If you want to increase the heat, add another chipotle pepper and some more of the adobo sauce.


Calories: 37kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 403mg | Potassium: 98mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 82IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
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**This post was originally published on Jul 4, 2017. It has been updated with new photos, a video, and new information. The recipe remains the same.

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19 thoughts on “Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

  1. This looks fabulous! Perfect as I just puchased a large bag of fresh cherries yesterday.

    I usually purchase my chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, toss the peppers and adobo sauce into a blender and emulsify. Store in refrigerator. Now I have a spicy kick to slip into any sauce.

        1. If you can it properly I’m sure it could, you could also freeze some and thaw as needed.

        2. I process mine in a water bath for 30 mins. Make sure all seal and then its shelf stable. I just used one from last year last night on chicken!

  2. Made this sauce to put on ribs today but thought it was way too “limey” so I made it again without the lime and it was definitely better. You could really taste the cherries now whereas the first batch all I tasted was lime. Will definitely make again but just leave out the lime.

  3. I made this last year and it was such a hit! I picked 5 gallons of cherries and I’m making more right now! I will make this bbq sauce every year!

  4. I don’t have fresh or frozen cherries, but I do have maraschino cherries. I’m going to give it whirl sans the liquid and I’ll report back if it’s doable.

    1. I’m happy to report this works VERY well with maraschino cherries! Nice sweet cherry flavor with a hint t of spice.
      I smoked a butt with cherry wood and this really accentuates the flavor! Delicious!

  5. This is amazing on ribs and chicken. Now that the small batch is done I will make a large batch to can.

  6. I’m making this again this year. I’ve got 50 pints! ❤ Now I’m going to make raspberry chipotle. Would I just sub the cherries for raspberries cup for cup? Has anyone else done this?

  7. Wanted to make this sauce today but I am out of worchestshire. Any ideas on a substitute or do I need to run to the store

  8. I made this in the Spring and used it all summer, I just kept making more cuz it became my go-to. Using a hand-held blender made for easy cleanup. Thx, I love cherry sofa and chipotle so I was in Heaven.

  9. I made this and it came out good but it’s really thick. If I wanted to thin it a little bit what would you suggest?

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