Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

8 reviews

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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:


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Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

4.75 from 8 votes
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.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings16 people



  • 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

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

**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.



Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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Recipe Rating

Reader Reviews

29 Reviews

  1. John Waddington says:

    Made this with fresh cranberries.No Lime.Added some extra honey.Taste amazing

  2. JimBob says:

    The best sauce for my chicken. It just got me laid!

  3. Rob says:

    Simmering now. Smell is amazing. Taste as of right now is more lime then cherry. So, question:is there any reason to not blend, say using an immersion blender, while it’s simmering? I’m thinking this would impart more cherry notes.Hope to update this to 5 stars after tasting finished product.Thanks, Rob

  4. Marta says:

    Do you think this would work with duck? Really want it to be awesome! Lol

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      I’m sure it would!

  5. Vincent McKnight says:

    I really wanted the cherry flavor to come through so I used frozen dark sweet cherries as well as dried.

  6. Paul Jensen says:

    I used blueberries today. Came out great.

  7. Ross Jackson says:

    Tried this last week. Gotta dial back the adobo sauce for the family. I do have a question, though. We’ve found raspberry chipotle sauce in the store before and used it on pork tenderloin. Could I just swap out cherries for raspberries, or would I need to do some other tinkering?

  8. Taylor Narder says:

    What would be a good substitute for molasses? More honey or maple syrup? My family are not fans of molasses!