Cherry Cola BBQ Sauce

7 reviews

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Cherry Cola BBQ Sauce is going to be your new favorite homemade BBQ sauce! It’s rich, sweet, tangy and delicious on a variety of meats. If you’ve been looking for a BBQ sauce that is unique and full of flavor, this is the sauce for you!

Pile of ribs drizzed in cherry cola BBQ sauce with a lidded mason jar full on cherry cola BBQ sauce in the background. Overlay text: "Cherry Cola BBQ Sauce."

Sweet and Tart BBQ Sauce

Whenever cherry season rolls around, I can’t help but make a batch of this awesome BBQ sauce. I’m also a big fan of cherry cola, so the flavors in this sauce come directly from my love of cherry and my occasional need to be caffeinated.

If you also have a handful of fresh cherries and you’re hankerin’ for something that has a punch of flavor, this cherry cola sauce will knock your socks off. It’s sweet and tart from the cherry cola and pitted cherries, and well-rounded from the ketchup, molasses, and sweet rub.

Another awesome thing about this sauce: the color is outstanding! It has the most amazing bright red color from the cherries, and it looks stunning basted or drizzled on your meat of choice.

Saucepan on the stove full of ingredients to make cherry cola BBQ sauce.

Ingredients for Cherry Cola BBQ Sauce

This recipe calls for pitted cherries and you can use fresh or frozen, both work really well. I also season the sauce with my Homemade BBQ Sweet rub that has smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and a hint of heat from cayenne pepper. I think it is the perfect blend for this sauce!

Here’s what else you’ll need to assemble prior to making this sauce:

  • 1 cup cherry flavored cola (any brand will do, but I recommend choosing your favorite).
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup pitted sweet cherries
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons Signature Sweet Rub (This can be purchased from my BBQ supply shop, Patio Provisions, and we’ll deliver it straight to your door!)

To make the sauce, simply combine all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Once your sauce is fully cooked and thickened, transfer it to a blender and blend until nice and smooth.

You can use this sauce immediately, or store it in the freezer for up to 1 week.

Spoonful of cherry cola BBQ sauce being drizzled over smoked ribs.

Tips for Making Cherry Cola BBQ Sauce

Before diving in to making this sauce, here are few tips that are extremely important to having this sauce turn out juuuust right:

  1. The simmer phase is very important! It reduces the sauce, softens the cherries, and makes it nice and shiny. Don’t rush this step and allow the sauce plenty of time to cook down.
  2. Wait for the sauce to cool before blending. The last thing you want is boiling, cherry red sauce shooting all over you and your kitchen. Avoid the burns and give it a few minutes before you finish up the sauce.
  3. Refrigerate any leftovers and use quickly. The cherries in this sauce make it more prone to separate and spoil than other sauces. Store the sauce in an airtight container (I prefer to store these in a lidded glass jar or a wide mouth mason jar). Keep the sauce cold in the refrigerator, and use it up within the week.

More BBQ Sauce Recipes

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:

Cherry Cola BBQ Sauce Recipe

Cherry Cola BBQ Sauce

5 from 7 votes
Cherry Cola BBQ Sauce is going to be your new favorite homemade BBQ sauce! It's rich, sweet, tangy and delicious on a variety of meats. If you've been looking for a BBQ sauce that is unique and full of flavor, this is the sauce for you!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
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  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup cherry cola
  • ½ cup pitted sweet cherries
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Sweet Rub


  • Bring all ingredients to a boil. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce for 20 minutes, allowing the sauce to cook down and thicken.
  • Blend the sauce. Cool the sauce slightly and then transfer to a blender. Put the lid on the blender and blend until the sauce is fully mixed and nice and smooth.
  • Use and store. This sauce can be used immediately. If you plan on using it at a later time, transfer it to a lidded jar and chill. This sauce will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.


Calories: 61kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 140mg | Potassium: 112mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 82IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 14mg | 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 February 2018. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. 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

33 Reviews

  1. Ralph S. says:

    Made this sauce today for the pulled pork I made. Everyone loves it!!! I did add another half cup of cherries though. Came out great!!!

  2. Chris B says:

    I see you say it can last for a week in the fridge. Do you think it would last longer if frozen?

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      It would!

  3. Jeff Beitinger says:

    Maybe a dumb question, but can it be diet or zero sugar cola? That’s what I have on hand.

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:


  4. Doug says:

    Could you can the sauce in a water bath or steamer?

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      I haven’t tested it personally. You need a specific understanding of how to achieve the correct pH in the sauce to ensure it is safe for canning.

  5. John Miles says:

    The recipe says that you can keep the sauce in the fridge for up to 7 days. Can it be frozen for a few months?

    I made the Cherry Cola Pulled Pork and the BBQ sauce and loved it but I have a good amount of sauce left.

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:


  6. Jacob Young says:

    Followed the recipe exactly, except for a teaspoon of Chipotle pepper powder, a tablespoon of bourbon, and a tablespoon of cherry preserves. It’s all in the pot now and I’m contemplating adding a diced jalapeño. Awesome recipe, can’t wait to see how it turns out! I will be using this on pork. One question, do you use mild or regular molasses? I went with Brer Rabbit mild just in case.

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      I use regular molasses!

  7. Marla Egbers says:

    This is so good. Making a batch for friends now. I see that this will last a week in the fridge. Do you think I can freeze some?

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:


  8. Troy N says:

    I made this today and followed the recipe exactly as printed. The results were absolutely fantastic. You can bet that I’ll be making this again!

  9. Steve Light says:

    Haven’t made it yet – but I’m going to.

    What are you thoughts about making a bigger batch and let it get reduced and all sticky/gooey in a slow cooker?

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      Go for it! I’m sure it’ll work.

  10. KAY U says:

    I just discovered this recipe and love it! I made it yesterday since cherries are in season now and used it in pulled pork and on the side. It thickened up nicely and tasted much better than an old recipe I had from a major food magazine. I used full strength cherry Pepsi, thank you so much Suzie.