Cherry Cola BBQ Sauce

June 17, 2020

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

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, 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 Cola BBQ Sauce being drizzled over pork ribs.

Cherry Cola BBQ Sauce

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!
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time : 5 mins
Cook Time : 25 mins
Total Time : 30 mins
Servings : 16
Calories : 61kcal


  • 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 Best 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
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**This post was originally published February 2018. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.

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29 thoughts on “Cherry Cola BBQ Sauce

  1. If you cannot find sweet cherries since they seem a seasonal item in most stores, what would you recommend as a substitute?

    1. Hey Travis- I usually buy a small bag of frozen cherries if they’re not in season. That’s actually what I used when I filmed the video for this recipe.

  2. I made your cherry BBQ sauce I must admit I modified it. I used merichino cherries instead and added liquid smoke to taste.. It was great professional grade the best ever.. I called it Maraschino cherries BBQ sauce.

  3. I did the pulled pork with cherry cola barbecue sauce for my granddaughter’s birthday everybody was amazed and said it was so good now I am doing a smoked brisket using the same concept with the cherry cola and making the barbecue sauce hopefully it is just as good. I know I keep reading it is great for pork and chicken so hoping it’s just as good on beaf briisket thanks for all the great recipes and tips

  4. I have been doing alot of these recipes for years,I see alot of them you are posting are very close to mine,

  5. When it comes out of the blender, is it smooth or gritty/chunky and needs to go through a strainer? I can’t do bits of anything in bbq sauces, grosses me out. Lol love your stuff Susie! 🙂

    1. I don’t know that I’d recommend straining it, just blend it until it’s as smooth as you want it.

  6. I made the barbecue sauce yesterday. Are used honey instead of molasses and added chopped jalapeño peppers before putting it in the blender. Came out excellent! Great recipe Susie! I am going to do the pulled pork and Saturday. Wish me luck!

  7. 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.

  8. 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?

  9. 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!

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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