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posted November 11, 2020

Cranberry BBQ Sauce

This Cranberry BBQ Sauce is a sweet and tart sauce that is perfect for your holiday turkey, smoky meatballs, or a rack of ribs. Made with only four ingredients, it’ll be the easiest BBQ sauce you’ll ever make!

Spoonful of cranberry BBQ sauce resting on top of a glass mason jar of cranberry BBQ sauce. Text overlay reads: Homemade Cranberry BBQ Sauce.

Cranberry BBQ Sauce

This cranberry BBQ sauce is the sauce you never knew you needed in your life. It’s sweet, tangy, savory, and it tastes amazing on a number of smoked and grilled meats. Use it as a finishing sauce on ribs, or drizzle it on top of meatballs or some tasty turkey bites. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how versatile this sauce can be!

You’ll also be pleased to find this recipe only requires four ingredients, and it’ll be done in 15 minutes or less. Talk about easy peasy! Once you whip it up, simply store it in a sealed glass container or mason jar in the refrigerator. I recommend using the sauce within two weeks.

A can of cranberry sauce, a bottle of Everything Sauce, thyme leaves, and a bottle of sweet rub on a table.

Ingredients for Cranberry BBQ Sauce

This cranberry BBQ sauce only requires four ingredients. That’s it! Only FOUR. I mean, it’d be a waste at this point NOT to make it! Here’s what you’ll need to pick up to make this sauce. Full ingredient amounts are available in the printable recipe card below.

  • Ketchup-based BBQ sauce. Any classic BBQ sauce will work well in this recipe, but my Hey Grill Hey Everything Sauce is simply perfection. The best part? We deliver our rubs and sauces straight to your door so you don’t even need to hit up the store to snag some goodness.
  • Cranberry sauce. I used whole cranberry sauce for this recipe, but you can also use cranberry jelly with relatively similar results.
  • BBQ seasoning. I highly recommend using my sweet rub for this recipe. You can make it from scratch using my recipe for the Best Sweet Rub here on the site, or you can purchase it pre-made and delivered to your door from Patio Provisions.
  • Dried thyme leaves. Last up, some thyme adds a a well-rounded, earthy flavor to finish up the sauce.

Once you have all your ingredients on hand, simply pour everything into a saucepan on the stove and simmer for 5 minutes. Bam. Some tasty cranberry BBQ sauce is ready for a feast.

Overhead shot of cranberry BBQ sauce in a metal pan.

Tips for Making Cranberry BBQ Sauce

Now hang tight for just a second. Before you dive into making this sauce, take a look at these three tips I’ve compiled for you to help you achieve the best-tasting BBQ sauce you can get.

  • Make ahead. This sauce is actually better the next day after everything has a little bit of time to meld together.
  • Swap ingredients. I used my Everything Sauce for this recipe as it has a classic BBQ sauce base, but feel free to use your favorite BBQ sauce. The same goes for the sweet rub! Feel free to use your favorite brown sugar-based BBQ seasoning. If you don’t like whole cranberries, you can use jellied cranberry sauce. Finally, fresh thyme can we swapped for dried, you just need to double the amount since dried is a bit stronger flavor.
  • Don’t overcook. All of the liquid ingredients in this sauce are already reduced. If you simmer it for too long, the liquids will evaporate and the sauce can get thick. If this happens, thin out with a couple tablespoons of cranberry juice.

Aaaaaand…break! You’re officially ready to scroll below to snag the recipe and make some homemade cranberry BBQ sauce. It’s sure to become a new classic for Thanksgiving or other holiday events, so your best bet is to bookmark it or print it for future reference.

Cranberry BBQ sauce in a glass mason jar on top of a plaid kitchen towel surrounded by fresh cranberries.

More BBQ Sauce Recipes

So you like making your own BBQ sauce, do ya? From a tangy Alabama white sauce to tasty teriyaki BBQ sauce, try your hand at making some of these favorite sauces from Hey Grill Hey:

Cranberry BBQ Sauce Recipe

Spoonful of cranberry BBQ sauce resting on top of a glass mason jar of cranberry BBQ sauce.

Cranberry BBQ Sauce

Susie Bulloch (
This Cranberry BBQ Sauce is a sweet and savory sauce that is perfect for your holiday turkey, smoky meatballs, or a rack of ribs. Made with only four ingredients, it'll be the easiest BBQ sauce you'll ever make!
4.50 from 2 votes
Prep Time : 5 mins
Cook Time : 10 mins
Total Time : 15 mins
Servings : 16
Calories : 91kcal



  • 2 cups Everything Sauce (or your favorite ketchup-based BBQ sauce)
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Signature Sweet Rub
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves


  • Make the cranberry BBQ sauce. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until the sauce comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Serve and store. Remove the sauce from the heat and serve with smoked turkey, meatballs, or slathered on a rack of ribs. This sauce can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


Calories: 91kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 373mg | Potassium: 94mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 112IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg
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