Try cherry chipotle BBQ sauce made with black cherries and chipotle chiles. With loads of flavor and a little sweet heat, this fruity barbecue sauce is so tasty on chicken, pork, burgers, or bratwurst. 

Close up image of a barbecued drumstick, sprinkled with fresh green herbs. It is on a sheet pan with additional chicken drumsticks.

Luscious black cherries combined with smoky chipotle chiles in adobo sauce make an unforgettable barbecue sauce that you’ll want to slather on everything! I pretty much can guarantee that everyone will be licking their fingers, trying to get that last bit of deliciousness. 

My mom spent hours a couple weeks ago slow cooking pork roast for pulled pork sandwiches. While the pork was fall apart delicious, her guests raved almost exclusively about the BBQ sauce she served. Yup, you guessed it! Cherry chipotle barbecue sauce. Everyone was asking where she found such fantastic barbecue sauce.

So here it is! I figured you all would love it, too. Don’t let the summer slip by without giving this BBQ sauce a try. Try it on grilled meats or pulled pork or eat it by spoonfuls right out of the jar. Sweet Baby Ray, move on over. 

Overhead view of a jar of dark red cherry bbq sauce made with chipotle chiles. A wooden handled brush is inserted into the jar of sauce.

About this cherry chipotle BBQ sauce:

One of the key ingredients in this BBQ sauce recipe is canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. If you’re not familiar with this product, go right out to the grocery store and buy some! You’ll love the complex, smoky flavor these beauties will add to homemade salsa, dips, tacos, refried beans, dressings, and more.

What are chipotle chiles in adobo sauce? When jalapeño peppers are dried and smoked, they get a new name, chipotles. Adobo is a tangy red sauce. Combined, you get a spicy hot, tangy, sweet, smoky flavored Wow ingredient! Use just the chipotles or just the sauce, or use them together.

If you don’t use the whole can, freeze the remainder for up to three months or more. I just put one chipotle with a little sauce into individual snack bags, and freeze them. They thaw out quickly.

Black cherries (fresh or frozen) add a fruity counterpoint to the spicy chiles. Combined with ketchup, molasses, dark brown sugar, cider vinegar, and a medley of spices, there’s quite a party going on! After the sauce has simmered a half hour or so, all the ingredients of the sauce will be married together for total bliss.

A sheet pan with grilled chicken drumsticks, and a jar of homemade barbecue sauce. A blue and white checkered linen is also pictured.

Just a little warning: If you have a tender mouth, you may want to start with half a chipotle. This sauce does pack some heat. Make sure to scrape out the seeds before adding the pepper. And always, always wash your hands thoroughly after handling all hot peppers. You seriously don’t want to get any in your eyes because that just plain hurts!

Close up image of a chicken drumstick with BBQ sauce.

How to make this barbecue sauce your own:

  • Like your BBQ sauce on the sweet side? Increase the amount of brown sugar. Start with 1/2 cup. 
  • No luck finding black cherries? Try my original barbecue sauce. Or try one of the options below.
  • Make blueberry chipotle BBQ sauce: Substitute a cup (or two!) of blueberries for the black cherries. Or make this recipe for chicken breasts baked in a tangy blueberry chipotle sauce.
  • Like Citrus Chipotle BBQ Sauce? Exchange orange marmalade for the cherries, and orange juice for the cider vinegar.
  • Apricot Chipotle Sauce (recipe by Kevin Is Cooking) substitutes apricot preserves for the cherries. 
  • Add coffee flavor with this Espresso Chipotle Barbecue Sauce by Dad Cooks Dinner. 
  • Can’t find canned chipotle peppers in adobe sauce? Add 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (found in the spice section) instead, or try this substitute by Pepperscale: Mix 1 tablespoon tomato paste or ketchup, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon chipotle powder (or smoked paprika/cayenne powder mix), 1/2 teaspoon cumin, a pinch of oregano, a pinch of garlic powder, and a pinch of salt. 

Overhead view of chicken drumsticks on a metal sheet pan with a jar of homemade bbq sauce and a brush also pictured.

Storage Tips

Store leftover barbecue sauce in tightly covered container or jar and refrigerate for up to a week. 

Other great sauce recipes:

Don’t you just love this BBQ sauce? Homemade sauces are so much better tasting and they aren’t hard to make. Be sure to try:


Overhead view of a jar of dark red cherry bbq sauce made with chipotle chiles. A wooden handled brush is inserted into the jar of sauce.

Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce - sweet & spicy perfection!

Yield: 2 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Try cherry chipotle BBQ sauce made with black cherries and chipotle chiles. With loads of flavor and a little sweet heat, this fruity barbecue sauce is so tasty on chicken, pork, burgers, or bratwurst. 


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen sweet black cherries, pits removed
  • 1 chipotle, minced (taken from a 7 oz. can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce), see note
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (taken from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, mixing well. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  2. Reduce to medium-low; simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently, until cherries have broken down and sauce is desired consistency. Be careful of hot splatters. If cherries remain whole, press them against the sides of the pan to break them down. 
  3. Use immediately, or cool and store in a covered container in the fridge.


  • For less heat, remove seeds from chipotle. Or, use 1/2 of the chipotle instead of the whole thing.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 39Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 176mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 0gSugar: 8gProtein: 0g sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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Verdict: I’m a sucker for spicy sweet things, and this bbq sauce fits the bill!
Husband’s take: Ben looooves this stuff!
Changes I would make: None are necessary!
Difficulty: Harder than buying bbq sauce at the store, but SO worth it.