Sweet and spicy cherry-chipotle barbeque sauce

Fantastic flavour for grilled meats and vegetables!

When I set out to create a new barbeque sauce recipe, my starting point was that it absolutely could not include any ketchup. Ketchup is used as the base of so many sauces and I just find its overly sweet and salty flavour too cloying. The good news is that you can make fantastic barbeque sauce without tomatoes in any form. Depending on how much of the chipotle pepper you add, this sauce can pack a bit of a heat punch when freshly made but it mellows really beautifully after just a few days. I recommend dividing the batch into smaller portions and freezing it. Thaw it quickly in the microwave before brushing it on your favourite barbequed meat or vegetables, towards the end of the cooking time so it does not scorch.



  • 3 cups (750 mL) dark sweet cherries (fresh or frozen, pits removed)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL)  apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free version)
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) cinnamon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) each kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped (freeze remainder of can) or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or to taste)



  • Put all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every 3 – 5 minutes.
  • Blend cooked mixture until smooth (using a stick or conventional blender).
  • Refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for longer storage.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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