Pantry Staples

Cherry BBQ Sauce

There are a lot of decent BBQ sauces in stores these days so it might beg the question why you would ever make your own. To be honest, there isn’t a great answer to this other than if you are looking for a flavor profile that isn’t available or if you just like experimenting.

In this case, it’s the flavors. I’ve never seen a cherry BBQ sauce in the store which is maybe why you all voted for it last week! I used sweet cherries for this version, but the sauce isn’t too sweet. If you didn’t know it had cherries in it, you might not be able to identify the main ingredients.

Whether you can identify the cherries or not, it definitely has a different flavor profile than a lot of BBQ sauces and you can use it on a ton of different stuff!

3 cups of sauce
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...


Cherry BBQ Sauce

Making a big batch of cherry BBQ sauce is the perfect use for slightly over-ripe cherries. This sauce goes great on everything!


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 Serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
1 pound sweet cherries, pitted
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Helpful Equipment

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1) Add butter to a medium pot over medium heat. Once melted, add onions, garlic, and peppers. Cook for about five minutes until veggies are soft.

2) Pit cherries and add cherries to the pot along with all other ingredients. Bring the sauce to a simmer.

3) Simmer sauce, uncovered, for about 15 minutes until the cherries break down. Stir regularly.

4) Let sauce cool down for a few minutes and then blend sauce until smooth. Blend in a few batches to make sure the sauce doesn’t explode out of the blender.

5) Return sauce to the pot and bring back to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick.

6) Taste sauce for salt and adjust seasoning to your liking. Use sauce immediately or chill and use whenever. It’ll keep in the fridge for two weeks.

You can use this BBQ sauce on almost anything. Try it on BBQ chicken or pork, on a burger, or on anything grill-related really.

Cherry BBQ Sauce


In most stores, cherries come in rather large bags. It’s pretty hard for me to get through a whole bag to be honest. The best part about this Cherry BBQ sauce is that it works really well with slightly over-ripe cherries. If they are past the point where they are great to eat on their own, that means they are perfect for BBQ sauce.

Slightly over-ripe cherries are perfect for Cherry BBQ sauce

Slightly over-ripe…

A Pitting Trick!

I saw this trick a few weeks ago and have been just waiting to try it out. If you don’t happen to have one of those cherry pitter devices, you can make your own with an old bottle and a chopstick.

Just set the cherry right on top of the bottle and push the chopstick through the top. The pit will fall out through the bottom into the bottle.

A little trick...

A little trick…

It really does work like a charm and is a pretty fast way to pit all the cherries you’ll need for this sauce.

Like a charm!

Like a charm!

Making the Sauce

This Cherry BBQ sauce is pretty straightforward to make. Add the butter to a medium pot over medium heat. Once it’s melted, add the onions, garlic, and peppers. Don’t worry to much about chopping the stuff too finely since you just blend it all together anyway.

Onions, peppers, butter.

Onions, peppers, butter.

Cook the veggies for about five minutes until they start to soften and then  you can add in all the other ingredients!

Everybody in the pool - Cherry BBQ sauce

Everybody in the pool.

Bring this all to a simmer and the cherries will break down and release a good amount of liquid. Cook this for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly, until it starts to thicken nicely.

Simmer simmer - Cherry BBQ sauce from Macheesmo

Simmer simmer.

Careful with the Blender

This Cherry BBQ sauce needs to be blended, but you definitely don’t want to blend it while it is bubbling hot. It will absolutely explode all over your kitchen.

So let the sauce cool for a few minutes and then blend it in batches, being sure to only feel the blender about half full of sauce.

Blend it up really well and return it all to the pot!

Done deal! Cherry BBQ sauce from Macheesmo

Done deal!

Simmer that for a few more minutes and taste it. Adjust the seasoning levels to suit your tastes.

You can use this Cherry BBQ sauce right away or store it in the fridge for about two weeks. You can slather this on all kinds of stuff, from burgers to ribs and chicken. Basically, anything on a grill can benefit from a spoonful of this sauce.

Cherry BBQ sauce. If you didn’t know, now you know.

10 comments on “Cherry BBQ Sauce

  1. I’ve never tried cherry BBQ, but I did have a really good apple butter BBQ sauce the other day!

  2. Do you think that cherry pitting trick would work for olives too? I accidentally bought some that had the pits still in them…..that’ll learn me to read the label!

    1. Hmm… I doubt it. Olive pits tend to a be a bit tougher to get out. The cherry ones are soft and just pop right out… Pitting olives is tough stuff… just eat them. :)

  3. If you want to try a commercial Cherry BBQ Sauce, try Billy Bones Triple Cherry BBQ Sauce available on line.

  4. Hmmm. I make and can a good bbq sauce with stout beer…I am considering trying a new one with a double chocolate stout and cherries…intriguing.

  5. You often come up with the idea I didn’t know I was looking for! I froze about a pound of slightly over-ripe cherries I’d pitted just like you did, then simmered awhile on the stove. I froze them with the idea of coming up with a recipe sometime soon. This will be perfect! I’ve made a lot of new BBQ sauce recipes this summer, I should have thought of this myself. Shame on me, but many thanks! And I’m thinking a splash of bourbon..

  6. I love cherry as a flavor profile for bbq sauces, especially ribs. My current version is cherry chipotle for my competition ribs and chicken.

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