Honey Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Honey Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Chipotle peppers are known for having a smoky sweetness, with a slow but strong heat. The spice is what makes them so great, but the sweetness is fairly unique and lets chipotle work very well when paired with some much sweeter things. Honey and chipotle is one of my favorite combinations for a salsa. It wasn’t a stretch to make it into a smoky sweet barbecue sauce – perfect for pairing with anything grilled.

My sauce has a ketchup base, sweetened with a good amount of honey and spiked with a bit of Worcestershire sauce and vinegar for tang. And, of course, it has chipotle peppers. I used a food processor to blend everything together. Mincing up whole chipotles is effective, but wasn’t enough to provide the smooth consistency that I really like in a barbecue sauce. Using a food processor also ensures that the sugar will be well incorporated into the sauce. I definitely recommend a food processor, if you have one available to use.

The sauce is quite thick and has a consistency that is similar to ketchup. It thickens up even more once it has been refrigerated, since honey tends to thicken when it is kept below room temperature. If you prefer your sauce to be slightly thinner for any reason, you can add a tablespoon or three of water to the mixture when you’re making it. If (like me, in this case) you like your sauce to be quite thick so that it can adhere generously to anything you dip into it, just make the recipe as-is.

Honey Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tbsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
pinch ground pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until very smooth, 1-2 minutes. If a thinner consistency is desired, add a tablespoon or two of water to thin the mixture. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Makes about 1 cup.
Recipe can be doubled for more, and the level of chipotle pepper can be adjusted to suit personal preferences.


  1. Thanks for posting this. It will go great with tomorrows BBQ…exactly what I was looking for!

  2. I make smashed sweet potatoes which get a little bit of honey and chipotle mixed in. I bet if I had this in a jar premade that would make a great mix-in for sweet potatoes, too, maybe with some sliced green onions for texture and zip.

  3. This sounds like a great recipe – I love the heat and smoke of chipotles. I will try the recipe today – thank you.

  4. i’ve had a jar of chipotles in the cabinet for a few months now, waiting for just the perfect recipe to use them…and i’ve found it! this sauce on some ribs that have been rubbed with a smoked paprika spice rub….mmmmm!

  5. I have to try this, my honey loves anything chipotle.


  7. This was DELICIOUS! I ate it on grilled cheese tonight and plan to use it on chicken thighs tomorrow. Thanks for the recipe!! :)

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  9. I made the sauce but i have to admit to preferring uncle bens barbecue fajitta seasoning (que the encore of abuse!!) :)

  10. I made this sauce and it is delicious. I was trying to find a sauce made at O’Charley’s Restaurant and this is the recipe or very close to theirs. Thanks for posting it to the internet.

  11. im looking for the sauce that they use on the honey-chipotle chicken strips @ chillies! is this sauce anything like it?

  12. omg! i was looking for the the perfect chipotle sauce when i came across this site and this sauce rocks! i love the way all the ingredients come together soo well. i love it soo much i have shared it with my siser-n-law, who thinks she makes the best sauces and she loved it! thank you sooo much! it was also rather eaisy to make!!!!!

  13. Looks like easy enough to try this in the weekend, it looks so good in picture..

    I ♥ this

  15. We love this sauce and eat it on chicken wings ribs and brisket! I quadruple this recipe and store it in the fridge in a large ketsup bottle. That way we always have some on hand.

  16. Very good sauce!

  17. This is a great, quick, and most important TASTY honey chipotle barbecue sauce! I love that it’s uncooked, so it goes together that much faster. The smoky depth of the heat from the chipotles is great, instead of just “hot” from cayenne. Thanks for sharing!

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