Apple Barbecue Sauce

Apple Barbecue Sauce

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 36 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
15 Calories
0g Fat
4g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 36
Amount per serving
Calories 15
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 158mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 1mg 7%
Calcium 4mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 36mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Apples are the stars in this different kind of barbecue sauce. Unlike other barbecue sauces, it is not tomato-based, nor does it contain any mustard, and it isn’t a spicy or hot barbecue sauce. This makes it suitable for family dinners, cookouts, and summer parties with eaters in all age groups. 

This sweet and savory sauce has an excellent balance of sweet and tangy that practically defines any great barbecue sauce. It is good with any meat or chicken that benefits form a fruity flavor component, such as pork ribs, pork loin, chicken, turkey, and even lamb. 

Apples are added to this sauce for thickness and to give the sauce body and flavor. They appear in three forms: as a fresh apple, apple juice, and apple cider vinegar. For apples, select a variety that fully breaks down into an applesauce-like consistency during cooking, such as Macintosh. A firm apple like Granny Smith does not work well here. 

The recipe gives you the choice of adding any color of bell pepper. It’s only a small amount but there are differences in flavor. Red, orange, and yellow bell pepper, adds sweetness, whereas green bell pepper adds a more bitter component. 

If you want to cut down on sugar and salt content, this recipe gives you several options. Use a ketchup with no added sugar or no salt instead of regular ketchup. For apple juice, also choose one without added sweetener. Another way of reducing salt it to use low-sodium soy sauce.

If you like a smooth consistency for your condiment, you can blend the barbecue with an immersion blender or in a stand mixer (if using a stand mixer, let the sauce cool down to avoid the risk of hot splashes). If you are not planning to blend the barbecue sauce afterwards, make sure the apple, onion, and bell pepper are as finely minced as possible. A barbecue sauce does not need to be completely smooth, but a chunky sauce makes it more difficult to brush the sauce on the meat. 


  • 1 cup ketchup

  • 1/3 cup peeled, grated apple

  • 1/4 cup apple juice

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup grated onion

  • 2 teaspoons grated bell pepper

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon white pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Apple Barbecue Sauce ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.

    Combine all sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  3. Reduce heat to low and let simmer 15 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on the sauce so that it does not burn.

    Apple Barbecue Sauce cooking in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  4. Remove from heat and allow the sauce to cool for 10 minutes before using.

    Apple Barbecue Sauce in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni


The sauce can be stored in a plastic container or glass jar in the refrigerator for up to one week after preparation. 

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