Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 30 servings
Yield: 4 1/2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
42 Calories
1g Fat
9g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 30
Amount per serving
Calories 42
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 209mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 20mg 101%
Calcium 9mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 114mg 2%
*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.)

The flavor of smoked jalapeños is unbeatable when paired with a succulent barbecue sauce. If you want to change up your BBQ table sauces, this is the one to offer at your next gathering. With the perfect amount of spice and a thick texture, this easy chipotle sauce is great on ribs, chops, and chicken wings and is also a beautiful table sauce that you can put on anything you'd like. Ready in 20 minutes, this sauce keeps well for a week and can be used on other preparations, from pasta and potato salads to sandwiches and wraps. You'll need a few pantry staples like ketchup, brown sugar, and cider vinegar in addition to canned chipotle peppers that you can easily acquire online, at some grocery stores, and for sure at Hispanic and Latino markets. The cans usually contain 7 ounces of chipotles and you only need two.

Chipotle is simply the dried and smoked version of a fresh jalapeño pepper. Canned chipotles usually come en adobo—in a marinadewhich means that they are processed in a sweet and savory sauce of garlic, spices, tomatoes, and vinegar. The liquid is delicious and adds a lot of flavor to the sauce, while the chipotles themselves always add a lot of depth to the dishes they're added to. This barbecue sauce has a bold flavor and is great for meats and even seafood, but try adding some chipotles to your next stew, soup, marinade, dip, or beans. Taste for yourself what these little peppers can bring to your favorite recipes.

Ours is a classic-style barbecue sauce with the added smoky flavor of chipotles—it's a great ingredient to have at hand. Use it as a glaze for ribs or marinate some chicken in it. Alternatively, mix it with sour cream to make a spread for cold cuts sandwiches, add it to cream cheese for a spicy salmon bagel, or use it to season burgers and hot dogs. This chipotle sauce has it all and requires very little effort. The sauce contains fish due to the anchovies in the Worcestershire sauce, but vegan Worcestershire is easily found if you want to make a vegetarian- and vegan-friendly chipotle sauce.


  • 2 1/2 cups ketchup

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 2 (7-ounce) cans chipotle chiles, chopped

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

  • 2 tablespoons oil

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Chipotle Barbecue Sauce ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add onions and sauté over medium heat until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes.

    onions in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  3. Add garlic and cook for 20 to 30 seconds.

    onions and garlic in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  4. Stir ​in brown sugar, celery salt, and black pepper. Add remaining ingredients and simmer on low heat until the sauce thickens.

    add brown sugar, celery salt, and black pepper to the onions and garlic in the saucepan

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  5. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 or so minutes before using. If serving as a side sauce, let the sauce cool a little longer.

    Chipotle Barbecue Sauce in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

How to Store

If making ahead of time, let the sauce cool completely (about 30 minutes) and place in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for seven days after preparation. Reheat before using only the amount of sauce you'd need. Avoid reheating and cooling off the sauce too many times.