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Apple Butter BBQ Sauce

5 from 10 votes
Time: 25 minutes
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The new king of barbecue sauce! This Apple Butter BBQ Sauce is sweet, tangy, and spicy. Perfect for smoked ribs, barbecue pulled pork, to top burgers, and even slathering on grilled chicken.

Try my Apple Butter BBQ Pork Sliders. More serving suggestions below!

Apple Butter BBQ Sauce on a pastry brush

This Apple Butter BBQ Sauce gives off the best vibes and has a depth of flavor made for fall.

It has some common barbecue sauce ingredients like the ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and vinegar. But, it also has some very special flavors. The apple butter gives it more sweetness while the chili powder gives it a little spice, and the sautéed onion gives you an earthy flavor.

Not to mention, look how beautiful the color is of this sauce! And this recipe will get you close to two 12 ounce jars of BBQ sauce.

Let’s Make It Together:

Ingredients In Apple Butter BBQ Sauce

  1. Olive Oil – for sautéing the onion and garlic
  2. Onions – finely dice your onions to very small pieces
  3. Garlic – minced, again very small pieces
  4. Apple Butter – feel free to use homemade or store-bought varieties
  5. Ketchup – any kind works, I used a homemade ketchup from garden tomatoes
  6. Apple Cider Vinegar – gives our sauce tang, can be subbed out for rice vinegar
  7. Brown Sugar – gives the sauce a deeper molasses flavor
  8. Worcestershire Sauce – is it really a BBQ sauce without it?
  9. Spices (salt, pepper, chili powder) – adjust the chili powder to your preference of spice
Ingredients for Apple Butter BBQ sauce.

How to Make Apple Butter BBQ Sauce

Finely dice your onion and mince your garlic. Keep in mind, the size you cut them to will be the size they are in your barbecue sauce.

Then in a medium sized saucepan sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and translucent. Add the rest of your ingredients: apple butter, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Whisk it all together until smooth and bring to a boil.

Once the Apple Butter BBQ Sauce is boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for ten to fifteen minutes.

Pour into a glass jar and refrigerate for up to three weeks.

TIP: If you cut your onions a little too large you can always throw your cooked barbecue sauce in the blender. Pulse it for 10 seconds or until smooth before pouring into your jars.

What is Apple Butter and Where Do I Find It?

Apple butter is the complex cousin to apple sauce. It is apples and cinnamon simmered for an extended amount. This allows the apple to caramelize and become more like a paste. There are many recipes to make it on your own or you can buy it at any grocery store.

Confession, I developed this recipe because I had leftover apple butter that needed to be used as it was about to expire!

Apple Butter BBQ Sauce Uses:

You will love how versatile this sauce is. The sweet, savory, and slightly tangy flavor is an asset to a lot of different dishes. Here are a few ideas:

Overhead shot of BBQ sauce on a pastry brush resting on top of the glass jar filled with Apple Butter BBQ Sauce

More Condiment Recipes To Try:

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Enjoy Entirely, Elizabeth
Apple Butter BBQ Sauce in a jar with a pastry brush and apple on the side.

Apple Butter BBQ Sauce

Elizabeth Swoish
The new king of barbecue sauce! This Apple Butter BBQ Sauce is sweet, tangy, and spicy. Perfect for smoked ribs, barbecue pulled pork, to top burgers, and even slathering on grilled chicken.
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Condiments
Servings 10 1/4 cup servings
Calories 130 kcal



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ onion - finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic - minced
  • 1 ¼ cup apple butter - homemade or store-bought
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder


  • Add the olive oil and onion to your saucepan and heat over medium heat. Sweat onion for 5-10 minutes or until soft and translucent.
  • Add garlic and sauté for another 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
  • Add to the saucepan apple butter, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Incorporate until smooth.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes.
  • Pour into a glass jar and store in the refrigerator.



Storing Information:

  • Store in the refrigerator, in an airtight jar, for up to three weeks.

Metric conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information.

Tried this recipe?Feel free to share a rating and comment below. Don’t forget to tag me on social media, or use the hashtag #EntirelyElizabeth – I would love to see what you’ve made!
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By Elizabeth Swoish on September 11th, 2021
Elizabeth Swoish holding a camera up to her eye taking a photo.

About Elizabeth Swoish

Elizabeth Swoish is the founder and CEO of Entirely Elizabeth. She is a self-taught foodie and mocktail enthusiast with a business degree in data analysis. Learn more about her HERE or connect on your favorite social media channels.

35 thoughts on “Apple Butter BBQ Sauce”

  1. I haven’t made this yet, made a pork roast going to make pulled pork would like to know if I could add bourbon to this sauce. If so, how much do you suggest so it doesn’t make it to watery

    • Hey Sharon!
      I was so intrigued by this question that I had to hop into the kitchen and try it out myself. This is what I did: instead of a 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar, I did 1/4 cup of bourbon and 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. I followed the remaining directions the same. During the boiling process the alcohol in the bourbon evaporated out and I was left with the flavors of bourbon. Doing it this way means no added liquid, just reducing a little of one ingredient (which is similar) to make up for another (the bourbon). Hope you try it out and enjoy it like we did!

  2. 5 stars
    Really delicious. I used it on baby back pork ribs and in baked beans. i liked it in both recipes. I like spicy barbeque sauce so I added a little Siracha to it.

  3. 5 stars
    Just wanted to come back and let you know we made this to go with our pulled pork and it is amazing! We did add some heat after taste testing but that’s purely for us. The applebutter is a great addition! Thank you

    • Hey there Cassie;
      So glad you enjoyed the BBQ sauce. And yes, you can freeze it. Just place it in an airtight container and place it in your freezer for up to three months. Let it defrost overnight and keep it in the refrigerator when you are not using it.

  4. Can I use regular vinegar as a substitute? I plan on putting some jalapeños in this and actually make chicken fajitas using it!!

  5. I smoke a lot of meat in my back yard can’t wait to try your sauce I make pulled pork on a regular basis thank you sweet smoke bbq

  6. 5 stars
    Fantastic! But of course I had to tinker with it. To reduce the sugar content a little, I substituted molasses for the brown sugar and a 6-ounce can of tomato paste + 1/4 cup water for the ketchup. We’ve used it on pulled pork and spare ribs and it was great on both. Thank you!

  7. 5 stars
    So yummy and SMOOTH! The apple butter lends another layer. Can’t wait to put it on the pulled pork once done today! Thanks Elizabeth!

  8. 5 stars
    Wow what a cool recipe! I’ve never heard of this combo but instantly know it will be amazing! Love that sweet and savory! I’ll be making this after I get my apple butter made this season! Thanks!


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