Make Chipotle Honey BBQ Sauce your spicy-sweet summer grilling solution! It’s a great way to use up that half can of chipotle peppers that’s lurking in the back of your fridge. 😉
Chipotle Honey BBQ Sauce + the Forgotten Can of Peppers
It’s a good idea to have a homemade bbq sauce in your arsenal…especially one that cooks up in about 15 minutes! And, if you dig spicy-sweet goodness on all your grilled things, this is the recipe for you.
The bonus is you can use up that opened can of chipotle peppers from who knows when, from that time you made that thing that needed JUST ONE pepper. You know what I’m talking about.
Let’s make some sauce!
Ingredients for Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce…
…including one that might surprise you?
- Chipotle peppers in adobo — these smoked + dried jalapeno peppers are packed in a tomato-based sauce seasoned with vinegar and spices (adobo sauce). They can pack a punch, but adjust the number of peppers you use to control the level of heat in your final sauce.
- Honey — for straight-up sweetness.
- Tomato paste — for pure tomato flavor and to build umami. Since it’s thicker than ketchup, we can play with other ingredients to create a thick or not-so-thick sauce.
- Acids — apple cider vinegar + lemon juice.
- Brown sugar — laced with molasses, this brings a different layer of sweetness.
- Stout beer — I used Guinness, but I encourage you to play around with different stouts or porters.
- Spices + seasonings — Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and black pepper.
- Liquid smoke — optional, but if you like your sauce smoky and have it on hand, go for it!
- Unsalted butter — YEP! Added right at the end, butter gives the sauce a richer mouthfeel and flavor!
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How to Make Chipotle Honey BBQ Sauce
Equipment note: while not necessary, I recommend a high-speed blender or immersion blender to help get those chipotle peppers smooth for your sauce. Otherwise, just finely chop with a knife.
- Rough chop the number of peppers you want to use and measure them to your blender. Add enough adobo sauce to equal 6 tablespoons of peppers + adobo. Then measure in 6 tablespoons of honey. Blitz these together until you have a well combined, smooth paste. Transfer this into a saucepan. (If using in immersion blender, do this right in the saucepan. You can also blend at the end of cooking, after it’s cooled).
- Add the remaining ingredients (except the butter) to the saucepan and combine. Place the pan over medium-low heat. When it begins to bubble, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the burner and add the butter, stirring until it’s melted and well incorporated.
Common Questions About Making Chipotle Honey BBQ Sauce
You can adjust the spiciness to some degree by using more or less chipotle peppers. For less spice, chop and measure one pepper (about 1 tbsp), then make up the remaining amount with adobo sauce only. For more spice, increase the chopped pepper ratio. If there isn’t enough adobo sauce in the can to reach the 6 tablespoons needed, substitute with ketchup, tomato puree, or more tomato paste.
Yes! Simply use the equivalent amount of water or low-sodium broth.
Add more beer (or water or broth)! A tablespoon at a time so it doesn’t thin too fast, and remember that it will thicken some upon cooling.
Swap the honey for maple or agave syrup or your favorite vegan substitute. Use vegan butter in place of dairy butter.
There are a number of keto-friendly honey substitutes on the market that you can swap in. As for the brown sugar, try Swerve Brown — flavor-wise, I find it’s pretty spot on.
Tightly sealed, you can hang on to this sauce for one, up to two, weeks. You can also freeze unused sauce in an airtight, freezer-safe container for about a month.
Check Out These Other Grill-Friendly Recipes!
- Grilled Carrots with Carrot Top Persillade
- Easy Weeknight Grilled Adobo Chicken Thighs
- Grilled Flat Bread with Flank Steak, Arugula + Chimichurri
- Healthy Grilled Chicken + Corn Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing
- Charred Corn Salad with Black Beans + Poblano
- Grilled Salmon Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
Homemade Chipotle Honey BBQ Sauce
- 6 tbsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce you'll use a combo of peppers + sauce
- 6 tbsp honey
- 6 oz tomato paste
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- ½ cup stout beer or water or low-sodium broth
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp liquid smoke optional
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- Chop up as many chipotle peppers as you'd like to use in your sauce (I used 3) and measure them into a blender or mini food processor. (See notes about adjusting the level of spice.) Add enough adobo sauce to equal 6 tablespoons. Add 6 tablespoons of honey and blend these together until smooth. Pour this mixture into a saucepan.
- Add the remaining ingredients (except the butter) to the saucepan and stir to combine. Heat the contents over medium-low heat. As soon as it begins to bubble, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the burner and mix in the unsalted butter until it's melted and well incorporated.
Nutritional values are estimated and provided as a general guideline only. I earn a commission from Instacart from qualifying ingredient purchases.
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