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Homemade Chipotle Honey BBQ Sauce (without ketchup)

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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. 😉 

Mason jar full of chipotle honey bbq sauce on a wooden block.

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!

Mason jar full of chipotle honey bbq sauce next to a basting brush.

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!
Mason jar full of chipotle honey bbq sauce on a wooden block.

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.

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. Turn off the burner and add the butter, stirring until it’s melted and well incorporated.
Saucepan with ingredients for bbq sauce.

Common Questions About Making Chipotle Honey BBQ Sauce

How do I adjust the level of spiciness?

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.

Can I omit the beer?

Yes! Simply use the equivalent amount of water or low-sodium broth.

My sauce seems too thick, what should I add?

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.

Can I make this vegan?

Swap the honey for maple or agave syrup or your favorite vegan substitute. Use vegan butter in place of dairy butter.

How do I make this lower in carbs?

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.

How long will this BBQ sauce keep in the fridge?

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.

Dipping a basting brush into a jar of bbq sauce.

Check Out These Other Grill-Friendly Recipes!

Mason jar full of chipotle honey bbq sauce on a wooden block.

Homemade Chipotle Honey BBQ Sauce

Sip + Sanity | Linda Feller
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.
Prep time.7 minutes
Cook time.13 minutes
Total time.20 minutes
Course.Sauce
Cuisine.American, Latin American
Number of servings.20 (makes about 2.5 cups)
Calories per serving.60 kcal

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoon chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, you'll use a combo of peppers + sauce
  • 6 tablespoon honey
  • 6 ounce tomato paste
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ cup stout beer, or water or low-sodium broth
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

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. Not enough adobo sauce in your can? Substitute with ketchup, tomato puree or more tomato paste.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tbsp | Calories: 60kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 187mg | Potassium: 109mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 429IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg
Keywords.stove top
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