Cherry Habanero BBQ Sauce

| Last Updated: August 17, 2019 | , ,

Cherry on the edge…

The rich flavor of cherries is a perfect foil for the more extreme end of the pepper scale. Here it’s the habanero pepper that drops the spice hammer in this fiery barbecue sauce recipe. It’s bold – sweet, tangy, earthy, lightly smoky (thank you chipotle powder) and of course spicy. Plenty spicy.

Of course, you can remove the habanero from the sauce before using (since it’s roughly chopped), or if you’re like us, pull out that hand blender and incorporate that delicious sweet fire that habaneros are so well known for into the sauce. This option certainly is not for everyone, but it’s not exactly a family-friendly with option one either. While it’s not ghost pepper hot, this is a bbq sauce for more extreme eaters however you cut it. It’s delicious with grilled pork and grilled chicken as a marinade or wet rub. Or try it as a fiery dipping sauce for chicken tenders.

cherry habanero bbq sauce

Cherry Habanero BBQ Sauce

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  • 1 1/2 cups cherry preserves
  • 1 habanero pepper deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat, then add the diced habanero. Saute the habanero for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the minced garlic to the pan and continue to saute the habanero and garlic for another 1 to 2 minutes. 
  • Add the cherry preserves, ketchup, orange juice, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, chipotle powder, onion powder, and salt. Stir well and bring to a quick boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, then allow the sauce to simmer for 15 minutes. 
  • Remove the sauce from the heat. For a milder sauce, remove the habanero pieces. For a spicier sauce, use a hand blender/food processor to process the habanero smooth into the sauce.
  • Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature, then use as a marinade, wet rub, or dip. 


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