Perfectly Sweet Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

barbecue sauce in a glass mason jar on a white background

There are two main reasons why I created this Chipotle Barbecue Sauce recipe. For one, I am often disappointed with the quality and taste (too sweet!) of barbecue sauce at the store, and secondly, they are often full of unrecognizable ingredients. Thus, for the amount of time and money I spend trying to find a high-quality and tasty store-bought barbecue sauce, I can make it myself, and that is what I did.

This homemade barbecue sauce is unlike others I’ve seen circulating the web. It doesn’t contain ketchup and is not an “ingredient dump” recipe that relies heavily on store-bought pre-made condiments. Rather, it has a pureed tomato base, maple syrup, and brown sugar for sweetness, chipotle peppers for a smoky spice kick, apple cider vinegar for balance, and a dollop of mustard for zing. It is a 9-ingredient barbecue sauce made in 45 minutes that tastes like it was a lot more work than what it is. And all of these things make it the perfect recipe to impress yourself or others at your next barbecue.

How to use this Barbecue Sauce

I’m not a fan of incomplete recipes, meaning I give you a condiment recipe and expect you to figure out what to do with it. While this may seem ironic, I think barbecue sauce is different. Adults and kids alike tend to put it on, well, everything. From grilled chicken, smoked meat, and quesadillas to a dipping sauce, use this barbecue sauce anywhere you use a store-bought one. It truly goes with everything.

sauce on a spoon surrounded by Braiser pan and mason jar with a black background

Possible Substitutions for this Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

WHOLE CANNED TOMATOES. Feel free to substitute pureed canned tomatoes in place of whole canned tomatoes if you want to skip the food processor step.

FOOD PROCESSOR. If you have a high-speed blender and want a silky smooth sauce reminiscent of the store-bought variety, feel free to use it in place of a food processor.

MAPLE SYRUP. Honey is a great substitute for maple syrup.

LIGHT BROWN SUGAR. For a natural sugar substitute, feel free to substitute light or dark muscovado sugar for brown sugar.

FISH SAUCE. I love fish sauce for its simple ingredients and umami flavor, but it can be hard to find. Feel free to substitute Worcestershire Sauce for the fish and soy sauce combination.

Before you start: Helpful Tips

The hardest part of making this barbecue sauce is it takes time and attention to ensure you cooked the sauce to its optimum thickness. To test the sauce for doneness, take a spoon and drag it from one end of the pan to the other, directly through the sauce. If the sauce stays separated, where you can see where you drugged the spoon, then it is done. If the sauce comes back together, then the sauce needs more time to thicken. Keep in mind the sauce will thicken as it cools as well.

spoon dragged through tomato sauce
Not quite done yet!
Finished, thickened sauce in a Braiser pan on a blue-grey background
Now it is ready!

More Savory Recipes


Perfectly Sweet Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

This Perfectly Sweet Chipotle Barbecue Sauce is smokey, tangy, and slightly sweet.  It has 9-ingredients, doesn’t rely on store-bought pre-made condiments, and tastes like a lot more work than it is. Perfect for a hostess gift too!

  • Author: Kim
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo, canned*
  • 1/2 cup (140g) pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup (67g) light or dark brown sugar*
  • 1/2 cup (115g) apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt


  1. Place the chipotle peppers in a mini food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the whole peeled tomatoes and puree the mixture until smooth. 
  2. Heat a large 2.5 to 3.5-quart saute pan (the wider the better) over medium-high heat. Add the tomato mixture from the food processor bowl with all of the other ingredients to the pan. Stir the mixture to combine and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium if the sauce starts to splatter. Simmer uncovered, occasionally stirring, until thickened, about 45 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  3. Allow sauce to cool and place in a clean glass jar with an air-tight lid. 


CHIPOTLE PEPPERS IN ADOBO. These come in a large can and are usually located in the international food aisle. While you only need 3 chipotle peppers for this recipe, the leftovers freeze wonderfully for the next time you need this flavorful ingredient. Store in a labeled, air-tight freezer-safe plastic bag for future use. 

BROWN SUGAR. Want to make this sauce sweeter? Increase the amount of brown sugar to taste. 

STORAGE. Store this Chipotle Barbecue Sauce in the refrigerator for 1 month. Alternatively, freeze in an air-tight glass container or freezer-safe plastic bag for up to 3 months.



  • Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
  • Calories: 57 calories
  • Sugar: 10.5g
  • Sodium: 755mg
  • Fat: 0.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 13.1g
  • Fiber: 1.3g
  • Protein: 0.8g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: chipotle maple BBQ sauce, chipotle BBQ sauce recipe, homemade barbecue sauce

Did you make this recipe?

Be sure to tag @frommarkettotable on Instagram or leave a comment below so I can see!

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