Smoky Chipotle-Honey BBQ Sauce

May 20, 2014
0 Ratings
  • Makes 1 1/2 cups
Author Notes

For my healthy-ish take on homemade BBQ sauce I focused solely on honey. To cut down on the other condiments, I used tomato paste instead of ketchup and just a smidge of Worcestershire sauce. It’s a rich tomato-based recipe like they use in Texas, so I kicked it up with some dried Chipotle chiles. You can substitute canned chipotle in adobo if you can’t find the dried. The resulting sauce is smoky, tangy, fiery, and just sweet enough to balance out the other flavors. —PhoebeLapine

What You'll Need
  • 1-2 dried chipotle chile peppers (depending on how spicy you want your sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  1. Bring a kettle of water to boil. Place the peppers in a shallow bowl and submerge in hot water. Cover the bowl with a plate to lock in the steam. Allow the peppers to sit until supple and rehydrated, 20 minutes. Remove the peppers and reserve the soaking liquid.
  2. Cut the stems off the peppers and remove the seeds and ribs with your fingers; discard. Roughly chop the pepper and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in medium saucepan. Saute the onion over medium-high heat until soft and just beginning to brown, 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in the tomato paste, diced peppers, and ½ cup of the soaking liquid. Cook over medium heat until thickened, 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until the sauce is the texture of ketchup, 5 minutes more.
  4. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add more salt as necessary. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for use on pulled pork, chicken fingers, or ribs.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • susan g
    susan g
  • Saber Sharp
    Saber Sharp
  • Karla Whitfield
    Karla Whitfield
Phoebe is a writer, gluten-free chef, culinary instructor, award-winning blogger, and author of The Wellness Project. You can find her healthy comfort food and gluten-free finds on

3 Reviews

susan G. May 12, 2017
I had a little of this sauce forgotten in the freezer from many months ago. Defrosted, still delicious. Now it's time to make more.
Saber S. August 7, 2016
How long is it ok in the fridge? I was thinking a week but am not sure. I just got done making it. Very tasty.
Karla W. January 30, 2015
Mmmm, this sauce is tasty! I just made some and put it on pizza with chicken, bacon, shallots, garlic, and brussels sprouts and it is SO good! I love that it's not overly sweet (I really can't handle the over-sweetness of most). Thanks for a great recipe!