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Apricot BBQ Sauce

This apricot barbecue sauce is a little bit sweet and a little tangy; delicious basted on grilled meats and veggies.

Fruit barbecue sauces, fruity meat marinades, basting sauces, and glazes are a delicious and unexpected way to sauce your grilled meats and vegetables.

When it comes to fruit and meat combinations, this flavor combination is a match made in heaven.

It's also works great as a gift, or item to bring to barbecues and potlucks.

flat lay of ingredients in apricot bbq sauce labeled with text

Apricot BBQ sauce has many ingredients in common with those of regular BBQ sauce; with the addition of apricots.

Apricot barbecue sauce is one of the best varieties of fruit based barbecue sauce. It's sweet with a subtle tang and spice. It has all of the ingredients you see in a normal barbecue sauce, plus added sweetness from apricots, simmered together until thick and sticky.

Brush it over every nook and cranny of chicken drumsticks or bone-in pork chops and you're in for a treat.

  • Barbecue sauce is almost always better when made from scratch. Not only do you get to control the quality of the ingredients, but it's impossible to beat the flavor of home simmered ingredients when it comes to any barbecue sauce.
  • Try this delicious Honey Bourbon BBQ Sauce that has been a favorite of pinners on Pinterest. 
glass jar with hinged lid of apricot barbecue sauce and basting brush by taupe towel on white stone surface

Delicious on just about anything you'd put traditional BBQ sauce on.

Using jam vs fresh fruit

This recipe calls for using apricot preserves. Fresh apricots are one of my favorite things, but in my experience can be somewhat difficult to find if you are not within the perfect window.

If you've been able to snag some fresh apricots, try this fresh Apricot BBQ sauce from Salt and Lavender.

If again, you've snagged some fresh apricots but don't plan on making apricot BBQ sauce right away, make your own apricot preserves in under 15 minutes with this Quick Apricot Jam recipe from Fine Cooking. You're BBQ sauce will be extra delicious using your homemade jam.

**No time to make jam? Just remove the pits of the apricots and puree (you may need to add a bit of water to do this, depending on how juicy the apricots are). Measure the same amount of puree as jam. 

It is not recommended to use dried apricots.

How to make it

Start by adding a tiny amount of oil to a small sauce pan (just enough to prevent sticking) along with the tomato paste and spices. Toast them on medium heat for a few minutes to release and develop their flavors.

(Use the bare minimum amount of oil-in my nonstick pan with a single batch this was roughly a half teaspoon. Not using enough can cause spices to stick and burn.)

Once the tomato paste looks darker and the spices have become fragrant, add everything else. Whisk everything together. It will look a little thin at first. Cook on a medium-high simmer until thickened and reduced by half; about 20 minutes.

4 image collage showing steps to making apricot barbecue sauce

Begin by toasting the spices and tomato paste in the slightest amount of oil. Add the remaining ingredients; stir and simmer on medium high until reduced by half and thickened.

Scaling the recipe

This recipe yields about 1 ½ cups barbecue sauce. If you know you're going to be using this often, double the recipe. You can also triple it, and freeze the excess as it will keep in the fridge for up to one month, and the freezer for up to three months.

To thaw, remove from freezer (store it in freezer zip lock bags) and let thaw in the fridge or at room temperature. Transfer to a more convenient, air tight jar and store for up to one month.


  • If you have apricot pieces, you may use an immersion blender to make things perfectly smooth, or you can leave it chunky if you like. You may not have any pieces if your jam was smooth to begin with.
  • If you prefer making the bbq sauce with fresh apricots, you can remove the pits and puree (with a bit of water) until smooth. Or follow directions linked to create homemade apricot jam, then follow the recipe as is.
  • Turn up the heat by adding additional pepper; you can also substitute cayenne which is spicier than white.
  • Sauce will look thin when first combined, it will thicken as it simmers (reduces).
  • Reducing, just means literally, to reduce the volume of sauce in the pan by one half.
  • Sauce will thicken even more as it cools, and is refrigerated.
  • Let the BBQ sauce cool for several minutes before transferring to an air tight container.

Use the apricot barbecue sauce on anything you'd use barbecue sauce on. Try it with:

  • Grilled bone in chicken or pork
  • Grilled burgers or veggie burgers
  • Baked or grilled chicken breast
  • Swap in for regular BBQ sauce on BBQ Chicken Flatbread Pizza
  • On grilled cauliflower, eggplant or veggie kabobs
  • Chicken thighs served with rice or quinoa

Enjoy a new flavor to grill with, and leave a comment on how you like it! If you love it, don't forget to share it with your friends and family, or Facebook or Pinterest by clicking the share buttons. You can also subscribe with your email to get all the latest recipes and kitchen hacks.

📖 Recipe

glass jar with basting brush and apricot barbecue sauce on white textured surface

Apricot BBQ Sauce

Sweet and tangy apricot barbecue sauce, for brushing on grilled chicken, pork and all your grilled favorites.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: condiment, Sauces
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Apricot, bbq, Grilled
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 20
Calories: 46kcal
Author: Erin
Cost: $3


  • stove top
  • pot


  • ½ teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup water
  • cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup apricot jam
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon white ground pepper more or less for heat
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Add small amount of oil, tomato paste, garlic and onion powders, both kinds of paprika, and cumin to a small sauce pan and saute on medium heat for five minutes until spices are toasted and fragrant.
    tomato paste and spices sauteing in a pan
  • Stir in the water, apple cider vinegar, apricot jam, honey, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and salt and pepper.
    apricot jam and bbq sauce ingredients in a sauce pan being stirred
  • On medium high heat simmer for 15-20 minutes until reduced by half and thickened.
    apricot barbecue sauce simmering in a pot
  • Cool and store in an airtight container in fridge until ready to use.


  • Use chunky or smooth apricot jam, and either leave pieces in, or puree once the sauce has simmered all the way. 
  • Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. 
  • Adjust the pepper amount up or down depending on heat desired. Swapping for cayenne pepper will increase spiciness.
  • Will store for up to one month in fridge, covered. 


Calories: 46kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 144mg | Potassium: 58mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 122IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg
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Recipe Rating


Wednesday 29th of July 2020

This sauce is the perfect balance of sweetness and savory and I love how it gets into every crack and crevice of what I grill! My new favorite sauce to bbq with