How to Make A Sweet + Tangy Apricot Barbecue Sauce

This apricot barbecue sauce is sweet, tangy, and versatile. It adds amazing flavor to chicken, pork ribs, and more. The ingredient list might seem strange, but you’ll just have to trust me. Once you try this sauce, you’ll want to keep it on hand all year long.

Close-up image of a mason jar filled with apricot barbecue sauce, with a spoon dipped in the sauce.

Apricot Barbecue Sauce

This sauce, with hints of chili and mustard, is perfect for enhancing grilled meats or as a versatile condiment. Make 2 cups.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Serving Size 20 servings

Ingredients 

  • ¾ cup apricot preserves
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Instructions 

  • Combine all ingredients. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the apricot preserves, ketchup, chili sauce, honey, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Cook on low. Cook sauce on low heat, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes. Refrigerate for later use or brush on meat before or after grilling or baking.
    Overhead view of apricot sauce being cooked in a saucepan on a white marble countertop, with a whisk placed beside the pan.

Notes

We love this sauce with bone-in chicken or pork ribs, but it is good with anything.
Pair it with this homemade rub for extra flavor: 
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
 
Calories: 359kcal | Carbohydrates: 90g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 0.5mg | Sodium: 874mg | Potassium: 307mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 67g | Vitamin A: 573IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

We absolutely love this apricot sauce in our house. It’s become our go-to for summer barbecues and family dinners. We use it on everything from grilled chicken to pork ribs. It’s such a simple recipe, but the flavors are incredible. I always make a double batch because it disappears so quickly.

A jar of apricot sauce next to a rack of grilled ribs on a wooden cutting board, with a basting brush coated in the sauce.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Apricot Barbecue Sauce Tips

  • Use good-quality apricot preserves: This makes a big difference in flavor. Opt for preserves with a high fruit content.
  • Adjust sweetness to taste: If you prefer a less sweet sauce, reduce the honey or use a bit more vinegar.
  • Watch the heat: Cooking on low is key. High heat can cause the sauce to scorch or become too thick.
  • Consistency check: If the sauce gets too thick, add a tablespoon of water to thin it out.
  • Make ahead: Prepare the sauce a day in advance to let the flavors meld together even more.

Key Ingredients and Tools

To make this apricot sauce, a few key ingredients are essential for achieving the perfect balance of flavors. Here are some important ones to have on hand:

  • Apricot preserves. These provide the sweet, fruity base for the sauce. Look for them in the jam and jelly section of your grocery store.
  • Chili sauce. Adds a subtle heat and tanginess. If you can’t find it, you can use extra ketchup with a dash of hot sauce.
  • Apple cider vinegar. This vinegar adds a mild acidity that balances the sweetness. White vinegar can work in a pinch, but apple cider vinegar is best for its flavor.
  • Dijon mustard. Offers a gentle spiciness and depth. Regular yellow mustard can be used, but Dijon adds a smoother, more complex taste.
  • Worcestershire sauce. Gives a savory, umami kick that enhances the overall flavor. There isn’t a perfect substitute, so try to use this if possible.

These ingredients are what make the sauce so special. I wouldn’t substitute too much.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with grilled chicken, pork ribs, roasted vegetables, grilled shrimp, or baked tofu.

Troubleshooting and Help

Can I use a different type of preserve if I don’t have an apricot?

Absolutely! Peach or mango preserves can work well too. Just keep in mind the flavor will be slightly different but still delicious.

How long will this sauce keep in the refrigerator?

You can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Just give it a good stir before using it again.

Can I make this sauce ahead of time?

Yes, making it a day in advance is a great idea. The flavors will have more time to meld together, making it even tastier.

What if I don’t have Worcestershire sauce?

If you’re out of Worcestershire sauce, you can substitute with soy sauce and a dash of lemon juice for a similar depth of flavor.

Is this sauce very spicy?

Not really. It has a bit of a kick from the chili sauce, but it’s more sweet and tangy. If you prefer more heat, you can add a bit more chili sauce or a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions or need more tips on making this recipe just right!

This apricot barbecue sauce is a simple and versatile addition to your favorite grilling recipes. I hope you try it out and see how it becomes a favorite in your home, just like it has in ours.

Two racks of grilled ribs coated with apricot sauce on a wooden cutting board, with a jar of the sauce and a basting brush beside them.
How to Make A Sweet + Tangy Apricot Barbecue Sauce
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