Spicy Peach BBQ Sauce

One of the reasons I used to be scared of canning is that I assumed it was a requirement to have four hundred pounds of something or other and 10-12 hours of kitchen-trashing labor which resulted in 207 jars to put away in closet space I didn’t have.  I couldn’t think of anything I needed 207 jars of (unless there’s a recipe for canned dark chocolate out there).   Honestly, I have yet to can anything large scale yet, but what I’ve found is that it doesn’t have to be a huge project.  There are plenty of recipes scaled down to just a few jars and if the actual recipe itself is fairly quick and easy to prepare, it’s a very doable and worthwhile project. (On the other hand, if the recipe really does take half a day, every dish in your kitchen, and your sanity, you’re going to want to make sure it results in 207 jars.)  This happens to be one of those quick and easy ones so it’s perfect for beginners!  If you’re not interested in canning, don’t tune out just yet!  Because this recipe is so small, you can certainly still make it and just keep it in the fridge.

I saw this recipe for Peach BBQ Sauce and I could tell by the ingredient list that I would love it. Plus it seemed perfect seeing that peaches are all over the place right now.  It’s actually nothing like a traditional BBQ sauce, as you can probably tell by the pictures, so keep that in mind.  I don’t want the name to be misleading.  The consistency and flavor is more like a chutney or even a sweet and sour sauce.  If you’re like me and love a sweet and savory combo (with a little kick) they you’ll love this.  I think it would be really good on a turkey burger, a pulled pork sandwich, ribs, and definitely spooned over grilled chicken or fish.   I can’t wait to use it as a dipping sauce for our Crispy Coconut Chicken– I think the flavor profile is perfect.  Scroll to the end of this post to see how we ate it at our house; my hubby and I loved it.

Also, I was excited to see this recipe scaled way down to just 3-4 little half pint jars.  To you crazy canners out there, that’s probably even humorous, but it’s perfect for beginners and people like me who are in the mood to try something new before embarking on an all-day canning adventure.  For the mini batch you just need a few peaches, a red pepper, an onion and some garlic.

Also, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, dry mustard, salt, honey, and apple cider vinegar.

The recipe calls for “finely chopped” everything.  I figured everything would break down after simmering, but it didn’t break down as much as I thought, so definitely chop things up small unless you want a really chunky sauce.

In fact, I would definitely recommend pressing your garlic through a garlic press.  I just chopped mine and it wasn’t as soft as I wanted it in the finished product.  If you make a large batch (or even with this small batch) it might be helpful to pop things into a food processor as well- not to puree, but just to chop finely.

At this point you’re just going to add everything to your pot.  I love the colors going on in here.

One of the main reasons I knew I would like this: honey.  Mmm…

In goes the apple cider vinegar, red pepper flakes (this does have a nice little kick to it; not too spicy, but enough to notice) ground mustard and Worcestershire sauce.

You just need to bring it to a simmer and let it work for about 30 minutes.  Everything will break down and you can gently smash things up with the back of a spoon if you need to.  I even stuck a potato masher in there at the end to get the consistency I wanted.

You can see in the photos how it goes from looking like a salsa to a darker colored, thicker sauce.

**If you’re new to canning, read our “Introduction to Home Canning” post.

While your sauce is simmering, fill up your waterbath canner with water.  Since I’m making such a small batch, I just used a normal sized stock pot.  Your jars should be clean and warm when you fill them; I usually put mine through my dishwasher and have them heat dry.  Use a funnel to fill up your jars and make sure to leave 1/2 inch headspace on the top.  I have a little tool to measure it with, but you certainly don’t need that.

You should also heat up a small pot of water with your lids in it while your sauce is simmering.  Bring it to a simmer and leave lids in the pot until you’re ready to use them.  After your jars are filled up with your sauce, wipe the rim to ensure it’s clean and dry.  Use the magnet tool (check out this little kit) to pick up a lid and place it on your jar.  Screw the band on- not crazy tight, just normal snug.

If you’re a newbie and feel like trying out canning but not sure if you want to invest in all of the equipment, or even can a large amount of stuff, I highly recommend this mini set (called the “Home Canning Discovery Kit” by Ball.  It’s only about 10 bucks.  It comes with 3 jars, a little recipe booklet, and this small green piece you see in my photos that just fits into a normal sized stock pot.  It only fits about 4 jars at a time, but if you’re just starting out and want to experiment on a smaller scale, it’s perfect.  I love it for when I want to try a new recipe so I make a small batch.  Back to the recipe…just lower your jars into the simmering water and process for for about 15 minutes.  If you live at a higher altitude you’ll need to process them for a bit longer and those times are noted in the recipe.

After they come out the jars need to sit at room temp.  Don’t be tempted to fool around with them, just leave them alone!  I had enough sauce to can 3 full jars with a little left over.  My family really loved it- we thought it pretty good as it was going into jars, but it was way better after it had cooled and thickened a bit and the flavors had a chance to marry a bit more.  And while it was really great on a spoon, it was fantastic with grilled chicken.

With honey and cider vinegar being main flavor components, I instantly thought of our beloved Spicy Honey Chicken.  So I grilled up some chicken thighs (without the glaze)  that I rubbed in those spices.  I skipped the chipotle powder in that recipe since the sauce already has some heat.  I brushed some over the meat during the last few minutes of grilling, but I wish I would have saved it and put it all on top at the end.  I had a fairly chunky sauce so I lost some of it to the grill!  I served it with rice too, and one of my favorite things was eating the rice that had soaked up the extra sauce.

You can see in the pictures it’s almost like a thick salsa.  It’s sweet and tangy and savory and so great when combined with the meat.  Hope you guys enjoy it as much as we did; this is something that would make a great gift!


  1. Thank you for sharing this. I have plenty of extra garlic this year from my garden and my husband loves peaches. I love chicken. So I’m going to have to try this. After I give myself a break from the 24 quarts of green beans I just picked, cleaned, cut, and canned. Love that ball blue book! I’m a beginning canner – 2nd year for pressure canning. It’s super fun and this simple recipe looks very do-able!

    1. The acid level should be low enough that it’ll last a good while, at least until your peaches start to ferment. 🙂 Which is what fruit should do sooner or later. If you stabilized the product with Clear Jel or Ultra Gel – brought up on the apple pie filling page – you could freeze this as well if you wanted a little more time on the sauce without canning it.

  2. I have to admit I am loving your canning series! And the bubble popper/headspace measuring gadget makes me swoon!!! Yep you read that correctly, swoon! (I know who says swoon these days… ha ha!) I learned how to can early on in our marriage (21 years tomorrow!) as we were living away from home and I desperately wanted my grandma’s pickles…. it was all downhill from there. ha ha! Every specialty jam/preserve at the store was now an inspiration, canning/preserving books were checked out of the library ad nauseum, and jars were collected with fervor. The past two summers my canning has been at a minimum due to moving. But hopefully that will change as we empty the freezer…. 🙂

  3. Quick question…. do you think frozen peaches could be used in this recipe? I just discovered at least 10 gallon sized bags of whole peaches in my freezer. Right now its basically a don’t ask situation… 🙂 Do you have any other peach recipes which would work with frozen peaches? (aside from peach smoothies….)

    1. Peggy, I don’t see why not. I bet they would work great! I would probably thaw them first and let a little of the moisture drain off just so the sauce doesn’t end up super runny. Have you seen our Triple Berry Cobbler? That one is great with peaches too! Since peaches are so juicy, I recommend with that recipe skipping the bottom crust of dough and just putting it on top. You can just make half of the dough called for. Enjoy those peaches!

  4. I just canned Jalapeno Jelly this weekend and I am so going to do this. Little jars of heaven like these are fun to give for Christmas presents. People are always so impressed.

    I really think this ‘Back to Basics’ cooking movement is a generational thing. I grew up in the 70s and 80s and my mom never made anything from scratch. It was all convenience food – Hamburger Helper, cake mixes, etc. Cooking and baking from scratch isn’t that hard and it is a lot of fun (not to mention delicious! I made the Mar-A-Lago Turkey burgers with homemade burger buns (from your cookbook). I don’t think my family will let me buy store bought again. Thank you Sara and Kate for inspiring me!

  5. I made a similar recipe out of Bon Appetit last month and I actually pureed the sauce when I was done, to make a “sauce” but I think it would be great left chunky like this…

    I’m with the above poster who mentioned the more back to basis cooking movement going on. We never had a garden growing up, my mother never canned anything etc. but I sure love my garden and love putting things up to enjoy the rest of the year!

  6. Okay, you have me convinced to give this a try. I’m headed out after work today to get the mini-kit, since I’m a newbie. We get peaches by the bushel this time of year at an orchard near our home, so I’m always looking for ways to use them all.

    Thank you so much for doing these informational posts. My grandmother canned, but unfortunately I was not interested in anything kitchen related when she was still alive. So those of you out there who still have the wonderful grandmother resource available to you–take full advantage!

  7. I can’t fangirl enough over this website and your recipes! This is another one I have got to try. Oh, I tried the eggplant dip from last week. Loved it!!! I’m not typically domestic, but I have been known to can chicken and strawberry jam. It’s labor intensive, but so worth it!

  8. Thanks for the introduction to canning. I didn’t think I would be interested, but the very small batch size and a delicious recipe make me reconsider.

  9. Last week I had to make a special trip to the store for Reese’s pbc’s and now it looks like I’m going out for some peaches. I’m telling you- we need a grocery list from you girls!
    Sara, can the recipe be doubled? I’m always afraid to double my jam recipe and I make several batches of it at a time, but all single batches and in stages. It gets quite hectic that way! I would think this recipe wouldn’t be a problem to double since there’s no pectin involved.

    1. Yep, you can absolutely double it. As written it is a teeny tiny batch! Click the link I included in the recipe print out for the larger version.

  10. This sounds really similar to a blueberry chutney I had at a restaurant somewhere. I have a mild allergy to peaches; do you think I could sub blueberries and have it be just as tasty? Seems like the consistency would be fairly similar, right?

    1. You know, I’m not sure AC. If you do try it, I definitely wouldn’t recommend canning it though, since you can’t be sure how it will affect the pH levels. But you could certainly try it and pop it in the fridge!

  11. I know that what I’m about to type has nothing to do with this post. (I love peaches, okay, now it has a little something to do with the post!) But I love that you gals post on a schedule. There are a few others blogs I follow here and there and you never ever know when they are gonna post. I’m a person who loves a schedule and routine during the week. (I fly by the seat of my pants on the weekends!) It’s very comforting to know that there will be a recipe for a tasty meal, sweet, or a very informative tutorial. So, I guess what I’m saying is, THANKS GALS!

    1. You know, that has been one thing that we knew was important from the very beginning of this blog. In our 3 1/2 years, we have posted consistently every M, W, and F. When people ask us advice for starting up a blog that’s always one of the first things we tell them- consistent frequency! I’m glad that people appreciate it, thanks for the sweet note!

  12. Ever had the plum sweet n sour sauce at the melting pot? I wonder if I used plums if this would taste like that. Oh boy I love that sauce. Plus I have a million plums on my tree outside. Would the substitution be bad?

    1. I don’t know if I’ve ever had that sauce, but I bet plums would be pretty yummy. As I said to the person trying it with blueberries, I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for canning, but making fresh to eat might be a good experiment. If you try it, let us know how it goes!

  13. do you think I can make a similar sauce with papaya? They are plentiful here in Hawaii… peaches, not so much! I don’t know a lot about canning, and I have heard that you need the right amount of acid (or something like that) so I was a bit concerned about a substitution. What do you think?

    1. Many people are asking about substituting fruit. It can definitely be made to eat fresh, but not for canning since it hasn’t been tested.

  14. I was planning on making turkey burgers tonight for dinner but now I don’t think I can because I won’t enjoy them as much without this peach BBQ sauce! Maybe they will have to wait till this weekend when I have time to make this.

  15. I have 40 lbs of peaches coming Friday so this is perfect timing! I am canning the majority but this will be a delicious departure and something fun to make with the stuff that doesn’t make it into bottles!

  16. This sounds delish! And I ditto the poster that appreciates your regular schedule.

    I don’t suppose you guys could come up with a recipe for raspberry-chipotle sauce. Costco carried it for a while a few years back and got us all addicted – then they stopped carrying it. 🙁

  17. I am wondering if I can can this with my steam canner? I can all of my fruits with it but I know you can’t do vegetables….hmmmm…..sounds super yummy and my peach tree should be getting close!! Yippee!!

    1. I have done a pear butter, which is just like apple butter, and I can it and then we can spread it on toast in the winter! It’s tasty!

  18. I think that I’m going to try this, except I’m going to freeze it. Someday I will learn to can, but not until after we stop moving so much.

  19. At last… A tomato free BBQ sauce! I’m allergic to tomatos and I’m always looking for tomato free sauce recipes. I wass thinking of trying to develop an apricot BBQ sauce since apricots have a bit more acid to them then peaches.

  20. Every fall I get the itch to start canning some things, and it’s generally been things like jams, jellies and salsa. This year will be the same items, but I’ll certainly be including this in my mix – this looks just wonderful and what a refreshing change for the grill!

  21. I really enjoy your website, and when I read the canning post the other day, I was inspired to try something new. Today I saw this recipe and spent toddler naptime cooking and canning. I can’t wait to see if it turns out for me.

  22. I love canning, and this recipe sounds great. But mostly, I am in love with your funnel! What a great design – I haven’t seen it before. I’m still using my grandma’s old metal crazy bent funnel, which is nice and nostalgic, but I may need to pick this up for functionality’s sake.

  23. I got your cookbook from my neighbor as a birthday gift and have been LOVING it! I am going to try this recipe out before I head to a friend’s barbeque this weekend; perfect hostess gift!

  24. I put up 8 jars of this sauce today. My husband couldn’t wait to try it so we grilled some chicken and had the sauce. This sauce is so good that we ate the entire jar (family of 4). I haven’t canned in a couple years and you have just renewed my interest. TY

  25. I made a small batch of this tonight to put over pork chops. Yum! I don’t plan to can it, so we just made enough for dinner and leftovers. My husband was raving about how great the flavor was. Thanks again ladies for another winning recipe!

  26. Just a quick note about honey (or molasses or peanut butter or other sticky stuff). If I have a recipe that calls for both honey and oil, I measure the oil first and then the honey using the same measuring cup. It makes the honey slide ride out.

    If there is no oil in the recipe, I’ll give the measuring cup a very quick short spray of oil. Again, the honey/molasses/peanut butter slides right out of the measuring cup.

  27. I made this tonight for dinner and paired it with the Crispy Coconut Chicken Fingers as you suggested. It was fabulous! My husband doesn’t get excited about trying out new recipes, and didn’t give me tons of encouragement. However, he LOVED the sauce, and we’re thinking of other ways we can use it. It was a perfect pair for the chicken. I’m not a huge fan of eating a big hunk of chicken, but the crust was so tasty and the sauce gave it just enough more flavor to keep the middle from getting boring. Thanks for the time you put into this blog. It is so helpful for those of us who don’t have any creativity when it comes to food!

  28. What’s the difference between pickling salt and regular salt? My tiny grocery store doesn’t have pickling salt. Would I be in big trouble if I used regular?

    1. The extension office told me this, “Canning salt is recommended because it doesn’t contain an anti-caking agent or iodine.” I don’t think it’s bad to use regular salt, I think it’s just better/recommended to use canning salt.

  29. This looks yummy and I ordered more peaches than I needed so I need something new to add to my mix. Also my favorite website for canning recipes and questions is sbcanning.com and she is also on facebook under sbcanning. Her website does have a recipe for chocolate a chocolate raspberry sunday topping.

    1. Perfect! I have 20 pounds of peaches and 40 of apples to do this weekend and I was looking for a canning blog 🙂 I LOVE the recipes here and this recipe is on my list – but I want some variety since its my first big go at it 😉

  30. So, I just made the sauce this morning (in the full batch). I took your advice and did use the food processor to finely chop and pressed the garlic. For some reason, I was surprised at the consistency of the sauce. Maybe it will be better after it sits for a while. Thanks for the step my step tutorial! It was a big help!

  31. HOLY COW MY MOUTH IS ON FIRE…I just finished making this sauce and tried the little bit that didn’t fit in the jars on a tortilla chip….and wow, it’s got some heat!!! I’m disappointed because there’s no way I can eat that sauce on chicken or anything else. I had no idea that I should cut way back on the red pepper flakes.

    On another note – I sent this to my sister a few days ago and she beat me to making it. She did make a couple substitutions: white vinegar instead of cider vinegar and Frank’s Hot Sauce instead of red pepper flakes. She and her husband absolutely loved it, especially on grilled chicken!

    1. You must have a crazy bottle of red pepper flakes because I am a TOTAL wimp when it comes to heat and mine wasn’t overly spicy at all! It had a kick to it, but it wasn’t mouth-on-fire hot. And I usually think that medium salsa is mouth-on-fire hot, haha

      1. Hmmm…I used crushed red pepper flakes from Aldi. That’s really strange that yours wasn’t spicy and mine was. Oh well – I will try again and leave them out or maybe just put a pinch in. Thanks!

  32. I just made the 1/2 recipe today. I used 6 medium Colorado peaches and the whole thing yielded 3 and a 1/2 half pints. Now I wish I’d made the full batch, since it’s not that much more work to peel & chop a few more peaches. I also (accidentally) used regular salt because I was going by the printed recipe. And I even have pickling salt at home 🙁 I think the heat level from the red pepper flakes is perfection. It has a bite, but it’s not painful. I could eat a whole jar of this in one sitting, it is SO GOOD! Thank you for the recipe!

  33. I’m so glad I found this! My family will consider themselves saved from eating 80 lbs of peaches canned in the sugar syrup recipe that we all love from Great-Grandma (love em but that’s a lot to eat)

  34. I’m so glad I found this! My family will consider themselves saved from eating 80 lbs of peaches canned in the sugar syrup recipe that we’ve made since Great-Grandma (love em but that’s a lot to eat)

  35. To anyone who has made this recipe: I made the large batch of this 2 days ago and saved the tiny bit of extra in the fridge after canning. I tried it last night on a piece of chicken and found it to be EXTREMELY vinegar-y. Is this how everyone else tastes?!

    I followed the recipe exactly, and make a fresh pear salsa similar to this so I thought for sure I was safe making the big batch because we would love it. But it overwhelmingly tastes like cider vinegar only. I’m a little worried about giving it out as gifts, but if that’s how it is suppose to taste maybe someone else will like it more than me!

  36. Just made this, but with Nectarines rather than peaches, as that’s what I had on hand. I just eyeballed the chilli flakes, and might have gone slightly over what my tastbuds like on their own. However, has inspired me to come up with some sort of Spicy ;Nectarine’ BBQ Sauce with cream cheese and either chicken or maybe even prawn concoction. Thinking bagel topping? MMmmmmm. Sara & Kate, you girls are awesome. Thanks for the recipes you provide, they’re always fantastic!!!

  37. I just made this- it was my second canning adventure- and I LOVE it! I kept the peel on my peaches, and the peaches I used were really red. The sauce has a beautiful red tent to it! It tastes amazing! I’m sure it would be awesome used kinda like pepper jelly too! (on top of sour cream with ritz! Thanks for posting this!

  38. Thank you so much for this post!!! It was my first attempt at canning and while I won’t know until tomorrow if I did everything right since I just finished … It tastes amazing and I LOVED the small batch so everything was not quite so overwhelming!! I followed every step and every picture exactly, such a great way to start and great tutorial 🙂 you ladies are the best 🙂

  39. Newbie to canning here – I have pint jars instead of half pint jars…does that work or will siz of jar affect cooking time?! Do I need to go get half pints?

  40. I followed the recipe but mine has an overwhelming garlic taste. I’m wondering if it is because I used fresh from the farm garlic? It is really overpowering and I’m afraid the sauce isn’t usable, unless it mellows somehow after it is canned? Any suggestions?

  41. I have made this four times this summer. It is so good, one of my favorite recipes on this site. Almost a sort of chutney. We like it best with pork, but also good with chicken, or corn chips as a dip.

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