Zesty Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe – Grill Like a Pro

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Picture apricots’ sweet and tangy embrace intertwined with Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe . Note the vibrant hue and silky texture as you stir. Ripe apricots bring natural sweetness, balancing chili’s kick and vinegar’s tang. Your guests will be pleasantly surprised; it’s a conversation starter, not just a sauce. Simmering allows spices to harmonize with fruit, leaving a lingering taste. Have a spoon or brush ready for generous drizzling on your grilled creations.

Embark on a culinary journey that transports your taste buds to the Middle East and Europe. Imagine a sunny afternoon grilling with friends and family, savoring succulent feasts. As a travel enthusiast, I’ve relished diverse cuisines worldwide. 

Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe

One ingredient that never fails to excite both me and my fellow travelers is apricot BBQ sauce. It’s a sweet and savory delight. 

Picture tender lamb skewers in Marrakech basted with luscious apricot-infused sauce or apricot notes dancing on grilled chicken in an Italian trattoria. 

This condiment’s magic lingers in my taste memory. Now, I’ve discovered an Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe that balances East and West flavors, recreating those memorable moments in my backyard.

What Is Apricot BBQ Sauce?

Apricot BBQ sauce is a delectable blend where the sweetness of apricots meets the smoky depth of traditional barbecue flavors. 

It’s a versatile condiment that combines ripe apricots, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and a harmony of spices like garlic, onion, and a hint of chili for warmth. 

This sauce is simmered to perfection, creating a rich, thick consistency that clings to your favorite meats, infusing them with a luscious, fruity twist. 

Ideal for grilling or dipping, it’s a must-try for anyone looking to elevate their BBQ experience.

History Of Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe

The history of apricot BBQ sauce is not attributed to a single inventor but rather to culinary evolution. 

It’s a fusion where Middle Eastern love for apricots meets the American South’s barbecue mastery

Apricots have been a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine for centuries, treasured for their sweet, tangy flavor. 

American pitmasters and home cooks, always looking to innovate, began incorporating apricots into their sauces for a unique twist. 

This blend gained popularity as it offered a refreshing change from the classic BBQ sauce. Today, it is one of the best ways to add a sweet and tangy dimension to grilled dishes.

Interesting Facts About Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe

Apricot BBQ sauce is a delightful twist on the classic barbecue condiment. This sweet and tangy sauce combines the rich flavors of apricots with the smokiness of barbecue sauce. Here are some interesting facts about this unique recipe:

Fusion Of Flavors

Apricot BBQ sauce marries the natural sweetness of apricots with the savory and smoky notes of traditional barbecue sauce.

Versatile Use

It’s not just for grilling – this sauce can enhance a variety of dishes, from roasted meats to vegetarian options.

Homemade Goodness

Making your own allows you to control the ingredients, adjusting sweetness and spice levels to your liking.

Unique Pairings

Try it with chicken, pork, ribs, or even as a dip for appetizers.

Natural Sweetener

Apricots provide a natural, fruity sweetness without the need for excessive sugar.

Jar and Ingredients

What Are The Regional Adaptations Of This Sauce?

  • Middle Eastern: In the Middle East, apricot barbecue sauce is often infused with aromatic spices like cumin, coriander, and sumac. It pairs exceptionally well with grilled lamb or chicken, providing a tantalizing fusion of sweet and savory flavors.
  • European: In Europe, particularly Italy and France, apricot BBQ sauce takes on a more refined character. It may include ingredients like red wine, rosemary, and Dijon mustard, creating a sauce that complements grilled pork or duck dishes.
  • North American: In the United States, apricot BBQ sauce is a beloved addition to the barbecue scene. It’s typically made with a base of ketchup or tomato sauce mixed with apricot preserves, brown sugar, and spices. It’s a popular choice for glazing ribs, chicken, and even meatballs.
  • Asian Fusion: In some Asian cuisines, apricot BBQ sauce is used in fusion dishes, incorporating ingredients like soy sauce, ginger, and rice vinegar. This version is ideal for marinating and grilling seafood or tofu.
  • South African: South Africa has its twist on apricot BBQ sauce, where it’s often paired with grilled boerewors (sausage) and other meats. The sauce may include apricot jam, chutney, and a touch of curry for a unique blend of flavors.

What Will Make You Love This Apricot Bbq Sauce Recipe?

  • Sensational Flavor Balance: The marriage of sweet apricots and tangy barbecue elements creates a harmonious flavor profile that’s a true palate pleaser.
  • Versatility: This sauce is incredibly versatile, elevating a wide range of dishes, from grilled meats and vegetables to stir-fries and sandwiches.
  • Homemade Goodness: Crafting this sauce from scratch allows you to control the quality of ingredients, making it healthier and free from preservatives.
  • Travel-Inspired Nostalgia: The sauce’s ability to transport you to different regions through its flavors will evoke cherished memories of your travel adventures.
  • Crowd-Pleaser: Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue, a family dinner, or a potluck, this sauce will surely be a crowd-pleaser that impresses everyone.
  • Easy Preparation: With a straightforward recipe, making your own Apricot BBQ Sauce is a breeze, and it can be customized to suit your taste preferences.
  • Unique Twists: You can experiment with various regional adaptations to give this sauce a unique and personal touch, making it your own.
Bowl and Spoon

Ingredients List

Canola oil1 Tablespoon
Garlic powder1 teaspoon
Onion powder1 teaspoon
Chili powder1 teaspoon
Apricot jam13 ounces
Water⅓ cup
Apple cider vinegar¼ cup
Ketchup½ cup
Honey2 tablespoons
Dijon mustard2 tablespoons
Worcestershire sauce1 tablespoon

Ingredient Tips

  • Choose Quality Apricot Jam: Opt for high-fruit content jam for a richer apricot flavor.
  • Natural Sweeteners: Consider using raw honey for added depth and a touch of natural sweetness.
  • Freshness Counts: Freshly made garlic and onion powders provide a more potent flavor than their store-bought counterparts.
  • Smoke Infusion: For a smokier taste, select a chili powder that includes smoked chilies.
  • Acidity Balance: Adjust the apple cider vinegar to taste for the perfect tangy kick.
  • Ketchup Selection: Use organic ketchup to avoid additives and high fructose corn syrup.
  • Dijon Mustard: The brand of Dijon mustard can impact the sauce’s sharpness; choose one that suits your palate.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: A little goes a long way; it’s best to add gradually and taste as you go.

What Are The Variations Of Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe?

  • Spicy Apricot BBQ Sauce: Add crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper for a fiery twist.
  • Bourbon Apricot BBQ Sauce: A splash of bourbon infuses a smoky, oaky undertone.
  • Tropical Apricot BBQ Sauce: Mix pineapple juice or mango for a fruity, island-inspired flavor.
  • Asian-Inspired Apricot BBQ Sauce: Soy sauce, ginger, and a hint of five-spice powder lend an Asian flair.
  • Low-Sugar Apricot BBQ Sauce: Use sugar-free apricot preserves and a sugar substitute to sweeten.
  • Roasted Garlic Apricot BBQ Sauce: Roasted garlic puree can offer a deep, caramelized dimension.
  • Balsamic Apricot BBQ Sauce: Balsamic vinegar adds a tangy, slightly sweet richness.

Recipe Directions

Cooking Method

  • Heat the canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder, cooking until the spices are fragrant, approximately 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the apricot jam and continue to cook until the jam has completely melted, about 3 to 4 additional minutes.
  • Pour in the water and apple cider vinegar, bringing the mixture to a simmer.
  • Stir in the ketchup, honey, Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Adjust the stove to medium-low heat and allow the sauce to simmer. Stir the mixture often, letting it reduce by half, which should take around 30 to 35 minutes.
  • Once reduced, remove the sauce from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes.

Experience a fusion of sweetness and smokiness with apricot BBQ sauce, where each bite is a delightful journey of contrasting flavors.

Scaling The Recipe

Scaling Up

  • To make a larger batch for a big gathering, simply multiply the ingredient quantities while maintaining the same ratios. For instance, double or triple the ingredients for a bigger yield. Adjust cooking times as needed, but keep tasting to ensure the flavors are balanced.

Scaling Down

  • When cooking for fewer people, reduce the ingredient quantities accordingly. To avoid overpowering flavors, maintain the balance of sweet and tangy elements. Cooking times may be shorter, so keep a close eye on the sauce as it simmers.
Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe

Can This Sauce Be Used As A Marinade, Dipping Sauce, Or Dressing For Salads?

  • Marinade: The sweet and tangy notes in this sauce make it an excellent marinade for various proteins like chicken, pork, or even tofu. Let your ingredients soak in the sauce to infuse them with flavor before grilling or roasting.
  • Dipping Sauce: Use it as a delectable dipping sauce for appetizers, such as chicken tenders, spring rolls, or vegetable skewers. It adds a delightful twist to your favorite finger foods.
  • Glaze: Brush the sauce over grilled or roasted meats, creating a luscious glaze that caramelizes and enhances the flavor of your dishes.
  • Dressing for Salads: Mix the Apricot BBQ Sauce with olive oil and vinegar to create a unique and flavorful salad dressing. It adds a refreshing twist to your greens, making your salads more exciting.
  • Basting Sauce: When barbecuing, use it to baste your meat, ensuring it stays moist and flavorful throughout the cooking process.

What Are The Best Dishes To Accompany Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe?

Grilled Chicken

It adds a sweet glaze to the smoky flavor of char-grilled poultry.

Pork Ribs

The sauce’s tanginess complements the rich, fatty profile of the ribs.


Brushed on salmon, it provides a fruit-infused crust when grilled or baked.


As a glaze, it can revamp the classic appetizer with a bold taste.


A spoonful on top can elevate a simple beef or veggie burger.

Roasted Vegetables

Drizzled over, it brings a caramelized, zesty edge.


It’s an excellent way to impart flavor to plant-based diets.

Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe

What Are Some Classic Dishes That Feature Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe?

  • Apricot BBQ Chicken: A staple where the sauce is brushed on grilled or baked chicken.
  • BBQ Ribs with Apricot Glaze: Pork or beef ribs slathered with the sauce for a sticky, caramelized finish.
  • Apricot BBQ Meatballs: Served as a party appetizer or over rice for a main dish.
  • BBQ Pulled Pork: The sauce can be mixed into pulled pork for a sweet and tangy twist.
  • Apricot BBQ Pizza: Used as a base sauce on pizzas, especially those with chicken and onions.
  • Apricot Glazed Ham: A twist on the classic honey-glazed ham, perfect for holidays.
  • Grilled Apricot BBQ Tofu: A vegetarian option where tofu is marinated and grilled with the sauce.

What Are The Key Flavor Profiles And Taste Sensations That Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe Offers?

  • Sweetness: Primarily from apricot jam and honey, giving the sauce its fruity, sugary base.
  • Tanginess: Courtesy of apple cider vinegar, it cuts through the sweetness with a sharp zest.
  • Savory notes: The ketchup and Worcestershire sauce contribute a deep umami character.
  • Spiciness: Chili powder adds a gentle heat, which can be adjusted to preference.
  • Complexity: Subtle hints of garlic and onion powders round out the flavor profile with earthy tones.
Jar and Spoon

Can This Sauce Be Stored And Preserved For Future Use? What Is Its Shelf Life?

Yes, this apricot BBQ sauce can be stored and preserved for future use. Once cooled, transfer it to an airtight container or jar and refrigerate. Properly stored, it can last in the fridge for up to two weeks. 

For a longer shelf life, you may want to sterilize the jars and properly can the sauce, which could extend its usability for several months. Always check for signs of spoilage, like an off-smell or mold, before use. 

If you freeze the sauce, it can be kept for up to 3 months. Remember to thaw in the refrigerator before reheating and using.

What Are The Substitutes For Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe?

  • Peach BBQ Sauce: Offers a similar fruity sweetness with a more mellow flavor.
  • Plum Sauce: Provides a tart and sweet profile that can mimic apricot’s tanginess.
  • Orange Marmalade BBQ Sauce: Delivers a citrusy twist with a sticky sweetness.
  • Mango Chutney: Brings tropical notes and a spicy kick, depending on the chutney’s heat level.
  • Pineapple BBQ Sauce: Gives a bright, acidic punch and sweetness, ideal for pork and chicken.
  • Apple Jelly: For a more subtle fruitiness, it pairs well with savory spices.
  • Raspberry Chipotle Sauce: Offers a sweet and spicy combination with a slight tartness.
Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe

How To Adjust The Consistency Of The Sauce?

  • For thickening: Simmer the sauce for additional time, allowing excess moisture to evaporate. If needed, a small amount of cornstarch slurry (cornstarch mixed with water) can be whisked in to reach the desired thickness.
  • For thinning: Add water, apple cider vinegar, or even orange juice to the sauce, a little at a time, until it reaches your preferred consistency. It’s important to taste as you go, as thinning can dilute the flavors, requiring a rebalance of seasonings.

Should We Serve The Sauce Cold Or Warm?

The serving temperature of apricot BBQ sauce largely depends on its use. For glazing meats like chicken or ribs on the grill, it’s best to apply it warm, as it spreads easily and caramelizes well. 

When using it as a dipping sauce, room temperature or slightly chilled can enhance the flavor and texture. For dressings or marinades, cold from the refrigerator works fine, especially since it will infuse over time or be brought to a temperature during the cooking process. 

Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe

Nutritional Values

Apricot BBQ sauce is moderately high in sugars due to the fruit base and added sweeteners, with a balanced acidity and a low to moderate calorie count per serving. It contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals from the spices and fruit components.

What Are The Total Calories In Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe?

A single serving (about 2 tablespoons) of homemade Apricot BBQ Sauce contains approximately 30-40 calories. 

This estimate includes the calories from ingredients like apricot preserves or jam, ketchup, vinegar, spices, and any additional flavorings or sweeteners that may be used in the recipe.

Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe

Apricot BBQ sauce: a sweet symphony of fruity apricot and rich barbecue flavors, elevating the grilling experience to new heights.

Dietary Restrictions Of The Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe

  • Gluten: Worcestershire sauce may contain gluten; a gluten-free alternative is necessary.
  • Vegan: Honey is not vegan-friendly; use agave syrup or a vegan honey substitute.
  • Vegetarian: Ensure Worcestershire sauce is vegetarian, as some brands use anchovies.
  • Nut Allergies: The recipe is nut-free, but always check label cross-contamination warnings.
  • Soy Allergies: Some brands of Worcestershire sauce contain soy; select a soy-free brand.
  • Diabetic: High sugar content from apricot jam and honey; consider sugar-free substitutes.

Nutrition Table

Nutrition Table

What Are The Common Mistakes While Making This Sauce?

  • Over-sweetening: Adding too much honey or jam can make the sauce cloyingly sweet.
  • Under-reducing: Not simmering the sauce long enough can produce a thin consistency.
  • Burning the garlic: Cooking garlic powder on high heat can quickly turn it bitter.
  • Neglecting the balance: Failing to balance the sweet, tangy, and spicy elements can lead to a flat flavor profile.
  • Overseasoning: Overdoing the spices, especially chili powder, can overpower the apricot flavor.
  • Rushing the process: Not simmering the sauce can prevent the flavors from melding well.
  • Ignoring acidity: Not paying attention to the acidity can make the sauce too sweet without a contrasting tang.

What Are Some Creative Uses Of Leftover Sauce?

  • Salad Dressing: Mix with olive oil for a sweet and tangy salad dressing.
  • Sandwich Spread: Combine with mayo for a flavorful sandwich or burger spread.
  • Stir-Fry: Add to a stir-fry for a fruity twist on your vegetables or protein.
  • Pizza Topping: Use as a pizza sauce for a BBQ chicken pizza.
  • Dip: Blend with cream cheese for a unique chip or veggie dip.
  • Glaze: Use as a glaze for roasted vegetables or meats.
  • Marinade: Marinate meats before grilling for an added depth of flavor.
  • Cocktail Sauce: Stir into a cocktail sauce for a sweet kick.
  • Pasta Sauce: Toss with pasta for an easy, flavorful meal.
  • Cheese Pairing: Serve as a condiment on a cheese board.
Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe

Special Tools & Equipment Needed

  • Medium Saucepan: Essential for combining and cooking ingredients.
  • Wooden Spoon: For stirring and preventing sticking or burning.
  • Whisk: To thoroughly mix the sauce for an even consistency.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: For precise ingredient portions.
  • Canola Oil: Needed for sautéing the spices.
  • Heat-Resistant Spatula: To scrape the sides of the pan.
  • Fine Mesh Strainer: To smooth the sauce if desired.
  • Mason Jars or Airtight Containers: For storage.
  • Canning Tools (optional): If preserving the sauce for long-term use.
  • Label Maker or Tags: To date and label your jars.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Use Fresh Apricots Instead Of Apricot Jam?

Yes, you can use fresh apricots. Just cook them down with some sugar to create a puree similar in consistency to jam. Remember that the sweetness may vary, so adjust the sugar accordingly.

Is This Apricot BBQ Sauce Gluten-Free?

It can be, but you must ensure that all your ingredients, especially the Worcestershire sauce and mustard, are labeled gluten-free. Some brands may contain gluten.

How Can I Make This Sauce Spicier?

Add more heat, increase the chili powder, or add a pinch of cayenne pepper. You could also add diced fresh jalapeños or other hot peppers while cooking.

Can This Sauce Be Used For Canning?

Yes, this sauce can be canned using the proper sterilization and preservation methods for acidic foods. Make sure you follow safe canning practices to avoid any risk of foodborne illnesses.

What Can I Use If I Don’t Have Apple Cider Vinegar?

If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, substitute it with another vinegar, such as white wine vinegar or even lemon juice, for a different acidic note. The flavor profile will change slightly, so adjust the seasoning to taste.

Zesty Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe – Grill Like a Pro

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Recipe by Lana Rivera Course: Sauces


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This Apricot BBQ Sauce blends sweet apricot jam with tangy vinegar and a symphony of spices, creating a versatile condiment perfect for grilling, dipping, or dressing. Its unique flavor enhances any dish, offering a gourmet touch to traditional BBQ fare with simple preparation.


  • 1 tablespoon 1 Canola oil

  • 1 teaspoon 1 Garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon 1 Onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon 1 Chili powder

  • 13 ounces 13 Apricot jam

  • cup Water

  • ¼ cup ¼ Apple cider vinegar

  • ½ cup ½ Ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons 2 Honey

  • 2 tablespoons 2 Dijon mustard

  • 1 tablespoons 1 Worcestershire sauce

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Heat The Oil
    Place a medium saucepan over medium heat.
    Pour in 1 tablespoon of canola oil and heat until shimmering.
  • Sauté The Spices
    Add 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder to the saucepan.
    Cook for about 3 minutes or until the spices are fragrant.
  • Melt The Jam
    Stir in 13 ounces of apricot jam.
    Continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring until the jam melts.
  • Add Liquids And Simmer
    Pour in ⅓ cup of water and ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar.
    Bring the mixture to a simmer before adding ½ cup of ketchup.
    Mix in 2 tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard.
    Add 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, stirring to combine.
  • Reduce The Sauce
    Lower the heat to medium-low.
    Allow the sauce to simmer, stirring often, until it is reduced by half, about 30 to 35 minutes.
  • Cool And Serve
    Once reduced, remove the saucepan from the heat.
    Let the sauce cool for about 5 minutes before using.

Recipe Video


  • Adjusting Sweetness: Depending on the sweetness of your apricot jam, you may want to adjust the amount of honey to taste.
  • Spice Level: The chili powder can be increased or decreased based on your preference for heat.
  • Thickness: For a thicker sauce, simmer longer, but be careful not to let it burn. For a thinner sauce, add more water, a tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Storage: The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for extended storage. Ensure it’s in a well-sealed container to maintain freshness.
  • Acidity Balance: If the sauce is too tangy, a pinch of baking soda can neutralize some of the acidity. Add slowly and taste as you go.
  • Allergen Info: If you have dietary restrictions, look for gluten-free or vegan versions of Worcestershire sauce and substitute honey with maple syrup or agave if vegan.

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