Give your smoked and grilled meats the most delicious finishing touch with this blueberry BBQ sauce! Bursting with fresh blueberry flavor, this fruit BBQ sauce features the perfect balance of sweet, spicy and tangy notes. In about 15 minutes, you can have a homemade sauce that will elevate every summer meal on the table. Don’t be surprised when this sauce makes an appearance at all your summer barbecues.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Full of blueberry flavor: Some fruit BBQ sauces are loaded with so many different ingredients that you lose the fruity flavor. I specifically designed this blueberry BBQ sauce recipe so that you get a kick of warm spice while letting the fruit shine.
Can’t beat a from-scratch BBQ sauce: Store-bought BBQ sauce is fine, but it can’t reach the same depth of flavor as a good homemade sauce. Once you start making your own BBQ sauce, you’ll never go back.
Quick and easy to make: On top of tasting better, making BBQ sauce couldn’t be easier. If you can stir some ingredients on a stove, you can make this sauce.
Makes a great hosting gift: Maybe you’re taking a break from hosting duties and attending a summer barbecue. Bring a jar of this sauce as a thank-you gift – a homemade gift is always so thoughtful and appreciated. For a cute presentation, use a mason jar and decorative ribbon.
Let’s chat about a few ingredient notes to ensure you have everything you need.
Blueberries: I like to use fresh blueberries, but frozen blueberries work just as well. Fruit is frozen at its peak ripeness, so you’re still getting flavorful berries. There’s no need to thaw either.
Spice mixture: For this blend, we use chili powder, cinnamon, allspice and salt. I specifically like to use a chipotle chili powder, which is a touch smokier, for more complexity, but regular chili powder works fine.
Fresh ginger: I’m a huge fan of adding fresh ginger to fruit salsas and sauces. Ginger adds a warmth and perfectly complements any fruit you can imagine.
Molasses: Make sure you use unsulphured molasses, not blackstrap. Unsulphured molasses is sweeter and made from ripe sugar cane for superior flavor.
Dark brown sugar: I prefer to use dark versus light brown sugar. Dark brown sugar has more molasses flavor for more depth, but you can substitute light brown sugar if need be.
Step 1: We add the blueberries, apple cider vinegar, dark brown sugar, ginger, molasses, chili powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice to a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, we stir to combine the ingredients (photo 1).
Step 2: Now we bring the blueberries to a boil and then turn down the heat to simmer. As the berries cook, they will begin to release their juices and break down. At first, the berries will only release a little juice, but as the process continues, some berries will remain while most of the mixture will eventually turn into a sauce (photos 2-3). This should take about 10-15 minutes.
Step 3: Now we pour the berry mixture into a blender or food processor and blend until our fruity BBQ sauce is nice and smooth like so (photo 4).
See how easy that was? It took just three simple steps to make the best blueberry BBQ sauce.
How to Use
As a fruit-based sauce, I especially love this recipe with lighter meats, such as chicken, pork and salmon. That said, it can certainly work with bigger meats as well. Here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy this blueberry BBQ sauce.
- Brush onto smoked chicken.
- Use as a topping for these smoked burgers or minted lamb burgers.
- Spread on smoked pork ribs.
- Serve on the side of smoked brisket.
- Toss it with chicken wings.
- Spoon inside a grilled cheese.
- Serve it as a dipping sauce.
- Use as a base for this pulled pork pizza.
This is more of a mild BBQ sauce. The chili powder gives it a kick, and the cinnamon and allspice add more of a warmth. Because I wanted to let the blueberries take center stage, I tamed the spice level.
For proper storage, keep this BBQ sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Thanks to the sugars and apple cider vinegar, this BBQ sauce has its share of natural preservatives. You should be able to get a good three weeks out of this sauce.
You sure can. To freeze, store the BBQ sauce in a freezer-safe container for up to three months. After that, the quality will begin to fade. When you’re ready to thaw, you can simply place it in the refrigerator overnight, or use the defrost setting on your microwave.
Feel free to swap another fruit for the blueberries. Blackberries and raspberries would especially work well.
As mentioned, this is a mild BBQ sauce, but if you’d like a spicier kick, feel free to add more chili powder or even introduce some cayenne pepper to the mix.
This is a tangy BBQ sauce. If you prefer a less tangy sauce, you can use less apple cider vinegar or swap it for balsamic vinegar, which is sweeter and less acidic.
Freeze ginger before grating: Frozen ginger grates much more easily. Unfrozen ginger can get stringy when grating, but frozen ginger shaves off beautifully with a microplane grater. I like to peel a bunch of ginger and then store it in the freezer to ensure it’s always on hand.
Watch your clothes and kitchen towels: Any kind of blueberry sauce stains easily. You may want to wear an apron. If not, be careful when pouring the sauce from the saucepan to the blender and the blender to your storage container. I also recommend using a kitchen-grade plastic spoon for stirring rather than a wooden spoon, which will stain.
Use fresh spices: After too much time in the cabinet, spices start to lose their flavor. For the most flavorful dishes, replace your spices every six months.
You will love a Belgian strong dark ale with this sauce. The toffee and raisin backbone of the malt matches the rich molasses and brown sugar, and the fruity yeast esters complement the blueberries, cinnamon and allspice.
For a wine pairing, a merlot is great with this blueberry BBQ sauce. This wine is berry forward with soft tannins to keep it from clashing from the chili powder or any BBQ rubs you might use in conjunction with the sauce. Merlot also goes well with lighter meats as well as leaner beef cuts to give you some variety. If you’re not a merlot fan, try a pinot noir.
If a cocktail is more your style, you can’t go wrong with this blueberry bourbon smash. You will love how the sweet, caramel-like bourbon notes match with the berries and warm spices.
Let’s upgrade your summer barbecue with a batch of this fresh blueberry BBQ sauce. With those very berry notes and touch of spice, this BBQ sauce will be a new summertime favorite recipe.
More Summer Barbecue Recipes
If you love this recipe, please leave a comment with a five-star rating — or simply hit the five-star button in the recipe card. Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter, and you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok.
Blueberry BBQ Sauce
- Medium saucepan
- Blender or food processor
- 4 cups blueberries fresh or frozen, no need to thaw frozen berries
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses not blackstrap
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- In a medium saucepan, add the blueberries, apple cider vinegar, dark brown sugar, ginger, molasses, salt, chili powder, cinnamon and allspice. Stir together to combine over medium heat.
- Bring the berries to a boil and then turn the heat down to simmer. Continue cooking until the blueberries break down, and the mixture turns mostly saucy with a few whole berries remaining. Stir every so often to prevent burning. This should take about 10-15 minutes.
- Pour the contents of the saucepan in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Allow the mixture to cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
- Keep this BBQ sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should last for about three weeks.
- Freeze ginger before grating. Frozen ginger grates much more easily. Unfrozen ginger can get stringy when grating, but frozen ginger shaves off beautifully with a microplane grater.
- This is a mild BBQ sauce to better show off the blueberry flavor. If you'd like more spice, feel free to add more chili powder or even cayenne pepper to taste.
- Any kind of blueberry sauce stains easily. You may want to wear an apron. If not, be careful when pouring the sauce from the saucepan to the blender and the blender to your storage container. I also recommend using a kitchen-grade plastic spoon for stirring rather than a wooden spoon, which will stain.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.