Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce

May 23, 2016(updated on March 31, 2022)

This apple butter barbecue sauce is a quick, homemade substitute for store bought versions. Try it on meatloaf or use it to braise meat in the slow cooker.

The lid of an All Clad d5 pan.

Back in the Fall, I did a little project with the folks at All-Clad, in which they sent me the NS1 Chef’s Pan from their their new line of NS1 Nonstick Induction cookware and I used it to make a batch of really delicious batch of Kabocha Squash, Coconut, and Wild Rice Stew.

In March, I did it again. That time, they sent me an NS1 Stock Pot and I make a pot of roasted tomato and basil soup to brighten up a cold winter day.

Ingredients for apple butter barbecue sauce, and the handle of the pan.

I always enjoy these cookware challenges because they give me opportunities to play with a really fabulous pans and push myself outside my regular culinary patterns. So, when they got in touch again back in April and asked if I might want to do it again, this time with their d5 Stainless Steel All-In-One Pan, I said yes.

apple butter barbecue sauce ingredients - apple cider vinegar, apple butter, minced onion, gochugang, and honey - in a stainless steel pan.

The particular challenge with this piece of cookware was to design a recipe that only used five ingredients, to mimic the five layers of metal that makes up the pan. I decided on building a five ingredient barbecue sauce, using a jar of apple butter as the base.

Finished apple butter barbecue sauce in an All Clad skillet. The sauce is a deep reddish brown.

The result was a tasty, tangy, spicy sauce that is perfect for summer cookouts and slow cooker pulled pork. And it’s always useful to be able to make a sauce like this from scratch with pantry ingredients for those times when you don’t have any ready made in the pantry.

painting barbecue sauce on roasted chicken legs in an stainless steel All Clad pan.

To make the sauce, you combine a pint of apple butter with apple cider vinegar, finely chopped onion, honey, and a couple heaping spoonfuls of gochugang in the pan and cook until it is thick and the onion is tender (also, add some salt and pepper to taste).

I like to scrape the finished sauce into a large measuring cup and zap it with an immersion blender to smooth it out, but that’s totally optional.

Roasted chicken legs in a stainless steel All Clad pan.

As you can see, I also used the pan to roast off some chicken legs that I then painted with my tangy sauce. I’d also use this sauce on top of turkey meatloaf, on grilled burgers, and will happily combine it with some chicken thighs in the slow cooker for pulled chicken sandwiches.

Disclosure: All-Clad sent me the pan you see pictured above and they’re provided a giveaway unit, both at no cost to me. No additional compensation was provided.

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Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce


  • 1 pint apple butter
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 small onion finely chopped (I use a mini food processor)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2-3 heaping tablespoons gochugaru it’s a fermented Korean chili paste
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Combine the apple butter, vinegar, chopped onion, honey, and gochugaru in a low, wide pan.
  • Set the heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring regularly, until onions are soft.
  • Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Scrape sauce into a deep measuring cup or bowl and puree it with an immersion blender until smooth.
  • Funnel into a jar and refrigerate.

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360 thoughts on "Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce"

  • The pan looks ideal for a host of techniques, but I imagine meatballs, seared salmon or braised chicken thighs would be on my list of uses.

  • I love the slow cooker pulled chicken concept! I’d use the sauce for tofu and serve it with a light coleslaw.

  • This barbecue sauce just screams for pulled pork. Maybe even a pulled pork pizza, with the barbecue sauce instead of tomato and lots of gooey cheese.

  • I tried making yuba last night for the first time, and my pan wasn’t up to the task- scalding the bottom of the soymilk even when on a low temperature, so I would love to attempt it in a different pan!

  • Oh this sounds so good! We’re not allowed to grill on our townhouse patio, so we have to be creative with BBQ inside. This recipe looks amazing for the summer! Thanks!

  • We are trying camping in a trailer this year and I would take this pan to use for everything.

  • I use a sauce similar to this for pulled pork, served with an apple-cabbage slaw on Hawaiian rolls. So good!

  • When I make stir-fry with tofu, I use a heavy chicken fryer to stir-fry the veggies, and usually a skillet to quickly pan-fry the tofu and then glaze it in a teriyaki sauce. I think this pan would work well for frying and glazing the tofu. I also think I’d use it for small-batch jams — Hood strawberry season has just started, so right now everything makes me think about jam! Hoping to get some Hoods and rhubarb this weekend….

  • I’m not a huge fan of barbecue sauce, but apple butter as a base?! Dang that sounds amazing! I would totally try this on some chicken for a nice summer barbecue. My husband would be so happy because he loves barbecue sauce.

  • I love bbq sauce and have to try this one. I have TONS of canned apple butter so it is a good use for it. Bbq sauce good on all chicken, pork, and beef. Yum

  • I would make my Mom’s Chicken cacciatore.

    You start on the stove top by frying some seasoned chicken pieces in butter, then you pour red wine over it and then dump the prepared sauce (squished can of tomatoes, herbs, spices, garlic) over the chicken pieces and then it all goes in the oven in the same pan. It’s important to have a pan that works equally well on the stove top and in the oven. This pan looks like it would do the job.

  • Ha! I’ve been looking for a simple bbq sauce recipe as well as making my list of a perfect pan set combination…that includes a bit of All-Clad.

  • I can my own apple butter and plan to make this sauce for pulled pork on my Memorial Day cookout

  • I have started my d5 collection with two frying pans and a 3 quart steamer pot. I’d love to add another to use with my summer veggie garden bounty! The pulled pork also sounds like a must try.

  • This pan would be very useful. I’d probably put it to work in making tomato paste, fritters, meatballs, chicken, poached fish . . . Lots of good stuff. I’d probably also try it out for baking cornbread.

  • Love the idea of an apple butter base for BBQ Sauce, apple and pork go so well together, I’d use it with that!

  • The pan I would use for making meatballs first off and the Bar-Bee-Que Sauce to use on grilled pork ribs or brisket or just might pour over my meatballs.
    Thank You for this wonderful giveaway opportunity as well as the recipe
    Have a great week

  • Who knows…Pepper Steak, Brisket, Pulled Pork, Roast Beef…the sky is the limit. I think this year, may canning will involve a lot of pickles, relish, salsa…I have plans. And after my mother scorched my last pan, this one would never leave my house!

  • I would cook stews, soups, and braises. Last week I made a carrot ginger curry soup. This week, it may be tomato basil or a chicken soup. All-clad is terrific and I’d love to have one of their pans.

  • Woohoo! What a gorgeous looking pan! To be able to cook on the stove top & then pop it in the oven is a busy Mom’s dream come true. I would make our family recipe for Koch Kaese (cooked cheese) in this pan. It’s sticky & this pan looks like it would be easy to clean. Cheers.

  • What an ideal size. I’d make my grandmother’s fried chicken alongside a pot of Rancho Gordo Rio Zape beans. Heaven! Thanks for the intro to this terrific idea, Marissa.

  • I have an abundance of chicken right now so I would use that yummy sauce with chicken in the all clad pan.

  • I make plum chutney with ginger, golden raisins, onion, garlic, vinegar, brown sugar and Italian prune plums (when my trees bear fruit!). A wide shallow pan like this would be perfect–and All-Clad is a great brand. Thanks for all the good recipes and tips!

  • What a great pan – an heirloom! I’d like to use some of the peach butter I made last summer to make a peach version of the BBQ sauce. Great with some tender grass fed beef.

  • I definitely will be making this sauce to use during the summer, as we grill so much! And definitely soup for the winter!

  • This sauce sounds amazing! I collect excess apples from the Free Breakfast in the Classroom program at my daughter’s elementary school and make apple butter for the kids. Can’t wait to make this sauce with it! I’m growing potatoes at the school garden and this sauce will go wonderfully with some herb roasted potatoes!

  • Every year, my kids and I make a spicy peach jam that is to die for. This year, I said, “Let’s use that as a base for some BBQ sauce.” So, that’s what I’d use this pan for!

  • This pan would be perfect for so many dishes we make. Our honey curry chicken is the first thing that comes to mind , and I would love to try it with some of my French jam recipes.

  • Depending on the season, the pan would get a good workout at my house. During the spring/summer, I thnk it would be perfect for small batches of jam. During the fall/winter it would be perfect for meatballs or frying ground beef for the start of a casserole.

  • Chicken, definitely would bathe this sauce over chicken and grill it to create a yummy crust. I’d make the sauce in this pan; it appears that it would perform very well for all types of uses. The name all-in-one fits well.

  • That pan looks great for this that start on the stove and finish in the oven. Chili, braised meat, braised beans, pulled pork… I’d use it for one or all of those things!

  • I have an all-clad set my in-laws gave me several years ago. It is the best cookware! I would use this pot as an every day soup pot. I love to make fresh vegetable soup from the garden. I would also make this lovely recipe you shared!

  • I have been a huge fan of All-Clad for many, many years and this pan would be a great addition to my collection. The sauce sounds wonderful and I just happen to have a few jars of apple butter in my cabinet!

  • Versatile sized pot! In the summer, I’d use the pot for my stewed summer squash. In the winter, smaller recipe of marinara.

  • I would slather it on a pizza crust, sprinkle on some sharp cheddar (or smoked!) add caremelized onions and top with a bit of bacon. And if you are really feeling fine add some thin sliced apples….so good! And the pan looks great too.

  • I have a tomato sauce recipe that relies on caramelization and takes a long time to simmer to perfection. A nice wide pan like that might cut a few hours off of prep time.

  • I’ve only tried to make BBQ sauce once before and it did not turn out very well. I think there were just too many ingredients. This one sounds right up my alley!

  • We have been grilling and roasting rabbit with barbecue sauce, so a new twist on sauce is always welcome!

  • I would make morrocan braised chicken with olives and preserved lemon – my favorite recipe – and so easy!

  • Given the season, I would definitely be using this pot to make rhubarb compote. I am obsessed with rhubarb, and always make a lot to store so we have a taste of spring throughout the year.

  • I love a wide bottom pan for starting sauces – onions, mushrooms, etc. This pan looks great!

  • It’s all about the rhubarb for me right now, I’d use the pan for a rhubarb bbq sauce.

  • The all-in-one pan is just calling for the juices! I think I will need to come up with a reduction song. Re..duc..tioooooooonnnnnnnn!!!!!!! ?

  • That looks like a versatile pan, ideal for braised chicken thighs or the like, but also useful for making jam. I’ve been looking for something like that.

  • The pan is beautiful and seems very versatile. With the smaller handles on each side, it would go from strove top to oven with ease. Mmm..this barbecue sauce sounds great!

  • Everyone has such good ideas for what to make in this pan! Now I feel like making something with rhubarb! But with little time to experiment at the moment, the first thing I’d make would probably be Cranberry Chicken.

  • I think the sauce and the pan would be great for boneless pork chops roasted on the stove top. Mmmm…

  • The first cooking adventure in this awesome pot would be a Boston butt! And of course it would be a great opportunity to the Apple butter BBQ sauce!

  • I’ve got a boat load of caramel pear butter and apple butter. I intrigued by the pear butter? I think I’ll try this on chicken thighs ???

  • I’d use the pan for everything (!) and the bbq sauce on turkey breast smoked in our new backyard smoker.

  • The pan would be great for jams and jellies. I also love pots that have a handle on two sides because they stack so well.

  • I recently bought an induction burner and would love to use this pot for cooking outside this summer so I could spend more time in the sun.

  • The first thing I’d cook in that pot would like be the Canal House slow pan fried chicken thighs…

  • This bbq sauce sounds perfect for any outdoor grilling. My new recent obsession is grilling burger – just straight up with salt and pepper – adding a layer of bbq sauce on top once cooked. Top that with homemade coleslaw and voila! The very essence of grilling season! Also, this pan would be great for small batch sauces and reductions. Thank you for the chance to win. 🙂

  • I have a couple of jars of apple butter in my pantry from last years harvest. What a great way to use them up. This all clad pan has been on my wish list!