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"

  • I’d like to try this sauce on salmon, chicken, and pork. I’m always looking for recipes that include my home-canned apple butter. I’d love to win this pan. I’d use it to make my favorite weeknight pasta sauce with turkey Italian sausage and zucchini.

  • First I’d try this recipe! Then a small batch of ricotta and something from stovetop to oven…

  • Such a beautiful pan and what a great give a way. Would be honored to own. I am trying to reduce the number of pots and pans I have to just a few. This would fit the bill quite nicely as a multi use pot.

  • I am an induction cook top fan and an All Clad fan. The combination sounds delicious! I would love to use my canned “Yakima” summer tomatoes to make my all purpose pasta sauces. Thank you.

  • Great giveaway. Always looking for recipes where I can use my homemade apple butter. Never thought to add it to BBQ sauce. I would use the pan, with the sauce, on chicken.

  • CLEARLY, that sauce belongs on my grilled chicken wings!!!

    Season the wings with salt and pepper and maybe a bit of paprika and cumin.

    Grill them over indirect moderate heat about 1.5 hours. Most of the fat will render off and the skin will be nice and crisp.

    Pull ’em and immediately toss in a big bowl with sauce of choice.

  • I would use it to make small batches of jam. I’ve got small harvests from our backyard garden or neighbor’s yards and the stockpot is too big.

  • I would use this pan for everything! It’s a perfect, gorgeous size. The apple butter barbecue sauce would be fantastic on pork tenderloin, cooked on the grill with applewood chips.

  • I would use this sauce on grilled pork tenderloin. The apple butter would be a perfect complement. I would use this pan for everything.

  • This looks like a perfect oven to table size pan an I love the two handles. I’m dreaming of Aroz con Pollo. Or an y small batch preparation. Thanks Marisa

  • I think I would use that BBQ sauce on grilled chicken that I would then put on a pizza! There are so many things I would do to that pot I can’t even begin to choose! 🙂

  • I’ve been experimenting with garlic bread french toast/french onion soup. Sauteing the onions and the garlic bread in the same pan seems like a good idea, but my current “large” pan doesn’t cut it, so I have to do them one at a time.

  • I made your orange rhubarb butter last weekend, and if I’d had this pan it would have been the perfect vessel to really reduce the butter down! (And now I’m wondering how rhubarb butter would do in this sauce)

  • Seared chicken with my sriracha/peach glaze, fresh, sliced peaches, Gorgonzola all brought together with crisp white wine.

  • My favorite way to use bbq sauce like this is just as a nice sauce on pork or beef ribs in the crock pot. So simple and delicious!

  • What an awesome BBQ sauce. I think it needs to be used with pork — so I’m going to try it on a pork tenderloin that I’m going to pull out of the freezer and grill.

  • That pan looks like it is just the right size for making a batch of quick pasta sauce then tossing the noodles in the sauce for the perfect finish.

  • Marisa,

    I think I would use this pan to throw away my long handled frying pan. This pan could be used for anything fried and even for braising in the oven. It is very attractive as well and could be used at the table for direct serving. The two loop handles work better at the table than my long handled chef pan cause the handle is always in somebody’s way. Hope I win!

  • All of the things that would require a lid… My current “all-purpose” pan is less all-purpose because it lacks a lid. 😉 So, probably a one-pan saute of chicken and whatever veggies show up in my CSA!

  • The All-Clad pan looks like the perfect size for making Dutch Babies that start on the stove and finish in the oven. I love pans that can go from the stove-top to the oven.

  • I would definitely use this for making some chicken croquettes! My husband called me this morning saying he had a craving for them, so they’re in my head. 🙂 This pan looks like a dream to cook with and I love a pan that can go from stove top to the oven.

  • My current calphelon frying pan just died, so I would use this too cook literally everything. I’m desperate to get a replacement pan that will actually work!

  • I would definitely cook up some chicken thighs in that pan…and I LOVE BBQ sauce. What a great way to use up some apple butter too. Always looking for fun ways to use my canned goods!

  • I have this chicken thigh/barley bake thing this would be perfect for; it also seems a handy size now that we are empty nesters. I love All-Clad!

  • This year I’ve been making my way through, “Food in Jars.” Next up: sour cherry jam. I might make it before this give-away is over, but would definitely use this cooking pan for more of my canning adventures.

  • This pan reminds me of a “chicken frying pan” I bought from QVC ages ago. I used it for almost everything – scalding soy milk to make yogurt, cooking down jams, tofu scrambles with tempeh. This was the pan I found myself reaching for over and over. This All-Clad pan would replace that old pan very nicely (and I like that it doesn’t have one long handle, like my old one).

  • I have two All-Clad pans and they are my absolute favorite pans! If I were lucky enough to get this pan, I would use it for stovetop to oven recipes as it looks like it would be great for that! Lemon chicken with green olives.

  • I’d use it to braise thick cut pork chops with onions, apple cider, and a little bit of mustard. I love All-Clad pan! My family grew up in Pittsburgh and after I went to college my mom faithfully went to the yearly scratch/dent sale to buy me All-Clad pans. Hubs and I have one medium pot that we’ve used so much over 20 years that the outside aluminum is pitted and worn. Still love it!

  • I would make this BBQ sauce to slather on all the delicious smoked meats my husband will be perfecting on his new backyard smoker!

  • That versatile sauce pan with its handsome lid would be great for braising lamb shanks. As for your sauce (pinned!), I too would use it on salmon as others have suggested.

  • This is awesome and so simple! I can’t wait to try it out for bbq chicken but am especially excited about throwing it in with thighs in the slow-cooker for pulled chicken sandwiches and salads!

  • This pan would be wonderful for my jams…The BBQ sauce is going to be my next “go to” for my turkey burgers.

  • Yum! I’d use the sauce on chicken thighs or wings. The pan looks super versatile, I could use it to braise in, or I could cook chicken breast in the sauce, shred it in the pan and have shreddded bbq chicken.

  • We just moved into a new house (our retirement home) and I am looking forward to cooking many amazing meals and that pan would really help. Thank you.

  • There are so many things I would cook in this All-Clad pot! Homemade spaghetti sauce, jam, apple butter, BBQ sauce, ketchup, noodles, rice, the list could go on forever. I would love to win this ?

  • I would use the apple butter bbq sauce on grilled chicken breast, The pan i would use to braise chicken on a cold winter day

  • Great recipe to use up some of the apple butter I made last fall. I love All Clad and would use the pan to make berry jams and roast some meats!

  • I would love a pan like this for making sauces to slather on chicken thighs and then use the rest of the sauce to sauté some summer vegetables for a quick week day meal! I’d probably start with a bbq sauce like this to use up some of the apple butter I canned in the fall. What a lovely giveaway!

  • To start with, I’d make a huge batch of Lilikoi Butter and give to friends as a Welcome Summer gift!

  • Gorgeous pan!
    Definitely I’d use it to make my famous chicken soup.
    Most likely it’d never get put away. It’ll always be in use.
    Thank you for this opportunity 🙂

  • I would use it for homemade chicken noodle soup. Endless option for barbecue sauce; it would be great for chicken wings for Memorial weekend.

  • I’ve been itching to make some spicy peach mango butter or some such craziness and that pan looks like the perfect place to do it! That said your apple bbq sauce looks like a wings winner. Onomnomnomnom.

  • Just got the grill out and a couple of jars of last year’s apple butter left, so this is the perfect Memorial Day post for me! Oh, and I would love the pot…

  • Seems perfect for cooking some small Cornish hens and finishing with BBQ sauce (my husband’s favorite condiment)!

  • I’d use it to make tomato sauce. My husband band 20 tomato plants this year so I’ll be making a ton of sauce to can and freeze.

  • Mmm. I’d make a big batch of Eating Well’s Pork and Fennel Stew. I always want more, and never had a pot big enough!

  • Nice! I have two d5 saute pans and an absolutely smitten. Would use this for mujadarra, as having a large surface for more crispy bits and the ability to control the heat really well would make this perfect for the job.

  • I would try the sauce on pulled pork – I usually use ACV-based sauce, this sounds like a nice change up for folks who like a thicker sauce!

  • Ooh, I love homemade barbecue sauce! I’d probably try a one pot dish and see how it does in the oven, or my favorite skillet taco or lasagna recipes, since I don’t have a pan big enough for it that also has a lid! It would be great for making Alfredo sauces too I bet! I’ve never used an All Clad pan before! ?

  • I would make a grain dish with home grown veggies in it. Lucky you for being given several All Clad pieces!

  • I see pork chops finished with the last jar of Italian Plum preserves in my pantry, with a nice side of grilled bok choy.


  • What wouldn’t I cook in that pan!!! I’d probably start with meatballs and sauce and then move on to something baked. 🙂

  • I would use the pot for all my canning recipes this summer. It’s so pretty it could just sit on the stove all day. I will use the bbq sauce on a pizza with potatoes and carmelized onions! Yum!

  • I agree that the apple in the bbq sauce would be incredible with pork! I would put the pan to work boiling down a big batch of vanilla rhubarb sauce.

  • This looks like the go to pan for almost anything I’d be inclined to cook. Right now some nice cream of asparagus soup sounds good

  • I’d roast some chicken with a Jezebel Sauce, tangy with horseradish, pineapple and apricot jam.

  • That pan looks amazing I have been yearning for some all clad for a while! I’d use it for everything – and I’d use the apple butter bbq sauce in a brisket sandwich with some vinegar based slaw. Yum!

  • I’d use it to make Indian spiced salmon that starts on the stove top and finished in the oven. Will definitely be trying your bbq sauce recipe in my hubbies smoked pork butt. YUM!

  • Oooooh! This sounds like the perfect pan to give my cast iron a bit of a rest. Love, love, love my cast iron, but get concerned when using it for too many tomato based things. We don’t do much fried foods, so our cast iron just doesn’t get seasoned properly during normal use. This would be GREAT for “instead of” foods!

  • I have my original wedding gift pans from 32 years ago…am still doing research. I love BBQ sauce on grilled pork chops.

  • Looks like a great pot for making pasta sauces, with room to toss the pasta after it cooks. I love my All-Clad pots and pans, this one looks very versatile!

  • Ooh, love recipes with gochujang, and that sounds so tasty along with the apple butter. Must try. That pan looks great from moving from stovetop to oven. Would absolutely use it for duck breasts, and for making various Persian khoreshes! (Peach khoresh time is coming up. Mm!)

  • The apple butter BBQ sauce would be wonderful on a pork loin. The thought of the smell of the apple butter, vinegar and pork slow cooking and wafting through the house is heavenly.

    The pan would also be great for making sauces for pasta and a pan sauce for chicken or fish.

  • I would love to make risotto in this pan! Also it would be perfect for any type of stir fry!

  • This pan would be great for stock or jam making. Or perhaps a batch of Marisa’s fantastic pizza sauce??? 🙂

  • I’d love to try making jam in this pan because of the low sides and wide base. Seems just about perfect.