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"

  • Your sauce sounds so good! Love gochugaru. It will definitely make it’s way to some pulled pork at our house. I’d also make a beautiful Bibimbap in that pan, with a bottom layer of crisped rice. I know the All-Clad would handle it like a boss! Congrats on your new book. Another great one!

  • Oh, that bbq sauce sounds amazing. I love gochugaru. I think it would work nicely in a pulled pork sandwich.

  • I’d use this to make the Braised Brussels Sprouts with Bacon recipe I’ve been wanting to try out.

  • With the guchang and apple butter, I think this would pair very well with a korean style dish-Korean bbq tofu with kimchi and rice.

  • I’ve been looking for a pan like this (two short handles instead of one long one). I have an “everyday” pan but its bottom surface area leaves a bit to be desired. I bet this pan would be great for macaroni and cheese (and combine my husbands ideal mac and cheese – oven baked with crunchy breadcrumb topping and mine – a one-pot dish).

  • The chicken and the sauce sounds delicious. I can think of so many things that I think the sauce would go beautifully with. I would love to use the pan for a herb risotto dish! Yum!

  • I would use this pot to slowly cook and caramelize some carrots and squash, which I would then puree and add to spaghetti sauce for my Dad. (He’s an 80-something year old toddler, all veggies except potatoes have to be carefully hidden).

    He does love apple butter though, so he might like this sauce, minus the gochugaru

  • Yum! The sauce sounds amazing. I think I’d jazz up some chicken breasts with it. I have a jar of apple butter in storage, I might have to try it! That pan size is pretty perfect for almost anything, but first I’d probably make a roast chicken in it.

  • That sauce sounds delish…I would use on some slow cooker ribs and finish them on the grill…yum!

  • It’s hard to say what I’d cook in the pot because there is so many options. I have moved to a slow cooker for a lot of the items I need to simmer, but a good pasta sauce needs a pot like this. From cooking the onions, garlic and spices, to allowing the tomatoes to simmer and break. There are steps that need to be monitored unlike ina slow cooker. I’d like to see how it works with non-pressure canning, too.

  • Apple butter anything is the bomb! Putting this recipe on my to-do list.

    My daughter’s lastest go-to dish is roasted lemon chicken with green beans or broccoli or kale, sometimes all 3. She browns the chicken then puts the veggies on, pours sauce over the top, adds lemon slices then bakes/roasts it all in the office. It’s sooo good. I love coming home to this on nights she decides to make dinner for the evening.

  • I would cook EVERYTHING in this lovely pan & who doesn’t like applebutter BBQ sauce on chicken, pork chops & burgers!

  • I’d cook one of my favorite chicken recipes for spicy chicken thighs. Until this recipe I didn’t like thighs! It’s so flavorful (spicy as in lots of flavor, not spicy as in peppery) and even tastes good cold the next day (doesn’t have that weird leftover chicken taste).

  • All-Clad pans are great. I’d use it just like you did – to make a delicious barbecue sauce. And I think that sweet and sour sauce would be yummy on smoked pork ribs.

  • I would use the pan to make my homemade macaroni and cheese, right from the cook top to the oven. My favorite has a bit of Gouda and Le Gruyere with roasted broccoli.

  • I’ve recently become interested in learning how to braise meats and this pan seems like it would be ideal for that purpose. I LOVE All Clad cookware!

  • I like your idea of chicken thighs in the slow cooker. Also thinking the sauce would be good on meatballs.

  • That size and shape pan is perfect for dishes with multiple steps; saute vegetables, brown meat and finally cook pasta. Or it’s perfect for just the right amount of soup!

  • I use my All Clad every single day! Couldn’t live without these amazing pans! Would use this pan to make a batch of orange rhubarb jam!

  • I use my All Clad every single day! Would use this pan to make a batch of orange rhubarb jam!

  • I can’t wait to try this sauce on some pork in the slow cooker. I’ve never tried gochugaru, but it sounds yummy!

    1. I would use this as my marmalade and jam pot. I just made your Strawberry Meyer Lemon Marmalade this weekend and want to try Three Citrus Marmalade next. I think this pot would be perfect!

  • That sauce would get its first try on bbq’d chicken thighs. The pan would be lovely for Chicken Tarragon which sautes on the stove and finishes in the oven with a popover-like batter.

  • Love All-Clad! I’d bet homemade teriyaki chicken would be great in this pan, because the sauce would come together so evenly! Your sauce sounds delicious too & I can’t wait to try one of your jam recipes! Was just introduced to your book today & excited to buy my own copy soon too!

  • I would use it for everything. Literally. Risottos to chutneys to braising to finishing in the oven. As for the BBQ sauce, a version of it graces our BBQ every year so this is clearly a win, win!

  • The pan would be great for chicken and rice! 🙂 The BBQ sauce maybe in bibimbap, since it has gochujang in it anyways. Although knowing our family, it’ll be altered to have more gochujang then apple butter.

  • That pan would work great for Caramelized Black Pepper Chicken – plenty of room for reducing/caramelizing the sauce.

  • Love to throw chicken and barbecue sauce in the crock pot for easy weekend eating! That pan looks like it would be super at cooking down berries for jam. Would love to win one!

  • I’d cook a frittata in this pot. Sautée all the veggies, drop in the eggs, and then put it in the oven. Voilà, easy meal!

  • I love All Clad! This pot looks perfect for making smaller batches of jams and butters. I’m definitely trying that bbq sauce as well.

  • I love Indian curries and such. I would use this all the time to make chana masala or my current favorite, chickpea dumplings in curry tomato sauce. So, so good.

  • I’d make my famous salted almond caramels in this – you need a large pot so it doesn’t boil over and a heavy metal bottom so it doesn’t scorch.

  • This sauce would be a great way make a camping dish even better. Make it ahead of time and take it with you! Chicken over a low fire with this would be amazing! And some sweet potatoes on the side!

  • How would I use this pan? Oh! Let me count the ways! I see sauteed shrimp or scallops; braised chicken; roasted lamb chops….need I go on!?

  • What wouldn’t I cook in this? My first dish would be the shrimp alfredo I make for people I love. ?

  • I would give this super cool pan to my mom as she is the biggest fan of all things All-Clad. We are attempting to cook more thoughtfully so first to try would be a slimmed down spaghetti sauce.

  • I’ve been making a barbecue sauce from rhubarb, so why not apples. As for how to use it, pork loves fruit! Maybe pork fajitas?

  • I think I would use this pan to try to invent a rhubarb BBQ sauce, possibly using roasted rhubarb! Thank you for the giveaway!

    1. Hopefully this doesn’t count as a second entry – just realized I got so excited I didn’t follow the directions! I would probably make a small batch of our homemade marinara…we’re just getting the first hoop-house tomatoes from our local CSA and this would be the perfect pan to cook down all of those lovely juices.