Canning Week: Small Batch Peach Barbecue Sauce

Written by Marisa of Food in Jars.

I grew up in a household that was entirely divided on the issue of barbecue sauce. My father was a devotee, who regularly worshiped at the altar of sauced ribs and slathered pulled pork. When there’s nothing else in the house to snack on, he’ll make cheesy toast, dressed with lashings of sweet, hot, tangy sauce.

My mother lives in direct opposition to my dad. She can’t bear even the faintest whiff of barbecue sauce and refuses to share a dining table with anyone who is partaking. I credit this dislike to the fact that she grew up in a Jewish neighborhood of suburban Philadelphia, where barbecue meant pork. Though hers was a secular household, they held onto the practice of avoiding anything from the pig.

I find myself somewhere in between my parents’ sauce extremes. I don’t love it with the same fervor as my dad, but I can see its virtues, particularly when painted onto a chicken leg that’s been slowly cooked on a charcoal-burning Weber.

These days, my favorite version of barbecue sauce is one that’s made with peaches instead of the more traditional tomatoes. Because peaches are naturally denser, the sauce cooks faster and the finished texture is thicker and pleasantly fruity.

I keep the heat in check with just a half-teaspoon of cayenne and a pinch of Aleppo pepper. Heat fiends are welcome to increase the spice.

A warning: Make sure to use yellow peaches in this sauce. A version made with white peaches will be too sweet and, due to lower acid levels, will be unsafe for boiling water bath canning.

Small Batch Peach Barbecue Sauce

4.89 from 17 votes
Print Pin
Course: Preserves
Servings: 1 pint
Calories: 862kcal
Author: Marisa


  • 2 pounds yellow peaches approximately 7-8 peaches
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed Aleppo pepper


  • Cut peaches in half. Remove stones and peels.
  • Combine all ingredients in a wide pot with a tight-fitting lid and stir to combine. Place lidded pot on the stove over medium-high heat and cook for approximately 10 minutes, until the peaches and onions have softened.
  • Using a potato masher, break down the peach pieces. Continue to cook, with the lid off, until the mixture has reduced by approximately half.
  • Remove pot from heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until smooth (you may have to tip the pan a little in order to do this without splashing). If you don’t have an immersion blender, scrape the mixture into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  • If the sauce is nice and thick, it is done. If it’s still a little watery, return it to the heat and cook a bit longer. At this point, taste it and add more salt or pepper, if necessary.
  • When it’s finished, divide the sauce between two half pint jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath canner for 20 minutes.
  • When time is up, remove jars from canner and let them cool on a folded kitchen towel.
  • Sealed jars can be stored in your pantry for up to one year. Unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.


If you struggle to peel the peaches, either blanch the halves in a pot of boiling water for 60-90 seconds or get a serrated peeler. Either method makes quick work of the peach skins.


Calories: 862kcal | Carbohydrates: 208g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 4706mg | Potassium: 2209mg | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 188g | Vitamin A: 5490IU | Vitamin C: 66.7mg | Calcium: 177mg | Iron: 4.2mg

Editors Note: Don’t forget! You can still enter to win a copy of Marisa’s cookbook, Food in Jars, by tagging your Instagram photos and tweets with #SBCanIt! Winner will be chosen randomly.

We’re looking forward to seeing your canned goodies!

Barbecue sauce: love it or leave it?

About Marisa

Marisa McClellan is a food writer, canning teacher, and dedicated small batch canner who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her jams, pickles and preserves (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her first book, titled Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, is now available.

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  1. I’m kind of like you on the bbq sauce issue. I could take it or leave it depending on the day.

  2. Maria Ryan Young says

    5 stars
    Question for Marisa – does this recipe multiply well for a larger batch? thanks!

    • Maria, I’ve not increased the size of this recipe myself, so I can’t speak from experience here. That said, I do think you should be able increase the batch size. I’d go easy with the spices as first and not multiply them across the board. Also, the cooking time would increase.

    • For anyone following up on increasing batch size – I doubled this yesterday, and while it took awhile to cook down, it was fine otherwise. I was also lazy and left the peels on my peaches. 🙂

  3. I agree, when done right and served appropriately, barbecue sauce can shine. I’m so looking forward to peach season so I can try this. It sounds delicious!!!

  4. Thoughts on using raspberries vs. peaches or some combo thereof? Still safe for canning? Looks so yum!! Thanks!

  5. Jules, you’re welcome to start experimenting in that direction. Peaches and raspberries have similar pH ranges, which means from an safety perspective, they can be exchanged. However, I’ve not made this recipe with raspberries, so I have no idea as to quantity, cook time or final yield.

  6. I’m so making this! I have a bunch of peaches to use. 🙂

    • I have two questions. 1.) Can I skip adding the Aleppo pepper and still have it be safe for canning? I usually can’t find specific peppers at my grocery stores. 2.) If I use smaller jars, like jelly jars, do I do the water bath for the same amount of time?

      • Yep, you can almost always adjust spices without having any impact on the safety of the produce you’re making.

        The processing time is the same for the smaller jars. It would increase to 25 minutes if you were to double the recipe and can it in quarts. But the time never decreases for smaller jar.

        • Thanks for replying. I’m still new to canning so this really helps.

          I’m so excited to make something more practical this year! The past two seasons I’ve made apple butter and mixed berry jam. We couldn’t eat it all up by ourselves – I had to give it away!

  7. 5 stars
    I’m making a small batch right now (and realized I could have subbed dark maple syrup for the sugar). I have a pork tenderloin marinating in orange juice that this is going on tonight. Because it’s for pork, I added 1/2 tps of ground allspice (I love allspice with pork). And I didn’t peel the peaches. My stick blender will take care of the skins just fine. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Yum! Looks great! My mouth is watering already.

  9. Andrea H says

    This looks delicious! And just in time too. We just went peach picking yesterday, so I’ll be making a batch of this tonight!

  10. Mickele Bragg says

    4 stars
    LOVE IT, and as a mostly vegetarian (reluctant carnivore), it’s hard for me to get my BBQ fix. Love your dad’s cheesy toast!

  11. Mmm, your bbq sauce looks amazing! I am checking the backyard peach tree daily, just waiting for them to be ready. Tomorrow, maybe? 😉

  12. I have never seen BBQ sauce with a peach base – although I have used a mango purée in a tomato based sauce. Sounds yummy! That being said, could I sub mangoes?

    • You could mangoes, though it would have to be in a version that was stored in the fridge. Mangoes are much lower in acid than yellow peaches, and so there wouldn’t be enough acid in the finished product to make it safe for boiling water bath canning.

  13. Hi Marissa!

    I’m wondering how acidic this tastes? I’m a bit sensitive to acidic foods, but this sounds delicious!

    • Zoe, it’s made from two pounds of yellow peaches and contains 3/4 cup of vinegar. It’s pretty acidic. If you have issues with acidic foods, this recipe might not be the right thing for you.

  14. Carol McD says

    Wow. That sauce sounds amazing.

  15. This looks really good. I’d probably add a bit more heat to it since I like things extra spicy. I’ve never used the small canning jars before, but I’m still a novice when it comes to canning. Having only done it twice, making salsa both times.

  16. Good Food Good Friends says

    This sounds delicious. I bet it’s amazing on grilled pork tenderloin!

  17. Tried the peach bbq sauce over the weekend. It is awesome. I looked up Aleppo pepper in the Penzey’s catalogue. They have a neat ‘heat’ index. Chipolte is slightly lower on the heat index, so I substituted that. It is great! Going to make more for holiday gifts for my BBQ lovers. Thanks.

  18. Hello – this is a question for Marisa –
    I made this yesterday, and I got three half pints. I am wondering if the acidity levels are different because I ended up with more. I wonder if the relative acidity might be lower in the finished product because it is more dilute than what you had. Do you think it is not shelf stable because of that? Though I had good seals on the jars I stuck them in the fridge, just in case. If it isn’t shelf stable, how long would it be good in the fridge?
    Thank you!
    ps – it tastes amazing!!!

    • Karen, the yield of the finished product does not impact its safety. So as long as you followed the recipe and didn’t add any additional onion or garlic, it is safe. It could be that you didn’t make it as thick as much as I did, or that your peaches were denser and so didn’t need to be simmered as long.

      • Thank you so much Marisa!

        • I’m so glad to read this – and I’m glad I came back here to read the comments before I got too nervous. I ended up with 4 half pints out of this recipe! And by the way it’s SO delicious. I’m going to make another batch and save it for holiday gifts 🙂

  19. I’ve fallen in love with fruity bbq sauces ever since I made some blueberry bbq sauce a few weeks ago…love the idea of a peach version!

  20. 5 stars
    I made a double batch of this today and we had some on our pulled pork sandwiches tonight. It is a winner! Thank you!

  21. 5 stars
    Made it this morning, taste test was great, love the flavor and it has a rolling kick at the end, wish it made more as two jars are not going to last very long, My daughter wants me to put a warning on the labels that it kicks!
    Skipped the alepo as the grocery store didnt have it,but added an extra 1/2 tsp of cayanne, next time I will add jalapeno as I love their heat.

  22. Marisa, I’m so excited to try this recipe! I want to add a little bit of bourbon or whiskey to the sauce but I don’t know if this would affect the safety or the processing time. Would alcohol be OK to add?

  23. I would like to get rid of some Jack Daniels and thought it would be good with the peach barbeques sauce. Do you have any suggestions on how much to add to this recipe? Should it be substituted for some of the vinegar? How much Jack in lieu of the vinegar>

    • I really can’t advise on how you’d change up this recipe to include Jack Daniels, because I haven’t done it. You need the vinegar in this recipe to ensure that it has a safe acidity for canning. The only way it would be safe to do so is if you were making it for refrigerator storage and not for canning.

  24. Marisa,
    Any thoughts on using an apricot base instead of a peach base? My friend has apricot trees growing in her backyard, so I can get plenty of them but peaches are pretty pricey in our neighborhood. Also, I can with a pressure canner instead of a water bath canner (we live at a pretty high altitude so it’s faster)… Your thoughts? I’m new to canning and in the cooking department am totally a use-the-recipe-as-a-loose-guideline kind of gal, but I know that’s not advisable for canning.
    Thanks for your help!

  25. Marisa, this is a win-win recipe for me. I have a peach tree in my front yard, and I’m like your dad (could eat BBQ sauce with a spoon). Can’t wait for peach season this year!

  26. Marisa,
    I have your book and love it! I’m a canning addict now.
    I have 2 huge fig trees and more figs than I know what to do with. I’m going to try this with figs, but I’m wondering if I can process this in a boiling water canner without adding more acid. I think figs have a higher pH. How would you suggest changing this recipe for figs?

  27. 5 stars
    The sauce is so delicious, I doubled the recipe! I added 2 tbsp more brown sugar for sweetness, I also added 1 tsp of liquid smoke because my husband likes smoky flavor BBQ sauce. Was that safe for canning? I reduced the cayenne pepper powder to 1/2 tsp, I used about 1/4 tsp fresh jalapeño pepper for milder spice. I’m new to canning and would like to know if those changes are okay. I already canned them, I hope it’s not too late.

    • Your changes should be fine!

      • 5 stars
        Hi Marisa,

        The peach barbecue sauce was wonderful and I’m thankful for finding you here. Canning is addicting! Can I have permission to write about the sauce on my blog? I’ll give out the recipe including changes I made but I’ll also link it to your page. I appreciate it.

        • Hi Priscilla,
          I’m glad you’re getting addicted to canning! You can feel free to publish your version of the recipe, but please re-write the directions completely in your own words. A link back to the original here would be great. Thanks!

  28. I made this but it yielded 2 pints. I used 8 peaches. It tastes fine, but my concern is acidity. I’m thinking I might not have cooked it down as much as I could have. As long as I put the 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar in it, will the acid levels be enough to make it shelf stable? Thanks for your help!

    • Megan, it may be that your peaches were a lot bigger than the ones I used. Did you weigh them? Because that was my primary measurement when I initially made this sauce. However, the peaches bring acid to the party, so as long as you didn’t increase the volume of any other ingredient, the acid levels should be fine.

      • Thanks so much for your advice! I didn’t weigh them (a scale is on my wish list) but they did look a bit bigger. So glad to hear I don’t have to eat it all at once!

  29. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe repeatedly with apricots rather than peaches. Really really wonderful, especially on chicken. I give it as gifts too. Generally end up with a few more apricots, since I use 2 lbs AFTER the pits have been removed, rather then before. I don’t cook it down quite as far. Usually end up with around 24 oz total.

  30. Gina Gentry says

    4 stars
    Hi! How long will this last in the refrigerator? I would can it but, I’ve never canned anything so I don’t trust myself to do it… Lol!!

  31. Priscilla says

    5 stars
    I’ve used this recipe before and I doubled it. Because it’s been a long time since I made it and we have tons of peaches in our backyard, I’m going to can BBQ sauce and make a double batch! I can’t remember but is it okay to double the apple cider vinegar, onions and garlic? I’m adding 1/4 tsp frozen (from my garden) jalapeño pepper for a little kick. We only have regular paprika but I’m also mixing in 1 tsp of liquid smoke. Please let me know the changes are fine for canning safety. Thanks for your time! 🙂

    • This is one of those recipes where you can double across the board. You absolutely need to double the vinegar, as that’s what helps keep the recipe safe.

      • Priscilla says

        5 stars
        I appreciate your reply. I canned the peach BBQ sauce a couple of days ago and got 6 half-pints. I doubled the vinegar, spices and added more liquid smoke like 3 tsp. I love this recipe! However, it was so sour I decided to add more brown sugar, like a cup extra. Is that unsafe for canning? Thanks so much for your reply!

      • Priscilla says

        5 stars
        I appreciate your reply. I canned the peach BBQ sauce a couple of days ago and got 6 half-pints. I doubled the vinegar, spices and added more liquid smoke like 3 tsp. I love this recipe! However, it was so sour I decided to add more brown sugar, like a cup extra. Is that unsafe for canning? Thanks so much for your time! Sorry, hopefully I didn’t post twice. I had trouble posting with my computer freezing.

  32. 5 stars
    Can someone please answer my question about doubling the recipe? I sent an email weeks ago and I didn’t get a response. I doubled the recipe including spices but added a lot more brown sugar because the vinegar was too tart, I used like a cup of sugar and a few more tbsp but the raw organic apple cider vinegar was doubled. I haven’t touched my canned peach BBQ sauce for weeks because I’m not sure if that was safe for my family, if the acidity got altered because of the extra sugar. I’m a beginner in canning. I’m checking out the Food in Jars book and thinking about ordering because I really like this recipe and want other recipes to can in small batches. I appreciate your time!

  33. 5 stars
    So happy to find a small-batch recipe! Instead of needing to double it, I actually need to halve it in order to make the most of a lovely gift of fresh yellow peaches from a neighbour. They were really small peaches (the sweet lady actually apologized for their size, how unnecessary and sweet) so I’m going to have to kind of wing-it on the peach amount (I have just about 2 cups of peeled and mashed peaches) but as long as I keep your vinegar amount it should be ok. Thank you, Marisa, for always providing canning recipes that can be trusted!

  34. 5 stars
    I love this!! Can it be canned in pint jars?? What about quarts? What would be the processing time in water bath canner? Half pint doesn’t last that long it is THAT good!! Thanks!