raspberry chipotle bbq chicken

$9.95 recipe / $1.24 serving

Sweet, tangy and spicy… What a powerful flavor combo. It’s strong sauces like this that allow you to take something that is otherwise boring or inexpensive and make it into an outstanding meal. So, promise me that even if you don’t want chicken, you’ll make this sauce to use on something else.

Putting the sauce together only takes a few minutes but it does need to simmer for a good 45 minutes but it stores well so you can make it ahead of time if necessary. The sauce stores well so you can keep extra in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for 3-4 months. This Raspberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce is super easy, will add tons of flavor to anything you cook.

I used chicken thighs as the vehicle for this yummy sauce but you could really use anything. Chicken breasts, ribs, tofu, pork chops… anything. Run wild with it.

Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce usually come in super small cans but even still, I usually only use one pepper at a time and have almost a whole can left over. I *always* freeze the rest. Divide the peppers and adobe sauce up into small aliquots and pop them in the freezer.

Raspberry Chipotle BBQ Chicken

raspberry chipotle bbq chicken

5.0 from 3 reviews
raspberry chipotle bbq chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $9.95
Cost Per Serving: $1.24
Serves: 4-8
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil $0.03
  • ½ med yellow onion $0.18
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.14
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce $0.56
  • 1 cup raspberry jam $2.23
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar $0.23
  • 1 pepper + sauce chipotle peppers in adobo $0.10
  • 4 lbs (8 pcs) chicken thighs $6.48
  1. Finely dice the onion and garlic. Cook both in a sauce pan with vegetable oil over medium heat until softened (3-5 minutes). Meanwhile, roughly chop one chipotle pepper and reserve 1 Tbsp of adobo sauce from the can.
  2. Add the tomato sauce, raspberry jam, cider vinegar, chopped chipotle pepper and adobo sauce to the cooked onions and garlic. Stir everything well and bring up to a simmer. Continue to simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow the sauce to cool after simmering (it will thicken upon cooling).
  3. Remove the skin from the chicken and trim any excess fat. The skin should pull away from the meat easily although you may need a small sharp knife to separate it in some places. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil and non-stick spray. Place the chicken thighs on the tray and slather with BBQ sauce (pour a small amount of sauce into a bowl before brushing onto chicken so that the whole batch will not get contaminated with raw chicken).
  5. Place the BBQ chicken in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Fifteen and thirty minutes into the cooking time, take the chicken out and slather with more sauce.


Step By Step Photos

onion, garlic in oilChop the onion and garlic very fine so there will not be large chunks in the sauce. Cook in vegetable oil until softened.

whole chipotlechopped chipotleTake one chipotle pepper from the can of peppers in adobo and chop it up. Also take one tablespoon of sauce from the can to add to the BBQ sauce.

bbq sauce ingredientsTo the cooked onions and garlic add the tomato sauce, raspberry jam, cider vinegar, chopped chipotle pepper and 1 Tbsp of adobo sauce.

stirStir well until the raspberry jam has completely dissolved. Allow the mixture to come up to a simmer over medium heat. Keep it simmering (stirring occasionally) for about 45 minutes to evaporate some of the liquid.

chicken thighsPlace your chicken thighs on a clean work surface. Remove the skin and any excess fat. (I only cooked four thighs today and froze the rest of my sauce to use later).

trimmed chicken thighsHere are the skinless breasts. Some people claim that removing the skin will let the meat dry out but the BBQ sauce does a very good job of sealing in the moisture. The resulting chicken thighs were some of the most moist pieces of chicken I’ve ever eaten.

BBQ saucePour some of the BBQ sauce into a bowl so that you can brush it onto the raw chicken without contaminating the entire batch of sauce.

sauced chickenPlace the chicken on a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil and non-stick spray. Generously brush the BBQ sauce on top. Place in a preheated 375 degree oven.

15 minutes45 minutesBake the chicken for 45 minutes, taking time to add more BBQ sauce at 15 minutes and 30 minutes into the baking time. (photos are from after 15 minutes and 45 minutes of cooking) The sauce on the foil will scorch but the sauce on the chicken will not… so don’t let that black stuff worry you!

raspberry chipotle BBQ chicken

Ooohhh it was so delicious and moist! Sweet, tangy and with a decent kick!


  1. Erin says:

    Where does the bbc sauce come into play… It’s not listed in the ingredients. I’m confused. Thank you!

  2. Venessa says:

    I was wondering if you tried using this same recipe for the crock pot with chicken breast?

  3. Eliza says:

    Hi Beth! I’m making this using sugar free raspberry preserves bc it’s all I have on hand. Any suggestion on how much sugar I should add in? Thanks!

    • Hmm, that’s tricky because it just depends on the natural (or artificial) sweetness of the preserves. You might have to play that one by ear and taste test to add more if needed.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This recipe looks SO GOOD. However, since I live in the UK, there is nowhere (and I mean nowhere) that will sell chipotle chillies in adobo. I found some dried chipotle chillies in a supermarket that are a reasonable price, but the cheapest I can find a can of chillies in adobo is online for £6.50, which is CRAZY expensive. Any recommendations for substitutions? I really want to make this! Thanks :)

  5. Shannon says:

    I have some mango jam that I need to use up, do you think this would go with the recipe? Thanks.

  6. Jenilee says:

    I made this last night for dinner – it came out fantastic! The combination of chipotle and raspberry was amazing, and the chicken came out really moist. My boyfriend took some for lunch today :)
    Thanks for one more amazing dish for my files!

  7. Heather says:

    Hi Beth!
    I’d love to make this meal for a friend who just had a baby. If I cook the chicken as written, and either pop it in the fridge or freezer, how would you suggest it be reheated? Same goes with your cheesy shells with broccoli. Thanks!

    P.S. I don’t normally comment, but I LOVE your blog. My husband is working on his PhD (has one year to go) and your recipes have been a lifesaver for us and our very small budget. Thanks for all that you do!

  8. Kelly says:

    This is fabulous! I was hesitant about the combination of flavors, but it works. It works so well that I felt like it was a recipe from a high-end restaurant.
    One of my top five favorites on your site. You knocked this one out of the park, Beth!

  9. Lori M says:

    Hello Beth,
    I was wondering how i could adjust this recipe because I just so happen to have Sweet Baby Ray’s Raspberry Chipotle BBQ sauce in my pantry. Can u suggest how I can make it work in your recipe? Thanks!!

    • I think you should just be able to use it in place of the homemade sauce that is in the recipe (just brush it on the chicken as it bakes). Super easy. :)

  10. Trisha says:

    I have the BBQ sauce simmering now and does it smell gooooood! Can’t wait to try it. Thank you for the recipe :)

  11. I’ve had this bookmarked since you posted it and just got around to trying it out. I was scared by the smell when the sauce was simmering, but WOW! This was delicious!!! Definitely a new staple for my family. :)

  12. Kallie – Mine were in a small little can too. When you open the can you’ll probably find whole peppers in the sauce. The peppers are pretty small. So, if the peppers in your can aren’t whole, I would say probably only about 2 tablespoons worth. They’re pretty strong! I hope that helped!

  13. Hey! So my sister is craving this chicken, I have never cooked thighs before, so here goes nothing, but the chipotle peppers I found are in a small can, about how many cups would you say of pepper you used? That makes no grammatical sense, but I do not know how else to put it!

  14. Anon – Tomato sauce is sold in a can like diced or crushed tomatoes. If you’re not in the US, you might not have it available in your area. Ketchup is different because it contains sugar and other ingredients that give it a very different flavor from plain tomato sauce.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hello! This sounds great! Just one question, when you say sauce tomato that means ketchup? Or what kind of sauce? And can I use another type of vinegar? Or just cider? Thank you!!

  16. Lauren – I would freeze the sauce by itself. In theory you *could* freeze the chicken after cooking, but it will cook further upon reheating and probably won’t be quite as tasty as just freezing the sauce and making fresh chicken with it.

  17. Lauren says:

    When you freeze this, do you freeze just the sauce for future uses or freeze the finished product completely? Can’t wait to try this!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Found you via Pinterest, and finally got around to making this for lunch today. Loved it! I’m looking forward to checking out your other recipes. Thanks for this!

  19. Any suggestions of a pasta to pair it with? or maybe doubling the sauce for use with the pasta??

  20. Anon – I think it would be great with other flavors of jam, too! Raspberry is definitely my favorite with chipotle, but peach or even apricot would be great too. I’m sure strawberry, as you suggested, would be great!

  21. Anonymous says:

    I made this recipe and it was AMAZING! However, a member of my family is allergic to raspberries so I was wondering if it would still be great with strawberry jam or something else. What do you think? Thanks for posting!

  22. Anonymous says:

    I find slow cookers kill a lot of the taste. I would cook the chicken in the slow cooker with some chicken broth, maybe some garlic powder and then put the sauce over it for the last 30 or 45 minutes on high. That would probably work better then cooking the sauce to death and yield awesome chicken thighs!

  23. Rachel – You probably could cook these in a slow cooker! Depending on how long you leave them in there, they’ll probably be fall off the bone tender. The sauce probably won’t thicken up as much as it will in the oven because slow cookers hold moisture in, but it will still be tasty!

  24. Do you think you could make these in a slow cooker? Maybe in wing form?

  25. I love to give parties and it’s in my habit to try different type of recipes for bbq. I have to try your recipe and hopefully I won’t screw it again like I ruined the last one which I picked from the TV.

    bbq chicken recipe

  26. Totally loved making this sauce, boyfriend and all my friends were impressed! I am not even tempted to buy BBQ sauce at the store anymore!!!

  27. Sammi Jean says:

    I made this tonight – absolutely delicious. I used Smucker’s sugar free raspberry jam, and put the entire 12 oz in (because the 12 oz filled my entire 1 cup measuring cup). It was a little sweet but after spending the night in the fridge, it was amazing. I used it with the chicken thighs, as stated, but I have so much left over, I think it would be a great BBQ sauce for some ribs… or even with shredded chicken & meunster cheese in a quesadilla. Delish!

    I paired it with your oven roasted corn with honey chili butter, which was DEVINE. I love honey butter, and the addition of chili just made it so much more impressionable. I will definitely be making this more often to top other food items (maybe even a homemade bagel). Yum. This is my new favorite site.

  28. Just made this with a 3 pack of chicken breasts and sweet potatoes. Washed and cut the sweet potatoes into 1″ slices, then threw the potatoes and chicken in a ziploc bag with about 3/4 of the sauce to mix it. Halfway through cooking I added the rest of the sauce, and paired it with a bottle of A to Z Pinot Gris (I’ve read to pair Gewurztraminer with spicy chipotle, but my local supermarket didn’t have any). Very good meal!

  29. Natalie says:

    This sauce is AMAZING! thanks for sharing. It’s going to be my go-to BBQ sauce from now on!

  30. Hi, found your blog today and surfed around a bit, bookmarking the no-butter chicken, and now this awesome recipe.

    I have issues with some food additives (some known, like annatto, which is in adobo) and at least one additive I haven’t figured out yet. So it’s exciting for me to find a yummy sauce that doesn’t have the additives that I know bother me, plus gambling on the unknown. So we were thrilled to find a yummy sauce that didn’t bother me, so of course they stopped carrying it, argh!

    Now I find how to make it myself, thanks to you, thanks!! I might have to double it though, since the dried chipotles at the place down street are much bigger than the little chipotles in the cans.

  31. Chanelle says:

    This recipe is amazing!!! I made a double batch and froze a bunch of it for when we have friends over…I made it with chicken breasts for the first time and my husband absolutely loved it. I did double the amount of chipotle peppers because we like spicy food and it turned out great! Thank you so much for this recipe!

  32. Anonymous says:

    These were fantastic! Thanks for another great recipe! This makes about the 12th one I’ve tried and I’ve yet to be disappointed!

  33. Holy freakin’ cow, this sauce rocks! My DH had a rotten day at work, so I wanted to make him comfort food with a kick. I made the sauce with an extra pepper and poured it over leftover rotisserie chicken. To. Die. For. This is the first of your recipes that I’ve tried. I can’t wait to try more.

  34. Sanu says:

    I’ve tried a few of your recipes and they haven’t disappointed so far, but I was a little iffy about this one while it was cooking. The cider vinegar flavor was so overpowering. Turns out I had nothing to worry about because after sitting in the refrigerator overnight, the flavors had a chance to meld and it was delicious (though not as spicy as I thought it would be)! Can’t wait to try it on chicken wings.

  35. Definitely trying this recipe this coming up weekend! looks great!

  36. The peppers should stay good fro 3-4 months in the freezer :)

  37. I just found your blog and I love it :)
    I can’t wait to try this recipe. How long do the peppers stay good in the freezer?

  38. Josh, I always like green beans w/BBQ. Here is a quick lemon butter green bean recipe that I posted a long time ago: http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/2009/09/lemon-butter-green-beans-202-recipe-034.html It’s still one of my fav’s!

  39. Any recommendations for a quick side dish to go with this?

  40. Oh, make it brown sugar! I forgot to mention that!

  41. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, I’ll let you know how it turned out. Making it for dinner tomorrow night!

  42. If you use fresh raspberries, you have to add some sugar to make up for what the jam provided. Sugar is an important part of BBQ sauce because it balances the tang of the vinegar… so don’t skip it. Start with equal parts sugar to vinegar (so 1/4 cup) and then taste and add more if needed.

  43. Anonymous says:

    I have frozen raspberries in the freezer, can I use those instead of jam? Which I don’t have.

  44. Ohh, yum! I will use this on tofu, or maybe when I finally get around to experimenting with tempeh…

    Thank you for the new vocabulary word – aliquot!

  45. I’m a huge chipotle fan, and yes, I freeze the leftovers too. I learned the hard way not to thaw the frozen bits in the microwave (trust me if you haven’t made this mistake already). Anyway, this sauce sounds amazing – can’t wait to give it a try.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe.


  46. Anonymous says:

    I would grate the onion rather than chop it.

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