Raspberry Chipotle BBQ Chicken

$9.95 recipe / $1.24 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.89 from 9 votes
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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

two pieces of raspberry chipotle bbq chicken plated on white plate with fork


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Raspberry Chipotle BBQ Chicken

4.89 from 9 votes
Sweet, spicy, and smoky. This Raspberry Chipotle BBQ Chicken has it all.
Raspberry Chipolte BBQ Chicken - Budget Bytes
Servings 4 to 8 servings
Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
Total 1 hr 45 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil ($0.03)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion ($0.18)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.14)
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce ($0.56)
  • 1 cup raspberry jam ($2.23)
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar ($0.23)
  • 1 pepper + sauce chipotle peppers in adobo ($0.10)
  • 4 lbs chicken thighs (8 pieces) ($6.48)

Instructions 

  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.

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Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 866.07kcalCarbohydrates: 41.3gProtein: 68.42gFat: 47.67gSodium: 1236.63mgFiber: 1.67g
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Step By Step Photos

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

whole chipotle pepper
chopped chipotle pepper
Take 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 ingredients in pot
To the cooked onions and garlic add the tomato sauce, raspberry jam, cider vinegar, chopped chipotle pepper and 1 Tbsp of adobo sauce.

sauce stirred and cooking
Stir 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.

four raw chicken thighs
Place 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).

four trimmed chicken thighs (skinned)
Here 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 sauce in bowl
Pour 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.

chicken placed on baking sheet covered in aluminum foil and then covered in bbq sauce
Place 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.

chicken on pan and in oven ready to cook
Chicken on pan fully cooked
Bake 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!

close up of raspberry chipotle BBQ chicken bite on fork with plated chicken in the background

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

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  1. This is one of my favorites. It’s also good with 1/2 cup of cherry jam and 1/2 cup of crushed pineapple in place of the 1 cup of raspberry jam. I’ll probably try other jam flavors eventually, but I still have cherry to use up.

  2. Made this tonight. Simple and very good. I liked the level of heat; it was just a background spiciness that added dimension to the sweetness of the raspberry. Baked up very well with boneless skinless chicken thighs. Will definitely make it again.

  3. I’m making this right now. Its almost done simmering and I already can’t wait to eat this! I’ve been “taste testing” this sauce every few minutes because I just can’t get enough of it! I followed everything exactly, except i doubled the chipotle pepper (sauce amount stayed the same) simply because my family enjoys spicy food, and it really does taste incredible. The chipotle peppers were a little hard to find and I overlooked them three times because its just a small can, but it was right where she said it’d be (ethnic aisle, near Hispanic foods). Overall, this is a very simple dish to make and I’m already super pleased with the results.

  4. This looks super tasty, but spicy food does not agree with me. I’ve had great success removing the spicy ingredients from various recipes before. In this case, it seems like a substitution would be best, rather than simply removing the pepper. Would you suggest substituting roasted bell peppers?

    1. Roasted bell peppers don’t seem nearly as smoky as chipotle peppers to me, so I’m not quite sure that will work out. You can maybe experiment with adding liquid smoke or smoked paprika (sweet, not hot paprika)?

      1. A friend happened to get me a selection of bourbon smoked spices for the holidays, including bourbon smoked paprika. It is super potent, so I think I’ll try:

        1/2 fire roasted bell pepper
        1/4 tsp paprika
        pinch of the potent smoked paprika
        test and see if more smoked paprika is needed

        Thanks for your thoughts on this. As someone who doesn’t eat spicy food, it is hard to know what flavor I am substituting for.

        1. I just made this. I used one fire roasted bell pepper and a pinch of paprika and a tiny amount of the smoked paprika (it is very potent) and it came out quite tasty. I was surprised how much it tasted like a classic BBQ sauce with raspberry in it.

          It was very flavorful!

          To my pallet this sauce tasted like the flavors would compliment beef better. I’m going to try this on some ribs sometime. I am also going to try this with apricot jam for chicken. I am also thinking of marinating the chicken in a little of the sauce ahead of time for increased flavor blending.

  5. I just made this for our New Year’s Eve dinner and HOLY SMOKES it’s great. Used chicken breasts and I was worried they’d be dry, but the sauce kept them nice and moist just like you mentioned.

    I paired it with your chipotle mashed sweet potatoes and some sautéed red chard, it’s a winner for sure.

  6. Hi. Where can I find a Chipotle pepper? Is n it canned or fresh?
    Thank you.
    Thank you for ALL your recipes!

    1. It’s usually in a small can (it’s peppers in a sauce) and in my store it’s in the ethnic food aisle near the Hispanic ingredients.

  7. Can the sauce be made in advance and be put in the fridge until you use it? I want to make it for supper but i only get home at 5:30, so would the sauce still be good if i made it the night before?

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

      1. This became one of my family’s favorites after the first time I made it. Haven’t changed a thing and it comes out amazing every time.

        Thank you!