Homemade Dark Cherry BBQ Sauce

This flavor-packed BBQ sauce combines the natural sweetness of cherries and maple syrup with the welcoming warmth of the ginger, cinnamon, and rosemary. For best results, prepare this recipe one or two days in advance. Although it can be enjoyed immediately, this sauce really comes into its own when the flavors are given time to fully develop.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Servings: 7


  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves fresh garlic finely minced
  • cups fresh or frozen dark cherries pitted
  • 1 10-oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies with liquid
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger finely minced
  • tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke optional
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste


  • Add olive oil to Instant Pot and select the “Sauté” function on the high-temperature setting. Add shallot and garlic and sauté until soft and slightly golden, approximately 3-4 minutes.
  • Turn Instant Pot off and add remaining ingredients, including the liquid from the tomatoes and the liquid smoke, if using. Stir to combine and season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
  • Add lid and lock into place. Make sure the valve is set to the “Sealing” position and set the “Manual” setting to high for 10 minutes. After a brief pause, the Instant Pot will automatically start building pressure.
  • When finished cooking, do a quick release (QR) of the pressure according to the manufacturer’s suggestions before unlocking and removing the lid.
  • Transfer the sauce to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days.
  • Note: For a thicker sauce, return to the Instant Pot and bring to a low boil using the “Sauté” function set to high. Heat, stirring frequently until the excess liquid is reduced and the sauce reaches the desired consistency.

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