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Peach bourbon BBQ sauce recipe

Sweet and tangy peach bourbon BBQ sauce pairs well with any kind of pork or chicken. Made with fresh peaches, this homemade barbecue sauce is perfect for summer. Try it on pulled pork, pork chops or chicken. Or, use it as a dipping sauce!

You may also be interested in my blueberry bourbon BBQ sauce and my apple bourbon BBQ sauce recipes. For ease of browsing, you can find all of my BBQ sauce recipes in one place.

I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.

Peach BBQ sauce in jar on a small white plate with a pastry brush on the side. There are whole peaches in the background.

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Peach BBQ sauce

Peaches and bourbon pair well, the flavors are really complementary. This peach barbecue sauce is going to be slathered on grilled chicken, burgers, pork chops and ribs all summer long, and with another red, white and blue holiday around the corner, I’ll be making several batches.

A hefty amount of fresh summer peaches give this sauce a ton of peachy flavor, and the bourbon gives this BBQ sauce recipe just a hint of sweet smokiness. Don’t use your best bottle here, but do use something that you like, because you will taste it.

Overhead view of peach bourbon BBQ sauce in glass jar with whole peaches on the side.

Bring a jar of this peach bourbon BBQ sauce with you the next time you’re invited to a cookout, and I can almost guarantee you’ll get a return invitation.

What you need to know

This peach bourbon BBQ sauce is made with fresh peaches. You’ll need to peel and pit the peaches first. The easiest way to peel peaches is to cut a shallow “x” on the bottom of the peach. Then drop them into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove the peaches from the boiling water and immediately place them into a bowl of ice water. The skins will slip right off.

The 1 1/2 pounds of peaches in the recipe is measured after peeling, pitting and chopping the peaches. I put my largest measuring cup on the scale and 4 cups gave me what I needed.

Diced peaches in a large measuring cup on a white background.

If you want to cook most of the bourbon out of the sauce – use a WIDE, shallow pan and stir constantly. Stirring helps the alcohol to evaporate, as does a larger surface area. The good news is that whisky does seem to evaporate quicker than most spirits.

It can made ahead of time, and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. Making your own homemade barbecue sauce is so much better than anything you’ll find on the shelves at the store, and you can create almost endless variations, so you can really make it your own.

Peach bourbon BBQ sauce ingredients

Here are the ingredients for this peach whiskey BBQ sauce and what they bring to the party. Keep reading for variations and substitutions, in case you don’t have everything.

Ingredients for peach bourbon BBQ sauce on a white background.
  • Onion and garlic – These two ingredients build flavor.
  • Brown sugar – I used light brown sugar because it’s what I had. Along with honey, it adds sweetness to balance the vinegar.
    • Substitution: If you have dark brown sugar instead of light, use it.
  • Kosher salt – I use Diamond Crystal. If you use Morton, cut the amount by almost half.
  • Black pepper – Regular black pepper, nothing fancy.
  • Mustard powder – I use Colman’s mustard powder, it has great flavor.
  • Ketchup – Sweet and tangy, it provides the familiar BBQ sauce taste.
  • Apple cider vinegar – Fruity vinegar gives the BBQ sauce a nice flavor.
    • Substitution: If you don’t have ACV, substitute with another light vinegar, like rice wine vinegar.
  • Bourbon – Use whatever you have, but not your most expensive bottle.
  • Peaches – We can’t have peach barbecue sauce without peaches.
  • Bay leaf – Your bay leaves should have a fairly strong smell. If they don’t, that means you need to replace them.
  • Ground ginger and crushed red pepper – Both of these add flavor and a little heat.
Peach whiskey barbecue sauce in a clear glass jar with peaches in the background and on the side.
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03/17/2024 09:36 am GMT

How to make

Here’s a quick summary of how to make peach BBQ sauce. Please see the card at the bottom of this post for the full recipe. 

Photos showing how to make and blend peach bourbon BBQ sauce.
  1. Prep – Peel and pit the peaches. Then give them a rough chop. It doesn’t have to be precise, it’s all going in the blender at the end.
  2. Sauté – Sauté the onions and garlic over medium heat with a bit of oil. I use avocado oil, as it is a neutral flavor. Use whatever oil you have, or you could use butter – a tablespoon or so is all you need.
  3. Add remaining ingredients. Give it a good stir to combine everything and let it simmer for about 45 minutes, until it is reduced a bit and thickened. Remove the bay leaf from the pot.
  4. Blend – Let the sauce cool slightly, then use a blender (either an immersion blender or a traditional blender) to purée the BBQ sauce until is is smooth. At this point, you can continue to cook it down a bit more, if you want a very thick sauce. Or, remove from the heat if you are happy with the consistency. Remember that it will thicken slightly as it cools.
  5. Cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Peach bourbon barbecue sauce in jar with pastry brush on the side sitting on a small white plate.

Peach bourbon BBQ sauce FAQ’s

How long will this sauce last in the fridge?

The peach bourbon BBQ sauce should last about 2 – 3 weeks in the fridge if stored in an airtight container.

Can I substitute the bourbon in the recipe?

Yes! If you do not want to use bourbon in this recipe, you can add peach juice or peach nectar.

Can I freeze this BBQ sauce?

Yes! Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure it is completely cooled before you freeze it. (Never freeze hot food)

Dipping pastry brush into jar of peach bourbon barbecue sauce.

Variations and substitutions

  • Spicy – Add in a pinch of chipotle powder, or canned chipotles to give it a spicy, smoky kick and turn it into a chipotle peach BBQ sauce.
  • Alcohol-free – To make this sauce without the bourbon, omit it and replace with peach juice or peach nectar.
  • Mustard – If you don’t have mustard powder, you can use regular yellow mustard. Mustard powder has a bit of a kick to it, which is why I like it.
  • Maple – You can use maple syrup in place of brown sugar, and/or the honey, but it will alter the taste of the sauce. If you’re a fan of maple, this might be a good swap for you.

Serving suggestions

Dress up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store with a bit of BBQ sauce for an easy weeknight dinner. Brush it on baked or grilled pork chops for extra flavor. Toss chicken wings in a cup of sauce for a delicious game night snack. Or, it as as a dipping sauce for anything you like!

Brushing peach BBQ sauce on chicken breast on white plate. Whole peaches in the background.

Helpful tools and equipment

  • Immersion blender – This is the immersion blender that I own and used in this recipe. It is by far the best one I’ve used at home.
  • Dutch oven pot – I like a heavy-bottomed pot like this for almost everything. It retains heat well and distributes it evenly.
  • Swing top bottles – Store your BBQ sauce in these cute glass bottles. They are also perfect for homemade gifts.

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Peach BBQ sauce in jar on a small white plate with a pastry brush on the side. There are whole peaches in the background.

Peach bourbon BBQ sauce recipe

Cheryl Bennett
Sweet and tangy peach bourbon BBQ sauce pairs well with any kind of pork or chicken. Recipe makes 5 1/2 cups.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Condiments
Cuisine American
Servings 22 people
Calories 92 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbsp. neutral oil I used avocado oil
  • ¾ cup onion diced, about 1 large
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup bourbon
  • 1 ½ lbs. peaches peeled, pitted, and diced, about 4 cups
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt *or to taste (I used Diamond Crystal)
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ½ tsp. dry mustard I used Colman's
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil over medium / medium low heat in a heavy-bottomed pot, like a Dutch oven, and sauté onions and garlic until translucent and fragrant, about 6 – 8 minutes.
  • Add apple cider vinegar (ACV) and bourbon to the pot to deglaze, scraping up any brown bits from sautéing onions.
  • Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine, and cook down for approximately 45 minutes, the pot partially covered with a lid, until thickened. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
  • Remove bay leaf, and let the BBQ sauce cool slightly. Blend with an immersion blender, or carefully transfer into the jar/pitcher of a traditional blender and blend until smooth.
  • If you are happy with the consistency, transfer to an airtight container and cool completely. Then store in the refrigerator.
    *If you'd prefer a slightly thicker sauce, reduce heat to low and cook, with the lid off, for an additional 10 – 15 minutes, or until the BBQ sauce is the desired consistency. Then, cool and store in the fridge.

Notes

Measure peaches after they have been peeled, pitted, and diced. When I made this sauce, 1 1/2 pounds was roughly 4 cups.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 92kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 196mgPotassium: 103mgFiber: 1gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 224IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 12mgIron: 0.3mg
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