Cranberry Molasses BBQ Sauce

This cranberry molasses BBQ sauce is a thick, sweet and tangy sauce perfect for topping your favourite meat, veggies or sandwiches. It’s the perfect way to use extra cranberry sauce and molasses.

Cranberry Molasses BBQ Sauce

Also Read: Rhubarb BBQ Sauce, Tender Turkey Meatballs, Pulled Pork

two meatballs covered in cranberry molasses bbq sauce on spoon over pot
Sweet and sticky meatballs as a meal or appetizer.

Video: How to Make Cranberry Molasses BBQ Sauce

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Ingredients for Cranberry Molasses BBQ Sauce

This recipe keeps things simple with seasonings you likely already have on hand.

Cranberry Sauce homemade or out of a can with whole cranberries or jellied – your choice

Molasses – adds sweetness and a subtle dark smoky flavour

Ketchup – adds a sweet tomato base

Cider Vinegar – for the necessary acid

Spices – powdered onion and garlic to save on time and prep and add great flavour combined with the other seasonings

Easily accessible ingredients ready to mix.

How do You Like Your BBQ Sauce?

The beauty of making homemade barbecue sauce like this cranberry molasses BBQ sauce is that you get to make it just the way you like it! You decide how smooth, thick, smoky, spicy, sweet or acidic. Here are some tips.

Smoky or Not Smoky?

Common ingredients that add a smoky flavour are: liquid smoke, smoked paprika, chipotle peppers/sauce or smoked salts. These are all intense flavours, so add a wee bit at a time to get your desired level of smokiness. Of course, you can omit these ingredients entirely if you’d like.

Smooth or Textured?

Change the texture by changing the type of cranberry sauce you use (jellied or with cranberry bits) – or simply puree the sauce once finished.

When using cranberry sauce made with whole cranberries you’ll get lovely texture in your BBQ sauce. Prefer a smoother sauce? Puree it or use jellied cranberry sauce.

Spicy, Mild or Extra Spicy?

I love my homemade cayenne pepper to add just the right amount of heat for my personal taste preference. But maybe you like your sauce spicier – add a few dashes of your favourite hot sauce, chile powder or ghost peppers! If you like it milder – reduce or omit cayenne pepper or hot sauce.

Remember not all hot peppers are created equal (even if they’re the same variety) and spiciness can vary. Start with half the amount in the recipe then taste and see if you’d like more.

Sweet or Savoury?

In this recipe we’re using ketchup and molasses to add sweetness to the sauce. The longer you cook the sauce, the more moisture will evaporate and the thicker and sweeter the sauce will become. In other words, there are two ways to control the intensity of the sweetness in your sauce – length of cooking and ingredients.

For those who like it really sweet, add a little extra brown sugar and cook longer to evaporate moisture.

For those who want it less sweet, reduce some of the molasses or add liquid to the pan and cook it just to heat it, not to evaporate it. Use broth for added savoury flavour or water to just mellow things out.

How to Use Cranberry Molasses BBQ Sauce?

Use this sauce for any of your BBQ sauce needs! Ribs, chicken, burgers, meatballs, sandwiches – you name it!

Oven baked BBQ Chicken with cranberry molasses BBQ sauce.

I used if for the this Oven Baked Chicken Recipe.

We also love it for sweet and sour meatballs. It’s great for large homemade meatballs or small frozen meatballs. The small ones would be perfect for serving as appetizers.

It would also be tasty for ribs or anything on the barbecue where a sweet, sticky sauce is required.

I think I’ll try it instead of my rhubarb bbq sauce on pulled pork next time.

Party meatballs! Simply add frozen meatballs to sauce and heat through.

Storing & Freezing Cranberry Molasses BBQ Sauce

Keep your homemade bbq sauce in the fridge in a tightly sealed container for 7-10 days.

For long term storage place it in an airtight container and freeze it. It will taste best if used within 12 months.

dark red sauce in jar with cranberries beside
Print Recipe
4.67 from 3 votes

Cranberry Molasses BBQ Sauce

This cranberry molasses BBQ sauce is a thick, sweet and tangy sauce perfect for topping your favourite meat, veggies or sandwiches.
Prep : 5 minutes
Cook : 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 1.5 cup
Author: Getty Stewart


  • 1 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp mustard powder or Dijon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4-1 tsp Liquid smoke, chipotle sauce or smoked paprika optional


  • Place all ingredients in a pot. Stir well and bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat to low simmer and cook for 20 minutes without the lid, stir frequently.
  • Taste test (careful it will be VERY hot) and adjust seasoning as desired.
  • Cook longer for a thicker, stickier sauce. If you prefer, use an immersion blender to make a more smooth sauce. Add a touch brown sugar to make it sweeter or add broth, cider, beer or water to make it thinner and less sweet.
  • Remove from heat and enjoy right away, keep in fridge for 7-10 days or freeze for up to 12 months.



Be sure to taste test and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
For a smooth sauce, use jellied cranberry sauce or use an immersion blender just before the final taste test.
Caution: Liquid smoke, smoked paprika and chipotle peppers are very intense, add a little at a time.
Tried this recipe?Mention @GetGettyS or tag #GetGettyS

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 592kcal | Carbohydrates: 150g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1590mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 126g | Iron: 4mg
Course: Sauces
Cuisine: American
Keyword: BBQ sauce, cranberries, molasses

My other favourite way to use up extra cranberry sauce is this Cranberry Apple Fruit Leather.

Cranberry sauce fruit leather.

What do you like in a BBQ sauce? Do you like it sweet, hot, smokey, thin, thick…?  Let me know your favourite either down below or on Instagram @getgettys or Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.

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