Applesauce BBQ Chicken

Applesauce BBQ Chicken is cooked quickly and glazed in a sweet and mildly spicy sauce with applesauce, bbq sauce, brown sugar, and hot sauce.

This simple Chicken Recipe takes Classic BBQ Chicken and gives it a flavorful twist by mixing smooth applesauce in with the tangy flavor of the sauce. 

Applesauce BBQ Chicken on dinner plate with arugula salad and potato wedges


This ultra-easy recipe will quickly become a family favorite. The basic dish is prepared with the easiest cooking directions by just searing the chicken thighs on the stovetop. We’ve also included the slow cooker meal version later in this post. Then, the recipe gets the most amazing flavors from the unexpected and delicious apple-spiced barbecue sauce.

The sweet, tangy, and spicy flavor in the sauce is made with a few key ingredients. All you need is brown sugar, Barbecue Sauce, hot sauce, and applesauce. The idea of mixing applesauce into a classic bbq chicken dish might sound strange at first, but the smooth applesauce brings a comforting, sweet, and mild taste that perfectly balances the more bold flavors in the sauce.

Collage of prep steps for Applesauce BBQ Chicken

This chicken recipe tastes amazing as the main course for your dinner, however, if you have leftovers the chicken pieces also make a great lunch. Toast your favorite bread and serve the chicken up in delicious chicken sandwiches. Add your favorite sandwich fillings like lettuce, tomato, cheese, or bacon for some fresh flavor. You could also serve up the chicken in small Dinner Rolls for adorable applesauce chicken sliders. 



  • Prep: If the chicken is frozen take it out of the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge a day in advance. Season the thawed chicken with pepper and salt to start. 
  • Sear: Add the vegetable oil to a large skillet. Shift the pan from side to side until the oil coats the bottom, and raise the stovetop to medium-high heat. Brown chicken in oil for about 7-8 minutes on each side. You may need to cook in batches depending on the size of your skillet, but it’s easiest to use a large skillet and cook it all at once. 
  • Sauce: Mix together the applesauce, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, and hot sauce in a separate bowl. Then pour the sauce mixture over the chicken, and let it all simmer together until the sauce is thickened. Remove the chicken from skillet and serve with sauce. 

Applesauce BBQ Chicken with sauce in pan


  • Heat level: You can make some small changes to the recipe depending on how spicy you want the sauce to be. For more heat, add in a little chili powder along with the hot sauce. However, if you want a more mild sauce, you can decrease the amount of hot sauce according to your taste. 
  • Chunky apple sauce: If you want some extra texture and apple flavor in the recipe, you can use chunky applesauce instead of smooth. For even more fresh flavor slice an apple into small chunks and mix it with the sauce before cooking the sauce. 
  • Flavor add-ins: There are plenty of ways you can experiment with the flavor in the sauce. Try mixing in fresh lemon juice, a teaspoon garlic powder, paprika, or a little apple cider vinegar. 

Applesauce BBQ Chicken on serving plate atop arugula and garnished with sliced green onions


  • To make crock pot BBQ Chicken, start by spraying your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Then place the chicken thighs in the base of the slow cooker.
  • Increase the BBQ Sauce and applesauce to 2/3 of a cup so that there is more liquid for the chicken to cook in. Whisk together the sauce ingredients and pour them over the chicken.
  • Turn the slow cooker to low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
  • Remove the chicken from the pot and serve the slow cooker recipe. 



  • Serve: Don’t leave cooked chicken at room temperature for more than 2 hours. 
  • Store: After the meat has cooled down, you can transfer it to an airtight container to store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 
  • Freeze: Make sure the chicken is completely cooled before you seal it in a gallon-size Ziploc bag or another freezer-safe container. The recipe will stay good frozen for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating. 

Applesauce BBQ Chicken on serving plate atop arugula and garnished with sliced green onions

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Applesauce BBQ Chicken

Applesauce BBQ Chicken is cooked quickly and glazed in a sweet and mildly spicy sauce with applesauce, bbq sauce, brown sugar, and hot sauce.
Yield 6 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 6 chicken thighs , bone-in, and skin on
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar , packed
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco hot sauce , or another hot sauce


  • Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Add vegetable oil to a large skillet on medium-high heat.
  • Sear the chicken well on both sides until cooked through, about 7-8 minutes on each side.
  • Mix together the applesauce, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, and hot sauce.
  • Pour mixture over the chicken, let simmer and thicken.
  • Spoon over to glaze the chicken.


Calories: 402kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 763mg | Potassium: 375mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 174IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: Applesauce BBQ Chicken

Applesauce BBQ Chicken collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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