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Cilantro Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Thighs

Grilled chicken is one of our go-to summer meals. In fact, we still make this grilled honey lime chicken several times a month.

But we’re always up for trying something new, especially when that something new combines the flavors of chipotle and cilantro — two of my very faves! I know that cilantro is one of those ingredients that people seem to either love or hate. I fall firmly in the love category, and thankfully my hubby and kids do too.

So anyhow, this cilantro chipotle barbecue sauce is seriously amazing… Smoky and sweet with a little bite from the cilantro. It takes a batch of simple grilled chicken thighs to the next level.

You won’t believe the ingredient that gives it its sweetness — Musselman’s Apple Butter! Yeah, it wouldn’t have been my first guess either, but it’s a fantastic base for this delicious sauce.

Musselman’s recently sent me a jar of their apple butter, and suggested that I give it a try with one of their grilling recipes. I was intrigued, and when I found this recipe for Cilantro-Chile BBQ Sauce, I knew it was the one we had to try.

I’m so glad we did — this chipotle barbecue sauce recipe is absolutely going into our regular rotation! It’s a great all-purpose sauce, so I can’t wait to try it on grilled pork chops, too.

I adapted the recipe slightly and increased it, as well, to make a larger batch. If 4 cups of sauce is too much for your family, just halve the recipe, or freeze it for future use. The sauce will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator, meaning you can get at least 3-4 meals out of one batch.

Cilantro Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Cilantro Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Yield: 4 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 jar (28-oz.) Musselman's Apple Butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add all of the remaining ingredients, except cilantro, and bring to a simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Cool slightly, then stir in cilantro.
  4. Use immediately or cover and refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

How much did you LOVE this recipe?

Please leave a comment below or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #unsophisticook!

Tip: Whether you’re using this chipotle barbecue sauce or another BBQ sauce, wait to brush it on your meat until the last two minutes of grilling and watch it closely. You want just a little caramelization and savory char!

Wilton Armetale Grillware Fish Griller

Are you wondering about that gorgeous fish platter in the images above? It’s a Wilton Armetale Fish Griller, part of their Gourmet Grillware line designed to grill and serve in the same piece.

Though I didn’t use it for the actual grilling of my chicken thighs, I’m in love with this sturdy and heavy platter. It’s perfect for foods that have a tendency to slip through the grates, as well as delicate pieces of fish.


I’m so thrilled to share that Musselman’s has provided me with an awesome Apple Butter Grilling Kit to give away to one lucky Unsophistcook reader!

Musselman’s #AppleButterSpin Prize Package:

  • 28-oz. jar of Musselman’s Apple Butter
  • Wilton Armetale Fish Griller (ARV $49.99)
  • set of recipe cards

Follow the instructions in the widget below to be entered to win…

This post is brought to you by Musselman’s. All opinions are 100% mine.

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Shannon F

Friday 22nd of August 2014

I would love to try the Spiced Apple Cake with Orange Glaze!


Friday 22nd of August 2014

I want to try the Cilantro-Chile BBQ Sauce first. This looks and sounds so delicious.

Tandi Cortez-Rios

Friday 22nd of August 2014

I remember this from when I was little. I loved it! First I'd make toast and smear it all over and eat it while I made the Sweet Garlic Beef Marinade.


Friday 22nd of August 2014

i would lvoe to make those apple and blue cheese toasts..

kara kjellman

Friday 22nd of August 2014

Apple Butter Cheesecake