Pressure Cooker BBQ Sauce

Make your own barbeque sauce to get full control of the ingredients and show off the pressure cooker’s ability to infuse flavors in a flash. This sauce does not need to mature or age – when it’s ready. It’s ready!

It took a bit of refinement to get this sauce just right: sweet, tangy, smoky and with a little heat. Here are some details of how I developed this sauce to help those who might want to make substitutions or changes.

Ingredient Intelligence

Instead of sugar I wanted to get some sweetness from dried fruit but raisins were a bit lost, and dates were too sweet. Rumbling around my “dried fruit and nut drawer” I found a jar of old prunes – they’re both naturally sweet and tart. They also added quite a bit of viscosity  to the sauce so there was no need to add any extra ingredients or steps to thicken the sauce. Don’t soak them – the pressure cooker will plump and soften them during cooking.

The liquid smoke is optional.  My family loves a smoky sauce but it’s not for everyone.  You can pick this up at the grocery-store in the U.S. (in Europe, try ebay  – that’s where I got mine ; ).

You might be surprised to see granulated, not fresh, garlic.  That’s because fresh garlic tends to lose its flavor under pressure while the powder and granulated forms keep their bite.

Instead of the usual olive oil, I went with a high smoke-point oil. That’s because if the sauce is destined for an actual barbecue grill and the oil won’t be burned. Plus, I found that the sesame oil added a little oomph.

Lastly, you’ll see that I didn’t include two “popular” home-made barbeque sauce ingredients: ketchup and tomato paste. I wouldn’t really consider it a recipe if I used the former; and, I tried the latter, but the result tasted too much like a pasta sauce – and that wasn’t the goal of this sauce!

BBQ Sauce made in the pressure cooker

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
3 L or larger none 10 min. High(2) Slow Normal

4.8 from 8 reviews
Pressure Cooker BBQ Sauce
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: about 2.5 cups
  • Serving size: 1 tablespoon
  • Calories: 20.3
  • TOTAL Fat: 0.4 g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 4.5 g
  • Sugar Carbs: 3.4 g
  • Sodium: 62.6 g
  • Fiber Carbs: 0.3 g
  • Protein: 0.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This recipe can be doubled, and even tripled as long as the pressure cooker is not more than ½ full (because of the dried fruit).
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil (or any other high smoke-pint oil such as peanut, avocado or grapeseed oil)
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup (120ml) tomato puree (passata)
  • ½ cup (120ml) water
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) honey
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, like your home-made Tabasco
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground clove powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ¾ cup ( 5.25 oz or 150g) seedless dried plums (aka prunes), tightly packed in the measuring cup
  1. To the pre-heated pressure cooker add the sesame oil and onion. Saute' stirring infrequently until the edges of the onion start to brown.
  2. In a 2-cup measuring cup, or small mixing bowl, pour in the tomato puree, water, honey and vinegar using the measuring lines in the cups as a guideline. Then, plop in the salt, garlic, hot sauce, liquid smoke clove and cumin powders.
  3. Mix the contents of the measuring cup well, so that the honey dissolves evenly in the liquid.
  4. Pour the mixture into the pressure cooker, rubbing the base of the cooker with the spatula to lift-up any browned onion bits into the sauce.
  5. Plop in the plums.
  6. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  7. For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 10 minutes at high pressure.
    For stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 10 minutes pressure cooking time.
  8. When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure slowly through the valve.
  9. Using an immersion blender, and tilting the pot so the blender is immersed in the liquid, puree the contents of the pressure cooker.
  10. Serve.
The liquid in this recipe is equivalent to 1½ cups, so there are no adjustments needed for most electric pressure cookers (unless your pressure cooker requires more liquid to reach pressure).


BBQ Sauce made in the pressure cooker

Make Pressure Cooker BBQ Sauce

Did you make it or a variation? Leave us a comment, and post a photo below!

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  1. I would add a 1/4 cup of hoisin sauce.

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