Coca Cola Habanero BBQ Sauce

Even though it is February and I live up here in the Great White North (Canada), I still regularly crave something hot off the grill. Since it has been a mild winter, it has not been too bad standing by the grill while the meat is cooking. Winter has never stopped me before though. There have been times that I have bundled myself up in a winter coat and toque. A question for you southern readers…do you know what a toque is? I am willing to suffer potential frostbite if that means I get the joy of having some grilled meat in the dead of winter! It is worth it all.

Meat is fabulous cooked on the grill, but it can’t go on there naked! Whether it is crusted with a rub, soaked in a marinade or glazed with a BBQ sauce, meat is always better with something to dress it up! I love a good BBQ sauce and often make my own at home. Homemade BBQ sauce is always better than the store-bought counterpart and it is surprisingly simple to do.

This BBQ sauce has two signature ingredients that make it lip smacking delicious! Coca Cola is in this sauce and you can taste a hint of the cola flavour on whatever meat you slather this sauce all over. It truly is outstanding. A habanero pepper (seeds and all!!!) are also pureed into the sauce to give it some real heat. Both the cola and the habanero pepper work together to create an terrific glaze for chicken, ribs, chops, burgers, sausages….. I could keep going, but you get the point right?

You could make the sauce and seal them in mason jars for future use if you want! Make sure you process them in a hot water bath for 30 minutes.

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4.5 from 6 votes

Coca Cola Habanero BBQ Sauce

A barbecue sauce made with Coca Cola and a habanero pepper. A wonderful sauce to glaze on chicken, ribs, steak, pork chops and so much more! This sauce is made for grilling.
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 cups
Author Steve Cylka


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion , minced
  • 1 red pepper , minced
  • 1 habanero pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 cup Coca Cola
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 (8oz can) cup tomato paste


  • Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the onion, red pepper, garlic and habanero to the saucepan and saute until they are tender and beginning to caramelize, about 8 minutes.
  • Add the molasses, cola, brown sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Let it cook with a low rolling boil for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the saucepan.
  • Stir in the tomato paste and lower the heat. Let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool to room temperature.
  • Puree in a blender until smooth.

About Steve Cylka

Steve is the author of The Black Peppercorn. He is a recipe developer and food photographer. His recipes have been featured on websites like Bradley Smoker, Times Picayune, Buzzfeed, and Basil & Salt. He has also authored and co-authored a couple cookbooks.


  1. Ohh my, you had me at habanero! This BBQ sauce sounds absolutely amazing and I will definitely be saving this for the future, thanks Steve! 🙂

  2. Creative way to get some sweet paired with that habanero, using coke! This is slated for the next time we grill out, which will be soon. Yummy blend of ingredients.

  3. I love this recipe! I so love taking soda and turning it into sauces. It’s a nice break from cooking with booze. Good job and buzzed!

  4. This is such a fun sauce. My husband is a BBQ sauce fiend. He would love this combo!

  5. Loving the habanero! Keep warm while you sit out by the grill. 🙂

  6. Okay, I won’t lie – I am somewhat freaked out by the amount of soda in American cooking. I just can’t fathom it! Habaneros though, I love.

  7. This looks amazing. I’m definitely going to have to give it a try. I mean, it’s 9 in the morning and I’m already drooling over BBQ sauce – that’s usually an indication that I must make it!

  8. I don’t drink soda but I would buy a can just to make this sauce!

  9. I love making my own BBQ sauce and this recipe sounds fantastic!!

  10. I totally agree with you about wanting summer food in the winter sometimes! The Coke in the BBQ sauce is a great idea =)

  11. Making this sauce as I type this comment. Will see how it is, and comment back. 🙂 Smells different than most BBQ sauces that I’ve made, but habanero and coca cola sounded like a winning combination. Hoping for the best.

    • It tastes pretty good. Just the right amount of heat in my opinion. Thank you for sharing this and for sending me the suggestion(s).

      Trying it on some 3-2-1 St. Louis Style Pork Ribs this weekend like you have on your website.

  12. Absolutely Amazing !!!!!! I did the 3-2-1 method in my smoker for baby back ribs, and had family down for the weekend … what a hit!!!! This Coca-Cola BBQ sauce is now my go-to BBQ sauce!!! I added 4 more cloves of garlic and thats it. An absolutely must try, you wont be disappointed.

  13. Made this yesterday, very tasty and easy to make. thanks for this great ideal!

  14. Omg love this sauce added the onions , red pepper and habeneros that I had in my garden, I added a extra habenero cause I like heat. I had this on pork kabobs first , it will be on all my meat never mind buying bbq sauce

  15. Thank you for feedback

    It will be helpful.

  16. Love the sauce but it turned a bit thick, any way to thin it a bit? Add some water?

  17. I grow Habaneros on my back porch in Florida. We add 8 peppers to the mix and wow – a real BBQ sauce for fans of the heat.

    Signed – Canadians in St Pete, Florida

  18. I made this to use some of the habanero peppers I grew this past summer. My brothers absolutely loved this recipe, and they want me to make some more for the Super Bowl this year. It makes a great dipping sauce for any event, but this time, I might add more habanero peppers. Thanks for posting this recipe!

  19. Hi Steve, this recipe looks great and I wanna give it a try for Father’s day (June 19th in France) along with the Guiness BBQ sauce & Corona Lime sauce to make an assortment. However, I’m not sure I can find habanero peper in France. Do you think it can be replaced by something else?
    Also, should the habanero be minced when you sauté it with the onions…?
    Many thanks!

  20. I am so into habenero. . So much more in sauces!! Definitely making this one

  21. I just made this sauce tonight and it is amazing! I’ve been eating it with a spoon since I got it out of the blender! I did not use the habanero seeds as I had never cooked with that before and didn’t want it too hot, but it would have been just fine if I had. Just a hint of heat at the end of each bite. Thanks for a great recipe.

  22. Instead of using as sauce I threw in a can of black beans and kidneys drained. Cooked for an hour and added some minced smoked tenderloin = awesome bbq beans. I did skip the molasses as I had none, and added extra heat.

  23. Awesome sauce, I’ve made it a bunch and worked it down to only putting a 1/2 Cup of brown sugar. It’s Justin a bit too sweet for myself with the full amount.

  24. Red pepper as in Red bell pepper? Thinking about making this today! Sounds super yummy!!

  25. This sauce is way too sweet and the single habenero provided very little heat. The sugar needs adjusted to account for the cola and the sweetness of a red pepper. Disappointing. I also made the Guinness version and it was too sweet. Maybe using Guinness instead of cola in this and reducing sugar would work better.

  26. Hi when you say tomato paste do you mean the concentrated stuff or something like passata?

    Thank you

  27. Your bbq sauce is my favorite by far. I love it. Could drink it. Also like to replace the ketchup in your smoked beans with it

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