Grilled BBQ Chicken Thighs with Cherry-Molasses Sauce

Cherries add fruity flavor to this barbecue sauce, and a touch of molasses helps it caramelize on the grill for a sticky-sweet glaze atop chicken thighs.

Grilled BBQ Chicken Thighs with Cherry-Molasses Sauce
Photo: Charlotte & Johnny Autry
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
45 mins


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cups pitted fresh or frozen cherries

  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons molasses

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • Pinch of salt plus 1/4 teaspoon, divided

  • Pinch of ground pepper plus 1/4 teaspoon, divided

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds total), trimmed

  • Chopped scallions for garnish


  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add cherries, vinegar, ketchup, molasses, Worcestershire and a pinch each salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until the cherries are very tender and the sauce thickens slightly, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and mash with a potato masher or puree with an immersion blender until chunky-smooth. Reserve 1/2 cup sauce in a small bowl for serving. Place the remaining sauce in a medium bowl and set beside the grill.

  2. Meanwhile, heat grill to medium. Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Oil the grill rack by holding an oil-soaked paper towel with tongs. Grill the chicken, skin-side down and covered, until the skin is browned, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook for 5 minutes more. Brush with some sauce and continue cooking, brushing occasionally with more sauce, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part without touching bone reaches 165°F, 5 to 8 minutes more. Serve the chicken with the reserved sauce and garnish with scallions, if desired.

To make ahead

Refrigerate sauce (Step 1) for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

247 Calories
9g Fat
25g Carbs
18g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 247
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 20g
Added Sugars 9g 18%
Protein 18g 36%
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 89mg 30%
Vitamin A 117IU 2%
Vitamin C 8mg 9%
Vitamin D 5IU 1%
Vitamin E 1mg 4%
Folate 11mcg 3%
Vitamin K 7mcg 6%
Sodium 412mg 18%
Calcium 47mg 4%
Iron 2mg 11%
Magnesium 52mg 12%
Potassium 583mg 12%
Zinc 1mg 9%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

Related Articles