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Cherry BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Cherry BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
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The following recipe and photography were provided by local blogger Carolyn Hodges of The Dinner Shift.

Have you ever made your own BBQ sauce? It’s surprisingly simple, and this summery cherry-infused version is no exception.

Using dark sweet cherries adds freshness and a subtle sweetness, and turns the sauce a lovely deep red color. This recipe uses Heinen’s frozen dark sweet cherries, which you can find year round in Frozen Foods Department, but you can substitute fresh pitted cherries when they’re in season!

cherry bbq chicken sandwich

I’d suggest using Heinen’s 50% less sodium and sugar ketchup in this sauce so you can control these ingredients, adding more or less brown sugar and kosher salt to your taste. And don’t skip the smoked paprika. It adds wonderful smokiness and depth of flavor.

cherry bbq chicken sandwich

Look for Heinen’s pulled light or dark meat chicken in the Prepared Foods Department. This convenient timesaver minimizes the need to cook and shred chicken. It’s one of my favorite short-cuts for quick meals and dinner hacks.

Cherry BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Cherry BBQ Chicken Sandwiches


For Cherry BBQ Sauce

  • 2 cups Heinen’s frozen dark sweet cherries*
  • ½ cup Heinen’s 50% less sodium & sugar ketchup
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • ¾ tsp. Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. Heinen’s organic smoked paprika
  • *Substitute 2 cups fresh cherries (pitted) when in season

For the Sandwiches

  • 1 lb. Heinen’s pulled light or dark meat chicken
  • 4 Heinen’s brioche buns, lightly toasted
  • Heinen’s crispy coleslaw


  1. Combine the BBQ sauce ingredients together in a saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium or medium-low to maintain a simmer, then continue to cook for 15 minutes uncovered, stirring often.
  2. Remove the BBQ sauce from the heat. Smash the cherries with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon. For a smoother sauce, use an immersion blender or puree in a blender. Check for seasoning and add additional brown sugar and/or kosher salt to taste. Leftover cherry BBQ sauce can be refrigerated for 1 to 2 weeks.
  3. To assemble the sandwiches, heat the pulled chicken until steaming in the microwave or in a pan on the stove. Toss the chicken with enough cherry BBQ sauce to coat, adding more or less to taste. Serve the pulled chicken on toasted buns topped with coleslaw.

cherry bbq chicken sandwich

Carolyn Hodges

By Carolyn Hodges

Carolyn is a mom of boys and culinary dietitian in Cleveland, Ohio. The Dinner Shift is dedicated to helping busy moms get dinner on the table after the weekday grind, however that is defined for you and yours.

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