Honey Pepper Sauce Recipe (Applebee’s Copycat)

Make one of Applebee’s delicious condiments with this quick and easy honey pepper sauce recipe. This sauce is the perfect condiment to elevate your usual fried dishes. It’s packed with flavorful spices, fruit juices, apple cider, dark brown sugar, and honey. Mix all of these together, and you’ll get a thick and savory honey sauce dip. Enjoy this flavorful mix of spicy, tangy, and sweet over crispy fried chicken strips to recreate a homemade version of Applebee’s honey pepper chicken tenders with a side of mac and cheese.

Tips on Making Honey Pepper Sauce

You can make this delicious honey pepper sauce in just less than an hour! This homemade sauce uses kitchen-friendly ingredients, and has a simple preparation process. Although it’s an easy recipe, there are other ways to make this sauce enjoyable! We listed some helpful tips for you to try out when you’re having troubles: 

  • Do not skip adding apple cider vinegar.  The vinegar not only adds tanginess to the sauce, but the acidity also helps in persevering and extending its shelf life. You can also use distilled vinegar or other wine-based vinegars as substitutes like Mirin, dry sherry, or cooking sake. 
  • Add cornstarch for a thicker sauce. Make a cornstarch slurry (cornstarch with water), and slowly stir into the mix. It’s a quick fix for when the sauce becomes too runny. Naturally, the added dark brown sugar and honey help thicken the sauce as it simmers and cools. But if you want a thicker consistency, then feel free to add a bit of cornstarch. 
  • Substitute honey with maple syrup or simple syrup. These two options may not be as strong and thick in flavor and consistency, but they are good alternatives for honey. 

Honey Pepper Sauce Recipe (Applebee’s Copycat)

How To Make Honey Pepper Sauce (Applebee’s Copycat)

Made with honey, pineapple juice, and warm spices, this Applebee's-style honey pepper sauce pairs best with fried chicken. This rich and thick side serves a perfectly simmered dip that might be better than the original.

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins


  • ¾ cup honey
  • cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup pineapple juice
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder

To Serve:

  • lbs crispy fried chicken, roughly


  1. Combine the honey, soy sauce, pineapple and lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, brown sugar, and spices in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.

  2. Stir occasionally until the sauce begins to boil, then lower heat to simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes or until syrupy.

  3. Serve together with fried chicken. Enjoy!


  • Sugar: 272g
  • :
  • Calcium: 125mg
  • Calories: 1178kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 288g
  • Fat: 9g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Iron: 5mg
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 6g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g
  • Potassium: 668mg
  • Protein: 11g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Sodium: 4352mg
  • Vitamin A: 323IU
  • Vitamin C: 68mg
Nutrition Disclaimer

Frequently Asked Questions

What is honey pepper sauce used for?

In general, honey pepper sauce is used as a condiment for a variety of dishes involving meat, chicken or fish. Because of its spicy blend, it can also be used for marinades, chili or casseroles. For this copycat recipe, we paired this with fried breaded chicken since the sauce blends well with the crispy and savory taste of the chicken.

Can you freeze honey pepper sauce?

Yes, you can. Store sauce in a freezer safe container, and transfer to the freezer. It will last for 2 to 3 months. To consume again, let it thaw at room temperature and then reheat using the microwave or stovetop. Reheat in low heat and make sure to occasionally stir the sauce.

Dip & Sauces Recipes


Upgrade your fried dishes with this homemade honey pepper sauce recipe made from flavorful ingredients. Pair it as a dip for crispy fried chicken, or pour it over a pan-fried salmon for a sweet, spicy, and tangy glaze finish. Experience a unique combination of flavors in every bite with this Applebee’s copycat recipe!
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