Dr Pepper Glaze is a savory, sticky-sweet sauce that's perfect for glazing salmon, chicken, beef, ham, and vegetables. You can use it pretty much any way you'd use teriyaki sauce!
Dr Pepper is a pretty interesting drink (yes, these are the things I find interesting, lol!).
Maybe that’s because it supposedly got its name from a love affair (it wasn’t the name of the girl though – popular belief is that it was the name of her father!).
Or maybe it’s because there’s so much speculation as to what its 23 flavors include. (Yup, you read that right, 23 flavors).
Or it could be because this drink has been the stuff legends are made of. (Since around 1930, rumor has held that it contains prune juice. While the Dr Pepper company keeps the ingredient list secret, it has explicitly stated that there is in fact no prune juice. Here's what they said: "Dr Pepper is a unique blend of natural and artificial flavors; it does not contain prune juice."
No matter what, it is without a doubt one of my favorite soft drinks, and probably the one I drink most often (which says a lot since I can count on both hands the number of times I drink soda in a year). Why not make it into a sweet and savory glaze, right?!
The Inspiration for This Recipe
One day I had a little bit of Dr Pepper leftover in my fridge. You know, the bottom of the bottle that no one really wants to drink since it’s gone a little flat? (Sure I could have dumped it down the drain, but where’s the fun in that? Lol!)
I decided I wanted to make it into a glaze, so I raided the pantry for spices and this was what I came up with. It's essentially a Dr Pepper reduction, and you can use it the same way you'd use meat glaze.
My favorite way to use this sweet and savory glaze to make Dr Pepper glazed salmon, but I've also made Dr Pepper grilled chicken, Dr Pepper broiled steak, and brushed it on roasted vegetables. And a reader emailed me to say that this Dr Pepper glaze is now her family's favorite ham glaze, and she makes it for their Easter holiday table every year.
If you're a fan of cola glaze for meat, I think you'll really enjoy this recipe!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- With a blend of 23 flavors, there's already a ton of flavor in Dr Pepper. In this glaze recipe, we use that to our advantage. It means fewer ingredients we need to add to get a flavorful end result!
- You can use flat soda to make this recipe. This is perfect if you have a little bit of soda left in the bottle and are looking for ways to use it! It's great if you're trying to reduce waste or are already a zero waste household.
- This glaze is really versatile! I have yet to find a meat that it isn't delicious on, and it's good for veggies too.
Dr Pepper Glaze Recipe
This glaze is a bit reminiscent of teriyaki sauce, but spicier and with different flavor nuances. You can use it for grilling, baking, or broiling beef, chicken, fish, pork, ham, or even veggies.
In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas. For the full recipe (including ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.
- Dr Pepper - use regular Dr Pepper soda here; this provides a flavorful base for our glaze
- Apple cider vinegar - adds tangy flavor; you can substitute with balsamic vinegar for an even richer flavor
- Honey - adds sweetness and balance; you can substitute with 5 tablespoons of maple syrup, which will add a subtle smoky sweetness
- Lemon juice - use fresh lemon juice for best flavor
- Tamari sauce - or soy sauce
- Garlic - peel and crack the garlic clove for this recipe; to crack a clove of garlic, place it on a cutting board and use the side of a large knife to carefully and firmly press down so the garlic crushes but stays in 1 piece
- Ginger - peel and cut in half a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger
- Cinnamon stick - or ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- Cardamom pods - or 1 generous pinch of ground cardamom
- Whole cloves - or 1 generous pinch of ground cloves
- Bay leaf - don't worry if you don't have this on hand
- Salt - to season the glaze and help create a balanced flavor profile
- Mustard powder - for depth of flavor
- Crushed red pepper flakes - we only use a small amount; the end result isn't spicy-hot, but it adds a touch of spiciness to round out the flavor profile
- Black pepper - adds another layer of flavor
How to Make Dr Pepper Glaze
Step 1: Cook:
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer (uncovered) until reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 2: Strain:
Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve, and transfer to a glass jar.
Store homemade Dr Pepper glaze in a lidded glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- Make a double batch because this lasts in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and you'll keep thinking of new ways to use it.
- You can use ground cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves if you don't have the whole spices on hand.
More Sauce Recipes to Make
Dr Pepper Glaze
- 1 cup Dr Pepper
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon tamari sauce or soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic peeled and cracked
- 1 inch piece ginger peeled and cut in half
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 2 cardamom pods cracked
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes more or less to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer (uncovered) until reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve, and transfer to a glass jar.
- Recipe Yield and Serving Size: This recipe makes about ⅓ cup of glaze, or 4 servings. Each serving is 4 teaspoons.
- Storage: Store homemade Dr Pepper glaze in a lidded glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.