Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are key to adding rich, smoky flavor in recipes! Here’s why to stock them in your pantry.
Here’s a little can that packs a huge punch: Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce! If this is a new-to-you ingredient, rest assured that what’s inside that tiny can is absolute magic. There’s nothing that brings richness, depth, and smoky complexity quite like these mighty peppers. Here’s more about this ingredient, why it’s essential to stock in your pantry, and a few of our top recipes for using up a can.
What are chipotle peppers in adobo sauce?
Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are a small can that includes chipotle chiles: smoked and dried jalapeños that are rehydrated and canned, and adobo sauce, a purée of tomato, vinegar, garlic, and other spices. Both ingredients add a rich depth of flavor to dishes, sweet, spicy, dark and smoky all at once.
The can is versatile: you can use just the adobo sauce in recipes to add a mild smoky complexity. Or, add the finely chopped chili peppers themselves for a bolder heat. Chipotle peppers in adobo work well in sauces, soups, stews, beans, aiolis, marinades, glazes, and more.
How hot are they?
Chipotle peppers have a similar heat level to jalapeño peppers. On the Scoville Heat Index, a scientific measure of spiciness, chipotle peppers measure between 2,500 and 8,000 SHU. Here’s how the chipotle stacks up with other peppers:
- Sweet banana pepper: 0 to 500 SHU (No spice)
- Jalapeño & chipotle peppers: 2,500 to 8,000 SHU (Medium hot)
- Serrano peppers: 5,000 to 15,000 SHU (Hot)
- Cayenne: 90,000 SHU (Very hot)
- Habanero: 100,000 to 350,000 SHU (Extremely hot)
- Ghost pepper: 1,041,427 SHU (Outrageously hot)
Where to find chipotles in adobo sauce
Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are widely available at most grocery stores in the US. Check the canned vegetable aisle or near the Mexican ingredients. If you can’t find them at your local grocery, try ordering them online.
One jar of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce has more quantity than needed for most recipes. Store the opened jar covered with foil for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
For longer term storage, you can freeze individual chipotle peppers in an ice cube tray, placing one pepper or one tablespoon sauce into each hole. Freeze for about 2 hours until solid, then place them in a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze up to 3 months.
Ways to use chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
Chipotle peppers in adobo add a pop of rich, smoky flavor to soups, stews, beans, aiolis, marinades, glazes, and more. Here are some of our favorite chipotle recipes:
A great way to use chipotle peppers in adobo sauce: this easy Chipotle Sauce! It’s creamy, savory, smoky and spicy: all at once! Drizzle it over tacos or burritos — even a burrito bowl — and it adds so much flavor, you might want to bathe in it.
Here’s a rich, creamy and spicy sauce that makes just about anything taste irresistible: Chipotle Aioli! This sumptuous mayo-based sauce is ideal for dipping a hot crispy fry, slathering on a burger or sandwich, or even drizzling on a taco.
Here’s a sauce you’ll want to drizzle on just about everything: Chipotle Ranch Dressing! This zingy, zesty dressing is creamy with just the right heat on the finish. It takes only 5 minutes to whip up, making it perfect for weeknight bowl meals.
Another perfect way to use chipotle peppers in adobo? Tortilla soup! It's hearty and full of savory, smoky flavor from fire roasted tomatoes and a hint of adobo sauce. What sends it over the top is the garnishes: homemade tortilla strips, radishes, cilantro, and a squeeze of tangy lime.
Try these Veggie Fajitas! These are so full flavored and satisfying, they please everyone around the table: even the meat lovers! This fajita recipe stars our favorite fajita veggies, blackened in the oven and finished on the stove, with pinto beans cooked in a flavorful fajita sauce that uses adobo sauce.
Try chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in these Crispy Avocado Tacos! You’ve got avocado fries, breaded and baked in a hot oven until crispy, with a texture reminiscent of a fried fish taco. Then top that with chipotle-seasoned black beans, pico de gallo, and the refreshing crunch of romaine lettuce. Drizzle on a creamy lime and cilantro sauce, and it’s heaven on a plate.
Taco soup is a Tex Mex invention like taco salad, basically a mashup between a Mexican tortilla soup and American chili. Each bowl is warming, savory and smoky, and a cozy canvas for toppings like sour cream and crushed tortilla chips. Adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers gives it depth and a rich undertone.
Try this Chipotle Crema: creamy, spicy, and altogether irresistible! This delectable sauce stars chipotle chilis in adobo sauce: a unique Mexican pepper that adds a smoky heat to anything it touches. You can customize this sauce to your desired spice level, with variations for mild to spicy.
Here's the ultimate vegan chili recipe! Everyone loves chili, and it's the perfect way to make vegetables taste delicious. It’s hard to find someone who will turn this one down! It’s full of savory flavor starring beans and quinoa. The flavor secret? A hint of adobo sauce for complexity.
This Mexican-style red rice is a quick and easy spin that uses salsa to get big flavor quickly. It’s also got a special flavor secret that takes it from good to irresistible: you guessed it! Adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chilis.
More quick guides
Mystified by an ingredient, or want to learn more about flavor secrets? Here are a few more quick guides to peruse:
- Learn the magic of Fire Roasted Tomatoes and about spicy Calabrian Chilis
- Understand the world’s most nutrient-dense veggie, Watercress
- Get the differences between Butter Lettuce, Romaine Lettuce and Endive
- Learn all about creamy Goat Cheese (Chevre)
- See why Castelvetrano Olives make an olive lover out of anyone
Chipotle Aioli & Ways to Use Chipotle Peppers!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: ½ cup 1x
Try this Chipotle Aioli sauce anytime you need a smoky, spicy heat! It’s ideal for burgers, fries, veggies, and more.
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- ½ cup high quality mayonnaise
- ⅛ teaspoon cumin
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- Use a large knife to finely mince the chipotle peppers, then use the side of the knife to grind them into a paste as finely as possible.
- In a medium bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of the mashed chipotle peppers with the grated garlic, mayonnaise, cumin, and kosher salt. (Taste and if desired, you can add more chipotle for an even spicier kick.)
- For a perfectly creamy sauce, use a spatula to press the sauce through a fine mesh strainer. Stores up to 2 weeks refrigerated.
- Category: Sauce
- Method: No Cook
- Cuisine: Sauce
- Diet: Vegetarian
Keywords: Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chipotles in adobo sauce
Let us know if you have any questions!