Spicy Chipotle Sauce

This vegan chipotle sauce gets its creaminess from tahini and its spice from canned adobo sauce.

chipotle sauce in small bowl with spoon

In our household, Alex and I eat a lot of tacos. Most of them are vegetarian tacos recipes, but many times they’re vegan tacos. And when we make vegan tacos, there’s always the question: what vegan taco sauce to use? Many of our vegetarian tacos feature sauces based on sour cream or yogurt. But without dairy, what to use for creaminess? Alex and I created this spicy chipotle sauce to solve just that problem. Keep reading for the magic ingredients in this delicious and spicy vegan chipotle sauce!

spoon hovering above glass filled with chipotle sauce

Chipotle Sauce Ingredients

Instead of dairy, this chipotle sauce recipe is vegan, so it has to rely on something else for creaminess. The magic ingredient? Tahini. What is tahini? It’s a paste made of sesame seeds, typically used in Middle Eastern or Mediterranean dishes. Tahini is perfect for making creamy sauces for salads and tacos, but it’s also fantastic for desserts like cookies or as a replacement for peanut butter for peanut allergies. We use it in many of our vegan recipes as a creamy alternative to dairy.

Related: Got left over tahini? Here are our 13 Best Tahini Recipes.

The rest of the ingredients in this chipotle sauce: lemon, Mexican hot sauce, olive oil, cumin, and adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. The Mexican hot sauce we like to use is Cholula brand, but you could use any brand you like.

What is Adobo Sauce?

So, what is adobo sauce? Alex and I use adobo sauce all the time to bring a savory, smoky flavor to Mexican dishes. Chipotles in adobo sauce are sold in most mainstream grocery stores here in the US, available next to the Mexican products. The small can includes chipotle chiles, which are smoked and dried jalapeños that then are rehydrated and canned in adobo sauce, a purée of tomato, vinegar, garlic, and some other spices.

Most of our recipes call for a very small amount of adobo sauce, because it’s super potent! And many times we only use the adobo sauce, not the chipotle chilis. In this sauce, we’ve called for only 1 teaspoon of adobo sauce. You can freeze the remainder of the chipotle chile in adobo sauce for future use. See below for more recipes to use up the can!

spicy tahini sauce in glass dish with spoon

How to Make Chipotle Sauce

Simply mix all of the chipotle sauce ingredients together in a bowl and you’re good to go! One thing to note is that the consistency of tahini brands differ, so your sauce may need a little more tahini or a little more water or lemon juice to get to the right consistency.

You’ll need to store the homemade chipotle sauce in an airtight container in the fridge. If it seems a little thick when you take it out of the fridge, let it sit on your counter for a few minutes before serving. Tahini tends to solidify when chilled.

Related: How to Make Vegan Nacho Cheese

spoon in jar of chipotle sauce

Looking for recipes with chipotle chile in adobo sauce?

If you bought chipotle chile in adobo sauce for this recipe and want ideas for using it up, here are a few of our recipes that use it!

Looking for other essential recipes?

Whether it’s how to make salad dressing or homemade Yum Yum Sauce, our essential recipes are easy DIYs to make at home! Here are few more of our essential and DIY recipes:

This recipe is…

This spicy chipotle sauce recipe is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, plant-based, dairy-free, and refined sugar free.

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chipotle sauce in small bowl with spoon

Spicy Chipotle Sauce


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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: About 1/2 cup 1x

Description

This vegan chipotle sauce gets its creaminess from tahini and its spice from canned adobo sauce. Here’s how to make chipotle sauce without mayo.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon or 2 limes, enough for 3 tablespoons juice
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican hot sauce (Cholula)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from 1 can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce)

Instructions

  1. Juice the lemon or limes.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients. Since the consistency of tahini brands can vary, add a little more tahini if the consistency of the sauce is too runny, or a little water or extra lemon juice if the consistency is too thick. Store refrigerated.

  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Mixed
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Chipotle sauce, How to make chipotle sauce, Chipotle chile in adobo sauce, Vegan chipotle sauce

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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