Spicy, fragrant, and perfect for dipping, this chipotle sauce recipe has a delicious, smoky taste and is an easy way to liven up your favorite dishes.
One of the most common sauces available in Latin American and Tex-Mex cuisine, chipotle crema has been bringing a mild heat to dishes for so many years. In fact, chili has been harvested and used in cooking for centuries, so it’s no wonder it’s such a staple nowadays. My creamy chipotle sauce is thick, smooth, and super versatile, not to mention an easy way to add a bit of heat to everyday dishes. It’s also easy to make completely vegan and is naturally gluten-free!
This sauce is also easy to make ahead and enjoy over weeks or even months at a time. Plus, the recipe is so simple. The hardest part might be going to the grocery store and finding the ingredients! It’s versatile, it’s delicious and it’s a real game-changer for meals lacking a little bit of zing.
What’s the Secret to Making a Great Chipotle Sauce
The heart of what is chipotle sauce is in its name – the chipotle peppers. For me, the best chipotle sauces are rich, creamy, and full of flavor. When they’re packed in adobo sauce, you get the unique, smoky flavor that the sauce is famous for. Because the chillis are cooked slowly, over time, much of the flavor is found in the delicious sauce that surrounds them and should never be thrown away!
I also think one of the best secrets to making a great chipotle sauce is mayonnaise. Along with sour cream, it’s how the sauce gets its trademark creaminess and can help offset some of the heat the peppers produce. I recommend, for this recipe, using a high-quality, full-fat mayo. I like to make my own, but you can usually find a good brand at the grocery store too.
What Are Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
This recipe uses chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Chipotle peppers are Jalapeño peppers that have been dried and smoked, most commonly found in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. When canned or preserved, the peppers are stewed in an adobo sauce, a tomato-based stew that’s elevated by a spice blend including paprika, cumin, bay leaf, garlic, and onions. The peppers are allowed to stew for a long period of time and are usually canned in adobo sauce, which gives the chipotles their distinctive flavor when used later for cooking.
The peppers used in this recipe are hotter than your average Jalapeño pepper, which tends to be green. Because it’s been allowed to mature, a red chipotle pepper is hotter than one you might find in a Jalapeño popper – but not the hottest super spicy variety out there.
Homemade Chipotle Sauce Ingredients
- Chipotles in Adobo Sauce: You can find these canned or jarred at the grocery store or in some specialty stores – any works just fine. Just make sure they’ve got the sauce!
- Sour Cream: If you have it, you can also use Mexican crema. You can also make it vegan by using a plant-based sour cream.
- Mayonnaise: Use store-bought or homemade – you can also use vegan mayo. In a pinch, greek yogurt can also work, but it will lose some of its creaminess.
- Cilantro: If you’re a cilantro hater, fresh herbs like Thai basil or Italian parsley can work just as well.
- Cayenne Pepper: for that extra kick.
- Garlic Powder and Fresh Garlic: add delicious garlicky flavor.
- Lime Juice: In a pinch, lemon juice will do, but I find the lime gives the sauce a better flavor.
- Salt – to taste.
How to Make Chipotle Sauce
This sauce is super simple. Just add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor and process until it’s completely smooth. Easy!
Chef’s Tip: If you’re using a food processor, be aware that the sauce won’t come out completely smooth. Super smooth chipotle sauce needs to be done in a blender so it can cut through the peppers and the garlic with ease.
What Can I Eat with Chipotle Sauce
For Dipping: Obviously, you can use tortilla chips or chicken wings to dip into this sauce, as well as general crudité like celery, carrots, and cucumber. Why not try dipping your fries into this creamy sauce? Try it with zucchini fries, sweet potato fries, eggplant fries, fried squash, or just regular old French fries.
For Flavoring: Use the sauce to spice up your favorite Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes like tacos, burritos, a burrito bowl, fajitas, and chili. Or add to Texas Caviar for a zing of flavor. Or, use it as part of a marinade or condiment for chicken breast, filet of salmon, or tofu scramble.
In Other Recipes: Why not try incorporating it into other dishes? Drizzle over eggs – try it with baked, scrambled, or drizzled with shakshuka, use to flavor chicken wraps, swap out for mayo in your chicken sandwiches, or added into a spoonful into soups for a smoky flavor.
How Do I Store Leftovers
Leftover Sauce: If you have leftover sauce, pour it into an air-tight container before storing. The homemade chipotle sauce will last for up to a week when stored in the refrigerator and up to six months if you choose to freeze your sauce. Just make sure that your container is freezer-safe before putting it away.
Leftover Chipotle Pepper: You can use leftover chipotle peppers in other dishes like salads, quiches, and stews. For storage, you can keep the peppers in the can for up to 4-5 days. Alternatively, you can freeze your leftover peppers for a later date. Simply flash-freeze the peppers and then store them in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container.
Chipotle peppers defrost very quickly, so they’re easy to pull out of the freezer if you need some spice in a hurry!
More Sauce Recipes
- Simple Homemade Chili Sauce
- Raising Cane’s Sauce (Copycat)
- Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce
- Buffalo Wing Sauce
- Copycat Chick Fil a Sauce
If you try this chipotle sauce recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
The Best Homemade Chipotle Sauce
- Blender/Food processor
- Add all of your ingredients to a food processor or blender. Process until the sauce is completely smooth and enjoy.
- For a completely smooth sauce, I recommend using a blender over a food processor – the latter will keep the sauce chunky, rather than making it super smooth.
How To Store
- In The Fridge: Transfer the sauce into an airtight container and keep refrigerated. It will only last up to a week when properly stored. Use a clean spoon every time you use the sauce – this will stop bacteria from growing. In The Freezer: Transfer the sauce into a freezer-safe bag or container, then freeze. It should keep for up to six months.