Chipotle sauce is a creamy, smokey, and spicy condiment with a touch of sweetness and a bold rich flavor.
It’s excellent to enhance the taste of salads, bowls, sandwiches, tacos, burritos, and much more.
Table of Contents
The recipe is made with chipotle in adobo sauce, a popular Mexican and Southwestern ingredient consisting of smoked jalapeño peppers that are dried, rehydrated, and simmered in a rich adobo sauce.
Here, we show you how to make a creamy chipotle sauce at home with simple ingredients; we also give you a vegetarian and vegan option.
You can use chipotle sauce like mayonnaise or any other creamy dressing.
It’s excellent on salads, grain bowls, and roasted and air-fried veggies.
It’s also great as a dip, spread in a sandwich, or drizzled on tacos and wraps.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Quantities are in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.
Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
Chipotles are smoked and dried jalapeños. They are preserved in a dark, tangy, spicy red chile sauce made from ground-dried chilies, herbs, and vinegar.
You can find chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in most US supermarkets. They are usually canned and sold in the Mexican food aisle.
You can also find them in Mexican grocery stores or online. If you don’t live in the US, online is your best bet.
Can you replace chipotles in adobo sauce?
We tried, and the best way to do so is with Tabasco hot sauce (or cayenne pepper/chili peppers powder) + smoked paprika.
A few teaspoons of chipotle powder are also a good alternative.
Mayonnaise is the sauce’s fatty component, creating that creamy and velvety texture.
You can use regular mayonnaise, store-bought vegan mayo, or our quick homemade vegan mayo.
Greek yogurt or Sourcream
We think a chipotle sauce recipe made with 100% mayo is too heavy and greasy, so we recommend cutting it with Greek yogurt or sour cream.
Both add a creaminess while keeping the chipotle sauce light and fresh.
If you are vegan, you can use a non-dairy Greek-style yogurt or a vegan sour cream (Tofutti, Follow Your Heart, Wayfare, Good Karma, etc.).
Fresh lime juice adds freshness and a hint of sweetness that goes well with the smokey and earthy flavor of the dried jalapeños.
Substitute lemon juice for lime.
Start with half a clove and add more if you like. The sauce should not be overly garlicky.
We like to use sea salt or kosher salt, but you can use any other salt.
Depending on your taste and eating habits, you might want to add a sweetener to balance the spicy and smokey flavors.
In this case, we recommend good-quality maple syrup. Sugar, honey, or agave syrup work too.
Ground cumin is another ingredient some people add to make their chipotle sauce more aromatic.
How to make Chipotle sauce
Blend chipotle in adobo, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lime juice, garlic, and salt until smooth and creamy.
Tip: We use two chipotle peppers to get to a medium-spice level. Add one chipotle pepper for a milder sauce and three to five chipotle peppers for a spicier sauce.
Scrape down the sides of the blender if necessary. Taste and adjust for salt, sweet, spicy, and acidic.
Use chipotle sauce as a dip, spread, or drizzle.
Anything Mexican-inspired works wonderfully with this condiment. Try tacos, nachos, tortilla chips, burrito bowls and wraps, black beans, avocado, and more.
For example, Nico loves it on top of its sliced avocado toast.
The sweet flavor of the sweet potatoes with the smokiness and tanginess of the sauce is just perfect.
More ideas for chipotle sauce
In general, we both love it on veggies! Try it drizzled on or as a dip with air-fried, oven-baked, and grilled veggies. Some of our favorites are:
Other recipes that go well with chipotle sauce are:
Chipotle sauce is a bold and rich sauce with a complex taste made up of 5 flavors:
– Smokiness: from the jalapeños, smoked over oak or pecan wood chips.
– Spiciness: a mild spiciness, more like a pleasant warm feel, from the jalapeño peppers.
– Sweetness: comes from the adobo sauce (a tomato-based sauce) or from adding sweeteners like sugar, honey, or syrups.
– Tanginess: from the vinegar in the adobo sauce and the fresh lime.
– Umami: The combination of smoked jalapeños and the adobo sauce provides a rich, earthy, and savory flavor.
Chipotle sauce is mild with a pleasant, warming mouthfeel and moderate heat. It’s suitable for most palates.
Make ahead: You can make chipotle sauce as part of your meal prep routine, as it keeps well for several days.
Refrigerator: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. We put it in a small mason jar.
Freezing: We don’t recommend freezing chipotle sauce.
More sauce recipes
Are you looking for more sauce ideas? Take your pick at these recipes:
- Vegan pesto: perfect for a pasta salad, pesto pasta, salads, and grain bowls.
- Romesco sauce: a creamy, nutty, and peppery from Spain.
- Tahini sauce: Add some Middle Eastern creamy, dreamy flair to your salad and pasta salad.
- Cilantro Lime dressing is a bright, refreshing, herby dressing that works well with Mexican-inspired dishes.
- Chimichurri recipe: a tangy and herby Argentinian sauce with bold flavors.
- Marinara sauce: a classic Italian sauce with tomato, basil, and garlic.
For more condiment ideas, check out our dressing and sauces category page.
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce more or less to taste
- ¾ cup Greek yogurt sub sourcream or non-dairy yogurt
- ¼ cup mayonnaise sub vegan mayo
- ½ clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup optional
- Blend 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, ¼ cup mayonnaise, ¾ cup Greek yogurt, ½ clove garlic, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and ¼ teaspoon salt until smooth and creamy.
- Scrape down the sides of the blender if necessary. Taste and adjust for salt, sweet, spicy, and acidic.
- Use chipotle sauce as a dip, spread, or drizzle with veggies, bowls, salads, and Mexican food.