Chipotle Sauce


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Chipotle sauce is an easy way to add smokiness, heat, and zesty flavor to any dish. It can be drizzled over tacos or turned into a creamy dip. Either way, this recipe is incredibly easy to make with the help of just a few pantry staples.

Pouring chipotle sauce from food processor into a glass jar.

When it comes to elevating recipes, sauces and seasonings are key. And when it comes to Mexican-inspired recipes, it’s hard to beat chipotle sauce (or chipotle crema) for that creamy, spicy, addictive flavor. If you’ve never made it at home before, let me show you how easy it is!

What Are Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce?

The secret to this homemade sauce is chipotle peppers in adobo. But what is that exactly? Well, it’s a combination of things. Chipotle peppers are red jalapeños that have been smoked and dried. And the adobo is a velvety, tangy, and sweet sauce made from dried chili peppers.

Together, they make for a zesty, spicy, and amazingly flavorful pair, which is why they’re sold in jars that way.

You can use the chipotle peppers for an intense smoky heat. Or use a tablespoon of the sauce for a subtle, fiery sweetness. Needless to say, it makes for an extremely versatile pantry staple if you like adding a spicy kick.

Chipotle sauce ingredients in a food processor, and then blended.

Chipotle Sauce Ingredients

All you need to do is blend a few simple ingredients in a food processor until the sauce smooth and creamy. It couldn’t be any easier!

  • Mayonnaise: This is the base foundation for any chipotle sauce. I’m using my homemade mayonnaise recipe (it’s so easy!).
  • Sour Cream: Adds extra creaminess and a slight tanginess.
  • Chipotle Peppers in Adobo: The key ingredient that gives this sauce its smoky and spicy flavor.
  • Lime Juice: The acidity balances out the spiciness.
  • Garlic and Salt: Helps tie all the flavors together.

Can You Use Chipotle Powder?

If you can’t find chipotle peppers, a dried and ground version works in a pinch! Just keep in mind that one dried chipotle pepper is equivalent to 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder. If you feel that’s not enough, you can always add a bit more and blend again.

A spoonful of chipotle sauce from a glass jar full of the sauce.

Ways To Use Chipotle Sauce

Now that you have your sauce, let the fun begin. I like to use it in my creamy chipotle shrimp to give the sauce that delicious smokiness. But there’s countless ways to use it. Here’s a few ideas.

Different Variations

If you need to meet a dietary need or switch up the flavors, below are a few options.

  • Make it dairy-free by substituting the sour cream with cashew sour cream.
  • Make it vegan by using the cashew sour cream and a vegan mayonnaise.
  • Spice it up by adding an extra half of a chipotle pepper into the food processor.
A glass jar of chipotle sauce with a spoon dipping into it.

Storage Tips

To store chipotle sauce:  Scoop it into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

To store leftover chipotle peppers: Since the peppers and sauce have a strong flavor, you’ll most likely only be using a quarter of the can. So I recommend freezing them in a freezer-safe bag or glass container. They’ll keep for about 3 months and can thaw easily whenever you’re ready to use.

More Creamy Sauces That Taste Just As Good

Here’s a few of my favorites that I love to use for tacos, rice bowls, or just for dipping. Enjoy!

A glass jar of chipotle sauce with a spoon dipping into it.

Best Chipotle Sauce for Tacos, Fajitas & More!

4.97 from 60 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


Chipotle sauce is extremely versatile and an easy way to add smokiness and heat to any dish. It can be drizzled over tacos, turned into a creamy dip, and tons more. Watch the video below!




  • In a food processor, add the mayo, sour cream, chipotle peppers (plus a little additional sauce), lime juice, garlic and a pinch of salt.
  • Process until the sauce becomes smooth and creamy.
  • Taste test to see if you need to add any more lime juice or salt.

Lisa’s Tips

  • This recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups of chipotle sauce.
  • To store: Scoop it into an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 1 week.


Calories: 86kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 92mg | Potassium: 32mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 293IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: sauce
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Chipotle Crema, Chipotle Sauce, Chipotle Sauce Recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Can I use it to cook with? I wanted to make chipotle pasta with chicken, will this sauce work for it? I would appreciate your help. Thanks5 stars

    1. Hi Maria – Yes! I use it to make my chipotle shrimp recipe, but you could also do chicken and pasta.

  2. Thanks for the help. I have been doing things with Chipotles in Adobo since I first tasted them. My first project was to Craft a Barbeque Sauce. That was a great idea that I still use. Then I moved on to Crema. I haven’t use mayo on mine, but now I will!5 stars

    1. There really is so much you can make with chipotles in adobo. That’s wonderful you’re experimenting with lots of creative ideas, John. Enjoy this chipotle sauce!

  3. I think I over-processed it and now it’s runny and not really creamy. Any suggestions on how to thicken it up?

  4. This is excellent! I wish I had made double the amount for the meatloaf, which is wonderful.
    Thank you for the recipes.5 stars

  5. This sauce is amazing. It’s so creamy and flavorful. My husband and I were pleasantly surprised by how good this sauce was.5 stars

    1. You can use any vegan sour cream. You could also use the cashew cream recipe on my website, though it will be a bit thinner.

  6. Super excited to try this! Just curious, I’d the nutrition label at the bottom per serving? If so, how much is in a serving?

  7. This is a first for me. I am so thankful you came into my file…well your recipes since I’ve never met you LOL. I have never had Chipotle anything. I mixed this up last night and added it to my tacos tonight. Yummy!! You have widened my outlook on food more then you will ever know.

    1. Thanks so much for leaving a review and glad your first try at this chipotle sauce was a success for taco night, Juden!

      1. Its still pretty good but the sourness from the sour cream kind of gets in the way of the Chipotle peppers. I like to use plain yogurt instead. I use two yogurt cups (10.6 oz), 7.5 oz can of Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, everything else in this recipe plus some cumin and a little cayenne and it turns out exactly how it would be from a burrito place.4 stars

  8. This was so yummy on fish tacos! I used jalapeño cream instead of sour cream and it was a huge hit! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂5 stars

  9. I could eat this by the spoonful! I made it to go with fish tacos and it was wiped out in one sitting. Even my picky daughter liked it!5 stars

  10. Best tasting homemade dressing. Supper spicy so I have to lesson the amount of Chipotle in Adobo. I think it pairs amazingly with Lisa’s Tuna meatballs!

  11. Do you have a recommendation for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce that has a clean ingredient statement?  

    1. I’ve had a hard time finding chipotle peppers in adobo sauce without the inflammatory gmo oils. Might be something we have to make from scratch.

  12. Hi Lisa,
    Unfortunately, you can’t buy chipotle peppers in adobo sauce where I live. Is it possible to replace them with chipotle chilli powder or do you have another idea? I would so love to try your recipe for Creamy chipotle shrimp!5 stars

      1. Hi Lisa,
        I read your tip right after I posted the comment, but I couldn’t delete it anymore. I am so sorry! But since I asked, I already cooked this recipe 3 times and all just LOVE it!!! Thank you so much again for your delicious recipes!!