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

Description

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!

Video

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • 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.

Nutrition

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




149 Comments

  1. This sauce is fire. Been on a fajitas kick, and this sauce and fresh pico definitely kick them up a notch. Very versatile sauce, also great for grilled chicken and even chicken wings.5 stars

    1. This will stay good for one week in the fridge. Also, I normally will always write out how to store each recipe in the post :)

  2. Very easy to make, I did just add the whole can of chipolte peppers, made it a little spicer, but really yummy!5 stars

  3. Another great recipe. The whole family loved this with chicken in a soft taco. Delicious! I cannot wait for your cookbook to come out.5 stars

  4. So so good and flavorful! I couldn’t stop licking the bowl of the food processor lol. It tastes amazing in the Creamy Chipotle Shrimp recipe and I made it a second time to pair with quesadillas. 5 stars

  5. So glad I found this recipe. My husband ordered a Mac n cheese dish at a restaurant and it has a Chipotle cream sauce. I told him I’d attempt to make it at home, so I’m going to use this recipe for that portion. Can’t wait to taste it and the mac n cheese!

  6. This was so easy to make! I put it on steak tacos and it took them to another level. Can’t wait to try it in pasta!5 stars

  7. This is SOOO GOOD! Amazing job again Lisa! I’m a big lime fan so I add the zest too and use the whole lime to thin it out just a tad. I use a Vitamix, and it works just fine! Life changing sauce! Thank you!5 stars

    1. Happy to hear you’re loving this chipotle sauce! It really is such a great sauce to add to so many recipes, plus it makes for a great dip :)

    1. This would be difficult in a Vitamix as it’s a small quantity. Vitamix blenders require a minimum amount of ingredients in order to blend properly. You could double the recipe though and then make it in a Vitamix!

  8. I’m OBSESSED with this sauce!

    We are Canadian but love Latin cuisine. My husband has now dubbed my tacos better than any restaurant or take-out!

    I make this sauce several times a month. Thank you! It’s perfection. I’m looking to use it on more food. On nachos? On salad? Yum! 5 stars

    1. Happy to hear you both enjoyed this chipotle sauce! It really can be topped on anything from salads, to other meats, all sorts of tacos, or even as a dipping sauce :)

  9. So many ads pop up at the bottom that aren’t able to be closed it’s not allowing me to see the rest of the recipe. Videos by downshiftology and a GSK ad below that. Dang :(

    1. Oh no! I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a bad experience with the ads. There should be an “X” button to close them out. If not, please do email me so I can get to the bottom of this!

    1. Absolutely! This chipotle sauce is great with a variety of meals – for drizzling and dipping!

    1. Yes, it can! It may separate a little when you thaw it, but just whisk it back together.

  10. Any chance you can recommend a chipotle peppers in adobo sauce that’s available online? I have not been able to find anything locally.

  11. I was looking for a good chipotle sauce recipe last summer and then Lisa came out with this wonderful one. So good! I’m making it for tonight’s dinner!5 stars

      1. You can if you have a smaller blender, as this quantity won’t blend correctly in a bigger blender.

  12. I’ve now made this at least 5 times. I made it both ways, with chipotle chilis and with chipotle chili powder when I didn’t have the chilis. I love both pretty equally! I use veganaise (rather than mayo) and closer to 3/4 C sour cream and it’s addictive. It’s such a good recipe that you can play with measurements per taste. I make tacos just to eat the sauce. It’s also great on portabella burgers. Highly recommended! Thanks for the recipe:)5 stars

    1. Good to know about the two kinds of chilis you used! Happy to hear you’ve enjoyed this one so much. I too love to use this often!

      1. Hi Ryan, It says towards the top 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder= 1 dried chili. I think I added 1 tsp. Tasted as good as with the chilis in adobo sauce. Making it yet again tonight. I just can’t get enough! Hope you enjoyed as much as I do.5 stars

  13. Thank you very much for this sauce. I made it tonight for my tacos and the sauce was perfect! Everything I have made from you always comes out amazing !5 stars

  14. Amazing I smoked a tri-tip took it out at 130 let it set for 45 min cut it up and threw the meat and sauce together on low mixed and oh lord best tacos ever try it really u should wife wants me to make it for everyone that comes into town 5 stars

    1. Wow, that sounds amazing drizzled on top of tri-tip tacos! Happy to hear you both enjoyed this chipotle sauce :)

  15. This sauce was amazing for the fried fish tacos I made. I also used it on some salad as well. I’m thinking of adding it to some pasta. Do you think it’s best to hear that sauce in the skillet or microwave?5 stars

  16. Yum! Just made it using ingredients I had on hand: Key Lime Juice and a partial can of chipotle salsa. I added it to your Chipotle Shrimp recipe and it was a big hit. I love that this sauce can be used in so many ways. Thank you!5 stars

  17. This sauce is delcious!!! It is spicy depending on how much adobo sauce you add, but it’s so flavorful it’s worth the heat!5 stars

  18. Can the sauce be heated? I want to make some chicken and want the chicken to be in a sauce but since your recipe has mayo and sour cream idk if it can be heated or if I should just use it on top of the shredded chicken instead of mixing them together and heating them on the stove?

  19. Boy did I enjoy this recipe. It was fantastic on tacos, and I also used it for dressings on some salads. So flavorful.5 stars

  20. I’ve been wanting to try this recipe since i received the email. I’ve looked in my local grocery stores and on Amazon and have not been able to find a Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce that has clean ingredients. Do you have a recommendation on where to find and what product you use. I will likely not be able to source locally as you do, so an online option would be great. Thanks – Angie

    1. Hi Angie- In the post I mentioned you can use chipotle powder instead if you can’t find canned peppers in adobo :)

  21. Easy does it. This sauce is literally done in a few minutes. And sooo delicious! I used it with the chipotle shrimp, but since this one will be on repeat I will use it for many more recipes ;-).5 stars

  22. I am going to throw this together and use it on top of my tacos tonight! I can’t wait to try it. Nothing beats a little extra zest.5 stars

  23. Would cashew butter work for the sour cream if trying to make it dairy free? Or would raw cashews soaked work better? Thank you

  24. I am bookmarking this chipotle sauce, you explained each and everything so clearly. I have been thinking to make this. Will connect back if I find something to ask.5 stars

    1. I’m going to try the recipe this week. Looks delicious! Do you know if I can use cream cheese instead of sour cream?

  25. I had no idea chipotle was so easy to make, and now that I do, I am glad you gave us all those suggestions on where else to use it. I see a new family favourite forming here.5 stars