Chipotle Adobo Sauce

Chipotle Adobo Sauce

Stop buying that bottled nonsense and make a batch of this triple threat awesome sauce. Great on steaks and burgers, or as a chicken marinade. Brush onto whitefish fillets for fish tacos. We even made an amazing adobo turkey chili.

We combine chipotle, ancho and guajillo chili peppers with smoked paprika for a smoky-sweetness with just enough after-burn. Layers of flavor without a salt bomb. What are you waiting for?

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Chipotle Adobo Sauce

Chipotle Adobo Sauce

  • Author: Fresh. Out.
  • Prep Time: 45
  • Total Time: 45
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: sauces, marinades
  • Cuisine: Mexican


A smoky adobo sauce with layers of flavor and just enough heat.



  • 6 dried ancho chili peppers
  • 4 dried guajillo chili peppers
  • 1 dried chipotle pepper or 3/4 tsp ground chipotle chili powder
  • 1 small head fresh garlic (about 10 cloves), peeled and separated
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Prepping the Peppers

  1. Use a damp paper towel to wipe the dried peppers off, then remove stems and dump the seeds out.
  2. Cut down one side of each pepper with scissors or a sharp knife to remove any remaining seeds and strands of dried pith. Carefully open and flatten each pepper as much as possible.
  3. Heat a grill pan or large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Quickly place a few of the peppers in a single layer, and warm for 10-15 seconds. Flip and heat for another 10-15 seconds then remove from pan. We’re just looking to release some aroma and flavor so don’t let these go too long. The peppers will burn quickly and become bitter.
  4. Repeat with the remaining peppers then add them to a large, heat safe bowl. Cover with very hot tap water and let sit for 20-30 minutes.

Prepping the Spices

  1. Turn the pan from the peppers to medium heat and measure out the spices. Place cloves and oregano in one small bowl and the remaining spices (excluding salt) in another.
  2. Once the pan is hot, remove from heat and add the cloves and oregano. Toss for 10-15 seconds then add the remaining spices. Toss for another 10 seconds then transfer to a small bowl.
  3. Pick out the cloves, grind them in a spice grinder, molcajete and tejolote, or mortar and pestle, and return to the spice mixture. Add the salt to the mixture as well.

Putting it Together

  1. Drain the peppers and discard the liquid. Add the peppers, spice mixture, garlic, and apple cider vinegar to a food processor or blender and pulse until as smooth as possible.
  2. Consistency is up to you. The adobo will be thick like tomato paste, but if you prefer a thinner consistency, add 1-2 tablespoons of water.
  3. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to a week or transfer to an ice cube tray and freeze to portion out individual servings (2 tbsp each). Store frozen cubes in a zip top bag with air removed for up to a year.


  • Substitute a pinch of ground cloves for whole cloves.
  • Mexican oregano is worth adding to your spice cabinet. It’s a bit stronger than the Mediterranean variety with a citrus finish that complements the peppers. If you can’t find it, regular oregano is just fine.


  • Serving Size: 2 tablespoons

Keywords: adobo, chipotle, guajillo, ancho


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