Creamy Versatile Chipotle Sauce

published Dec 9, 2021
Chipotle Sauce Recipe

As a dip, a spread, a dressing – the versatility of a creamy, spicy chipotle sauce knows no bounds.

Makesabout 2 cups

Prep8 minutes to 10 minutes

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Chipotle sauce in a bowl.
Credit: Laura Manzano

The versatility of a creamy, spicy chipotle sauce knows no bounds. Use it as a dip, spread, or dressing. Given its distinctive flavor and dark mahogany color, it might surprise some to learn that a chipotle is the smoked and dried form of a very familiar pepper: the jalapeño! Jalapeños are one of the most common ingredients in Mexican cuisine, so it’s no surprise that there are two main varieties: morita, which is mostly found in the US, and meco, which is more exclusive to Mexico.

As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. Before conventional refrigeration, drying an ingredient was a way to help preserve them. And from there, the chipotle was born. Chipotles are often ground into a powder and added to marinades, sauces, and salsas. Chipotles in adobo refers to chipotles marinated in a rich and flavorful sauce (adobo translates from Spanish to “sauce, marinade, or seasoning”). In this sauce, the chipotles soften and are ready for a multitude of uses, including this delicious chipotle sauce.

What Is Chipotle Sauce Made Of? 

This sauce utilizes the entire can of chipotles in adobo: both the whole chipotles and their sauce. Sour cream brings a cool, creamy component, while a bit of mayonnaise adds some tang. Just a touch of maple syrup balances out the heat with a little sweetness, while lime and garlic provide acidity and flavor. And although it’s perhaps unexpected, a touch of soy sauce is added here to lend a deeper, saltier flavor and overall umami. 

How to Store Chipotle Sauce 

In an airtight container, chipotle sauce can keep in the fridge for up to 10 days. Make sure to give it a good stir before using! 

Ways to Use Chipotle Sauce 

  • Drizzle it on tacos and taco bowls, or into a burrito.
  • Thin it out with a bit of water (and an extra pinch of salt) to make a salad dressing.
  • Spread it on any sandwich or panini for a smoky kick in place of mayo.
  • Use it as dip for a simple roasted chicken, or even in place of mayo for a basic chicken salad. 
Credit: Laura Manzano

Is Chipotle Sauce Spicy? 

Just like jalapeños themselves, cans of chipotle in adobo will vary in spiciness from can to can. They’re mild to medium in heat, but in this recipe, they’re definitely cooled down by the sour cream. For a less spicy sauce, remove the seeds from the chipotles before adding them to the food processor. 

Chipotle Sauce Recipe

As a dip, a spread, a dressing – the versatility of a creamy, spicy chipotle sauce knows no bounds.

Prep time 8 minutes to 10 minutes

Makes about 2 cups

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1

    large lime

  • 1 (7-ounce) can

    chipotles in adobo sauce (about 1 cup)

  • 1 large clove

    garlic

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon

    soy sauce or tamari

  • 1 cup

    full-fat sour cream

  • 1/2 cup

    mayonnaise

Instructions

  1. Juice 1 large lime until you have 2 tablespoons. Place the juice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment.

  2. Add 1 (7-ounce can) chipotles in adobo sauce with their sauce, 1 large garlic clove, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, and 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari. Process until puréed and smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through, about 1 minute total.

  3. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add 1 cup sour cream and 1/2 mayonnaise and stir to combine. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed.

Recipe Notes

Chipotle peppers in adobo: Cans of chipotle will vary in spiciness, just like jalapeños do! If you end up with a can that is too spicy, add more sour cream to mellow it out.

Gluten-free: To make the sauce gluten-free, use tamari and make sure the chipotles do not contain wheat.

Storage: Refrigerate chipotle sauce in an airtight container for up to 10 days.