Ingredient Spotlight: Chiles en Adobo

updated May 2, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

For adding an extra kick to everything from a pot of chili to roast chicken, we’ve started turning to chiles en adobo. They have a smoky and slightly sweet flavor, and just one of them is spicy enough to make our toes tingle.

Do you love them, too?

Most cans of chiles en adobo contain chipotle peppers marinated in a tangy-sweet red sauce. Chipotles are the smoked and dried version of jalapeño peppers, and putting them in this adobo sauce seems to only bring out more of their wonderful smoky and spicy flavor.

To use them, we usually mince one (or two, if we’re feeling brave) of the peppers with a few teaspoons of the sauce until it becomes a thick paste. We’ll stir this into soups and sauces, or use it as a marinade for meats. Try mixing some with pulled pork – so good!

A little really does go a long way. We’re no strangers to heat, but the first time we tried chiles en adobo, it really knocked our socks off. If it’s your first time using this ingredient, start with the smallest chile in the can and add more as you go. You can also tame some of the heat by stripping out the seeds inside the chiles before mincing them.

Cans of chiles en adobo seem to be pretty common these days. Look for them near the other hot sauces and canned foods or in the Mexican foods aisle at your grocery store. Unused portions can be refrigerated in a clean air-tight container for about a month or frozen for several months.

How do you use chiles en adobo?

Related: Food Science: What Makes Chile Peppers Spicy?