Learn About Chipotle Chiles

Author: Chef Toby

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What Is A Chipotle Chile?

A Chipotle chile is a type of dry pepper that is a dark brown on the outside and has very wrinkly rough skin. Chipotle peppers are jalapeños that turn red as they ripen and are harvested, dried, and smoked for many days. These peppers are usually sold ground, whole, or canned in adobo sauce, made from tomato, vinegar, garlic, and other spices.

What Do Chipotle Chiles Taste Like?

Chilpotes have very earth and smokey flavor. They measure at about 2,500-8,000 units on the Scoville scale, making them just as spicy as fresh jalapenos. 

How Can You Use Chipotle Chiles?

Use chipotle chiles in your cooking either ground or whole. Add ground chipotles to soups, stews, meats, sauces to lend a spicy, smokey flavor. Chipotle chiles in adobo are great to use right out of the can, however, whole dried chipotles require more work. Soaking the chiles in hot water for at least an hour allows the chipotles to become soft and easier to chop or blend and incorporate into foods. 

Learn About Chipotle Chiles

Where Can You Buy Chipotle Chiles?

Find whole chipotles at any Mexican grocery store, and in many local supermarkets, located by the Mexican products in the international aisle. You can find canned chiles in adobo sauce in this section as well. As for ground chipotle powder, find it by the other dried spices in the spice aisle.

How Do You Store Chipotle Chiles?

You should store whole and ground chipotle peppers in a cool, dry place in an airtight container or a plastic bag. These will begin to lose their flavor after three to six months. Keep open, canned chipotle peppers in the refrigerator for up to three months.

Fun Fact About Chipotle Chile:

Chipotle peppers originate from Mexico and are very popular in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine.

Did you know?

It takes about 10 pounds of jalapenos to make just 1 pound of chipotle chiles! 

Recipes Using Chipotle Chiles:

Creamy Chipotle Chicken Breasts

The richness from the heavy cream mellows out the spicy flavor of the chipotle to make this flavorful chicken dish. In a large frying pan, sear chicken breasts for three minutes on each side and remove. In a blender, add heavy cream, milk, chipotle chiles, and chicken bullion, and blend until smooth. Put the sauce in the skillet and cook until the sauce begins to thicken. Add in the chicken and cook for additional time until the chicken is cooked through. Serve the chicken with rice or roasted vegetables.

Chipotle Beef Burgers

Add a smokey and spicy kick to your burgers by adding pureed chipotles in adobo to ground beef. Shape the beef into patties and season with salt and pepper. Grill the patties for four minutes on each side, and serve with hamburger buns, lettuce, and tomato, and a mild cheese like Monterey Jack or cheddar.

Vegan Smokey Chipotle Queso

This vegan dip is great for vegans and non-vegans alike and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. In a food processor or blender, combine roasted cashews, lemon juice, chipotles in adobo, cumin, salt, smoked paprika, and granulated garlic. Add in water to adjust the texture and serve with chips or raw veggies like carrots and celery.

Baked Chipotle Salmon

Use chipotles in adobo to give flavor to flakey salmon fillets. In a food processor, blitz together chipotles, lime, cumin, garlic, and olive oil until smooth. On a baking sheet, lay salmon fillets skin side down and add spread the chile mixture on top of the salmon. Bake until the salmon is tender and serve with steamed rice and veggies like broccolini or green beans.

Vegetarian Butternut Squash Chili

This vegetarian chili uses butternut squash instead of meat to make this hearty, warm chili that is perfect for fall weather. Sauté onions, butternut squash, and garlic, until the onion is translucent, and season with chipotle peppers in adobo, cumin, and cinnamon. Then, add canned tomatoes, beans, bay leaf, and the broth of your choice. Simmer the soup until it is thick and the butternut squash is cooked through.


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