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The 5 Best Substitutes for Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

If you are enjoying a dish in a Mexican restaurant and there’s a hint of smokiness, you might have tasted Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

Chipotle is made from smoked red jalapenos that canned with a tomato-vinegar sauce.

While it can be found in most grocery stores, nothing beats using fresh ingredients for your meals.

From authentic Mexican recipes to new dishes or pasta that incorporate Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, it is important to know how to make the substitute when you cannot get your hands on the pre-made one.

The best substitutes for Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are poblano peppers, ancho chilies, and any other smoked red pepper you can find.

These alternatives can be used to make smoky and spicy sauces and salsas.

They pack the same amount of heat as Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce but will require a bit more preparation.

Keep on reading for the complete list of substitutes and how to prepare them.

What is Adobo Sauce? What Do Chipotle Peppers Do in Adobo Sauce?

what is adobo sauce what do chipotle peppers do in adobo sauce

First of all, adobo sauce is a spicy Mexican sauce similar to marinara.

It is made using roasted chipotle peppers, which are smoked jalapeno chiles.

The sauce also has garlic, oregano, cumin, onion powder, and thyme for taste.

The second question asks about chipotle peppers.

Chipotle peppers are smoked jalapeno chiles that have been canned in a sauce of vinegar, spices, and sometimes tomato or tomatillo.

The canned chile has a dark mahogany color with a rich, smoky flavor.

It is called chipotle because it is made from the jalapeno chile variety called ‘chilaca’ but is known as a chipotle because it is dried and smoked.

The adobo sauce recipe originated from Mexico – it has been used by Mexican cooks for many years.

The word ‘adobo’ means marinade or seasoning blend in Spanish, hence the sauce’s name.

When the chiles are correctly blended in with the sauce, they create an all-purpose condiment used for cooking or table-side sauce.

They are very versatile and offer great flavor to any dish when added to it.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

Since Chipotle peppers and adobo sauce are not the easiest to find, we have found five substitutes that work just as well.

1 – Cayenne Pepper

cayenne pepper

Another great substitution for Chipotle Peppers is cayenne pepper.

Cayenne pepper comes from tropical plants, and its name comes from the capital of French Guiana.

Just like chipotle peppers, cayenne pepper has a very strong flavor.

One can use this substitute in any dish that calls for adobo sauce or chipotle peppers.

If you are looking for a spicy meal, cayenne pepper is the way to go.

The pepper consists of a medium-length pod and a bright red color.

When they are fresh, their skin is very thin and wrinkled, but they have a smooth appearance when dried.

There is no need to remove the seeds if you use cayenne pepper because this will add heat to your meal.

In addition, cayenne pepper has been around for centuries.

It is one of the oldest spices globally, which means it has an impeccable reputation.

2 – Smoked Peppers

smoked peppers

Another substitution for the spicy sauce is smoked peppers.

In many cases, chipotle chili comes from smoke-dried jalapeno pepper.

Sometimes it is just a dry mixture of ground chilies that have been smoke-dried.

This substitution does not add heat to your meal but still gives a smoky flavor to your food.

This is the perfect substitution if you are looking for something that will not be too spicy.

Smoked peppers can be made at home or in a commercial kitchen, depending on who wants them.

Commercial kitchens often use gas-fired ovens because they produce the best results.

On the other hand, homes typically use wood-fueled stoves.

There is more to smoked peppers than adding them to your meal and removing the seeds.

One of the most important things is that there needs to be a balance between sugar and salt.

If you add too much of one ingredient, it will ruin the flavor – so it’s very important to pay close attention while cooking this dish.

3 – Chipotle Mexican Seasoning

chipotle mexican seasoning

There needs to be a balance between sugar and salt.

If you add too much of one ingredient, it will ruin the flavor – so it’s very important to pay close attention while cooking this dish.

Another widely available product that tastes like chipotle peppers is Chipotle Mexican seasoning.

The seasoning comes in powder and should be added to the dish during the final minutes of cooking.

The brand of Chipotle Mexican seasoning you choose is very important.

In addition, if the brand includes salt, it will add a lot of flavor to your dish.

However, there needs to be a balance between sugar and salt.

If you add too much of one ingredient, it will ruin the flavor – so it’s very important to pay close attention while cooking this dish.

4 – Dried Chipotles

dried chipotles

Dried chipotles also taste just like spicy sauce.

Although dried chipotles are quite expensive, they are worth it because you get more of the product.

Since the pods are dried, you can use them for months instead of weeks with canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

One of the best things about these peppers is that removing seeds does not affect their flavor.

Since the pod is already dried, there is no point in removing them.

Dried chipotles are not like other peppers because they typically maintain their flavor over a long period.

In addition, you can use them as an ingredient to make sauces or as a garnish on top of your dish.

However, one thing to remember is that dried chipotles are typically more expensive than regular peppers.

5 – Smoked Paprika

smoked paprika

Smoked paprika is a strong substitute for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

This type of pepper has a sweet and smoky flavor, which means it can add depth to any dish.

In addition, smoked paprika does not contain capsaicin as other peppers do.

This means that the spiciness will not overpower your dish.

The best thing about smoked paprika is that it has a deep, rich color.

On the other hand, smoked paprika does not have to be dark red like chipotle peppers because they are dried differently.

Smoked paprika can be found in different places around the world.

However, different countries produce it with different flavors, which means each type of pepper has a unique taste.


Adobo sauce is one of the main ingredients that give chipotle peppers in adobo sauce its flavor.

Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to find chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, or specific dietary requirements must be considered.

If you cannot get your hands on this ingredient, these are five alternatives to consider, but you still want a smoky flavor to your meal.

The five options listed here each provide a different taste and can be used in many dishes.

So, the next time you want to add a little more flavor to your dish, try some smoked paprika instead of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Smoked Peppers
  • Chipotle Mexican Seasoning
  • Dried Chipotles
  • Smoked Paprika


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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