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8 Easy-to-Get Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce Substitutes

Peppers are spicy kings of the kitchen.

Chefs and food lovers cannot deny the importance of Peppers in meals; they are just amazing.

One such pepper is Chipotle; however, it may not always be available.

What can you substitute for Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce? This article covers all the options you have to enjoy adobo sauce still.

15-Second Summary

Chipotle peppers are roasted red jalapenos with moderate heat yet sweet undertones. They are vital ingredients in adobo sauce (sweet sauce made from tomatoes, vinegar, onion, and spice).

To substitute for chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, use cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, Tabasco hot sauce, ancho chili paste, chili powder, etc.

What are Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce?

Adobo sauce is a sweet red yet tangy sauce. It is made from onion, vinegar, tomato, and spice.

Chipotle peppers are red jalapenos; they are moderately hot yet have a sweet, smoky taste.

chipotle peppers

Combining both ingredients in a can is a must-have kitchen staple. It is a food component that is never missing in most Mexican recipes.

So, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce is a mix of adobo sauce and Chipotle peppers. It may or may not be in a can.

Now that we are all abreast with that knowledge, here are alternatives for your recipe if you don’t have chipotle pepper for your adobo sauce.

8 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce Substitutes

1. Cayenne Pepper

cayenne pepper

As a relative of Chipotle pepper- cayenne peppers make a suitable substitute for chipotle in adobo sauce.

They both come from chili peppers and are common kitchen spices. Both peppers are also loved for their color, which enhances the appearance of the recipe they appear in.

Cayenne peppers are way hotter than chipotle, so please exercise moderation in your use.

These peppers can be substituted for each other, but it’s best you don’t expect an “identical” pepper replacement.

2. Smoked Paprika


Smoked paprika is a great canned Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce substitute.

It is obtained from roasting peppers over a fire and then grinding them. This process gives the spice a smoky flavor, just like chipotle.

Smoked paprika is a perfect replacement if your recipe already contains tomatoes. Add one to two spoons to the recipe, taste, and add more if necessary.

Adding smoked paprika to vegetarian recipes or plant-based meals gives it a robust and meaty taste. You also can add dried or fresh chili peppers to give the recipe more heat.

3. Dried Chipotle Powder

chipotle powder

Using dried chipotle powder is a terrific option to substitute chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but it’s rare to find. So you can use chipotle chili powder or whole dried chipotles.

To use whole peppers in your recipe, soak them in boiling water to soften the peppers. Then go ahead to chop and add to your dish.

The chipotle powder has the same heat that the pepper itself gives, so you can substitute in the same ratio.

4. Chili Powder

indian chili powder-cayenne mix

Chili powder combines cayenne pepper, cumin, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, dried chilies, and onion powder. This combination gives you the heat and spice your recipe calls for.

Feel free to use this in tacos or enchiladas.

5. Ranchero Sauce

ranchero sauce

Ranchero sauce shares a bit of similarity with Adobo sauce. It has a tomatoey, spicy, and salty taste like adobo sauce.

Although similar, it’s a more suitable substitute for mild spice eaters. Also, the taste of ranchero paste can be elevated with the addition of more or less spice.

Ranchero sauce is easy to find in its packaged form, so feel free to check grocery stores or places with Mexican connections.

6. Tabasco Chipotle Hot Sauce


We recommend Tabasco chipotle hot sauce because it contains similar ingredients as adobo sauce.

The ingredient list includes vinegar, salt, sugar, chipotle peppers, onion powder, garlic powder, and other spices.

Although Tabasco sauce might not give you the exact thick, pulpy consistency that adobo sauce does, it still works perfectly.

To fix the consistency issue, you can blend a few cups of chipotle hot sauce with dried ancho, chipotle, or chiles. This would also give it that spicy red appearance adobo sauce has.

7. Chili Garlic Sauce

garlic and chili sauce

A standard garlic and chili sauce is a mixture of spicy, savory, and sweet flavors. It typically contains vinegar, garlic, chili peppers, and sugar, just like Tabasco sauce.

Chili Garlic Sauce is not a perfect substitute, but it will work fine in tight situations.

If you choose to use chili Garlic Sauce, you might want to steer away from the Asian style of this sauce. Usually, it contains ginger and fish sauce, which might affect the profile of your recipe.

8. Ancho Chile Paste

ancho chile paste

Ancho chile paste is not a direct substitute for chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. Because the ingredients are pureed ancho chile, salt, and water; they can’t give you the deep flavor of adobo sauce.

Yet, a great thing about this substitute is its sweet-smoky flavor, like adobo sauce.

Another good quality of ancho chile paste is its ability to serve as a foundation flavor for other spices in your recipe.

Those are our top eight recommendations for you. But, you can use other options like Piri Piri powder, guajillo powder, Aleppo powder to substitute for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

Recipes with Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

Spicy Chipotle Shredded Chicken

How To Make Adobo Sauce

We love to keep you informed; here are answers to questions about chipotle in adobo sauce.

FAQs About Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce

Which pepper is used the most in chipotle menu items?

Red jalapeno peppers are used the most in chipotle menus. However, other options could be bell or serrano peppers.

How much chipotle powder equals one pepper?

The equivalent of chipotle powder to one pepper is ½ teaspoon.

Where to buy chipotle pepper?

They are readily available at grocery stores. You can also find them in farm markets or ethnic food stores. And as always, you can order packaged peppers from online stores.

How to make chipotle peppers in adobo sauce less spicy?

To reduce the spiciness of your sauce, add something sweet. Sprinkling honey, sugar, or sweet ketchup should work that magic.

Are chipotle peppers in adobo sauce hot?

Yes, they are very hot. Chipotle peppers has a Scoville heat unit of 2,500 to 8,000 (a medium-hot range).

Chipotle in Adobo sauce is a Mexican blessing to the culinary industry. Still, if it’s unavailable, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Try out our recommendations and explore the versatility the cooking world gives.

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I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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