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Substitute For Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce: Top 10 Options

Are you looking for a substitute for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce? These ten options presented in this article will surely make your swapping experience easy.

Clay bowl filled with adobo sauce, chipotle peppers next to it.

What is Chipotle Pepper?

Chipotle pepper is a type of chili pepper that is made by smoking and drying ripe jalapeño peppers.

The name “chipotle” comes from the Nahuatl word “chilpoctli,” which means “smoked chili pepper.”

Chipotle peppers are commonly used in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. They have a smoky, slightly sweet, and spicy flavor. Cooks use them in a variety of dishes, including salsas, sauces, marinades, and rubs for meat.

You can buy packed chipotle peppers in stores. Canned chipotle peppers are often submerged in adobo sauce. However, when you are buying adobo sauce, you will notice that they are usually mashed or blended. 

What Is Adobo Sauce?

Adobo sauce is a type of sauce or marinade that originated in Mexican cuisine.

To make you blend together various ingredients, including chipotle peppers, garlic, vinegar, and spices. Some recipes include tomatoes. The resulting sauce has a smoky, slightly sweet, and tangy flavor, with a medium level of heat.

Many cooks use adobo sauce as a flavoring for a wide range of dishes, including meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables. Also, it can be a marinade, a cooking sauce, or a condiment.

Some popular dishes that feature adobo sauce include chicken adobo, adobo shrimp, and adobo tacos.

What Do Chipotle Peppers Do in Adobo Sauce?

Chipotles add more heat to adobo sauce and give it a smoky flavor. 

These peppers in adobo sauce are extremely useful. You can add it to dishes if you want some heat in your meals. Since these peppers are mashed and blended, the paste is a versatile ingredient.

Think of it as a chunky hot sauce. You can use it on its own as a dipping sauce or put it in almost anything savory, and it’ll still taste good. It’s that great! 

Look for equally versatile substitutes if you need to find an alternative for your recipes.

Substitute for Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

1. Smoked Peppers

Smoked peppers are among the best chipotle in adobo sauce substitute.

There are many kinds of smoked peppers, and some can be hotter peppers than chipotle.

You’ll need to come up with your own sauce, though, if you need the adobo sauce element in your dish. 


You can choose smoked papers according to your heat tolerance.

2. Chipotle Mexican Seasoning

This seasoning is made from ground chipotle chili peppers. It is also called chipotle chili powder. 

Some recipes adding extra herbs and spices, depending on the brand. It can also have onion powder and garlic powder. 

Yet, but the main ingredient is still the same, its chili peppers.

On the downside, it doesn’t have the same taste you’ll get from adobo sauce. This is the perfect chipotle in adobo sauce substitute if you just want the hot kick.


You can expect the same amount of heat with added flavors. 

3. Dried Chipotles

Plain and dried chipotles are also good alternatives.

Since they don’t come with additional flavorings, you can easily alter them to fit your recipes.

They must be rehydrated and mashed to be used the same way with adobo sauce.

If you want a powdered alternative, you can grind them to make dried chipotle powder. 


They pack the same heat and smoky flavor, so you’ll not miss those elements. The downside is that they are in their dried form.

4. Smoked Paprika

Yet another powdered chipotle pepper in adobo sauce substitute is smoked paprika.

Paprika, contrary to popular belief, is not hot. There are hot versions, but regular paprika does not have heat.

Smoked paprika, in particular, has a distinct smokiness not present in other varieties. This provides the smoky taste you’ll get from chipotles.


Choose the best kind of smoked paprika for your dish and heat tolerance. You’re bound to get something that will work. 

5. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne peppers are great as hotter chipotle peppers in adobo sauce substitutes.

These peppers are significantly higher on the Scoville scale than chipotles. They’re at 30,000-50,000 SHU, while chipotles max out at 8,000 SHU.

Aside from being hotter, cayenne peppers also do not have the flavors that adobo sauce offers.

You can always make a homemade adobo sauce, but that will take time. Most times, even cayenne pepper powder will do the job. 


Nevertheless, cayenne peppers alone can stand in if you’re only after the heat.

6. Chili Powder

Chili powder is a condiment made from different kinds of ground chilis. This powder is a mainstay in most kitchens, so it can be considered the most accessible option.

Chili powder packs a decent amount of heat and is used to season most dishes that call for some kick. It can replace chipotles in adobo sauce in recipes where its powdered form will not matter.  


Add chili powder to soup and stews that already have sauces for the best results.

7. Ranchero Sauce

Ranchero sauce is also an excellent replacement for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I

t is basically a dupe, just minus the whole chipotle peppers. Plus, this sauce can be made with different kinds of peppers, not only chipotle. 

Despite this, it has a similar flavor profile.


It is a direct substitute that will work in anything that calls for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. 

8. Tabasco Chipotle Hot Sauce

Another good chipotle chile in adobo sauce substitute is Tabasco Chipotle Hot Sauce.

This hot sauce is widely available, so it is an accessible option too. It is also made from chipotle peppers, so you will get a chili flavor match.

But some other spices and flavorings come with the hot sauce.  


You might need to adjust the amount of other ingredients in your recipe.

9. Chili Garlic Sauce

Chili garlic sauce is straightforward. Main ingredients are chilis and garlic, usually packed in oil. It gives you the taste of garlic and chili combined, so it is both savory and hot. 

These characteristics make it a good substitute for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. It can also lend moisture to your dishes, much like the original ingredient. Plus, most chili garlic recipes also incorporate vinegar. That means it does not taste that different from adobo sauce, either.


Use chili garlic sauce for it as a quick replacement; it will offer a similar flavor profile.

10. Ancho Chile Paste

Ancho chili paste combines ancho chilis, water, and salt. Yet, if you want a bit of sweetness in your dish, you can use it. This is especially true for those dishes that really call for sugar in their recipes. This paste can sometimes have chunks of chilis instead of whole ones. But if you mash it as you’d normally do chipotles in adobo sauce, you’ll get a similar consistency. 


The biggest difference to consider is the sweet profile, so expect a flavor shift.

What Recipes Use Chipotle Peppers?

Chipotle peppers are used in many savory dishes. You can add them to carnitas, chili, and taco recipes. Or use them in meat dishes, whether beef, pork, chicken, or duck. Chipotle peppers also make good ingredients in marinades and rubs. You can also add them to glazes, soups, and dips. Casseroles, sandwiches, and steak also taste better with them. 

Can You Eat Raw Chipotle Peppers?

Yes, you can eat them raw. Just beware that chipotle peppers can be as hot as 8,000 SHU. They’re mild compared to other peppers but have a decent amount of heat. If you eat too much, you can feel irritation in your mouth and throat.

How Should You Store Chipotle Peppers Properly?

Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are usually canned. To store the cans properly, keep them away from light and moisture. Once opened, they can be stored in the fridge and freezer.
Which substitute for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce is your go-to? Let us know!


Clay bowl filled with adobo sauce, chipotle peppers next to it.

Substitute For Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce: Top 10 Options

Natalia-Flavorful Home
Are you looking for a substitute for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce? These ten options presented in this article will surely make your swapping experience easy.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • Smoked Peppers
  • Chipotle Mexican Seasoning
  • Dried Chipotles
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Chili Powder
  • Ranchero Sauce
  • Tabasco Chipotle Hot Sauce
  • Chili Garlic Sauce
  • Ancho Chile Paste


  • Choose the best substitute for chipotle peppers In adobo sauce from our list.
  • Adjust the recipe if needed.
Tried this Recipe? Leave us a Comment!


Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce is a savory sauce that adds heat to anywhere you put it to. It also has a certain level of saltiness that will blend well with many dishes. This makes them a go-to ingredient for chefs and home cooks worldwide. If you need a substitute for them for some reason, then our list has got you covered. 

For the easiest substitution, go for ranchero sauce. They’re found in stores and have a similar flavor profile.

The most accessible option would be chili garlic sauce. This is because you probably already have it in your pantry. Some swap options, like smoked paprika and chili powder, come in a powdered form. This means they will only work in certain recipes. 

More Ingredient Substitutes

Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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