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Best Chipotle Pepper Substitute (5 Options)

Chipotle peppers are one of my favorite ingredients to cook with. The quick splash of both smokiness and spice is unbeatable. From Asian sauces to delicious spicy chicken sauce recipes, there’s a use for it in any recipe. But what if, like me, you run out? Well. I’ve got some of the best substitutes for chipotle pepper lined up just for you.

You can substitute chipotle pepper for smoked paprika, chipotle powder, ancho chilis, crushed red pepper, and chipotle in adobo sauce. I’ll dive into why these are the best and only chipotle pepper swaps you’ll ever need. Let’s hop in!

A batch of dried chipotle peppers.

🤷 What Are Chipotle Peppers?

Chipotle peppers are a type of dried and smoked jalapeño pepper that originated in Mexico. They’re well-known for their distinct smoky flavor and moderate heat. This flavor is highly versatile and frequently incorporated into dishes like chili, tacos, and salsas. It’s neither too strong nor too weak. They are also commonly utilized in marinades and sauces for pork chops and other meaty recipes.

🧑‍🍳 What Type of Cuisine Is It Most Common In?

  • They’re a crucial component of Mexican cuisine, especially in dishes like chili con carne, tamales, and enchiladas.
  • In Southwestern and Tex-Mex cuisine, chipotle peppers are used in burritos, quesadillas, and fajitas.
  • They also enhance salsas, guacamole, and other dips with a smoky kick.
  • Chipotle peppers are popular in Caribbean and Latin American cuisine, including dishes like jerk chicken and pork.
  • They can even add flavor to unconventional dishes like burgers, pizzas, and cocktails.
A fiery and tasty bowl of smoked chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

💡 Best Chipotle Pepper Substitute

Chipotle Powder

1 teaspoon of chipotle pepper = 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder

Chipotle powder is the perfect and most direct alternative to chipotle pepper. This powder is made from ground, smoked jalapeño peppers and packs a rich, smoky flavor. It’s easier to measure and store and very abundant. You can even use the powder in smaller quantities than the whole pepper, allowing for heat level adjustment. If you want, you can also try using chipotle paste substitutes for a thicker and smoother spread.

Smoked Paprika

1 tablespoon of chipotle pepper = 1/4 tablespoon of chili powder + ¾ tablespoon of smoked paprika

Smoked paprika is one of the best substitutes for chipotle peppers. This powder is made from dried and smoked red peppers, which are usually sweet or mild. It’s commonly used in Spanish cuisine, used in dishes like paella, chorizo, and patatas bravas. Smoky paprika is also rich in antioxidants and a good source of vitamins A and E. If you can’t find any, you can also opt to use paprika substitutes instead.

A spoon of paprika powder with some dried peppers in the back.

Chipotle in Adobo Sauce

1 tablespoon of chipotle pepper = 1 tablespoon of chipotle in adobo sauce

Chipotle in adobo sauce is a fantastic and delicious swap for chipotle peppers. It’s made by soaking chipotle peppers in a blend of spices, vinegar, and tomato sauce, which gives it its distinct rich, smoky flavor and a hint of sweetness. You can also try using Mexican adobo sauce swaps if this option is not up for grabs. It can be incorporated into barbecue sauce and used as a glaze for roasted vegetables or mixed into mashed sweet potatoes for a more spicy kick.

Crushed Red Pepper

1 tablespoon of chipotle pepper = 1/2 tablespoon of crushed red pepper

Crushed red pepper has a quick and delicious spicy flavor that you just need to use. It’s prepared by drying and crushing red chili peppers, leaving a powerful fiery taste. This option is a low-fat spice that’s perfect for spicy food lovers who want to avoid the smokiness of chipotle pepper. If you have trouble finding this option, you can use chili flakes substitutes instead.

A closeup of a bowl of crushed pepper flakes.

Ancho Chilis

1 tablespoon of chipotle pepper = 1/2 tablespoon of ancho chilis

Ancho chilis are a great option for those who want to add a mild smoky flavor and heat to their dishes. They’re less intense than chipotle pepper but still add a depth of flavor to dishes. These chilis are also more widely available, less expensive, and pack a good source of vitamin C, which is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system. You can also try using ancho chili powder substitutes if you have trouble finding these chilis.

🧐 FAQs

How hot is a chipotle pepper?

A chipotle pepper is a medium to hot pepper, with a Scoville rating of 2,500 to 8,000. The heat level of a chipotle pepper is similar to a jalapeño pepper, but with a smoky flavor.

Where to buy chipotle pepper?

Chipotle peppers can be found in most grocery stores and supermarkets. They are available in different forms such as dried, canned, or powdered. You can also purchase them online from various retailers.

What does poblano pepper taste like?

The flavor of a poblano pepper is earthy and slightly sweet, with a hint of bitterness. When roasted, the pepper has a smoky flavor and a soft, tender texture.

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