Food Hacks: Best Substitute for Chipotle

  • flavorProfile-Spicy
  • ingredient-Chicken
  • ingredient-Fish
  • substitutes

Chipotle chilis are smoke-dried jalapeño peppers often ground into a smoky-hot dried spice. It’s a go-to spice used in a huge variety of dishes, especially Mexican cuisine. The peppers provide plenty of heat as well as a unique smoky taste to the flavor, adding depth and complexity to any dish. If you don’t want a ton of heat, use less in the dish and you reap the flavor benefits. While its flavor is hard to match, some alternative spices work well! Read on for the best substitute for chipotle.

Chipotle is a spice in high demand. Most commonly found ground in Mexican, Tex-Mex, or other Southwestern-style cuisines, it’s also a great rub for chicken, fish, veggies– even brownies! Don’t worry if you don’t have any on hand, we list the best replacements below.

Smoked Paprika has all the smoky flavor you crave, making it the best substitute for chipotle. Although it is a much milder spice than dried chipotle or even fresh jalapeños, mix in the desired amount of cayenne pepper to dial in the heat. Use the paprika in about the same quantity you would with chipotle and add a pinch of cayenne (or three for spice lovers) to complete the spice substitute.

These dried and ground Mexican poblano peppers pack smoky flavors with a little heat. Ancho chilis also have a sweet undertone, bringing a new flair to any dish. The powder is milder than chipotle. So, use a little more than the chipotle called for in the dish, or sprinkle in some cayenne pepper for added heat.

If you have this spicy Southwestern sauce on hand, you’re in luck. Made with chipotle peppers covered in adobo sauce (made with vinegar, garlic, sugar, and herbs), this is a best substitute for chipotle. Depending on the dish, use the sauce and / or peppers. If you don’t use all the sauce or peppers, store them in a zipper bag in the freezer for future use.

So next time you find yourself out of chipotle spice, don’t panic! You can still save your dish using any of the above as substitutes. Try them with any of our favorite chipotle-based recipes below!

Each month, our chefs send you a selection of handcrafted spice blends and curated recipes from a specific region or country. Recipes have shopping lists and step-by-step cooking instructions using our spice blends. Each month is like taking a culinary tour of a new place!

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