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How to Make Adobo Sauce

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Chipotles in Adobo Sauce are essential for making many Latin dishes. It’s fun and easy to make them at home. The flavor is so such better than the canned version.

Jar of chipotle in adobo sauce with white bowl of adobo.Pin

What are Chipotles in Adobo Sauce?

Adobo is based on the Spanish word adobar, meaning to marinate. It’s a great marinade for chicken, pork, seafood and beef

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Chipotles are red, ripe jalapenos that have been smoked and dried. The adobo sauce is a pepper and vinegar based sauce that takes on the flavor of the smoky peppers.

Learn how to make chipotles from the peppers in your garden, here.

Jar and bowl of chipotle in adobo with silver spoon.Pin

What to do with them?

This sauce is great to add to lots of dishes. You can use it as a replacement for hot sauces, when you run out. It is great added to salsas, sauces, soups, dips and a beautiful marinade for meats or fish. It makes a delicious enchilada sauce, and is great added to burgers or meatballs.

What do you need?

  • Mexican oregano – you can use regular oregano but Mexican oregano has a more floral flavor
  • onion – yellow or white onion
  • vinegar – apple cider vinegar
  • cumin
  • tomato – whole fresh tomato
  • whole cloves
  • black peppercorns
  • kosher salt or sea salt
  • cloves garlic
  • brown sugar
  • dried chipotle peppers (ripe jalapeños) or any other dried chiles
Ingredients for chipotle in adobo- oregano, onion, viegar, cumin, chipotle peppers, tomato, clove, peppercorns, salt, garlic, brown sugar.Pin

How to make it

  1. Place tomato on rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Roast tomato in 400°F oven for 20-30 minutes. Tomato can also be roasted in a hot, dry, cast iron skillet.
  3. Soak dried peppers in water for 30 minutes, or longer, if needed, until soft.
  4. Meanwhile, place the onions, garlic, vinegar and spices in blender container.
  5. Once peppers are softened, remove from water.
  6. Save 8-9 whole peppers and place aside. Remove stems and seeds from the remainder of the peppers.
  7. Add peppers and tomato to the food processor.
  8. Process to a smooth paste. Add water or the soaking liquid to thin. *See notes in recipe.
  9. Add the puree and the whole peppers to a medium pot.
  10. Cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, to allow flavors to mingle.
tomato on roasting pan. Charred tomato. Soaking peppers. Ingredients added to food processor. Rehydrated peppers. Deseeded peppers. Peppers added to food processor. Paste in container. Whole peppers added. Finished chipotle in adobo.Pin

Store sauce and peppers in a canning jar, or airtight container in the refrigerator for at least a month.

For longer storage, place in plastic bags and freeze. Then break a piece off and use it in your favorite recipes.

Close up of bowl of chipotle in adobo.Pin

Do you have to use chipotle peppers?

Depending on the heat level of your jalapenos, and then, once smoked, the chipotles, this sauce can be very hot. This year was hot and dry, so my peppers were hotter than normal.

If you would prefer the sauce more mild, use a more mild dried pepper, like guajillo chiles, dried ancho chiles or pasilla chiles for the sauce and the chipotles for the whole peppers in the sauce.

Technically any hot pepper can work in this sauce.

Hand scooping chipotle out of bowl with spoon.Pin

Tools I use

If you are interested in growing your own peppers, my series on How to Plant a Vegetable Garden may help you.

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If you have any questions or comments, please ask in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you.

I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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Chipotle in Adobo Sauce in white bowl with hand scooping sauce out with spoon. in white bowl.

How to Make Adobo Sauce

Chipotles in Adobo Sauce are essential for making many Latin dishes. It’s fun and easy to make them at home. The flavor is so such better than the canned version.
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment, sauce
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Soaking dried peppers: 30 minutes
Servings: 64 tablespoons
Calories: 13kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $5



  • Soak peppers in water, until softened, about 30 minutes.
  • Roast tomato in oven or on grill until charred in spots.
  • Add onion, garlic brown sugar and all spices to food processor bowl.
  • Once softened, save 8-10 whole peppers. Stem and seed the remainder of the peppers.
    Taste the steeping liquid from the peppers. If it tastes bitter to you, then discard it. If it doesn't, use it to thin the sauce.
  • Add the seeded peppers and the tomato to the food processor.
  • Blend until a smooth paste forms, adding water, or a bit of the steeping liquid from the peppers to thin.
  • Add paste to sauce pan. Add peppers and about 1/2 cup of the water or steeping liquid. Cook on low heat for 10-20 minutes, until the desired consistency.
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Adobo sauce can be refrigerated about 1 month, in sterile jar or container.
Freeze leftovers in thin layer, in bags. Break off piece to use in all your favorite Latin dishes.
Heat level of sauce will depend on the heat level of the peppers. If you would like a more mild sauce, use guajillo, ancho  or pasilla pepper for sauce, and jalapenos for the whole pepper portion.
See article for uses for Chipotles in Adobo.


Serving: 1tbsp | Calories: 13kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 39mg | Potassium: 10mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 16IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg
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  1. 5 stars
    I am out of Adobo sauce, so here I am. I am sooo glad I’ve stumbled upon this recipe, because it provides clear instructions and detailed steps to follow. Love it!

  2. 5 stars
    I really can’t tell you how excited I am about this recipe. I buy chipotles en adobo all the time, can’t get enough of adobo sauce. Now that I can make it myself? Never been happier.

  3. 5 stars
    Considering how complex adobo sauce flavors are, you made this incredibly easy to make! Great ingredients and flavors. Can’t wait to use this on chicken!

  4. 5 stars
    I never thought to make my own adobo sauce until now. It’s so flavorful and perfect for so many dishes.

  5. 5 stars
    I love your deeply-flavorful adobo sauce recipe! It’s easy to make and so much better than the canned version.

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