It is easy to make your own chipotle peppers with the jalapenos in your garden! They are smoked and dried and indispensable in many Mexican dishes!
What are chipotle peppers?
Did you know that chipotles are not a type of pepper that you can grow or buy fresh? They are a ripe jalapeno pepper that is smoked and dried.
How do you know when jalapenos are ripe? They turn bright red! Red jalapeño peppers tend to be hotter than juvenile (green) jalapenos, especially in hot, dry years or locations.
If you don’t have your own jalapenos growing, you can buy local them from the farmers’ market and allow them to ripen on the counter. They can also be placed in a closed, sealed paper bag.
You can cut off entire branches off of your jalapenos, at the end of the season, and hang upside down, inside, as well, but they are far superior if they are left on the plant to ripen!
With each method of ripening peppers, be sure to check them all every few days, if you see any black spots, or mold, discard those peppers. You will most likely get more ripe jalapenos at the end of the growing season, closer to first frost.
What you need to make them
- ripe, red jalapenos
- wood for smoking
You can see in the photo that ripe peppers can produce hard, brown ridges. This is nothing to be concerned with. Those peppers are usually hotter, because they are older!
What wood should you smoke with?
To give these jalapeños that nice smoky flavor, you can use any of following woods.
- or any fruit wood
How to make Chipotle Peppers in the smoker
- Set smoker at 200°F. Add wood to tray. Wash and dry ripe jalapenos and place on double rack. As they dry, they shrink and some may drop through the grates, so double the racks. No need to remove the stems at this point.
- Place peppers in the smoker. Smoke for 24-48 hours, until very dry. Check them every 12 hours, or so. Turn if needed.
How to make them on the grill
- Place wood in tray with water, if wood hasn’t been pre soaked. Turn grill on underneath the wood, on low setting. Heat to 200°F.
- Add peppers to grates on the side of the grill that is not lit. Smoke for about 24 hours, until very dry.
Pro tips for success
- Once the peppers have smoked for at least 3-4 hours, there is no need to add additional wood. The peppers just need to dehydrate in the additional time.
- After the initial smoking, peppers can be dehydrated in a commercial dehydrator, or in the oven, set at 200°F, until dried (usually 10-12 hours).
- Make sure peppers are fully dried off, before smoking.
- If they were stored in the refrigerator, allow peppers to come to room temperature, before the smoking process.
- Only use peppers that are free from any spots, or decay.
- Make sure peppers are fully dried and crispy, to avoid molding.
- If you are adding the chipotles to adobo sauce, this can be done without fully dehydrating them. Add them to the adobo after the initial smoking.
- Fully dried peppers can be rehydrated and added to adobo sauce. See recipe notes for full instructions.
How to use them
Use these peppers to flavor many Mexican dishes. Soups, stews, chili, tacos, enchiladas and the like.
Chipotles in abodo sauce are a great way to preserve the chiles. Adobo sauce is made with vinegar, tomatoes and various spices, like cumin, coriander and cilantro.
The dried chipotles can be crushed to a fine powder with a food processor, coffee grinder or spice mill. Add it to other powdered to make a homemade chili powder.
Use the chili powder to spice up black beans or pinto beans.
Recipes using chipotles in adobo sauce
Other recipes for preserving jalapeños
Tools I use to make chipotle peppers
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That’s how easy it is to make smoked chipotle peppers. Thanks for stopping by today!
Enjoy! And have fun cooking!
How to Make Chipotle Peppers
- 20 fresh, ripe jalapenos red jalapenos
- wood chips for smoking
- Wash and thoroughly dry peppers.
- Place peppers on a doubled rack, so that as they dry they do not fall through.
- Set up smoker with wood chips.
- Smoke for a minimum of 3 hours, up to 24 hours.
- Can be thoroughly dried in oven, smoker or dehydrator.
- Peppers can be stored in adobo sauce, before they are dried.
Originally published 5/1/20