First published 2011. Republished with updated content June 2020.
Chipotle paste is, simply put, chipotle chillies ground to a paste with a few added ingredients. You end up with a smoky and spicy chilli paste that is going to jazz up your meals to no end!
It can be used for so many things, gives a wonderful, smoky flavour to fish and meat, is perfect for grilling and barbecuing and adds depth to stews and chilli con carne. But first …
What are Chipotles?
Chipotle chillies are dried, smoked red jalapeños and have an amazing deep, smoky flavour and aroma. They add wonderful depth without too much heat.
Pronounced chi-poht-lay, with the first syllable being very short.
Chipotle Paste Recipe
It’s a very easy recipe to make at home. And you know, making your own anything allows you to control the flavour and what goes in there.
When I make chipotle paste, I also like to add 1 or 2 other Mexican chillies to the mix, depending on what is available. This is to add flavour, as well as volume to our chilli paste.
- Anchos and Pasilla are lovely, as they add volume and flavour without too much heat.
- Chiles de arbol increase the heat level of your chipotle paste, so I do like to add 1 or 2 to the mix.
But this is completely up to you; chipotles have such a strong presence that adding a couple of other chillies isn’t going to dilute the signature smoky constitution of our chipotle paste.
On top of that, I love to add a pinch of cumin for depth and a natural complement to the smokiness, and a little balsamic vinegar rounds everything up with just a hint of tang.
And finally, I give you an optional step of lightly cooking the chipotle paste, which I do quite often. This cooking further deepens the flavour of our chilli paste.
How to use Chipotle Paste
Edit June 2020: look out in the next week for 3 very easy recipes using our homemade chipotle paste: salmon, potatoes and asparagus. All super easy. Two down, 1 to go, see below.
But in the meantime, here are some ways to use chipotle paste:
- as a marinade for roasts and barbecues. It’s good with meat, seafood and vegetables.
- as a cooking ingredient to add depth, like in stews.
- as a topping or filling. Think burgers, sandwiches and canapés.
- for jazzing up mayonnaise and aioli
How long will this Chipotle Paste Keep?
If you store it in the fridge in a clean jar, it will keep for a week in the fridge. To extend this to about 2 weeks, cover the chipotle paste with a layer of vegetable oil, about 1 cm depth.
Canning/Preserving Chipotle Paste
- Stick with this recipe and use the pressure canning method. Preserved this way, your salsa will last a good 2 years. You can read more about pressure canning here.
- Or you can add the juice of 2 limes to this recipe to further increase the acid level, and give it a water bath. Increasing the acid level in the chipotle paste is in keeping with food safety advice on the canning of low acid level foods like chillies and onions. The lime juice does add a tang to the recipe, but let’s face it, lime juice makes so many recipes taste better! If you are increasing this recipe, be sure to increase the amount of lime juice proportionately too. And, until I do a post on the water bath method, you can read more about that here!
And guess what? It makes the perfect gift for a foodie friend.
Can Chipotle Paste be Frozen?
Absolutely! Cool it to room temperature and freeze, pushing out as much air as you can in the freezer proof container you are using.
You could also freeze it in ice cube trays so you can use it a little at a time.
Ok then. shall we get our aprons on?
More Spicy Recipes & Articles on the Chilli Page:
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Homemade Chipotle Paste
- 20 chipotle chillies
- 2 chile de arbol optional
- 2 anchos optional
- 2 cloves garlic
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- pinch of ground cumin
- water as needed
For Cooking the Chipotle Paste
- 1 Tbsp EV olive oil
- ½ tsp balsamic vinegar
- Dry roast the chillies for a couple of minutes on medium heat, being careful not to let them burn. They might puff up slightly.
- Cut the stalk end off and shake the seeds out, if you like.
- Cut them with scissors and soak in hot water for about 20 minutes.
- Drain the chillies and place everything in a chopper/mortar and blend to a fine paste, with just enough water to make into a paste.
- Store in a small sterilised jar in the fridge and it will last a couple of weeks.
Cooking the Chipotle Paste
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small saucepan or deep frying pan over medium heat.
- Add the chipotle paste without the balsamic vinegar and cook for 5 minutes, stirring.
- Add the balsamic vinegar, stir and take off the heat.
- Store in a sterilised jar, in the fridge.