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!
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
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.
I get most of my specialist dried chillies on Amazon, from the same seller:
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.
This is what we’ll be doing:
- Dry roast the chillies. (2-3 minutes)
- Soak them for 15 minutes in very hot water.
- Place everything in a food chopper or blender and zap to a smooth paste.
- Optional step – heat for 5 minutes and finish off with balsamic vinegar.
Sounds easy, right?
Obviously, we want chipotles.
But 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 chilli paste, so I do like to add 1 or 2 to the mix.
EDIT May 2022
For a couple of years now, I’ve started adding 1-2 Chipotles in Adobo to the mix, along with a little of the adobo (sauce).
This takes our chipotle paste to the next level! It has a more intense depth and it’s slightly tangy too. Click here for our Homemade Chipotles in Adobo.
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
Here are some ways to use chipotle paste:
Recipes using Chipotle Paste
How long will this Chilli 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 the Paste
- Stick with this recipe and use the pressure canning method. Preserved this way, your paste will last a good 2 years.
- Or you can add the juice of 2 more limes (a total of 3) 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 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?
If you like the recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you!
And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor.
Homemade Chipotle Paste
- 20 chipotle chillies
- 2 anchos optional
- 2 chipotles in adobo plus a little of the adobo optional
- 2-3 chilli de arbol if you want it a little hotter, 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.
- When they are cool enough to handle, cut the chillies with scissors and soak in hot water for about 20 minutes.
- Drain the chillies and give them a quick rinse, discarding the seeds if you like.
- Place everything in a chopper and blend to a fine paste, with just enough water to make into a paste.
- You can stop here, this is a delicious chipotle paste, as it is. If so, store in a small sterilised jar in the fridge and it will last a couple of weeks.Or you can go on and do that final step, cooking it for 5 minutes, and adding a little balsamic vinegar. This deepens the flavour.
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.