What Does Chipotle Sauce Taste Like?

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In this article, we’re answering your top questions about chipotle sauce. What does it taste like? How do you use it? Is it the same thing as adobo sauce? Keep reading to find out.

Chipotle Sauce

Let’s get started…

What Does Chipotle Sauce Taste Like? 

Chipotle sauce can refer to several different things. It may refer to a creamy sauce, a flavored mayonnaise or a spiced red sauce. In all of these cases, chipotle seasoning is used, so they all taste smoky and spicy. Just watch out for the creamy sauces and mayos as they’re likely not vegan unless labeled as such.

The smoky, spicy flavor of chipotle sauce comes from smoked chili peppers, which are frequently used in Mexican cooking. As the chipotle pepper also carries a very mild sweetness, these sauces may be slightly sweet.

Many chipotle sauces contain tart and zesty flavors from lime juice, cilantro and garlic. Some tomato-based ones are even like barbecue, but the primary flavor is always from the distinctive chipotle pepper.

Chipotle Sauce Texture 

The yogurt and mayonnaise types of chipotle sauces (whether vegan or dairy-based) are thick, creamy and usually blended until smooth, though bits of fresh herbs and seasonings may remain.

Dark red chipotle sauces, which are more likely to be tomato-based, have a similar consistency to marinara are salsa (smooth or chunky) depending on whether they were blended or mixed by hand. 

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What Can I Use Chipotle Sauce On? 

Some of the most common items topped with chipotle sauces are Mexican and Mexican inspired foods, including tacos, enchiladas and burrito bowls, but it’s not at all uncommon to see it used in sandwiches.

You can dip raw or roasted veggies in it, use it as a marinade for grilled or broiled mock meats, or drizzle it on tofu scramble—anywhere you’d enjoy a pleasant spicy-sweet smokiness.

Is Adobo Sauce the Same as Chipotle Sauce? 

They’re similar, but adobo and chipotle sauces are not the same thing, starting with the peppers in them. Chipotle peppers are smoked while the peppers used in adobo sauce, which are often guajillo chili peppers, are not.

Adobo sauce is usually tangy and a little sweet from the vinegar and sugar. Chipotle sauce may have some tang and sweetness, but these flavors aren’t as pronounced as in adobo sauce.

One more common difference between the two is that adobo sauces aren’t usually creamy. It’s true that not all chipotle sauces are creamy, but far less chipotle sauces look more like marinara the way adobo sauces do.

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What Can I Substitute for Chipotle Sauce? 

If you won’t miss the smokiness, you can substitute adobo for chipotle sauce. There’s also chipotle powder, which will add the flavor without the texture to your meal.

Smoked paprika is another spice you can mix into a tomato base with cilantro or coriander and perhaps a splash of lime juice. In a pinch, you can use the chili spice blend you’d add to a vegan black bean chili recipe, but it’ll taste more like…well, chili.

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Chipotle Sauce Recipe Tips 

It’s time to see how the magic of chipotle is used in anything from vegan spreads and dressings to barbecue sauce. If you have chipotle powder, the options are limitless.

Here’s a creamy chipotle sauce that gets its richness from cashews. You’ll probably want to smother everything in it, but we recommend salads and vegan taco bowls.

Just gather these items together:

  • Raw cashews
  • Canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • Lime
  • Garlic powder
  • Smoked paprika
  • Salt

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This video demonstrates the making of a chipotle barbecue sauce sweetened naturally with dates. It’s the perfect balance of smoky, sweet, savory and tart flavors.

Blend together these ingredients:

  • Pitted dates
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Chipotle powder
  • Cayenne powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Black pepper
  • Celery salt

Wrap Up

Chipotle sauces may be creamy or more like tomato sauce, but they’re all smoky, spicy and a touch sweet. They’re excellent additions to vegan enchiladas, but make a vegan chipotle mayo to slather on your sandwiches, too.

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