Chipotles En Adobo – a store cupboard essential


If there is ONE new thing you do this year I urge, beg and plead you to try making your own ‘chipotles en adobe’, homemade chipotle sauce to you and me. If you like chutneys, relishes and jellies, and chilli of course, then this is culinary nirvana. OK, you probably think that I am going a little over the top here, but seriously you will thank me once you have made some pots of this sauce. It’s addictive and tastes seriously good, so much so that it is not unheard of for me to have it with my breakfast (whether it be french toast/fried egg toastie/grilled tomatoes/bacon buttie – basically it goes with anything, well maybe not cereal!) and then again at lunch time by placing a little dollop of it in my sandwich.


Chipotles chillies, originate from Mexico and are in fact a smoked and dried jalapeno chilli. They are not like their spicier cousins, such as the serrano or the chile de arbol, instead they have wonderful smokey notes that give warmth and a little spicy kick that beckons you back for more.  They are sold dried or in an adobo (sauce).


Now I can just hear you all saying ‘where on earth can I get hold of those types of chillies’? Yes it does take a little bit of forward planning, but as I don’t have a farmers market next door or a store that holds them near by, I get mine online from a range of Mexican grocers including Mex Grocer. It takes literally a few minutes to log on and order and hey presto within a couple of days you have your beautiful dried chipotles chillies. I imagine if you live in the US they are likely to be even easier to source as I know that Mexican food and products are far more commonplace than they are here in the UK.


Making the sauce is incredible straightforward and the sweet smells coming from the cooking pot are wonderful.

The sauce itself lasts for months so it’s great to have a private hoard in the store cupboard for personal consumption, although I will probably give a couple of my pots away to those I deem worthy of such culinary pleasures – basically family and friends who I know like chillies.



My life has been made so much easier since I invested in my kilner wide neck funnel (see photo above). I know it will get a lot of use with all the chutneys and jams I make over the course of a year.



Chipotles En Adobo

adapted from Thomasina Miers’s recipe in Mexican Food Made Simple

Makes 6 jars

200g chipotle chillies

1 white onion, chopped

1 bulb of garlic, peeled and chopped

3 tbsp fresh oregano

2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

2 bay leaves

1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed

4 tbsp olive oil

350ml white wine vinegar

50ml balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp black treacle

3 tsp tomato puree

6 tbsp demerara sugar

2 tbsp sea salt

1. Cut the storks off the tops of all the chillies and then place them in a colander and wash in cold water.

2. Transfer to a large pan and cover with water and simmer gently for around half an hour, by which time the chillies will be soft. Strain the water and place six of them into a blender along with the onion, garlic, herbs, cumin and 200ml of water. Blend until smooth.

3. Heat up a large pan (my Le Creuset pot is perfect for this) with the olive oil and when it is very hot add the blended chilli paste and stir continuously for a couple of minutes before adding the tomato puree, sugar, salt, vinegars, black treacle, along with 100ml of water. Turn the heat down and simmer for a few minutes before adding the remaining chillies.

4. Simmer gently for a further 15 minutes, stirring throughout.

5. Transfer the sauce to a blender (or use a hand blender) and blend once again until you have a smooth sauce.

6. Place into your steralised jars and store in a dark, cool place.

This amount makes 6 small kilner jars, as shown in the photos. Whilst it lasts for months, I can bet that it won’t last too long once you have tried it as you’ll be putting it in and on everything.

Best of luck, a little bit of effort will reward you royally.

19 thoughts on “Chipotles En Adobo – a store cupboard essential

  1. eleanor

    this is right right up my alley! love it. maybe i should lock myself down this weekend and try out this recipe.. best of luck to me indeed..!

    • Best of luck indeed Eleanor. I gave a pot to my sister last week and I got a call from her yesterday saying she had almost finished it and could she have another. The recipe is a winner so I hope you agree. Love to hear how you get on. Best Torie

  2. What a wonderful idea! I’d never thought of making my own before. I always buy little cans of it at the grocery, but I know this would be so much better.

    • No problem Justine, glad you like it. I too make my way through quite a lot of chipotle and chutneys. Would love to hear what you think of this recipe once you have made it. Does it match up to the other chipotle sauces that you eat? Hope so.

    • That’s great to hear. I love it on so many things that my batch normally runs out fairly fast. I am planning on making a load for Christmas for my family as part of the hampers I am giving them. Thanks for commenting and giving feedback. Best Torie

  3. Francis Norton

    Hi Torie, I don’t know if you remember kindly giving Eva, my Hungarian missus, a jar of this last year. I just wanted to let you know that while I found it a little fiery at the time, one year later it has settled into a delightful smoky mellowness, like a well-aged Islay malt, and I’m basically elbowing her out of the way so I can wolf it down!

  4. Rebecca

    Hello, I’ve been making this recipe for a few years now and always wondered something.As I’m the only one I know who makes it this seems like a good place to ask.

    After you have soaked the chillies in water – the next step is to blend some of the chillies with onion garlic and “200ml water”. Do you use fresh water or the drained water for this? It seems a shame to waste the drained water as there is so much flavour there but at the same time I am worried that it may have too much flavour/spice.So I tend to use a mixture. What do you do?Thanks

    • Hi Rebecca,

      You’ve made me think now as I can’t remember. I think though I probably use fresh water as I would have drained the chillies first and then remembered I needed the water. I need to make some more soon so will try with the soaked chilli water. I don’t find chipotle chillies that hot so I think it will be fine. I will let you know how I get on.
      Best Torie

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