Substitute For Chipotle Powder – 7 Easy Swaps That Work

Looking for a substitute for chipotle powder? Luckily, there are enough replacement options to save your recipe. Something that is smoky and hot is the ideal choice. In this article, you’ll find the best ingredients to use in place of chipotle powder without compromising the flavor profiles of your recipe.

Chipotle powder is a moderately spicy chili powder made from chipotle peppers, which are dried and smoked jalapeno peppers. It renders a smoky heat to the dishes with a mild fruity undertone.

It’s a common ingredient used in Mexican or Mexican-inspired dishes. This tasty and versatile seasoning is frequently used to marinate meats and in barbecue sauces. Sprinkle it on anything from meat, fish, eggs, stews, or sauces.

The mild heat of chipotle powder with a smoky tang elevates the taste of your dishes to another level. It can turn your barbecue into an absolute relish and give an earthy smokiness to any meat.

Substitutes For Chipotle Powder

Don’t panic if you have got no Chipotle powder in stock. There are plenty of alternatives that can replicate a similar heat, smokiness, and fruitiness to your favorite barbecue or grilled meat. Fortunately, many of these substitute ingredients you might already have in your kitchen cabinet. Here are the top 7 chipotle pepper substitutes worth giving a try:

1. Smoked Paprika Powder

Smoked paprika, often called smoked Spanish paprika or pimenton, is made from peppers that are smoked and dried over oak fires. There are different versions of paprika according to the type of dried peppers used from the Capsicum anuum family such as cayenne, poblano, or Aleppo peppers. Some of them are very hot but most types of them are moderately hot and sweet.

Undoubtedly, the best substitute for chipotle powder is none other than smoked paprika. It has not only the flavor profiles of Chipotle but is also easily available in most places. Paprika is mildly spicy and sweet like chipotle with the very same smoky flavor. Also, see if any of the paprika substitutes you can use in an emergency.

2. Other Chipotle Products

If you are looking for the easiest yet most accurate replacement for chipotle powder then turn to chipotle paste, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, or chipotle hot sauce. They may not fit into all the recipes but certainly work for many recipes that call for chipotle powder.  Importantly, most Chipotle condiments come with other ingredients. For example, Adobo sauce and Chipotle hot sauce have tomato as the base ingredient, also they are also liquid-based. However, they all have chipotle flavor in dominance, especially the smoky flavor which is rare with other chilies. While using any of them to replace chipotle powder, start out with less in the recipe to avoid other flavors overwhelming your dish.

3. Ancho Powder

Ancho powder is ground ancho (poblano) peppers which is a dark smoky chili with mild to medium level heat and rich flavor. The flavor is somewhat sweet and a little raisin-like.

You have another excellent alternative to chipotle powder in ancho powder because it has the characteristic smoky flavor and fruity punch like chipotle. But some may not like ancho powder for its sweetness and lack of heat in comparison to Chipotle.  If you love to munch on less spicy foods then ancho is a wonderful choice for you. For those who enjoy spicy foods, adding a pinch of other hotter ground peppers to ancho powder is a nice option.

4. Chili Powder

Chili powder is another good chipotle powder substitute, especially in spicy or savory dishes. Traditional chili powder is a mixture of ground chili peppers that include chipotle powder, paprika, cayenne, and a few other common spices like cumin, oregano, coriander, garlic powder, and onion powder. While substituting, use chili powder in 1:1 for chipotle powder.

5. Smoked Cayenne Powder

Cayenne pepper is a hot chili in the Capsicum family with much higher heat levels than chipotle. You can find in some groceries a smoked version of cayenne powder or else you can smoke-dry the cayenne pepper before grinding. Being hotter than chipotle, use it in about half the quantity of chipotle required in your recipe. Besides being a good substitute, cayenne is superior to Chipotle for its many health benefits. Some of the substitutes for cayenne pepper also could be a good option to consider.

6. Red Pepper Flakes

Red pepper flakes or crushed red pepper, known for its spicy heat, come from a range of capsicum peppers like Jalapeno, Fresno, bell peppers, or Anaheim. It does not have the smoky tang of chipotle yet is a workable option to turn your dishes hot and spicy. Occasionally, you can also find smoked red pepper flakes that would be an ideal substitution for chipotle. Crushed pepper is hotter than chipotle; use it in less quantity than chipotle powder needed in your recipe.

7. Pasilla Powder

In our final recommendation, smoked Pasilla powder is a fine substitute for chipotle powder. Like chipotle, Pasilla powder has a rich taste and medium-level heat. You’ll experience a gentle fruity flavor in Pasilla that is akin to raisins or prunes. If you’re lucky, you can even find a smoked version of Pasilla powder though rare. Use Pasilla powder in 1:1 replacement for chipotle powder.

Chipotle Powder Substitutions

Frequently Asked Questions

The equivalent of one whole dried chipotle is around ½ teaspoon of chipotle powder. If you are opting for chipotle adobo sauce, then a whole dried chipotle chili is equal to one teaspoon of adobo sauce, so it’s a 1-to-1 ratio.

Can I use chili flakes instead of chipotle?

Chili flakes can be used for replacing chipotle but one teaspoon of the powder is equal to 2 teaspoons of flakes. Keep in mind, also, chipotle powder tends to permeate a dish more than flakes, such is the nature of the powder.

How do you make chipotle powder out of jalapeños?

Ripened jalapeno chilies are smoked for 3-4 hours or till they are well smoke absorbed. Then completely dehydrate the smoked peppers in a spice dehydrator. The dehydrated chilies are then ground in a food grinder to make chipotle powder.

Which is hotter cayenne or chipotle?

Cayenne pepper powder is much hotter than chipotle powder. Cayenne peppers have a heat level ranging from 30,000 to 50,000 SHU on the Scoville Scale, whereas, the chipotle pepper ranks between 2,500 and 8,000 Scoville heat units.

Is chipotle pepper the same as red pepper?

Chipotle peppers are smoked, dried red jalapeno peppers. The word chipotle is an abbreviation of two Spanish words “chile” (hot pepper) and “poctli” (smoke). On the other hand, “red pepper” is a generic term that usually refers to any dried, ripened red fruit pod from pungent varieties of the Capsicum species. Cayenne pepper, being a commonly used red hot pepper, is also called “red pepper”.

Is chipotle pepper a chili pepper?

Chipotle peppers are nothing but smoked and dried jalapeno chili peppers. It is a medium-hot chili pepper with its spiciness ranging between 2,500 and 8,000 SHU on the Scoville Scale.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, when chipotle powder is unavailable, there are several effective substitutes that can replicate its smoky heat and mild fruity undertones, essential for enhancing the flavors in various dishes.

When chipotle powder is unavailable, consider these substitutes:

  • Smoked Paprika: Similar in flavor, widely available.
  • Chipotle Products: Like paste or adobo sauce.
  • Ancho Powder: Milder, fruity heat.
  • Chili Powder: Spicier alternative.
  • Smoked Cayenne Powder: Hotter, use less.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: Straightforward heat, smoked varieties ideal.
  • Pasilla Powder: Rich, medium heat with fruity notes.

These substitutes ensure that your dishes maintain their desired flavor even in the absence of chipotle powder.

Read next: What are the best substitutes for chipotle pepper?