Chipotle paste is a popular ingredient used in Mexican cuisine.
It adds an unmistakable smoky flavor to dishes and can be used as a marinade, sauce or even as a rub for meats.
But what if you don’t have any chipotle paste on hand?
Don’t worry – there are plenty of substitutes that will work just as well.
In this article, I will discuss 14 of the best substitutes for chipotle paste so that you can still enjoy all your favorite dishes without having to go out and buy some.
What is Chipotle Paste?
Chipotle paste is a thick, spicy condiment made from smoked and dried jalapeño peppers.
It has a smoky flavor with a hint of sweetness and heat that can range from mild to very hot depending on the type of pepper used.
Chipotle paste is commonly used in Mexican cuisine as an ingredient in sauces, marinades, soups, stews, tacos, burritos and other dishes.
Chipotle paste is made by blending chipotles (smoked jalapeños) with adobo sauce (a tomato-based sauce flavored with garlic and spices).
The mixture is then cooked down until it forms a thick paste.
This paste can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or frozen for up to six months.
When using chipotle paste in recipes, it’s important to adjust the amount according to your desired level of spiciness—it can be quite potent!
The 14 Best Substitutes for Chipotle Paste
Chipotle paste is a great way to add some heat and smokiness to a dish, but it can be hard to find in some places.
If you’re looking for an alternative, here are 14 substitutes that will still give your dish the flavor boost it needs:
1. Generic chili paste
Chili paste is a thick, spicy condiment made from chili peppers and other ingredients such as garlic, vinegar, oil, and salt.
It can be used to add flavor to dishes or as an ingredient in sauces and marinades.
Chili paste is often used in Mexican, South American, and Asian cuisines.
Chili paste has a strong flavor that can range from mild to very hot depending on the type of chili pepper used.
It adds depth of flavor to dishes without overpowering them.
Try adding it to soups or stews for a smoky kick or use it as a marinade for grilled meats or vegetables.
Pro Tip: If you want to reduce the heat of your chili paste, try adding some honey or sugar!
This will help balance out the spiciness while still providing plenty of flavor.
2. Ancho chili powder
Ancho chili powder is a type of chili powder made from dried poblano peppers.
It has a mild heat level and a sweet, smoky flavor with notes of raisins and prunes.
Ancho chili powder is commonly used in Mexican cuisine to add depth and complexity to dishes like enchiladas, tacos, soups, stews, sauces, marinades and more.
Ancho chili powder can be used as an alternative to chipotle paste for adding smoky heat to dishes.
The difference between the two is that ancho chili powder has a milder heat level than chipotle paste but still packs plenty of flavor.
To substitute ancho chili powder for chipotle paste in recipes, use half the amount called for in the recipe as it’s much stronger than chipotle paste.
3. Enchilada sauce
Enchilada sauce is a type of Mexican sauce made from chili peppers, garlic, and other spices.
It is commonly used to make enchiladas, but can also be used as a topping for tacos or burritos.
The flavor of the sauce varies depending on the type of chili pepper used and the amount of spices added.
Enchilada sauce has a smoky, spicy flavor that pairs well with many dishes.
It’s not too hot, but it does have some heat to it.
If you’re looking for something milder, try using red enchilada sauce instead of green or chipotle paste.
Red enchilada sauces are usually made with ancho chiles which give them a milder flavor than their green counterparts.
Pro Tip: Enchilada sauces can be used in all sorts of recipes! Try adding some to your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe for an extra kick or use it as a base for soups and stews!
4. Red chili flakes
Red chili flakes, also known as crushed red pepper flakes, are made from dried and crushed red chili peppers.
They have a mild to moderate heat level and can be used to add flavor and spice to dishes.
Red chili flakes are commonly used in Italian cuisine, Mexican dishes, curries, pizzas, salads and more.
Red chili flakes have a slightly smoky flavor with a hint of sweetness that pairs well with garlic and other herbs.
They can be added to sauces or sprinkled over food for an extra kick of flavor.
The intensity of the heat will depend on how much you use – start small and add more if needed!
5. Habanero powder
Habanero powder is a type of chili powder made from ground habanero peppers.
It has a very spicy, smoky flavor and can be used to add heat to dishes such as tacos, soups, stews, and sauces.
Habanero powder is usually much hotter than chipotle paste so it should be used sparingly.
Habanero powder has a bright orange color and an intense aroma that will fill the kitchen with its pungent smell.
The flavor of habanero powder is quite complex; it’s both sweet and spicy with hints of citrus and smokiness.
Pro Tip: To reduce the heat of habanero powder without sacrificing flavor, try adding some honey or sugar to your dish.
This will help balance out the spiciness while still allowing you to enjoy the unique taste of this fiery spice blend!
6. Smoked paprika
Smoked paprika, also known as pimentón or smoked Spanish paprika, is a type of paprika made from peppers that have been dried over an oak wood fire.
The result is a deep red powder with a smoky flavor and aroma.
It’s commonly used in Spanish, Portuguese, and Mexican cuisine to add depth of flavor to dishes like paella, chorizo sausage, and chili con carne.
Smoked paprika has a mild heat level but its smokiness gives it an intense flavor that can really enhance the taste of your dish.
Try adding it to roasted vegetables for extra depth or use it as a rub on grilled meats for added complexity. You can even sprinkle some on popcorn for an unexpected twist!
7. Southwestern sauce
Southwestern sauce is a type of condiment made from a combination of ingredients such as tomato paste, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, oregano and other spices.
It is often used to add flavor to tacos, burritos and other Mexican dishes.
Southwestern sauce has a smoky flavor with just the right amount of heat.
It can be used as a marinade or added to soups and stews for extra depth of flavor.
The sauce also works well as an ingredient in dips or dressings for salads and sandwiches.
Pro Tip: Southwestern sauces are versatile enough that you can adjust the level of spiciness by adding more or less chili powder depending on your preference!
8. Chili garlic paste
Chili garlic paste is a spicy condiment made from chili peppers, garlic, and other spices.
It has a pungent flavor that adds heat to dishes without overpowering them.
Chili garlic paste can be used as an ingredient in marinades, sauces, dressings, and stir-fries.
Chili garlic paste is often used to add depth of flavor to dishes like curries or soups.
It’s also great for adding a kick of heat to tacos or sandwiches.
The combination of the chili pepper and garlic gives it a unique flavor that can’t be replicated with just one ingredient alone.
Pro Tip: To reduce the spiciness of chili garlic paste, mix it with honey or yogurt before adding it to your dish!
This will help balance out the flavors while still giving you all the deliciousness of this versatile condiment!
9. Anchovy paste
Anchovy paste is a thick, salty paste made from anchovies.
It has a strong, pungent flavor and is often used as an ingredient in sauces, dressings, and marinades.
Anchovy paste can also be used to add depth of flavor to soups and stews.
Anchovy paste is a great way to add umami (savory) flavor to dishes without having to use fresh anchovies.
The intense saltiness of the paste helps balance out other flavors in the dish while adding complexity.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for a milder version of anchovy paste, try using it in combination with other ingredients like garlic or herbs.
This will help mellow out the intensity of the anchovies while still providing that delicious umami flavor!
10. Tomatillo salsa
Tomatillo salsa, also known as salsa verde, is a Mexican condiment made from tomatillos, jalapeños or serranos peppers, garlic and cilantro.
It is typically served with tacos, burritos and other Mexican dishes.
Tomatillo salsa has a tart flavor that pairs well with the smoky heat of chipotle paste.
The combination of the two creates an amazing depth of flavor that can’t be achieved with either one alone.
Tomatillo salsa is also great for adding a bright pop of color to any dish!
Pro Tip: To make your own tomatillo salsa at home, simply roast some tomatillos on a baking sheet in the oven until they are lightly charred and softened.
Then blend them together with some diced jalapeño peppers (or serrano peppers if you like it spicier), garlic cloves and fresh cilantro leaves for an easy homemade version!
11. Roasted red peppers
Roasted red peppers are a type of pepper that has been roasted over an open flame or in the oven.
The skin is then removed, leaving behind a sweet and smoky flavor.
Roasted red peppers can be used in many dishes to add flavor and texture, such as salads, sandwiches, dips, sauces and more.
Roasted red peppers have a mild heat level with a sweet taste.
They are also very versatile; they can be eaten raw or cooked into dishes for added flavor.
Roasted red peppers can also be blended into sauces or pureed for soups and stews.
Pro Tip: To get the most out of your roasted red peppers, try roasting them yourself!
This will give you the freshest flavor possible and make sure you don’t miss out on any of their deliciousness!
12. Adobo sauce
Adobo sauce is a Mexican condiment made from chiles, garlic, vinegar, and spices.
It’s often used as a marinade for meats or vegetables before cooking them.
The sauce has a smoky flavor with a hint of sweetness and can be used to add depth to dishes like tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and more.
Adobo sauce is usually sold in jars or cans at the grocery store.
It can also be made from scratch using dried ancho chiles, garlic cloves, oregano leaves, cumin seeds, bay leaves and apple cider vinegar.
Pro Tip: Adobo sauce can also be used as a base for soups or stews! Just add some broth and your favorite vegetables for an easy dinner that packs plenty of flavor!
13. Salsa Verde
Salsa Verde is a type of Mexican green sauce made from tomatillos, jalapeños, garlic, and cilantro.
It’s often used as a condiment for tacos or burritos but can also be used to top enchiladas, eggs, or even grilled meats.
Salsa Verde has a bright flavor with just the right amount of heat.
The tomatillos give it an acidic tang while the jalapeños add some spice.
The garlic and cilantro provide depth and balance out the flavors.
Pro Tip: Salsa Verde can be served either warm or cold depending on your preference. If you want to make it spicier, try adding more jalapeño peppers!
14. Make your own chipotle paste
Making your own chipotle paste is a great way to add smoky, spicy flavor to any dish.
It’s easy to make and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
All you need are dried chipotle peppers, olive oil, garlic, and salt.
To make the paste:
- Soak the dried chipotle peppers in hot water for 30 minutes until softened.
- Remove stems and seeds from the peppers before blending with garlic, olive oil, and salt in a food processor or blender until smooth.
The paste should have a thick consistency that can be spread on toast or used as a marinade or sauce base.
Pro Tip: If you want an extra kick of heat, add some cayenne pepper or chili powder when making your own chipotle paste!
What can I use if I don’t have chipotle paste?
If you don’t have chipotle paste, you can use ancho paste or other chile paste as a substitute.
To add smoky flavor to the chiles, you can add a few drops of liquid smoke.
Alternatively, you can use bottled chile sauce to add a different flavor while still getting some heat.
Each of these options can be adjusted to taste, allowing you to customize the flavor of your dish.
Can I use smoked paprika instead of chipotle paste?
Yes, you can use smoked paprika instead of chipotle paste.
While chipotle paste has an intense smoky flavor and heat, smoked paprika is a milder and sweeter spice, but it still has that smoky essence that you crave.
To add more heat to your dish, you can add some cayenne pepper to your smoked paprika to increase the spiciness.
Smoked paprika is an excellent substitute for chipotle paste, and it can easily be incorporated into any dish that calls for chipotle paste.
Can I use chili powder instead of chipotle paste?
Yes, you can use ancho chili powder as an alternative for chipotle paste. Ancho chili powder is made from poblano peppers, which is a type of pepper similar to the ones used to make chipotle paste.
Both ancho chili powder and chipotle paste are made using whole and dried ground peppers and don’t contain any additional spices, so they are flavorful and versatile.
However, while chipotle paste is quite spicy, ancho chili powder has a milder taste and can be used to add a mild smoky flavor to your dishes.
The 14 Best Substitutes for Chipotle Paste
- Generic chili paste
- Ancho chilli powder
- Enchilada sauce
- Red chili flakes
- Habanero powder
- Smoked paprika
- Southwestern sauce
- Chili garlic paste
- Anchovy paste
- Tomatillo salsa
- Roasted red peppers
- Adobo sauce
- Salsa Verde
- Make your own chipotle paste
- Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
- Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.