Chipotle paste is a spicy, smoky, and flavorful ingredient that has become a staple in many kitchens worldwide. Made from dried, smoked jalapeño peppers, this paste adds a distinctive depth of flavor to various dishes such as soups, marinades, and sauces.
However, there might be times when you either can’t find chipotle paste in your local grocery store, or you’re looking for an alternative due to dietary restrictions or personal preferences. Fear not! We have compiled an extensive list of the best chipotle paste substitutes that are both delicious and easy to find. So, let’s dive in and explore these fantastic alternatives!
1. Ancho Chili Paste
Ancho chili paste, made from dried poblano peppers, is a popular substitute for paste. Although ancho chili paste is milder and has a sweeter taste, it still provides a smoky flavor similar to chipotle. You can use an equal amount of ancho chili paste as a direct substitute for paste in your recipes. If you prefer a spicier taste, simply add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the mix.
2. Chipotle Powder
Chipotle powder is another great alternative. Made from ground, smoked jalapeños, this powder packs the same flavor punch as the paste. To use this powder as a substitute, mix one tablespoon of powder with one tablespoon of water, tomato paste, or ketchup to create a paste-like consistency. Adjust the amount of the powder and liquid according to your taste and desired spiciness.
3. Smoked Paprika
Smoked paprika, also known as pimentón, is a versatile spice made from dried, smoked red peppers. With its deep red color and smoky flavor, smoked paprika can be an excellent substitute for chipotle paste. To use smoked paprika in place of the paste, mix one tablespoon of smoked paprika with one tablespoon of water, tomato paste, or ketchup until you achieve a paste-like consistency. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper if you want to add some heat to your dish.
4. Chipotle in Adobo Sauce
Chipotle in adobo sauce is a popular Mexican ingredient made from smoked jalapeños soaked in a tangy, spicy tomato sauce. Although it has a different texture than paste, the flavor profile is quite similar. To use chipotle in adobo sauce as a substitute, finely chop or blend one or two peppers with a bit of the adobo sauce to create a paste-like consistency. Use it as a one-to-one substitute for paste in your recipes.
5. Chili Powder
Chili powder is a blend of various spices, including ground chili peppers, cumin, garlic powder, and oregano. While it lacks the smoky flavor of the paste, it can still add some heat and depth to your dishes. To substitute chipotle paste with chili powder, mix one tablespoon of chili powder with one tablespoon of water, tomato paste, or ketchup to create a paste-like consistency. Add a pinch of smoked paprika to enhance the smoky flavor.
Harissa is a North African hot chili pepper paste made from roasted red peppers, garlic, spices, and olive oil. Although its flavor profile is slightly different from the paste, harissa can add a spicy kick and rich taste to your dishes. You can use harissa as a one-to-one substitute for chipotle paste, but keep in mind that the flavors may vary. Start with a smaller amount and adjust according to your taste preferences.
Gochujang, a Korean fermented chili paste made from red chili peppers, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt, is another unique and flavorful substitute for paste. Although gochujang has a slightly sweeter and tangier taste, its spicy and complex flavor profile can add an exciting twist to your dishes. To use gochujang as a chipotle paste substitute, start with half the amount and adjust to taste. Keep in mind that gochujang has a thicker consistency, so you may need to add some liquid to achieve the desired texture.
8. Tomato Paste and Spices
If you don’t have any of the previously mentioned substitutes on hand, you can create your own chipotle paste alternative using tomato paste and a combination of spices. Mix one tablespoon of tomato paste with ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and a pinch of cumin, garlic powder, and oregano. This homemade substitute will not have the exact same flavor as chipotle paste, but it can still add a smoky, spicy touch to your dishes.
9. Chipotle-Flavored Hot Sauce
Chipotle-flavored hot sauce is a convenient and widely available substitute for paste. While the consistency is thinner, the smoky and spicy flavor is similar. To use chipotle-flavored hot sauce as a substitute, start with one tablespoon of hot sauce and adjust to taste. Depending on the recipe, you may need to reduce the amount of liquid in your dish to compensate for the thinner consistency of the hot sauce.
10. Chipotle Flakes
Chipotle flakes, made from crushed, smoked jalapeño peppers, can also serve as a substitute for paste. To use these flakes, mix one tablespoon of flakes with one tablespoon of water, tomato paste, or ketchup to create a paste-like consistency. Adjust the amount of flakes and liquid according to your taste preferences and desired spiciness.
11. Pasilla Chili Paste
Pasilla chili paste, made from dried, mild pasilla chilies, offers a slightly sweeter and earthier flavor compared to the paste. Although it lacks the smokiness of the paste, pasilla chili paste can still add depth and mild heat to your dishes. To use pasilla chili paste as a substitute, start with an equal amount as chipotle paste and adjust according to taste.
12. Guajillo Chili Paste
Guajillo chili paste is made from dried, mild guajillo chilies, known for their sweet and fruity flavor. While this paste doesn’t have the smoky taste of chipotle, it adds a rich, earthy flavor to dishes. You can use an equal amount of guajillo chili paste as a substitute for chipotle paste, and add a pinch of smoked paprika to enhance the smokiness.
13. Ají Panca Paste
Ají Panca paste is a Peruvian chili paste made from dried, mild ají panca peppers. This paste has a fruity, smoky flavor that can serve as a delicious alternative to chipotle paste. Use ají panca paste as a one-to-one substitute for the paste in your recipes, keeping in mind that its heat level is milder.
14. Sambal Oelek
Sambal Oelek is an Indonesian chili paste made from crushed raw red chilies, vinegar, and salt. While it lacks the smoky flavor of chipotle paste, it still adds a spicy kick and tanginess to your dishes. To use sambal oelek as a substitute for the paste, mix one tablespoon of sambal oelek with a pinch of smoked paprika for added smokiness. Adjust the amount according to your taste preferences.
Muhammara is a Middle Eastern red pepper and walnut dip made from roasted red bell peppers, walnuts, breadcrumbs, pomegranate molasses, and spices. Although its flavor profile is quite different from chipotle paste, muhammara can add a unique, smoky, and mildly spicy taste to your dishes. Use muhammara as a one-to-one substitute for the paste, but consider that the overall flavor of your dish will be different.
16. Fire-Roasted Red Bell Pepper Paste
A homemade fire-roasted red bell pepper paste can be a mild and smoky substitute for chipotle paste. To make this paste, roast red bell peppers over an open flame or in the oven, then peel and purée them with a bit of olive oil, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Use this mixture as a one-to-one substitute for the paste, adjusting the spiciness with cayenne pepper according to your taste.
17. Smoked Serrano Chili Paste
Smoked serrano chili paste offers a spicier and more intense heat compared to chipotle paste. Made from smoked serrano chilies, this paste can add a smoky, fiery flavor to your dishes. Use smoked serrano chili paste in smaller amounts than chipotle paste, as its heat level is significantly higher. Start with half the amount and adjust to taste.
Whether you’re out of chipotle paste or looking to try something new, there are plenty of alternatives available to suit your needs. From ancho chili paste to homemade concoctions, these substitutes can provide the smoky, spicy, and rich flavors that you love in chipotle paste. Experiment with different options and adjust the quantities to find the perfect substitute for your taste buds and the dishes you’re preparing.