Chipotle Powder

I love using spices when I’m cooking, but I don’t always use chipotle powder. Until recently, I didn’t know that much about it, but it’s a versatile choice that I would like to use more.

The powder is simple, which makes it a great addition to your spice rack. But if you’ve never worked with it, you may wonder what’s in it and how you can make good use of the spice.

What Is in Chipotle Powder?

My favorite thing about chipotle powder is that it’s basically just dried, smoky jalapeños that have been crushed and turned into a powder. So if I wanted the spice of a jalapeño but didn’t have one, I would probably opt for chipotle powder.

While I don’t have the best diet, I like how the spice doesn’t have a ton of added ingredients. So if I ever were to switch over to a fully clean eating plan, chipotle powder should still be suitable for me to eat.

Plus, if I ever can’t find chipotle powder, I could try to recreate it at home. All I’d need is some jalapeños.

Chipotle Powder vs Chili Powder

I don’t know about you, but chipotle powder and chili powder sound similar. For better or worse, they’re not as interchangeable as you may expect. Sure, they work in many of the same dishes, but I’d recommend buying both for your spice cabinet.


My favorite part about this comparison has to do with the complexity. Chipotle powder’s one ingredient doesn’t stand up to the four ingredients in chili powder. You’ll get crushed chili peppers along with garlic powder, cumin, and oregano.

I’ve used chili powder in some of my cooking, and I enjoy how it adds more flavor to a dish due to the added components. But I’d be hard pressed to try and make it from scratch. So if I ever can’t find any, I might settle for some sort of alternative.

Best Chipotle Powder Substitute

Maybe you have a recipe that calls for chipotle powder. You search your spice cabinet and the local grocery store, but you can’t find any.

If you still want to make the recipe in question, you can do so. Luckily, you can choose from a few chipotle powder substitutes.

Consider the following options to add a bit of heat to your meal.

Smoked Paprika

Smoked paprika is the closest spice out there to chipotle powder. For one, the only ingredient in it is chili peppers that the makers grind into a powder.

Smoked paprika

That means it’s pretty simple, just like chipotle powder. The peppers are also smoked before the grinding process, so you can get a similar effect from the smoked paprika.

Now, this spice is a bit milder compared to chipotle powder. On the one hand, that can be nice because you can make your dishes less spicy by using the amount the recipe calls for. However, you can also add more smoked paprika to make it as spicy as chipotle powder would.

Ancho Chilis

Ancho chilis are another excellent substitute for chipotle powder or chipotle peppers. You can get some sweetness with the heat from ancho chilis.

Like paprika, they’re not as spicy as chipotle powder. That can make them a good alternative for anyone who can’t tolerate a lot of spice. You could also combine ancho chilis with some cayenne pepper if you do want a spicy dish.

Ancho chilis are available as peppers or in a powder. Choose the format that makes the most sense for whatever you want to cook. You can also experiment with how much of the spice you add to make sure you’ll enjoy the result.

Chipotles in Adobo Sauce

If you need to add a spicy sauce to a dish, consider using chipotles in adobo sauce. You may be able to buy the sauce ready to go. Then, you can add it to the pan or pot when you’re cooking meat or vegetables.

Another option is to prepare it yourself. You can make adobo sauce using a standard recipe, and you can add a few chipotle peppers to it.

When you buy the sauce or make it, you can use just the sauce and remove the peppers. Then, you won’t have to worry about the peppers ruining the texture of your dish. You can also keep the dish from being too spicy.

Ground Jalapeños

Since chipotle powder comes from jalapeños, they’re another excellent alternative. You can get some jalapeño peppers from the grocery store. Use a dehydrator and then a mortar and pestle to grind the peppers into a powder.


If you want to get a more authentic taste, smoke the peppers first. Then, you can have your own homemade version of chipotle powder.

You can use it in all of the same recipes as you’d use store-bought spices. But this can be a great option if you want fresher spices to add to your cooking.

How to Use Chipotle Powder?

If I had some extra chipotle powder on hand, I love how I can use it in different scenarios. I’d recommend you play around with it as well.

Add Spice to a Dish

Probably the most obvious option is to make a dish more spicy. I love making dishes spicy, from pasta to chicken dishes and more. What I like about chipotle powder is that you don’t need a lot of it to make your food more spicy.

All I’d need is one or two shakes of the stuff. That way, I could make the dish as hot as I want without having to search for a similar recipe.

Or if I had a recipe that used chipotle powder, I may use more than it recommends. Of course, I’d taste test the dish if possible before adding more to keep from making it too hot.

Make It Mexican

Mexican food is probably my favorite cuisine all over the world. I love everything from tacos to nachos, and I love how easy Mexican dishes are to customize.

The way I’d use chipotle powder is to add a bit of Mexican flare to a non-Mexican meal. For example, I might add the spice to my chicken or to some corn.

I probably wouldn’t add the spice to everything because that may be a bit overkill. But if it makes sense to kick up the heat, why not add some chipotle powder?

Use It as a Garnish

Perhaps you like spicy foods, but not everyone in your household does. When making food for other people, consider placing your chipotle powder on the dinner table.

That way, anyone who wants more spice can add it to their own plates. You can keep the main dish relatively mild, so everyone can enjoy it.

However, you don’t have to worry about eating something that you find bland just because someone you know doesn’t like spicy foods. It’s a great way to compromise and make a meal for the whole family or a group of friends.

How to Store Chipotle Powder?

Once you get some chipotle powder, you’ll want to store it to keep the flavor levels high. You can make chipotle powder last for as long as six months before you need to replace it.

To get the most lifespan out of the spice, store it in a dry, cool place. In most kitchens, your standard spice cabinet is the perfect spot.

If you use the spice often, you could even keep it on your kitchen counter. Just make sure it’s out of the way of the window and far from the faucet. Then, you won’t have to worry about the temperature.