Chipotle Sauce

I first came across Chipotle sauce whilst on holiday in New Orleans.   I was surprised to find that McIlhenny, the

Chipotle Sauce
Chipotle Sauce, bottled & ready to go!

manufacturer of the eponymous ‘ Tabasco’ sauce (you know, that small bottle of hot sauce that’s been sitting in the back of the cupboard for the last 10 years?)  makes a whole range of chilli sauces, and  ‘Chipotle’ is treated as much as a table condiment as a cooking ingredient.


Chipotles are  Jalapenos which have been smoke-dried to preserve them.  Traditionally thay are smoked over

Morita Chipotle Chilli Peppers

pecan wood and this gives them a wonderful sweet, nutty, fruity flavour.  I brought a couple of bottles of sauce back with me, but quickly ran out.  I could only find it in odd places, and it it was often very expensive.  When my last bottle ran out I decided enough was enough and I’d just have to make my own (well, it was either that or have another trip to New Orleans, which I would recommend to anyone…)

Chipotle sauce is a medium-heat hot sauce which goes really well with chicken and fish, any kind of barbecue or Mexican dish.

Makes approx 600 ml


  • 12-15 dried Chipotle Chillies (approx 40g)
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1  tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Sugar
  • 200ml Cider Vinegar


  • Remove stalks from chillies and split in 2 with a sharp knife or scissors.  Knock out the seeds (but retain if you want a hotter sauce)
  • In a frying pan, dry fry the chillies a couple at a time  for a few seconds on each side to soften a little.  Do not burn!  Once fried, drop the chillies into a jug of hot water.  Once finished, leave the chillies to soak for 30 minutes (also add the retained chilli seeds if preferred
  • Gently fry the onion and garlic  until softened but not coloured
  • Pick out the chillies from the water but reserve the liquor.  Taste the liquor – it should be hot and smoky with a fruity flavour, but not bitter.  take the top 300 ml but reserve the dregs – this may contain grit from the chillies.  If there isn’t 300 ml or the liquid is bitter, take what you can and make the rest up with water
  • In a food processor, blend the onions, chillies, vinegar, salt, sugar and chilli water until smooth
  • Bottle into sterilized jars

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