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Jun 16, 2007 12:10 AM

Chipotles -- canned in adobo or dried?

I have only recently found a store that has the canned chipotles in adobo sauce. I've been using dried for years.

What the heck is adobo sauce? So many recipes call for the canned with this sauce -- any hints on substituting the dried for the canned? Right now I just fake it...

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  1. Here is a link to a receipe that recreates whole canned chipotles in adobo sauce (I've never used it so I can't comment on its utility):
    As you can see, its a pretty vinegary tomato/ketchup-based sort of sauce.

    Most of the time that I use canned chipotles, I rinse off the sauce, so using dried ones is probably pretty similiar-the only time you'll run into a problem is when the recipe actually includes some of the adobo sauce (usually a marinade). I'd pick up a can, they usually last a long time in the fridge.

    1. I use both frequently. The adobo is a very tasty little tomato-vinegar sauce that chipotles are frequently canned in. They are common in mexico and because of their portability and shelf life, more easily found in the States than dried chipotles (though depending on where you live it's getting quite easy to find dried chipotles).

      When I have something where I want to pure smokiness of the chipotle flavor, I use dried chipotles. Plus, you can use them in chile powders, dry rubs, etc. Often in soups, beans, chipotle mayo or something like that, I'll throw in a few en adobo because it's easy - they are super soft and don't need to be ground or reconstituted.

      Really just a preference thing. With dried you get the pure chipotle flavor, with canned you get chipotles with a nifty little sauce to accompany. I'd get a can and try it out.

      As for subbing, you can sub one for one. But remember the application, obviously. If it's going to be a in something wet (chili or beans or something) often you have to reconstitute the dried (or toast and grind into powder). With canned, you don't. But with dried, you do have the flexibility to use them for dried or wet applications...

      2 Replies
      1. re: adamclyde

        I use both as well. I use the dried in two ways. The dried peppers are great for grinding into powder as you mentioned Adam. I also clean them and remove the seeds and soak in hot water over night. The fumes from these peppers gets the whole house coughing except me. Once cleaned they are preserved in jars using a mild vinegar/water/sugar/salt solution, carrots, onions and thyme. This is how my relatives in Mexico do them. They are wonderful and will last a long time in the fridge. So both have their uses. One condiment that I keep in the fridge at all times is a puree of chipotle in adobo and guava paste. This is a great condiment that adds a lot of flavor to many foods. The guava paste will add only a hint of sweetness and flavor when paired with the strong chipotle in adobo. I use a stick blender and just grind them up together. Great on grilled meats, tuna salad..I love it.

        1. re: scubadoo97

          wow, guava and chipotle... that sounds amazing. I've never heard of that combo. I've got to try that one...

      2. Chipotles in adobo are great chopped and mixed into sour cream w/ lime for a dipping sauce for quesadillas. It's the combo of the smoked peppers and spicy sauce that adds a zing beyond the dried peppers.
        I also add to roasted sliced (well, eighths, cut lengthwise) sweet potatoes half way through (so they don't burn) as a way of eating sweet potatoes w/o butter.
        I use the dried in bbq rubs.

        1. Approach the canned oneswith caution! These guys are tasty, but super hot, as is the sauce.

          1. I've been gettin' freaky on this great book lately. (The Great Ribs Book - and I'm so not a cook!) But it's the first time a ran across this or ever had to use or open a can of this stuff. Yes, it's hot, but not as much as say, a Serrano pepper. Anyways, try it in a recipe it calls for. Why not? I made Mango-Chipotle ribs, with the canned adobo sauce. I'm sure if you saw this recipe, your dry chipotle rub with the same ingredients would kick-ass over the canned. Look at the label, copy it yourself & whip it out on the barbeque! Unfortunately I have gas, it sucks over the ol' ol' school! Do it in the oven, so much time less wasted... Read what everyone says here about the smokiness that comes with this canned goodness.. But if you're doing fresh, I'm sure you can do much better..