What Is Chipotle Chili Powder?

Chipotle chili powder is a mildly spicy chili powder made from chipotle peppers. Chipotle peppers are smoked and dried jalapeno peppers. It is perfect for adding smokiness and flavor to many dishes.

What Is Chipotle Chili Powder

Chipotle peppers get their name from the Nahuatl word “chilpoctli, " meaning “smoked chili”. The primary ingredient in chipotle powder is jalapeno peppers which are transformed into a whole new flavor experience through smoking and drying.

Is Chipotle Powder Spicy?

Chipotle powder is mildly spicy and delivers a deep, complex heat that does not overpower dishes. It ranks around 8,000 Scoville Heat Units on the Scoville scale, delivering a noticeable kick of heat without being overly spicy or fiery.

The earthy, smoky flavor balances out the heat nicely. So you get a peppery punch and subtle flavors like smoke, sweetness, and tanginess from the jalapenos.

How To Use Chipotle Powder

Chipotle powder is a signature flavor in Mexican and Southwestern dishes like burritos, tacos, and quesadillas. But you can also liven up soups, stews, curries, rubs, and more with this versatile powder.

The deep smoky notes pair especially well with beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, and fish. Sprinkle it on sandwiches, pizza, eggs, popcorn, roasted veggies, salad dressings, or anywhere you want extra flavor and mild heat.

Chipotle's complexity allows it to enhance both savory and sweet foods. Get creative with this spice blend in your cooking!

Where To Buy Chipotle Powder

Look for chipotle powder in the spice aisle of well-stocked grocery stores, especially those with Mexican ingredients. Specialty Latin markets and spice shops will also carry it.

You can easily find authentic and flavorful chipotle powder online as well. It’s readily available from spice retailers in convenient quantities.

How To Make Chipotle Powder

Making homemade chipotle powder allows you to control the flavor and heat level.

Start with dried, whole chipotle peppers. Use a knife to slice into smaller pieces to grind more easily.

Place the chopped peppers in a coffee grinder or spice grinder. Pulse to break them down into a fine powder.

Sift out any remaining chunks through a fine mesh strainer so your powder has a smooth consistency.

Chipotle Powder Recipe

Follow this easy recipe to make your signature blend of chipotle powder at home:



  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to fully incorporate.
  2. Transfer the chipotle powder blend to an airtight jar. Label and store for up to 1 year.

What Is A Substitute For Chipotle Powder?

With its unique smoky, spicy flavor, chipotle powder doesn’t have a perfect sub. But smoked paprika comes closest for its peppery bite and savory flavor.

Ancho chili powder, made from dried poblano peppers, also works well as a substitute for mild heat level and richness.

If you need an option without smokiness, plain chili powder or cayenne pepper can mimic the heat of chipotle powder. Just know the flavor won’t have as much depth.

What To Make With Chipotle Powder

This versatile powder livens up a wide variety of dishes:

  • Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas
  • Chili, stew, posole, soups
  • Meat rubs for grilled or roasted chicken, beef, pork
  • Shrimp, fish, eggs, sandwiches
  • Dressings, dips, guacamole
  • Roasted veggies like cauliflower or Brussels sprouts
  • Popcorn, nuts, snack mixes

Chipotle powder brings excitement to both Southwestern and mainstream fare with its complex flavor and mild heat. Keep it on hand to inject big, bold flavor into everyday cooking!


Chipotle chili powder is a versatile and flavorful spice blend that home cooks and professional chefs should have in their arsenal. Made from smoked, dried jalapeño peppers, it delivers a complex flavor profile of mild heat, sweetness, earthiness, and smokiness.

While the powder is a signature ingredient in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, it can spice up dishes across cuisines - from hearty chilis and stews to seafood, sandwiches, roasted veggies, and more. Chipotle powder punches up savory and sweet foods with its nuanced flavor.

Making your blend allows you to control the intensity and tailor it to your tastes. And the homemade powder retains maximum freshness and potency when stored properly. Keep a batch on hand to inject big, bold chipotle flavor into everyday cooking whenever a recipe demands heat and excitement.


What's the difference between chipotle powder and chili powder?

Chipotle powder is made solely from smoked and dried jalapeño peppers. Chili powder is a blend of chile peppers and spices like cumin, oregano, garlic, and onion.

What dishes use a lot of chipotle powder?

Chipotle powder is a key ingredient in chilis, tacos, enchiladas, chili con carne, moles, salsas, marinades for meats, and many other Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes.

Does Chipotle powder go bad?

Properly stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, the chipotle powder will stay fresh for up to 1 year. After that, it will gradually lose potency.

Can I use more chipotle powder if a recipe calls for less?

It's best to use chipotle powder in the recommended amounts. Too much can make a dish overly spicy and bitter. Start with less and add more to taste.

What are some substitutions if I don't have chipotle powder?

Good alternatives include smoked paprika, ancho chili powder, cayenne pepper, or regular chili powder. The flavor won't be the same, but it can mimic the general heat level.

Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

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