I first made this creamy chipotle sauce to pair with a grilled shrimp salad, but over the years it’s been a favorite dressing for burrito bowls, a dollop adds so much contrast to roasted cauliflower steaks, and it takes all kinds of tacos to the next level.
It’s one of our favorite homemade sauce recipes. It’s so versatile as a sauce, a dressing, a dip…whatever you want to call it! It’s Southwest-inspired, smoky, and slightly spicy thanks to the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. It’s creamy and savory with freshness from cilantro. You’re gonna fall head over heels for this!
What are chipotle peppers in adobo sauce?
The flavor of this sauce comes from chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. You’ll find them in a small can in the grocery store. They’re smoked and dried red jalapenos that are rehydrated and canned in a flavorful tomato base sauce with other spices.
They’re mildly spicy, and in this sauce, the heat is balanced out from the creamy base. Since the jalapenos are smoked, they add quite a smoky flavor, too, and it brings a great depth of flavor!
Store leftover chili peppers in the fridge in an airtight container and be sure to make a batch of vegetarian tortilla soup!
While the chipotle peppers are the star of the show, here’s what else you’ll need to make this use-on-everything-sauce:
- Sour Cream & Mayonnaise: the creamy base of the sauce comes from these two; you could easily use all sour cream, but the little bit of mayonnaise adds a subtle richness to the sauce. Yes, you can substitute the sour cream for Greek yogurt, too.
- Cilantro: ok, I love cilantro in sauces for a little freshness. If you can’t stand cilantro, easily leave it out of this recipe.
- Lime Juice: definitely use fresh lime for the best flavor! Bottled lime juice tends to leave a bitter taste.
- Garlic: you know I can’t make any kind of dipping sauce without garlic!
- Onion Powder: a pinch adds a nice balance of flavor.
- Salt: always brings out the flavor of recipes, I recommend about ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, but as always, add a little and taste test, adjusting to your preferences.
How to Make Chipotle Sauce
This sauce couldn’t be easier, because a mini food processor or blender does all the work! The mini versions work best because it blends the smaller amount of sauce better. But pictured, I used my 14-cup food processor and it did work, too! Another option is to use an immersion blender with the tall measuring cup many come with.
Place all the ingredients in the bowl of your food processor, blender, or whatever you’re choosing to use. Blend until combined, making sure the garlic, peppers, and cilantro are smoothly incorporated.
Scrape down the slides as needed, and be sure to taste test for salt levels. You can also add additional chipotle peppers if you want the sauce extra spicy.
Don’t have a blending device? Finely chop the peppers, garlic, and cilantro. Then, whisk the sauce ingredients together.
Ways to Use this Versatile Sauce
There are so many ways to use this bold chipotle cream sauce – really! It’s like a flavorful Mexican crema, so use it with any recipe that could benefit from a little creamy, smoky spice!
- Tacos! Drizzle it, spread it, it’s excellent on shrimp tacos, black bean tacos, or you know…any tacos!
- Make it the sour cream layer in a layered taco dip for over-the-top flavor!
- Don’t let it stop there, dip burritos into it, drizzle it over quesadillas and fajitas, dollop it on enchiladas! Heck, dip tortilla chips or potato chips in it.
- Use it as a salad dressing. You can thin it out or keep it thick. Enjoy it on a grilled shrimp salad, or just toss it on with your favorite salad toppings. It brings a whole lotta flavor!
- Dip crispy zucchini fries, sweet potato fries, crispy potatoes, or good ol’ fashioned french fries.
- Spread it on a sandwich or a veggie wrap.
Truly, so many ways to use this smoky sauce you’re gonna wanna make a double (triple?) batch and keep it in the fridge at all times!
Speaking of making extra… store the sauce in an airtight container, like a mason jar, and keep it in the fridge. It’s good for up to a week as long as the cilantro still smells and looks fresh. It will last a few more days without the cilantro.
Want to make it extra easy to drizzle onto the goods? Add it to a squeeze bottle and have fun with the perfect application!
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe 5-Minute Creamy Chipotle Southwest Sauce
- In a mini food processor or blender, add all ingredients and pulse to combine until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Be sure to taste test and adjust salt if needed (or add more peppers for extra spicy).2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, ½ cup sour cream, 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise, ½ cup cilantro, 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice, 2 cloves garlic, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Transfer to a jar or another airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to a week and enjoy on tacos, as a dip, spread on sandwiches, and more!
- Spicier: add extra adobo sauce, or 1-2 additional peppers.
- Hate cilantro? Leave it out!
- No food processor or blender? Finely chop the peppers, garlic, and cilantro. Whisk together the other ingredients, and stir them in.
- This recipe makes approximately 3/4 cup of sauce in total.
By the Way…
This recipe is part of our collection of savory homemade sauce recipes. Check it out!