How to Use and Store Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

Clarification: Despite what the title of this post might suggest, I am not an expert on Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce. I have used them lots since taking these pictures and have decided that my life was incomplete without them, but this “how to” post is more of a this-is-what-I-did-and-please-let-me-know-if-you-have-a-better-way-of-doing-things post. But “how to” is a lot shorter so we’re going to go with that.

Background: I’ve been seeing recipes using chipotle peppers in adobo all over the interwebs for quite some time now, but had never actually used them until recently. I’ve had every intention of using them, but most recipes only call for one or two peppers and I didn’t have a game plan for what to do with the rest of the can. So I bought a couple cans of the peppers, that sat in my cabinet for a couple of months while I passively waited for inspiration to hit on how to deal with the suckers. Not surprisingly, I was never hit with inspiration and instead did what I should have done all along; I looked it up on the internet. Our Best Bites (one of my favorite food blogs) happened to have a post all about how to deal with the chillies! By all means, just follow that link and read a much more extensive post than what I’m about to share. Like I said, this post is part this-is-what-I-did and part please-tell-me-what-you-do.

So, chipotle peppers in adobo are smoked, dried jalapeño peppers that have been canned with a delicious sauce that takes on the smokey flavor of the peppers. Just like with any other kind of jalapeño pepper, a little goes a long way because these little babies have a kick. But I promise, if you’re scared of spice, you can seed the peppers (shown below) and they’ll be super mild. If you embrace the spice, keep some seeds in the mix. The more seeds you keep, the spicier it will be. Was that too elementary? Probably. Moving on…

So here is what I did to prepare and store my chipotle peppers so that I wouldn’t waste a single one.

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First I cut off the tough stem and sliced the peppers open. I removed all the seeds because I had read lots of warnings about how spicy these were, but removing all the seeds yields a very mild pepper. In the future I’ll keep at least some of the seeds in. That carnage in the upper right is the seeds from the previous peppers.

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I then put the peppers in a little food processor attachment that I have for my immersion blender. A food processor isn’t necessary, but it will make this faster. If you don’t have a food processor, just mince the peppers finely.

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I dumped all of the leftover juices into a strainer because there were a bunch of onions and the like in the mix. I pushed down on all of the stuff in the strainer to get as much juice out as possible. The juice has tons of flavor, but is more mild than the peppers, so it’s good to have around for recipes where you want the smokiness, but not the spice.

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Then I let the food processor do it’s thing! You don’t want it to be a paste, you just want it well minced.

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I lined an ice cube tray with plastic wrap and portioned out 1 tsp peppers into each hole. I hand minced and measured an individual pepper first and got 1 tsp of minced pepper, which is how I got my measurement. This way one cube will equal one pepper when cooking.

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I also portioned out the juice in the same manner. I didn’t get as much juice as I thought I would, but at least I got some!

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Then I stuck the trays in the freezer! Once they were all frozen, I pulled out the plastic wrap from the trays and dumped the frozen cubes into some freezer safe baggies. Now I have perfectly portioned peppers, and no partially used cans to go bad in the fridge! Win win!

(Note: I minced/portioned two cans for these pictures.)

So that’s what I did! It has worked really well for me to be able to just reach into the freezer and pull out a pepper whenever I need it. Ok, so tell me, have you used these peppers before/how did you handle them, and what did you use them in?

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5 thoughts on “How to Use and Store Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

  1. I love this! Thank you for sharing. My extra peppers always wind up in the garbage and I always feel guilty about it. The only other solution I ever found was leaving the peppers out next to the burritos and inviting the boys/men to eat them. I only discovered that this summer, though, so Evan may never have experienced that joy.

  2. This is a great idea, not just for peppers, but other canned things that only use a tablespoon or two, like tomato paste, I am always wasting at least half of those little cans whenever I use some. Do you know if tomato paste freezes well?

  3. Pingback: Chipotle Chicken Corn Chowder | Caramelized Kitchen

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