chipotle peppers
Red Jalapenos picked from the garden.

This week we had our first true freeze of the fall season.  Fortunately, we were able to pick the last of the peppers before nature turned down the thermostat. That left us with a plethora of peppers to try to can, freeze, and dry. A great way to preserve your red jalapenos is to make your own Chipotle Peppers.  It does take some patience, so plan to do this on a day when you have a full day to be ‘on call’.

chipotle peppers
Chipotle peppers ground down to make powder – Great to add to soups, stews and pasta dishes.

A Chipotle pepper is a dry, smoked jalapeno pepper.  They are most commonly made from red jalapenos.   They are added to any dish that needs a smoky flavor with a little kick.    Most of the natural ‘heat’ of the jalapeno is retained in the drying and smoking process.Typically it is about 5,000 to 10,000 Scoville Units. This is considered a “medium” heat in comparison to other chilies.  Of course, you can take out the seeds and ribs of the jalapeno to make a milder version of the chipotle pepper. Typically the Chipotle is used to flavor soups, salsas, stews, sauces, and even an occasional dessert.

chipotle peppers
Make sure to soak your wood chips in water for at least an hour to prevent burning in the smoker.
chipotle peppers
After a few hours, the red jalapenos are beginning to dry

To make your own Chipotles, start with thoroughly washed Jalapeños, without bruises or surface cuts. They shouldn’t be too soft. Remove the stems and place them on the rack in your smoker or grill in a single layer.

Add pre-soaked wood for the smoke in small amounts. Fruit woods are best to use such as apple wood, however hickory, oak, and pecan (the Mexican traditional wood) works well also. Just keep the airflow low so that the fire doesn’t get too hot and then continue smoking until the peppers are complete dried. Some people use a dehydrator, which works, but your dehydrator will smell smoky for weeks.

So what do you do with all of your chipotle peppers?  There are countless ways to use them, but here are some of our favorites…..

chipotle pepper
You can see the jalapenos have now begun to turn into chipotle peppers. Only a couple more hours to go.

Chipotle Powder 
A few spice companies offer a chipotle powder. This is simply the dried whole chili, ground up into a fine powder. Use as you would any chili powder for a spicy, smoky flavor. We love our Krups Coffee Grinder which grinds the peppers down into the perfect consistency.

Chipotle in Adobo Sauce 
Normally canned with a sauce made of spices, vinegar, tomato sauce and sometimes other chilies. You can use the chilies, the sauce, or both in common recipes.

Chipotle Chili Salt
The salt is a combination of chipotle chili powder and table salt. Use on meats or vegetables for a light smoky flavor.

Chipotle Dip 
Chilies are dehydrated and blended into a paste. Use the dip for chicken fingers, wraps and on veggies or chips.

We will get into more specific recipes on how to use your dried chipotle peppers in future posts.  But as for now, concentrate on getting those leftover jalapenos put to use before they go bad.

Jim and Mary

Making Your Own Chipotle Peppers From Jalapenos

3 thoughts on “Making Your Own Chipotle Peppers From Jalapenos

  • November 30, 2016 at 9:43 am

    I wish I would have found this earlier. We grew so many jalapeno plants this year and gave so many peppers away. I canned about a dozen pints of them as well.
    I have the kids eating the chipotle and they love the smokey flavor.

    Next year I have big, big plans for my lovely jalapenos.


  • October 21, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    In answer to your comment: I have made my own chipotle’ powder for years now and have used both green jalapenos (not fully ripened) as well as red jalapenos (fully ripened) both smoked with pecan wood and there is a difference (at least to me) in taste.

    I prefer the ripe (red) over the unripened ones as they seem to consistently taste both richer and sweeter.

    Having used chipotle’ powders made from mesquite, hickory, etc. I find the flavor to be “harsher” and so I’ve stuck with what I like traditional pecan wood.

    Hope this answers your question

  • September 21, 2016 at 9:33 am

    I was just wondering if the smoke produce by smoking the jalapenos is dangerous as far as pepper compounds are considered. Do you make a point of staying away from it or does the smoke not carry any of the spicy compouds that could be dangerous if inhaled? Thanks.

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