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22 September 2013

A chipotle pepper is a smoked, dried jalapeno. As they turn red on the vine, they are plucked and smoked until dried, turning them into chipotle peppers.

SCOVILLE HEAT UNITS: 2,500 – 8,000 SHU

What is a Chipotle Pepper?

Chipotle Peppers are smoked, dried jalapenos. As jalapeno peppers age, then turn red on the vine to fully ripen and begin to dry. These red jalapeño peppers are plucked and smoked for days until dried, turning them into chipotle peppers.

It takes about 10 pounds of jalapeno peppers to make 1 pound of chipotle peppers.

Chili growers typically pick unripe green jalapenos for selling, but let many stay on the plants to ripen and turn red as long as possible for making chipotle peppers. Once they have fairly dried, they are picked then swood moked in chambers or grills for several days.

What Do Chipotle Peppers Look Like?

When they are sufficiently dried, chipotle chilis resemble dried raisins or prunes. The skins are wrinkly and dry, and while many are darker in color, some are more gray and resemble cigar butts.

How Hot is a Chipotle Pepper?

Chipotles are as hot as your typical jalapeno peppers, which range from 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville Heat Units on the Scoville Scale. They give a good level of heat, but nothing dramatic. For some people, the heat is just right.

What Do Chipotle Peppers Taste Like?

Chipotles offer up an earthy, smoky flavor and lend that spicy smokiness to any dish you’re cooking. As they are dried, you can grind them into chipotle powder for mixing into soups, sauces, salsas and chilis, or you can rehydrate them and process them into a wonderful chili paste that will flavor anything you’d like.

It is widely used in Mexican cuisine, but also Tex Mex cooking, and has found it’s way into all manners of American cooking.

Quick Chipotle Pepper Facts

  • Chipotles are smoked, dried jalapeno peppers that have turned red
  • Chipotle chiles are dried red jalapenos
  • Not all chipotles are alike since there are so many varieties of jalapeño peppers
  • Chipotles are just about as hot as a jalapeno pepper
  • 5,000 to 8,000 Scoville units, medium heat
  • You can purchase chipotles in whole pods, ground, in adobo, or other ways, but the first three ways are most popular

Learn More About These Other Mexican Peppers

Chipotle Pepper Recipes

Try some of my popular recipes that incorporate chipotles:

Where Can I Buy Chipotle Peppers?

You can usually find chipotles in Mexican grocers or in the Mexican section of your local grocer. Or, buy chipotles online at Amazon (affiliate link, my friends!)

2 comments

  1. I have purchased a Chipotle pepper plant with small green pods (still early in the season. Is this really a habenro? Does it need to dry on the vine and then be smoked before being used.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Don, chipotle peppers are actually jalapeno peppers that have been smoked and dried. As jalapeno pepper age, then turn red on the vine and begin to dry. These red jalapeno peppers are plucked and smoked for days until dried, turning them into chipotle peppers.

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