Sauces and Condiments

Simple and Spicy Chipotle Crema

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Last updated on July 11th, 2022 at 11:23 am

I have long loved a good fish or shrimp taco. And after ordering so many of them, I noticed that a lot of those dishes were served drizzled with a creamy red-orange sauce. Eventually, I learned that was a chipotle crema, used to pack a punch of creamy, sweet, smoky flavor with a hint of lingering spice.

I love a simple recipe, and this one is hard to beat. Toss everything in a blender or food processor and let it rip. I tend to use my Nutribullet because it has smaller attachments that are a perfect fit for this.

Just make sure to let it blend until it is smooth.

All chipotle crema ingredients in a blender bowl ready to be mixed

Don’t worry too much about the spiciness of the peppers. The crema helps tame the heat a bit and shifts the focus to the flavor of the peppers more than anything.

Fun fact – jalapeño peppers turn red when left on the plant to ripen. I found that out when I grew them myself for the first time and wasn’t super vigilant in picking them while they were still green. But it turns out that was a fairly fortuitous discovery.

What are Chipotle’s in Adobo?

First of all, chipotle itself is a jalapeño pepper that had been smoked and dried. This gives it that unique smoky flavor that I love. I use ground chipotle powder all the time in my cooking. It adds a little bit of heat and a whole lot of smoky flavor to any dish.

The smoked and dried peppers are then stewed in adobo sauce and canned or jarred. Adobo is a vinegar and ground pepper/paprika-based sauce. It adds another depth of flavor, and usually even more smokiness to the mix.

For this chipotle crema, you will need less than one can from the store. I like to store any leftovers in a Ziploc in the freezer to use in later recipes.

Lime slices and crema ready for tacos, nachos, burritos and more

Once you open the can, you’ll see the small peppers in a deep red sauce. We will use both the peppers and the sauce from the can for this crema.

Note – I have even tried my own hand at this whole process. I let my jalapeños stay on the plant long enough to turn red. Then I used my Traeger grill to smoke them. And finally made a homemade adobo sauce to put them in.

Unfortunately, I did not have a dehydrator. But it was a very fun process that I will have to try again someday.

Using Your Chipotle Crema

Chipotle crema is typically paired with Mexican or Tex-Mex dishes. Use it as a dip, a drizzle, or a sauce. But try it on or with anything that could use a punch of smoky flavor and a bit of heat.

Try it with tacos, nachos, tostadas, chilaquiles, or fajitas.

I like to use it with the following recipes:

Fully mixed chipotle crema in a jar, ready for storage

I find that it pairs especially well with seafood. Any shrimp and white fish will pair well – especially with it drizzled as a taco topping.

Even use it as a dip for fries. Or use it as a dip for what is currently the most popular recipe on the site: fried potato and onion strings. Or use it in place of tartar sauce as a dip for fish and chips!

Basically, I think you could use it on anything. But you can make it yourself to test out the flavor and let me know what you think pairs with it best.

Simple and Spicy Chipotle Crema

Recipe by Marc PetersonCourse: SauceDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Total time



Drizzled over tacos, nachos, burritos, and any Tex-Mex dish, chipotle crema gives creamy, sweet, smoky flavor with a hint of lingering spice


  • 1 cup Mexican crema (can sub sour cream)

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo

  • 1/2 tablespoon adobo sauce

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • Add all ingredients into a food processor or blender
  • Pulse on high for about 30 seconds until it is smooth
  • Use immediately or store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 10 days

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  1. What luck! I was looking for an easy red pepper crema sauce this morning! I’m going to try this tonight! Thank you for the recipe!


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