How do you store chipotle adobo peppers?

Quick Answers

Chipotle adobo peppers can be stored in a few different ways to maximize freshness and flavor. Some quick tips:

  • Store in an airtight glass or plastic container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
  • Can or pickle them for long term storage.
  • Store dried peppers in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

How to Store Fresh Chipotle Adobo Peppers

Fresh chipotle peppers packed in adobo sauce can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to maintain freshness. Here are some tips for storing fresh chipotle peppers:


– Transfer the peppers and sauce to an airtight glass or plastic container. Glass jars or plastic containers with tight fitting lids work best. Make sure all of the peppers are fully submerged in the sauce.

– Push out as much air as possible before sealing the container. The less air in the container, the better.

– Store the container in the refrigerator. The peppers will keep for up to 1 week refrigerated.

– Use a clean utensil each time you remove peppers from the container to avoid contaminating the remaining peppers.

– Check periodically for signs of spoilage like mold growth, off smells, or sliminess. Discard if any signs of spoilage.


– For longer term storage, the peppers can be frozen. Transfer peppers and sauce to an airtight freezer container or freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible.

– Flatten the bag or container to spread the peppers in a single layer. This helps them freeze faster.

– Freeze for up to 3 months.

– When ready to use, defrost peppers in the refrigerator overnight. Use within a week of thawing.

– Do not re-freeze thawed peppers.

How to Store Dried Chipotle Peppers

Dried chipotle chile peppers can also be stored for extended periods. Here are some tips for storing dried chipotle peppers:

– Store dried peppers in an airtight container like a mason jar or resealable plastic bag.

– Exclude as much air from the container as possible. Oxygen can cause faster deterioration.

– Keep container in a cool, dark place away from light and heat. Avoid storing in the refrigerator, which can add moisture and cause mold growth.

– Properly stored, dried chipotle chiles will keep for up to 1 year.

– Check periodically for signs of moisture or mold growth. Discard any peppers that appear moist or moldy.

How to Can or Pickle Chipotle Peppers

Canning and pickling are great ways to preserve chipotle peppers for long term storage of 6 months or longer. Here are some tips:

Canning Chipotle Peppers

– Clean and sterilize canning jars and lids. Place chipotle peppers and adobo sauce into hot sterilized jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

– Remove air bubbles and clean rim of jars. Place lids and rings on jars, hand tightening rings.

– Process pint or quart jars in a water bath canner for 15-20 minutes based on your altitude.

– After processing, allow jars to cool undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Check that all jars have sealed properly by pressing on lids. Store sealed jars in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

Pickling Chipotle Peppers

– Rinse peppers and pack tightly into sterilized jars.

– In a saucepan, bring vinegar, water, salt, and sugar to a boil. Pour hot brine over peppers leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

– Remove air bubbles, wipe rims, and seal jars. Process pint jars for 10 minutes in a water bath canner based on your altitude.

– Cool jars completely before storing. Refrigerate after opening. Pickled peppers will keep for up to 6 months.

What to Look for When Storing Chipotle Peppers

When storing chipotle peppers, keep an eye out for the following signs of spoilage:

– Mold growth – This appears as fuzzy green or white growth either on the peppers or in the sauce. Discard moldy peppers or sauce.

– Yeast growth – Excess moisture can cause yeast growth. It appears as slimy sediment or film.

– Off odors – Fresh peppers should smell earthy and aromatic. Discard peppers with sour, fermented, or rotten smells.

– Texture changes – Peppers may soften, shrivel, or become slimy when spoiled. Discard if texture seems off.

– Liquid separation – The sauce may separate into watery liquid if old. This is a sign peppers should be discarded.

– Dried pepper pliability – Dried peppers should be leathery. Discard if brittle or mushy.

How to Use Stored Chipotle Peppers

Stored chipotle peppers can be used in a variety of delicious recipes. Here are some ideas:

– Add to salsas, hot sauces, chili, soups, stews, and chilies for smoky spice and flavor.

– Use in rubs and marinades for meats, especially beef, chicken, and fish. The smokiness pairs well.

– Blend into dips, spreads, hummus, bean dips, and guacamole.

– Mix into rice, quinoa, or vegetable side dishes.

– Puree into adobo sauce. Great brushed on proteins before grilling or roasting.

– Add to sandwiches, tacos, enchiladas, and other Mexican dishes.

– Use to make spicy mayo or aioli.

– Infuse into oils or vinegars.

– Garnish finished dishes with sliced pickled peppers.

Substitutes for Chipotle Peppers

If you don’t have chipotle peppers, here are some substitute options:

Substitute How to Use
Ancho chile powder Use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per chipotle pepper. Provides richness and mild heat.
Cayenne powder Use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per pepper. Adds spiciness but not smokiness.
Paprika Use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per pepper. Adds rich flavor and mild heat.
Chipotle chili powder Use same amount as chipotle peppers. Imparts smoky flavor.
Smoked paprika Use same amount as chipotle peppers. Adds smoky flavor.

Start with smaller amounts of any substitute and adjust to taste. You may need to add extra flavors like cumin, oregano, garlic, or onion powder to replicate the full flavor profile of chipotle peppers.


Chipotle peppers packed in adobo sauce add a delicious smoky, spicy flavor to dishes. With proper storage techniques, you can keep chipotle peppers fresh for up to a week in the refrigerator, up to 3 months in the freezer, up to a year dried, or up to a year canned or pickled. Pay close attention for any signs of spoilage. And use your stored peppers to add signature smoky heat to salsas, marinades, dips, and Mexican cuisine. Substitutes like ancho powder, cayenne, paprika, or smoked paprika can mimic the flavor in a pinch.

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