top of page

Chipotle Peppers: Everything to Know About Them

Chipotle Peppers: Everything to Know About Them

Chipotle peppers, renowned for their smoky flavor and versatile culinary uses, are a favorite pepper used across many different counties, cultures, and cuisines.

Originating from fully ripened jalapeños, these peppers are dried and smoked to create their distinctive taste. Whether you're a seasoned chef or a home cook, understanding chipotle peppers can elevate your dishes (or hot sauces!) to new heights.

So today, we're going to talk about everything to know about chipotle peppers. The origins, varieties, and many uses of chipotle peppers, providing you with everything you need to know to make the most out of this flavorful chili pepper.

Origins and History

The chipotle pepper is a type of dried and smoked jalapeño pepper that originated in Mexico.

So if you're wondering what a chipotle pepper is, it's just a smoked jalapeno pepper!

However, what makes the differences between jalapeños and chipotles is when they are harvested and the way they are processed.

chipolte peppers

Chipotle peppers are left on the vine to ripen until red instead of being picked right away. After that, they undergo a specific drying and smoking process that gives them their unique smoky flavor that we all love so much.

The word "chipotle" comes from the Nahuatl language, spoken by the Aztecs in ancient Mexico. It translates to "smoked chili."

It is believed that the Aztecs were one of the first cultures to use chipotle peppers as a form of preservation for their jalapenos.

Now, that we've had a bit of history about chipotle peppers, let's talk about the different varieties and types.

Varieties and Types

Chipotle peppers come in various forms, and their spiciness can vary depending on the type of jalapeños used.

There are two primary chipotle peppers though: the Chipotle Morita and the Chipotle Meco. These are the two we are here to talk about today.

Chipotle Morita

This is the most common type of chipotle pepper and most popular among Americans. It is made from ripe jalapeños that are smoked for a shorter period, resulting in a sweeter and smokier flavor.

It is dried out until it has turned into a brown or burgundy color that we all see when shopping for them at the story. The name Morita means "little blackberry" in Spanish, as the pepper resembles a small blackberry when dried.

As far as the taste/texture profile for morita chipotle peppers, they can have a leathery and pliable texture. With tastes of smoky and fruitiness with a moderate amount of heat.

pile of chipotle peppers

Chipotle Meco

This is the less common type of chipotle pepper and is not as popular in the United States. It is made from jalapeños that are allowed to ripen longer on the vine (fully ripened), giving it a darker red color and more intense flavor.

This is Mexico's preferred type of chipotle peppers, and they are usually used in traditional Mexican dishes like spicy mole sauces.

They transform into a smoky brown hue from the smoke and heat, giving the Chipotle Meco peppers a cigar-like appearance. As far as the flavor, they can have a intensely smoky and rich taste with a medium level of heat.

The main difference between chipotle morita and chipotle meco is that chipotle morita can be smoked for around 1 – 4 days depending on a few factors. In addition to that, chipotle morita tends to be more fruity, while the chipotle meco has a stronger smoke flavor.

chicken with mole made from chipotle peppers

Scoville of Chipotle Peppers

Now, we can't talk about chili peppers without mentioning the Scoville rating.

Typically speaking, chipotle peppers range between 2,500 and 10,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), but as always, this will vary depending on a variety of factors such as how it was grown and the level of ripeness.

To put it into perspective, jalapeños typically have the same Scoville rating of 2,500 to 8,000 SHU. So chipotle peppers are generally no hotter than your typical jalapeño.

While the Scoville rating of the ghost pepper is around 1,041,427 SHU. So comparatively, it's a fairly mild pepper.

Both types of chipotle peppers fall within the same range but they can lean towards the higher end due to their smokiness intensifying the heat.

How to Use Them

Chipotle peppers can be used in a variety of dishes, from sauces and marinades to salsas and stews.

Here are just a few ways you can incorporate them into your cooking:

  • Make chipotle salsa by blending together canned chipotle peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, and lime juice.

  • Add chopped chipotle peppers to chili for an extra smoky kick.

  • Create a marinade for chicken or beef by mixing together adobo sauce (from the canned chipotle peppers), honey, soy sauce, and oil.

  • Combine pureed chipotle peppers with mayo for a delicious sandwich spread.

  • Add chopped chipotle peppers to your guacamole for a spicy twist.

Their smoky flavor adds a unique and delicious depth to dishes, making them a versatile ingredient and one we recommend more people experiment with!

Unique Chipotle Products to Try

While chipotle peppers are delicious on their own, there are plenty of unique products using chipotle as a main ingredient.

SilverLeaf Chipotle Bread & Butter Garlic

Here are some of our favorites that you should try:

Embracing the Flavor of Chipotle Peppers

Chipotle peppers may be a staple in many Latin American and Mexican dishes, but they are also widely used around the world for their distinct flavor. Whether you prefer the more fruity chipotle morita or the smokier chipotle meco, understanding the origins, varieties, and uses of chipotle peppers can help elevate your cooking game!

So get out there and start experimenting with this delicious chili pepper!


bottom of page