Chipotle en Adobo and Adobo Marinade

Chipotles en Adobo

Chipotles en Adobo

by Cat, Sept 2014 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Adobo was originally a marinade used to preserve raw meats; the essential ingredients were paprika, oregano, salt, garlic, and vinegar. Paprika has antibacterial properties and the capsaicins in paprika help this antibacterial ability to penetrate deep into the meat tissue. It also gives the sauce its red color. (1)

The resulting marinade adds a lot of flavor to the meat and today is used more for this flavor than its preservation properties.

These two recipes presented here are quite different, and neither includes paprika. You could certainly add it, starting with 1 tsp and increasing as needed to get the desired flavor. Many recipes also include orange and/or lime juice; see: (5) and (6).

  • Includes: 1. Adobo Marinade I (Chipotle en Adobo, a Bobby Flay recipe); 2. Adobo Marinade II (my version based on ingredients on a can of Chipotle en Adobo)
  • See also: 1. Red or Green Chile Sauce; 2. Mole Poblano; 3. Poultry Menu; 4. Sauces Menu; Other Sites: Traci’s Adobo Seasoning recipe (4)

Adobo Marinade I

My friend Kevynne in Portland sent me this recipe which she attributes to Bobby Flay. I have not been able to find the link to this recipe but keep trying.

I’m testing the One-Quarter recipe for my new Baked Chicken with Peruvian Flavors recipe; see below for testing.

  • Full Recipe:
  • 2 cups  chopped fresh tomatoes or strained canned tomatoes
  • ¼ cup minced garlic
  • 3 Tbsp ancho chile powder
  • 3 Tbsp pasilla chile powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • pinch cumin (optional)
  • 1 canned chipotle, seeded and diced [or use softened (re-hydrated) dried chipotle; see Chiles, About for details]; alternately, use ½ – 1 tsp dried chipotle powder
  • 1 Tbsp local honey
  • 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar [or 2 tsp Rapadura sugar plus 1 tsp molasses)
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • One-Quarter Recipe (makes ¾ cup)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh tomatoes or strained canned tomatoes; or 2 Tbsp tomato paste diluted with filtered water to make ½ cup
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (4-6 cloves), or to taste
  • 1 – 1 ½ Tbsp chile powder (depending on how hot you want it)
  • ½ – 1 tsp chipotle powder (depending on how hot you want it)
  • ⅛-¼ tsp cayenne (depending on how hot you want it)
  • dash cumin (optional)
  • ¾ tsp local honey
  • ¼ tsp molasses
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Equipment for both sizes
  • Food processor or blender

Puree the marinade ingredients in a food processor. If you used chipotle powder and/or sauce is too thick, add water, 1 Tbsp at a time and blend again, until desired thickness is reached.

May be prepared up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated. Makes 3 cups.

See also Bobby Flay’s Sources for chiles, etc., a pdf file that I have saved on this site. (pdf file, saved Recipes: chiles etc sources_BobbyFlay.pdf)

9/9/16: Tested the quarter-recipe using dried chipotle powder (see Chicken Pieces with Peruvian Flavors). Sauce is quite spicy with excellent flavor. However, some of the chopped garlic didn’t get pureed; next time, I’ll mince it. Updated recipe accordingly.

Adobo Marinade II: Chipotle en Adobo

This is a theoretical recipe based on a label (2) from a can of Chipotle in Adobo, and a recipe using ketchup on Becks & Posh blog: Chipotle en Adobo (3). Both sources include tomato ketchup, which is a highly processed food that usually contains GMO ingredients; so I include ingredients from my Lacto-Fermented Tomato Catsup/Ketchup recipe to approximate the flavor of commercial ketchup.

I’ve not yet tested this recipe, and probably never will because I like the above recipe.

  • 12 dried chipotle (smoked red jalapenos)
  • 6 Tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • ½ onion, minced
  • ½ tsp unrefined sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 – 2 tsp Rapadura sugar plus 1 tsp molasses
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, or more to taste
  1. Soften the dried chipotle (see method below).
  2. Remove stems from chipotle, split each lengthwise and remove seeds. Combine in saucepan with remaining ingredients and simmer for an hour or more, until sauce thickens and is reduced to about 1 cup.


  1. Wikipedia on Adobo (
  2. Canned Chipotlle en Adobo label:
  3. Becks & Posh blog: Chipotle en Adobo recipe:
  4. Traci’s Adobo Seasoning (
  5. recipe (
  6. Bobby Flay’s Chicken Adobo recipe (

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