I have attempted to make chipotles before but this time with the surplus of late season jalapenos, I wanted to be a bit more methodical about our process.

Chipotles are simply smoked and dried jalapenos.   Typically, red jalapenos are used.  As we cleaned out the garden to put it to bed for winter, I picked most of them green this past weekend.    After pickling and making hot sauce (using up four pounds), I still had 2 1/2 pounds left.


Time to make chipotles.

After reading many different techniques from drying them first and then smoking them to smoking them and then drying them, I settled on the following procedure.

Make Your Own Chipotles

  1. Pop the stems off.   The easiest way is to use a small paring knife and simply pry them off.
  2. Wash and dry them well.
  3. Cut a slit through the top (where the stem was) and one slit through the side.   This will allow the smoke to penetrate and will also let the steam escape.
  4. Prepare your smoker.  Place peppers on a grill.   (I used some foil made for BBQs that has holes in it.
  5. Smoke at low heat (around 195 degrees F.) with lots of apple chips for smoke.  Make sure to keep your heat low.   Low and slow and smoky is the key.
  6. Depending on the size of the peppers, smoke for 5-8 hours.   I turned the peppers about half way through.   I also removed the smaller ones as they were finished drying.   My Mammoth variety peppers took almost 8 full hours.



After about an hour.

After about an hour.   I turned them all and rotated them from hotter areas to cooler areas on the grill.

Some ideas for using your own smoky peppers:

  • Use a spice grinder to make your own chipotle powder.
  • Make chipotle salt by mixing the ground pepper powder with coarse sea salt and letting it set.
  • Make your own chipotles in adobo sauce.
  • Make your own dry rub.
  • Make chipotle mayo and mustard and ketchup by mixing the powder into these condiments.
  • Mix the powder in chilis, pasta, stews, and soups for another level of flavor.

I loved sitting on the patio on one of our first truly chilly Sunday mornings, sipping coffee, writing this post, and smelling the peppers getting smoked, roasted, and dried on the grill.

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All done.

I have these stored in a sealable container.   It just reminds me of New Mexico every time I open the lid.     I am making some chipotle powder today and probably making rubs and salt for gifts.    I know we will be roasting more this weekend because I still have jalapenos in the back garden.

And, now an update on the hot sauce.   I bottled it yesterday.



Still almost as pretty as when the were mellowing in the jars.

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This is a great way to repurpose old vinegar bottles.

23 comments to Chipotles

  • I am sooo in love with you. I want you for a cousin or an aunt. I love your homemade food gifts!! These chipotle peppers are the BOMB. Love chipotle chile powder and sooo cool that you’re making your own. Much respect.

    • It really wasn’t hard. Our cooker/grill is super easy to maintain a temperature in so it as just a matter of keeper it smoky for eight hours. I would love to be your adopted cousin. (Aunt makes me sound too old!). Lol

  • I love smoking peppers! They are wonderful and crushed up make fabulous rubs. Your hots sauce is beautiful as well – so many wonderful things coming out of that garden of yours!!

    • Thanks, Kelli. I ground some up to toss in a chili last night. Just the right amount of smokiness. Too bad I think fall is really here. Maybe I can get some red jalapenos out of there to make some more authentic chipotles.

  • Your peppers look great! Do you think it matters what kind of chips you use for smoking? I didn’t grow any jalapenos this year but plan on doing some next year. Although you’ve got me talked into planting a bunch so I can make my own hot sauce too! You are amazing!

    PS TKW got a total makeover, check out the new look!

    • I don’t know about the chips for smoking. I can’t remember if we just had apple wood on hand or if I was suppose to use it exclusively. I can’t wait to see the makeover!

  • The sauces are gorgeous! Fantastic job. I love your chipotles as well. Would you ever consider canning some in adobo?

  • Your hot sauces are beautiful and I bet they pack a good punch. We love the flavor of chipotle peppers but I’ve never thought to make them at home. Lucky people who get some of those sauces for gifts.

  • You are becoming the pepper queen! Homemade chipotles? Yup, you can wear the crown!

  • Beautiful jars and what a cool gift they would make. You are always so busy in that garden and cooking!

    • Got to stash it away for the lean months. Thanks, Tina.

      • I don’t blame you
        Hey, I just noticed you said you couldn’t post at Novel Meals and I am sorry. Will go check out my settings. I know you have been able to make comments before…don’t know what is wrong. Thanks for letting me know. 🙂

  • Now you are an expert in chili pickling! And those smoked chillies are terrific!

  • You know that I’m going to be raiding your pepper garden next year! You’ve supplied me with a book on pickling peppers and I’d love to try every recipe! Smoking your own jalapeno just shows what a serious pepper person you are. Thanks for the instructions!!! Next year! Your pepper sauce IS as beautiful bottled as during the prep stage. 🙂

    • You are too kind, M.J. I am still hoping to do some authentic chipotles with red peppers if the frost holds off. The pepper sauce was beautiful in the pics, but has separated. It will need shaken up before use. 🙂 Hope you can be the pepper queen next year. And, I have gotten plenty of ideas from you! I am dying to stuff a bottle with Thai peppers! 🙂

  • Homemade chipotles? You’re a rock star! It’s never occurred to me to make these. I’ll have to plant extra jalapenos next year so I can try this. This looks like tons of fun – great post. Thanks so much.

  • I’m so happy you made this post, I am going to do this next year and I cannot wait. What a great way to save our peppers!