Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How to Make My Favorite Smoky, Zesty Mexican-style Veggie and Chip Dip by Cleo Coyle

This deliciously smoky, zesty Mexican-style dipping sauce is insanely easy to make. As a dip, it goes with everything from celery sticks to potato and tortilla chips. I eat it with French fries, chicken tenders, raw veggies, and shrimp (fried, grilled, and boiled).

I also use it as a spread on hamburgers and to jazz up cold deli sandwiches. I even mix it with tuna fish for a tasty twist on tuna (and sometimes chicken) salad.

The essential flavor ingredient in this dip is chipotle (aka chilpotle), a smoke-dried jalapeno pepper, used in Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking. Chipotle provides a rich earthiness and tangy bite when added to mole, salsa, chili, soups and stews. The peppers are also used for marinades and braising sauces for meat.

Once upon a time only dried chipotle were available, and they had to be reconstituted prior to use. Today it’s more convenient to buy chipotles processed and canned with adobo (a mixture of spices and crushed dried chili), which you’ll find in the ethnic or specialty food section of supermarkets all over the US and Canada.

This quick dip recipe uses canned chipotle, which means it's a snap to make. So let's get started...

Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries
has a partner in crime writing:
her husband.
Cleo Coyle's Easy
Chipotle Dipping Sauce
and Sandwich Spread

like my chipotle (aka chilpotle) dip on the smoky side with only a slight bite of heat. Marc likes his dip much spicier. I'll show you how to "control the heat" with this dip so you can make it as mild or as hot as you and your family want it. First let's gather the ingredients...

To download this recipe in a free PDF that you can prints, save, or share, click here.


1 cup mayonnaise 

1 teaspoon ground cumin 

1 or 2 tablespoons of the adobo sauce found in a can of
         "Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce"

1 or 2 tablespoons sour cream (to reduce the heat)

(OR) 1 or 2 chipotle peppers, chopped (to increase the heat)


Into a small bowl, measure out your mayonnaise and ground cumin. Open the can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce. Dip your tablespoon in and drain off 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce. If you see any seeds floating around in there, pick them out.

Mix the adobo sauce with your mayo until well blended. Now give it a small taste. If you'd like a more powerful chipotle flavor, measure out a 2nd tablespoon of the adobo. Mix it in and taste it again. 

How to Control

Mild Side (smoky with zero to slight heat):

If the dip tastes too spicy for you: Add sour cream, 1 tablespoon at a time until the smokiness and heat are balanced. 

Wild Side 
(spiced up with more heat):

If the dip tastes too mild for you: Add the chopped chipotle peppers to your dip. Here's how...

(1) Pull a whole chipotle pepper from the can. Place it on a plate and slice it open with a knife or kitchen shears. Start at one end and open the pepper to expose the seeds...

(2) Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and discard them. Chop the pepper finely and stir it into the dip. 

Serve immediately, or chill in an airtight container. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. So whether you like it smoky or spicy, I hope you will...

Eat (and read) with joy! 
~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

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  1. I've always wanted to try chipotle peppers in adobe in something...now you've given me the perfect chance! looks delicious

    1. Thanks, Lucy/Roberta - I decided to do this post after having a conversation with someone who doesn't cook much with Mexican or Tex-Mex flavors and wondered about the "chipotle" item on a restaurant menu.

      Vets of Tex-Mex know all about chipotle peppers (and adobo sauce), of course, but for those who aren't as familiar with them, I hope my post is helpful. This dip is a nice way to begin playing with two great ingredients.

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. This looks yummy! I bury a smoked chipotle in my chili for a great smokey flavor (and I try to remember to remove it before serving because my poor husband is usually the one to find it and take a bite!)

    1. LOL on your hub finding that hot pepper (literally). Thanks for the nice idea on jazzing up a pot of chili con (or without) carne!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  3. This sounds tasty. My son would want the whole pepper. He loves things hot!
    I love how you photo document the steps. It really makes things clear.

    1. Thanks, Libby! Sounds like your son and Marc would get along great in the spice department. I like things really flavorful, but too much heat and I'm reaching for the sour cream or yogurt or whatever cuisine takes the bite out of the dish!

      Always a pleasure to see you in our Kitchen, Libby, have a great week!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  4. Thanks for sharing this! Can't wait to try it.

    And thank you for putting the entire recipe in a .pdf file. I appreciate that more than you know.

    1. Karen - You're a sweetheart, thank you for the nice note. I'm glad you enjoyed the post, and I hope you enjoy the recipe...


      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  5. Cleo, very tasty. The step-by-step pictures are fabulous! Wow! Can't wait to try this one.

    Daryl / AVery

    1. Thanks Daryl/Avery...veterans of Tex-Mex cooking certainly don't need a basic post like this one, but for those who never cooked with chipotle peppers (or wondered about the term "chipotle" on a restaurant menu), I hope today's post is helpful...

      Thanks for dropping in today, and I hope you have a delicious week!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  6. Perfect sauce! I can just taste the rich flavor of this, with just enough peppery bite (for most people; you know I'd want more). I can't wait to pick up a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce; I predict I'll be using this sauce/spread for all kinds of things!

  7. Chipotle peppers scare me! Thanks for the instructions, Cleo. Maybe I'll be brave and try them when some of my heat loving friends come to visit!