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Ditch the Toxic, Canned Chipotle Chiles in Adobo and Use the Real Deal



Hello my spicy lovers, especially you chipotle lovers! Chipotle chiles are actually smoke-dried jalapenos with a chocolaty, smoky, almost fruity undertone. They fall under the “medium heat” category; however the dial can be turned up or down, depending on how you use them.

They’re quite the craze lately, and you see them used in many Tex-Mex/Southwest recipes. I personally have fallen in love with these sexy, smoking chiles and continue to find creative ways to include them in my recipes.

When scouring the internet for chipotle inspiration, more often than not you’re going see chipotle chiles in adobo sauce as the main ingredient. I guess that’s fine for some folks, but not for me. I try my best to use whole ingredients as much as possible, especially when the alternative comes in a can. Besides, I tried them once and wasn’t impressed–they were wimpy and not nearly as bold and flavorful as the organic dried chioptle chiles.

Putting flavor aside, there’s a few more reasons why I prefer organic dried chipotle chiles over their canned counterpart smothered in adobo sauce. Let’s look at the ingredients. The label for this particular brand of chipotles in adobo sauce seems pretty unassuming; no crazy ingredients you can’t pronounce or toxic preservatives, right? Appears so, but let’s dig a little deeper.


ingredient list


Heavy Pesticide Residues

Commercial chipotle chiles aren’t organic and contain heavy doses of pesticides. USDA tests of 739 samples of hot peppers in 2010 and 2011 found residues of three highly toxic insecticides — acephate, chlorpyrifos, and oxamyl. These insecticides are banned on some common crops but still allowed on hot peppers.

Source: EWG Dirty Plus


Soybean Oil

What’s wrong with soybean oil? Plenty. For starters, over 90% of soy produced in the U.S. is genetically modified and the crops are sprayed with the herbicide Roundup, which is associated with many adverse health effects. Second, most commercial soybean oil is hygrogenated to help preserve shelf life. Lastly, and contrary to popular belief, regularly consuming unfermented soy poses many health risks. So many, that you’ll have to go here to learn more.


BPA and Tomatoes Don’t Mix

Chipotle chiles in adobo contain tomato sauce in cans lined with bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Unfortunately, the acidity from the tomatoes causes BPA to leach into your food. Learn more here.


Iodized Salt, Sugar and “Spices”

Iodized salt leads to rapid cellular dehydration; the sugar is most likely GMO in the form of HFCS; and the spices, probably MSG. I don’t know this for a fact, but generally speaking, food companies often hide MSG under the miscellaneous “spices” on the label.



Grant it, using a few chiptoles in adobo sauce from time to time isn’t going to kill me. I know, I know.  But have I mentioned flavor??? I’m telling you there is no comparison. They’re not nearly as smoky and robust as the dried chiles. It’s gotta be the adobo sauce! Either way, I was never impressed enough to keep using the canned goods; I can achieve way more flavor with my little, shriveled naked chipotles.


How Do You Use Them?

There’s a variety of ways. Since they’re dried, however, chopping them can be a challenge. Allowing them to soak in water until softened, makes them easier to dice. You can also use a high speed blender to mix them in sauces. One of my favorite ways to use chipotle chiles, lets say for Chili or Tortilla soup, is to blend them in my Vita Mix with lime juice until I’ve achieve a sauce-like consistency. I simply add the sauce a little at a time until I find the right amount of smoky heat I like. Check out the recipe for Southwest Quinoa Pasta with Chipotle Dressing and Thai Chili Chipotle Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Quinoa Salad for my two favorite chipotle flavor profiles.


Where to Find Organic Dried Chipotle Peppers

First place to check is the bulk bin section of your local health food store. I buy a big bag of them and store in a jar for later use. If you have no luck there, you can ask your store to order them. Another option is to order them online in bulk. Just make sure you’re buying organic!


There you have it folks! Say adios to chipotles in adobo sauce and take your Tex-Mex to the next level with delicious, organic dried chipotle chile peppers. Do you have a favorite chipotle recipe, any unique ways to cook with dried chipotle chile peppers? If so, please share in the comment section below. And as always, if you enjoyed this post and would like more cooking tips, please join me at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.


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  1. What spices should be organic?

    • I recommend all fresh herbs and spices be organic. Most conventional spices are irradiated. You can learn more here:–seasonings-exposed-to-half-a-billion-chest-xrays-worth-of-radiation.aspx

  2. Thanks for this article. It is nice to see that I am not alone in my search for safe chiles. Every week for two months I have shopped at a different store chain looking for a non-GMO organic version of either chipotle en adobo, chipotle hot sauce, or dried chipotle chiles, to no avail. I finally searched online for organic dried chipotle chiles and am looking forward to preparing some great safe food. Finally! I would rather do without than buy the junk peppers.

    • Hey Toni! That’s fantastic! I’m so happy to know I’m not the only one who’s a stickler for clean chiles!


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