Chipotle Powder: The Signature Spice of Mexican Cuisine

Chipotle peppers are not an individual species of pepper, but rather jalapeño peppers that have been smoked whole over a wood fire for several days. This process removes all of the moisture from the pepper while lending a unique, smoky flavor.

For the home kitchen, chipotle powder makes a great addition to your spice rack. In powdered form, chipotle is simple to add to your dishes and much more practical to store than whole peppers.

While there are many varieties of jalapeño pepper, chipotle powder is typically made from the Morita variety. These peppers originate from the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, where the majority are produced even today.

Chipotle peppers were popular among the Aztecs, discovered by Spanish explorers in the 1500’s and brought to Northern America and abroad, where the unique, smoky seasoning has achieved massive popularity.

Chipotle Powder Flavor Profile

The level of heat in chipotle powder is considered “medium” range, at a rating of 3,000 to 10,000 units on the Scoville scale.

Chipotle has a rich flavor that is complex and intense. It is smoky and earthy, as well as, tangy and rich. This seasoning is an essential ingredient for Mexican and Mexican-inspired dishes, lending a characteristic flavor that no other spice can create.

Health Benefits of Chipotle Powder

The peppers from which chipotle powder is made contain capsaicin, which has many known health benefits.

Some health benefits attributed to chipotle powder include:

  • Helping to prevent certain types of cancer
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Aiding weight loss
  • Boosting metabolism
  • Managing diabetes
  • Defending against intestinal diseases and distress
  • Protecting against heart disease
  • Clearing up a variety of respiratory conditions
  • Reducing cholesterol
  • Improving the immune system
  • Aiding digestion
  • Boosting energy levels
  • Reducing the appearance of scars
  • Aiding in healthy bone formation
  • Eliminating night blindness
  • Speeding wound healing
  • Increasing absorption of nutrients from food

In addition, chipotle is extremely rich in protein as well as many essential vitamins and nutrients. This spice is packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and iron, all of which are vital for human health.

Common Uses of Chipotle Powder

Mexican cuisine and Mexican-inspired dishes rely on chipotle to lend its mild spiciness and earthy flavor. It is a key ingredient in many traditional Mexican dishes including soups, stews, sauces and adobo (a popular meat marinade).

In the United States and abroad, chipotle is commonly used in salsas, barbecue sauces and chilis. Many commercial products such as hot sauces take advantage of the rich and spicy heat of chipotle as well.

Chipotle is a very popular ingredient in southwestern cooking of all types. Tex-Mex and Mexican-American dishes typically call for the addition of chipotle, deriving their characteristic flavors from this spice.