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Use it up! Chipotle in adobo sauce

I always have at least one, if not multiple, cans of chipotle in adobo in my pantry. I use it in my chili, both the adobo sauce and the whole peppers, which I just add whole or slightly mash, and they end up cooking down nicely. After, I am sometimes left with half a can that I don’t know what to do with.

If this sounds familiar, whatever you do, don’t throw it away! Continue reading for a few quick ideas to use, now and later.

If you want to use it up this week…

First, you can always put a piece of plastic wrap or a reusable, more eco-friendly wrapping (like Bee’s Wrap) over the top of the can, secured with a rubber band, for short-term storage in the fridge. Then during the week, mix it with some staple ingredients to make quick sauces and spreads. You can always adjust, adding more or less, to your liking.

  • Mix 1/4 cup of mayo with 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce and one chopped chipotle. Season with salt, to taste. Use as a spread for deli sandwiches or wraps. I think it’s great paired with turkey and pepper jack cheese on whole wheat, or with roast beef and cheddar rolled up as a wrap, when I make Dave sandwiches for lunch.
  • Combine 1/4 cup of sour cream or Mexican crema with 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce, one chopped chipotle, and 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice. Season with salt, to taste. Use it as a dip for quesadillas or as a topping for tacos, enchiladas, or fajitas.
  • Mash 1/2 stick of softened butter with 1 tablespoon of honey and one chopped chipotle in a bowl until well mixed together. Season with salt, to taste; I like flaky sea salt for this. Absolutely delicious spread on toasted, thick cut sourdough bread, on corn muffins, or on corn cakes. If you omit the honey, you can use it on corn on the cob or mix it in with one of your favorite vegetables as a side dish, too.

If you want to save it, longer term, for your next batch of chili…

For longer-term storage, pour out the contents of the can into a freezer-safe, snack- or quart-sized plastic bag. Flatten and freeze on a flat surface or directly on the wire rack of your freezer.

Totally optional, but if you want to create “portions” that you can break apart later: pour out the contents of the can into a freezer-safe, snack- or quart-sized plastic bag and using the edge of a bench scraper or the back (dull side!) of a butter/table knife, lightly press on the bag to “draw” lines to divide into sections in a grid pattern first vertically down the center, then horizontally three times so you have six sections. If you want to make smaller or larger bits, adjust your lines: draw one line horizontally and one line vertically for four squares,three lines horizontally and three lines vertically for nine squares, etc.

I heard this was a trend that came up on TikTok recently for storing extra tomato paste. 😉 It’s actually a great one that I’ve been using for years, for both canned chipotles and tomato paste.

When you need some, take it out of the freezer, break apart what is needed, then throw it, frozen, into your chili or soup. No need to thaw if you just want to put it into something hot: it will melt right into whatever is cooking.