This vegan chipotle mayo is whipped up within 10 minutes and is SO delicious. Slightly smoky with just the perfect tang, this sauce is great drizzled over lentil tacos, enchiladas, stuffed in burritos or delicious simply served with french fries.
Chipotle mayo, where have you been my whole life?
We have been eating this sauce on repeat for awhile now and we just cannot get enough of it. It has everything a great dipping sauce should have: extra silky texture with great bold flavors. The slight sweetness combined to the perfect zesty tang and smoky flavor is more than just right.
Chipotle mayo is also called Mexican secret sauce. But it's no secret anymore that this is the best Mexican side sauce around! It has that little something that makes you go back for more again and again and the fact that it is made using wholesome ingredients gives you no reason to hold back.
And I love a good sauce that only requires to throw everything in the blender. It is so simple, but gives you such a flavorful sauce that will instantly upgrade your dish.
What are chipotle peppers?
Did you know that chipotle peppers are actually jalapeno peppers, but that are completely ripened? The jalapeno peppers that we know are green and harvested when not quite ripe. But, if you let them ripen on the vine until the end of the season, then they become bright red and are used to make chipotle peppers.
To make the chipotle peppers, the red-ripened jalapeno chili peppers are smoke-dried. The dried chipotles can either be ground to make chipotle powder seasoning or rehydrated to include in dishes.
In this recipe, we will be using chipotle peppers that were rehydrated and canned in an adobo sauce. The peppers are super tender and bathe in a smoky tomato-y sauce that's slightly spicy and very flavorful. I used the chipotle in adobo sauce from la Costena.
You can learn more about chipotle peppers in this article: "Chipotle pepper: Smoked, dried jalapeno".
Ingredients to make a vegan chipotle mayo
The base of the mayo is made using cashews and a little water. It makes for a wholesome thick sauce that's flavored with fresh lime juice, garlic, chipotle pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika powder and salt.
How to make this vegan chipotle mayo
All the ingredients are blended until smooth.
To make your cashews more blend-able (especially if not using a high-speed blender), then either soak them in water overnight (or for at least for 2 hours) or boil them for 5-10 minutes. Drain well before adding to the blender.
Watch how to make it
Vegan chipotle mayo recipe variation
This vegan mayo recipe is very easy to adapt:
You can easily play around with the heat level. Chipotle peppers are spicy, so you can start with adding one, then blend and taste before adding the second one (or the third!). I do not find the adobo sauce very spicy, but you can also adjust how much you want to add to the sauce.
For the tangy flavor, lime juice is so great in Mexican flavored dishes, but you can also use lemon juice. If you don't have either, then add a tiny amount of apple cider vinegar (1-2 tsp at the time) and taste before adding more.
Canned whole chipotle pepper in the adobo sauce are what I prefer for the added chipotle flavor. If it is more convenient, you can also use dried chipotle pepper seasoning. It is spicy as well, so start slow and taste before adding more.
If you want to avoid using raw cashews, you could use vegan mayonnaise as well. If doing so, I would recommend starting with about 1 cup of mayo, omit the water all together and start with less lime juice.
How to eat this sauce
There are so many ways this sauce can be used, but my favorite way is to use it as a dipping sauce for french fries. It is also delicious in sandwiches, tacos, burgers, burritos, Mexican bowls, enchiladas or to garnish any Mexican or Southwestern inspired dishes, like these Mexican baked potatoes. Also, you should try it over corn on the cob!
Store in a air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
More creamy sauces you might like
- Vegan white queso
- Vegan ranch dressing
- Creamy pesto sauce
- Vegan buffalo sauce
- Homemade BBQ ketchup
- Vegan tzatziki
- Thai peanut butter sauce
- Vegan bechamel
- Vegan cashew mayo
I hope you enjoy this vegan chipotle mayo as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Vegan Chipotle Mayo
- 1 cup raw cashews - soaked or boiled
- ½ cup water
- 4 tbsp lime juice - lemon juice works too
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce - + 1 ½ tbsp of the adobo sauce from the can
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp smoked paprika - optional, for extra smoky flavor
- ¾ tsp salt
- To prepare the cashews, you can either soak them in cold water overnight (or at least for 2 hours) or boil them for 5-20 minutes. This will help soften them and make them more blend-able. Then, drain well.
- Blend all of the sauce ingredients until very smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning (salt, spices, etc).
- Serve in burgers, sandwiches, enchiladas, tacos, burritos or as a dipping sauce. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Chipotle peppers are spicy, so start with 2 peppers (or even just one) and add more if you want a higher heat level. I used chipotle peppers in adobo sauce from la costena.
- You can also use dried chipotle powder. Start with about ¼ tsp, then work your way up as you taste.