Chipotle Sauce is a creamy sauce made with smoky chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Chipotle in adobo sauce is a can of Mexican hot chili peppers in tomato sauce and spices, a little of this chipotle adobo sauce makes a mildly flavored sauce perfect for chicken paninis and more! It’s also the same Panera chipotle sauce in Panera Bread’s signature sandwiches!

Panera Bread chipotle sauce recipe

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We love restaurant sauces like this Taco Bell Quesadilla Sauce and this Chipotle Southwest Sauce from Subway! Subway chipotle sauce is another recipe with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. If you like Mexican cooking try our Taco Bell Grilled Stuffed Burrito with Baja sauce! 

What Is Chipotle Sauce:

Chipotles in adobo sauce are a can of smoked hot chili peppers in a Mexican tomato sauce. The smoky hot chilis will give that distinct southwest flavor in most chipotle sauces, making it hard to substitute. Chipotle can sauce and peppers can be found in Walmart and I usually buy the La Costena chipotle pepper in adobo sauce or the Goya brand.

I created this recipe, for the love of the chipotle sauce in my favorite panini sandwiches like the Frontega Chicken and Chipotle chicken avocado melt, (both from Panera.) Panera Bread uses this sauce in some of their menu foods and you have got to try it on your next chicken sandwich! We tested this recipe until we perfected it, so know, that every ingredient was hand selected and always compared to the real sauce. We’re happy to report it tastes just like theirs! Let us know what you think!

Is Chipotle Sauce Spicy?

Canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are spicy, however, using a little of the chipotle sauce into the cream sauce makes it very mild. This chipotle sauce recipe is very creamy and dilutes wonderfully with the prepared ranch dressing, mayo, and sour cream. Also, keep in mind once it’s spread into a burger or sandwich it will be even milder.

Ingredients for Chipotle sauce:

If you can find chipotle chiles in adobo sauce all you need is simple ingredients. Here’s what is in chipotle sauce;

  • Can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce- this is what chipotle sauce is made of! What’s in chipotle sauce matters with this can of peppers! They have a lot of smoky flavor with a mild sweetness.
  • Seasoning- dried garlic and onion powder are used along with ground mustard.
  • Creamy Ranch Dressing- you will not detect the ranch flavor here but it’s the dressing that made this sauce taste more like the Panera chipotle sauce and believe me we tested it side-by-side.
  • Sour Cream- is a must! It dilutes the smoky chipotle peppers fantastically and mellows out all the harsh flavors in this chipotle sour cream sauce!
  • Mayo- I guess you can call this an aioli chipotle sauce! Mayonnaise makes this recipe super creamy!
  • Mustard- is the secret ingredient to one of the best chipotle sauce recipes! It’s the distinctive spice in Panera chipotle sauce and we tested it for ourselves. We used a combination of prepared yellow mustard and ground mustard to get the flavors we wanted.

How To Make Chipotle Sauce:

This smoky chipotle sauce is so easy to make! Open a can of this red sauce in peppers and add a few ingredients to make this homemade sauce. Adobo peppers come in a ton of sauce so I just use the sauce and add that to my other ingredients, that way I can just use a wire whisk to blend everything together.

  1. Using a can opener open the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Measure out the saucy part and add to a mixing bowl or 2-cup measuring cup.
  2. Add the spices, sour cream, ranch, mayonnaise, and mustard. Whisk everything together and keep it refrigerated.

 Storing Tip: transfer sauce into a plastic squeeze bottle for longer storage. This is great for drizzling or as a dipping sauce.

What To Serve Chipotle Sauce With:

Chipotle Sauce makes a fantastic sandwich spread or dipping condiment! It goes well on bread, and fish, and can even be partly stirred into enchiladas. Here are some creative ways to use up this creamy sauce.

  • Use chipotle sauce for chicken or fish tacos
  • Top over salmon before baking
  • Spread over homemade hamburger buns with a juicy Burger
  • Dip with crispy shrimp tacos or Shrimp Quesadillas 
  • Pair it with a grilled steak, roast, or pork carnitas. This can make a great wings sauce too!

Into more Chipotle Copycat recipes? Look out for our Chipotle Chicken Copycat panini coming soon! We also have some Chipotle Mexican grill copycat recipes coming soon to the blog too. 


The key to storing sauces for longer periods of time is to use a plastic squeeze bottle. Homemade chipotle sauce is good for several weeks, about the time your sour cream goes bad is about about the time this sauce stays fresh. Another way to store this DIY sauce is to simply cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and always keep it refrigerated after use.



What Does Chipotle Sauce Taste Like?

Creamy chipotle sauce is a mildly sweet and smoky sauce great in sandwiches or tacos. Due to the sour cream and mayonnaise-based ingredients, this is very rich and similar to aioli. It is not a very hot chipotle sauce and actually quite mild in taste.

Any Substitution for Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce?

Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are one of the most important ingredients for this sauce. The smoky tomato sauce canned with peppers is what will give this sauce its southwest flavors. To substitute chipotle in adobo sauce, it is best to make the canned version by cooking together water, Chipotle Peppers, onions, vinegar, tomato paste, salt, sugar, dried peppers, oil, and spices. Use liquid smoke if not smoking your peppers.

Chipotle Sauce Tips:

  1. Chipotle Sauce can cook with chicken or seafood recipes.
  2. Need a healthy chipotle sauce alternative? Use honey or maple syrup as the sweetener.
  3. To make chipotle hot sauce experiment with more adobo peppers or play around with different hot sauces and try Tabasco or Cholula to kick up the heat.
  4. Stir into bbq sauce for a smoky Mexican condiment, it can lighten up the bbq sauce and can also be basted, on roasted or grilled meats.
  5. Squeeze in some lime juice if serving with fish tacos.
  6. Smother over enchiladas and top with cheese.

More Mexican-Inspired Recipes:

How To Make Chipotle Sauce:

Chipotle Sauce (Panera Copycat)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Alyona Demyanchuk
Chipotle Sauce is a creamy sauce made with smoky chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Chipotle in adobo sauce is a can of Mexican hot chili peppers in tomato sauce and spices, a little of this chipotle adobo sauce makes a mildly flavored sauce perfect for chicken paninis and more! It's also the same Panera chipotle sauce in Panera Bread's signature sandwiches!


  • 1 Wire Whisk
  • 1 measuring cup



  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 5 tsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (Goya or La Costena brand)
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 2 tsp prepared yellow mustard



  • Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients. Keep refrigerated.

Nutrition per serving

Serving: 1ozCalories: 134kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 1gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 191mgPotassium: 45mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 89IUVitamin C: 0.5mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 0.2mg

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5 from 4 votes

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    • Emily Bogard

    Made this sauce the other day and it was delicious! I miss the Sierra Turkey sandwiches from Panera and this sauce is spot on! Thank you for your amazing recipes

    • Mariah

    Hello! Do you know which brand(s) of ranch should be used if aiming to get as close as possible to the taste of Panera’s chipotle sauce? I generally use the Hidden Valley buttermilk ranch packets with equal parts buttermilk, heavy duty mayo, and half that amount of sour cream since it’s what most restaurants use, but I wasn’t sure if that would yield the correct flavor for the chipotle sauce if I used it in the recipe.

      • Alyona Demyanchuk

      Hi, Hidden valley was my brand of choice. I think the packets would work too as the base it just might be more runnier.

        • Mariah

        Thank you so much for elaborating, I can’t wait to make this and put it on EVERYTHING! 🤤

    • Sandra

    Made this sauce and its absolutely wonderful , was pretty skeptical about adding in the ranch but the taste was spot on .

    • Allison

    I’m attempting to make the Panera Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt but at home (slightly cheating bc I bought their bread) but I just made this sauce and oml it is delicious. I did add in a little more chipotle pepper in adobo than the recipe called for, just bc I felt like that flavor wasn’t coming through as much and that made it a spot on dupe!
    I also used plain nonfat Greek yogurt, Greek yogurt ranch, and light Mayo just to make this more calorie friendly. I’m super excited for dinner tonight, thanks!

    • Linda

    This is a great recipe. Absolutely delicious. It made the sandwich taste like I just bought it from Panera. Thank you!!!

    • Al

    You have nailed it again. Great taste! I had this sauce side by side with the Panera bread one, and could not taste the difference. Thank you!

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