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Making this Vegan Chipotle Sauce is our favorite way to add a zesty kick to all of our favorite tacos, burritos, nachos, and more. It’s also the perfect dipping sauce and the best way to use up leftover chipotle peppers. All you need is 8 ingredients and a couple of minutes to make. Once you try it, we promise it will be your new go-to!
We wanted to make a chipotle crema that could be made with a few pantry staples. We skipped the typical store-bought vegan sour cream and vegan mayonnaise and went the whole food plant based route. Not only is this rich sauce better for you than most, but it’s not lacking in creamy, smoky, spicy flavor in any way. In fact, we think you’re going to prefer this vegan chipotle sauce over the many other dairy-free options.
Ingredients You’ll Need and Possible Substitutions
- Cashews – For this creamy sauce, you’ll need plain, raw cashews. Using cashews that have been roasted or contain added ingredients will completely change the flavor and is not recommended. Further, it’s important to soak the cashews for the best creamy texture.
- Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – If you are unfamiliar with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, they are smoked and dried jalapeño peppers that have been canned in a spicy, tangy sauce. They’ve got a bold, smoky flavor and just a touch of sweetness. We recommend starting with 1 chipotle pepper, then taste and add a second if you’re looking for a spicier sauce.
- Spices – The spice blend for this copycat vegan Chipotle sauce is simple—smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and sea salt. It’s basic, but delivers all of the flavor necessary.
- Lemon or lime juice – A splash of citrus adds the perfect acidic tang to the chipotle crema sauce. Both lemon juice and lime juice work perfectly for this recipe, so whatever you have on hand will do. For the best flavor and acidity, opt for freshly squeezed juice. Pre-bottled is much less tangy.
How to Make Vegan Chipotle Sauce
- Soak the cashews. The best way to do this is by placing the raw cashews in a bowl or glass jar such as a mason jar and covering with room temperature water. Tightly screw on the lid or cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or about 6-8 hours. If you’re short on time, place the cashews in a bowl and cover then in boiling hot water for about 15 minutes, or until softened.
- Add ingredients to a blender. Drain the soaked cashews and add them to a high-speed blender along with a fresh cup of water, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, lemon or lime juice, and spices.
- Blend smooth. Tightly fit the lid and blend the chipotle sauce completely smooth, about 1-2 minutes depending on your blender.
We originally developed this Taco Bell sauce to pair with our Taco Bell Copycat Crispy Fiesta Potatoes and Vegan Crunchwrap Supreme, but like our homemade Vegan Nacho Cheese, this cream sauce can truly be drizzled on just about anything that needs a zesty kick! Here are a few of our favorite ways to use up leftover sauce:
- Tacos: Stuff our Crispy Fiesta Potatoes in your favorite taco shells or try it drizzled on our Vegan Carne Asada Tacos, Walnut Taco Meat, or Sheet Pan Tofu Tacos.
- Burritos: Jazz up your freezer-friendly breakfast burritos or Vegan Burrito Bowls!
- Sandwiches: Spread it on your favorite whole wheat sandwich bread and try it with our Oyster Mushroom Sandwich and Homemade TTLA Sandwich. You can even add it to these Vegan Mexican-Inspired Pinwheels for a boost of flavor.
- Burgers: Add it to any of your favorite veggie burgers like these Sweet and Smoky Chickpea Burgers or these Vegan Black Bean Burgers.
- Dipping: Chipotle sauce is perfect for any of your dipping needs. Try dipping french fries, sweet potato fries, zucchini + potato fries, Beer Battered Onion Rings, Air Fryer Brussels Sprout Chips, Crispy Garlic and Herb Smashed Potatoes, or even Potato & Bean Quesadillas.
If you’re interested in a Vegan Chipotle Dressing that’s ideal for drizzling on your favorite taco salads, try our Creamy Chipotle Dressing!
This creamy vegan chipotle sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. For long lasting results, we recommend storing in an airtight container such as a mason jar. If needed, it can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Upon thawing, whisk vigorously to combine all the flavors again or put it back in the blender and blend for 20 seconds until smooth and creamy again.
Yes, chipotle sauce or chipotle crema is typically made with dairy ingredients such as sour cream, greek yogurt, and egg-based mayonnaise. The Bold & Creamy Taco Bell Sauce is also not vegan-friendly. It lists dried buttermilk in its ingredients, a derivative of dairy.
We have not tested this vegan chipotle sauce recipe using a nut-free alternative, but if you’d like to give it a try, we’d recommend soaked raw sunflower seeds.
If you’ve never shopped for these peppers before, they can be tricky to find! Our advice would be to check the International or Mexican food aisle. It is also often stocked with other canned goods like canned black beans, tomatoes, and other chipotle chiles.
Try making our Chipotle Cheddar Cheese Sauce. It’s perfect for drizzling on Loaded Vegan Nachos and Breakfast Tater Tot Nachos. It’s also the perfect homemade cheese to layer on this Vegan 7-Layer Dip.
Unfortunately a high-speed blender is required for this creamy chipotle sauce recipe. A food processor isn’t capable of making a smooth chipotle cream and will leave your sauce with a slight grittiness. If you don’t own a blender like the Vitamix, a single cup blender such as a Nutribullet is the next best thing.
More Vegan Sauce Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Vegan Big Mac Sauce (aka Special Sauce) – absolutely delicious sauce for your burgers and fries!
- 5-Minute Vegan Garlic Aioli – one of our favorite sandwich and wrap spreads.
- Date-Sweetened Barbecue Sauce (Oil-free) – a must-make recipe for any vegan BBQ.
- Homemade Vegan Tartar Sauce – the perfect pair for vegan fish tacos and crab cakes.
- Restaurant-Style Teriyaki Sauce – never buy store-bought teriyaki again!
Nutrition facts label provided by Nutri Fox.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional’s advice. This page may contain affiliate links, which simply means that we earn a commission if you purchase through those links, but your price remains the same. Thank you for supporting Sweet Simple Vegan!