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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!

overhead image of bowl with chipotle crema and spoon

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.

overhead image of ingredients on white board

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.

Equipment Needed

How to Make Vegan Chipotle Sauce

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Blend smooth. Tightly fit the lid and blend the chipotle sauce completely smooth, about 1-2 minutes depending on your blender.

Serving Suggestions 

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:

If you’re interested in a Vegan Chipotle Dressing that’s ideal for drizzling on your favorite taco salads, try our Creamy Chipotle Dressing!

pouring vegan chipotle sauce into glass jar

Storage Instructions

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.

Recipe FAQs

Does chipotle sauce usually have dairy?

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.

Can I make this vegan version nut-free?

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.

Where can I find chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in grocery stores?

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.

How else can I use up whole chipotle peppers?

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.

Can I make this easy chipotle sauce in a food processor?

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.

overhead image of chipotle crema in jar on plate with ingredients

More Vegan Sauce Recipes You May Enjoy:

Make sure you tag us on Instagram @sweetsimplevegan and @consciouschris and hashtag #sweetsimplevegan if you recreate any of our recipes, we love to see your photos!

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overhead image of bowl with chipotle crema and spoon

Easy Vegan Chipotle Sauce Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 9 reviews

  • Author: Chris @ Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Roughly 2 cups
  • Diet: Vegan


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!


  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked 
  • 1 cup of water
  • 12 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon or lime (or about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender and process until smooth and creamy. 


  • To soak cashews you can cover them in boiling hot water for 15 minutes or soak them for 6-8 hours in room temperature water. Drain completely before using. 
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Blender

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!

Meet The Bloggers

hey there! we’re jasmine & chris.

Hi, we’re Jasmine and Chris! We share fresh and fun recipes to show you that vegan cooking is easy, approachable and delicious. When we’re not blogging, you will probably find us enjoying live music, tending to our backyard garden or playing with our dogs Berry and Louie

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  1. This is a crazy good recipe! I thinned it a bit with water and used it as a salad dressing on a salad with mixed greens, brown rice, corn, black beans, and bell peppers. The smoky flavor from the chipotle pepper is so good. And who was the magician who first had the magical idea to soak cashews and use them as a base for sauces? Fantastic! This will go into regular rotation for us as we enter salad season. Thank you so much for your incredible recipes and your lovely photography.

  2. Once had a chipotle cashew sauce at a vegan restaurant and have been wanting to make a version at home. Can’t believe how good this is! Put it on tacos- delicious! I made a whole jar full, really excited to try it in other meals.

  3. Very delicious! I put it on some breakfast tacos. I definitely recommend adding a few spoonfuls of the adobo sauce if you are looking for a low medium spice (depending on your tolerance).

  4. I swapped out the chipotle peppers with roasted hatch chiles. TO. DIE. FOR. Thank you for this wonderful recipe.

  5. Could soaked pine nuts substitute the cashews, or any other nut, and still provide the creamy consistency?

  6. Just made this for burritos for the week! Yum! The addition of lemon/lime juice is awesome for a zesty kick. Thanks for the creative recipe. Can I put this on my Taco Bell copycat potatoes?