Sweet Chipotle Peppers from Puebla

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Have you ever wondered how to make Puebla’s sweet chipotle peppers?

A pot full of sweet chipotles poblano style

These sweet chipotles are the homemade version of the popular canned chipotles that you can find in Mexican markets and specialty food stores. Unlike adobo chipotles, these are sweet and smoky.

The sweetness in this homemade pickled chipotles comes from the raw sugar (also called piloncillo in Spanish), and the addition of spices such as cinnamon and cloves. We are using dried, smoked chipotles for the best results.

A top shot showing dried smoked chipotles, spices, vinegar, and produce

And the preparation includes other spices such as Mexican oregano, thyme, and bay leaves. Plus whole garlic head, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, sea salt, white onion, and carrots.

These sweet chipotle peppers are different from the classic canned chipotles in adobo that everyone loves.

A top shot showing two bowls with onions and carrots and other spices

In Puebla, these pickled sweet chipotle peppers are a popular garnish found in semitas and used as a condiment for chicken tinga. The flavor is sweet and spicy and has a delicious aroma.

This recipe is perfect for canning. Every year I make a huge batch and use for gifting and my yearlong cooking needs. I use the sweet chipotle peppers for many applications and even for creating salsas and adding to my favorite Mexican dishes.

A collage of images showing how to make pickled chipotles

Canned homemade smoked chipotles are a must-have in my pantry and best knowing from where the ingredients came from and using only the best quality.

Learn about the smoked chipotle peppers and the importance of this ingredient in Mexican cuisine.

showing the canning process for preserving chipotles

The smoked chipotle peppers have their origin in the prehispanic kitchen. Those are a valuable component of the ancient Mexican gastronomy. The name of the pepper comes from the Nahuatl word “chilpoctli,” which means smoked fruit.

My ancestors used the smoking technique to preserve the jalapeño peppers, and that is how smoked chipotle peppers came about. The jalapeños or morita peppers grow in Puebla, Chihuahua, Veracruz, and Yucatan.

dried chipotle peppers and mexican spices

There are different kinds of chipotles. The ones called “Meco” are delicious but more appropriate for sauces and moles. These peppers are not suitable for making the sweet chipotle peppers. The recommendation for the sweet chipotle peppers recipe is to use dried smoked chipotles or dried morita peppers (petite jalapeños).

Puebla’s Cuisine and the Nuns

I tried to find the origin of the sweet chipotle peppers recipe but could not find the information. However, it doesn’t matter who invented the sweet chipotle peppers’ recipe, because whoever did it was a genius.

The nuns in Puebla are responsible for the culinary heritage and gastronomy in the region. The most famous are the nuns from Convento de Santa Rosa (birthplace of mole poblano, Puebla’s national dish). And the Santa Monica convent where the Augustinian Recollect nuns invented the chiles en nogada.

A picture of two women at a candy store
Shopping for rompope and handmade sweets at La Gran Fama in Puebla
a collage of images showing handmade candy and talavera pottery

The sisters from the Santa Clara convent (now closed) were experts in sweets and baking. They invented the tortitas de Santa Clara (homemade cookies made with pepitas), and the rompope (a Mexican version of eggnog).

The recipes embraced by the nuns have a strong influence from Europe and Spain. The mixing of traditional ingredients with local prehispanic offerings and what was available depending on the season makes Poblano cuisine so exquisite and vibrant.

a collage showing foods from Puebla
Cemitas with mole poblano, pan de dulce, and hot chocolate for breakfast. Tacos arabes for lunch!

When visiting Puebla, you can purchase the classic sweets and the mole at la Calle de Los Dulces. The oldest candy shop there is “La Gran Fama.” Another stop is the local market. There I found the smoked chipotle peppers I am using for this sweet chipotle peppers recipe today.

And of course, don’t forget to try the cemitas con mole and enjoy a good cup of hot chocolate. If you love tacos, do not miss trying the famous Tacos Arabes. You will be hooked!

several mason jars with peppers

Tips for making and canning sweet chipotle peppers.

  • Use smoked chipotle peppers, not those called meco.
  • The piloncillo is what makes this recipe so unique. If you cannot find a cone of piloncillo, you can replace it with rounds of panela (the Colombian style raw sugar type.)
  • Quick frying the dry spices and roasting the garlic cloves adds more flavor to the sweet chipotles. Do not skip this step.
  • This recipe is canning friendly. Make sure to sterilize the mason jars and the lids.
  • After filling up, the jars with the pickled sweet chipotles place the jars in the cupboard and allow the lids to pop (a sign the canning has been successful.)
  • If the lids didn’t “pop,” repeat the process or keep the jars in the refrigerator.
  • Like excellent wines, pickled peppers turn out better after few days after canning. The more they stay in the cupboard, the tastier the sweet chipotle peppers will be.
  • If you noticed after a few days the carrots and the onions have the same color as the sweet chipotles, do not worry; that means those ingredients absorbed the goodness of the pickling liquid resulting superb flavor.
  • The pickling liquid is suitable to use in recipes, adds a sweet, smoky flavor, and it is not spicy.

Prayer to San Pascual Bailón.

In Puebla, catholicism and prayers are part of daily life. And it is common for cooks to pray to San Pascual Bailón to bring blessings and good fortune in the kitchen. The adoration of San Pascual came to Puebla in the 18th century. San Pascual is the patron of Eucharistic congresses, works, and associations. And he is remembered for his great work in helping the poor. One of his miracles is related to the multiplication of the bread loaves. And he is the patron of the kitchen and the culinary arts.

a collage showing aspects of a Mexican kitchen in Puebla
“I give infinite thanks to San Pascual Bailón for all the help that he always gives me in my kitchen where he is the boss, and I cook the food.”

The legend says that San Pascual Bailón loved so much cooking that he would dance of joy, neglecting his stews. And because of this, the angels themselves had to come down to finish cooking for him. The word “bailón” in Spanish means dancer.

In Puebla, you can find an altarpiece of the image of San Pascual Bailón (see above image) in many of the traditional kitchens. And cooks would say this prayer before starting cooking: San Pascual Bailón, dance for me in this fire pit, you give me the season, and I dedicate a dance to you.

the sign with the letters spelling puebla
a collage of images showing hot peppers and spices

Learn how to make the Sweet Chipotle Peppers from Puebla

If you are a lover of Mexican cuisine, your recipe box must include classic recipes like this homemade sweet chipotle peppers. The method is straight forward, and the only complication is to wait enough time for the smoked chipotles to cook.

Small mason jars with Sweet Chipotle Peppers from Puebla

Sweet Chipotle Peppers from Puebla

Chef Adriana Martin
These sweet chipotles are the homemade version of the popular canned chipotles that you can find in Mexican markets and specialty food stores. Unlike adobo chipotles, these are sweet and smoky. The ingredients include dried smoked chipotles, piloncillo, cinnamon, and cloves.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Sauces, preserves
Cuisine Mexican Cuisine
Servings 12 jars
Calories 114 kcal

Equipment

  • Dutch oven or a deep soup pan
  • Skillet
  • Knife
  • Chopping block
  • Canning supplies
  • 8 ounces mason jars with lids

Ingredients
  

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cone piloncillo approximately 250 grams
  • 20 chipotles dried and smoked
  • 8 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 15 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1/3 cup olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 1 white onion large and sliced
  • 2 cups carrots presliced and clean or 12 ounces
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Instructions
 

  • Place the Dutch oven in the stove and add the water, the piloncillo, the dried chipotles, the cinnamon, and the cloves. Roast the garlic cloves, and add to the pot. Cook ingredients until the chipotle peppers are soft. Keep the pot covered with a lid.
  • In a skillet, add the olive oil and quickly fry the dry spices (thyme, oregano, marjoram, bay leaves.) Add the onion and the carrots and incorporate all ingredients together. The onion and the carrots should not cook nor brown just lightly sauteed and removed from the stove.
  • Remove the lid of the dutch oven where the chipotles have been cooked and verify chipotles have cooked and are soft. Then add the onion carrot mixture and mix all ingredients together.
  • Season the chipotle onion carrot mix with sea salt and apple cider vinegar. Taste and if it needs more salt add to taste.
  • This recipe is perfect for canning. Clean 12 – 8 oz mason jars with the lids and add the sweet chipotles to each jar with enough liquid. Do not overfill and close. Seal on a water bath for 10-15 minutes. Place in the cupboard, and allow the lids to pop, the sign the canning has been successful. If not popping, repeat the process or keep the jars in the refrigerator.

Video

Notes

  • Use smoked chipotle peppers, not those called meco.
  • The piloncillo is what makes this recipe so unique. If you cannot find a cone of piloncillo, you can replace it with rounds of panela (the Colombian style raw sugar type.)
  • Quick frying the dry spices and roasting the garlic cloves adds more flavor to the sweet chipotles. Do not skip this step.
  • This recipe is canning friendly. Make sure to sterilize the mason jars and the lids. We opted to use eight-ounce jars. 
  • After filling up, the jars with the pickled sweet chipotles place the jars in the cupboard and allow the lids to pop (a sign the canning has been successful.)
  • If the lids didn’t “pop,” repeat the process or keep the jars in the refrigerator.
  • Like excellent wines, pickled peppers turn out better after few days after canning. The more they stay in the cupboard, the tastier the sweet chipotle peppers will be.
  • If you noticed after a few days the carrots and the onions have the same color as the sweet chipotles, do not worry; that means those ingredients absorbed the goodness of the pickling liquid resulting superb flavor.
  • The pickling liquid is suitable to use in recipes, adds a sweet, smoky flavor, and it is not spicy.

Nutrition

Calories: 114kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 2gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 227mgPotassium: 108mgFiber: 5gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 3581IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 30mgIron: 1mg
Keyword canning, chipotles, pickling
Tried this recipe?Mention @adrianasbestrecipes or tag #abrecipes on Instagram

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24 Comments
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Mary

5 stars
Puebla has a rich culture, especially with cuisine! I have never heard of a sweet chipotles recipe but looks fantastic

Monica

You make canning look so easy that I might have to give it a try, the recipe looks delicious too

Christy

5 stars
I don’t think I have ever has smoked chipotle peppers before. If I did it was when I was a kid. I’ll have to try this recipe soon and bring memories back.

Louisa

Honestly, I never thought about making smoked chipotles but I love love love Mexican food and would happily be a taste volunteer 😀

Jenn

This recipe looks and sounds so amazing. I totally want to try these peppers over the weekend.

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