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Vegan chipotle aioli is creamy, smoky, spicy, and easy to make! Made with cashews and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, this healthy condiment recipe is dairy-free, oil-free, and refined sugar-free. It’s a delicious dip, spread, or dressing to enjoy with tacos, sandwiches, burritos, french fries, and veggie burgers!
I’m sure you have tried aioli before, but have you ever tried chipotle aioli? It’s on a whole other level! Also known as chipotle cream or chipotle sauce, this vegan condiment is flavor-packed, super creamy, and made with surprisingly-healthy ingredients.
Recently, I have been intentionally catering all of my meals to this chipotle aioli. I think this is typically supposed to work the other way around… you know, make a meal and then grab a condiment as an afterthought. But food is merely a vehicle with which to consume this smoky sauce now. If you love Mexican cuisine, you will surely enjoy this recipe. It has all the flavor components you’d want in a savory sauce: smoky, spicy, salty, and subtly sweet. Mmmmmm.
This chipotle aioli recipe is:
- Vegan, dairy-free, oil-free, and refined sugar-free
- Made with whole food ingredients // no mayo
- Naturally sweetened with maple syrup
- Used as a condiment, sauce, dressing, dip, or spread
- Especially delicious with Mexican meals!
What is vegan chipotle aioli made of?
- Cashews: Instead of mayo, we are using soaked cashews. They are rich in heart-healthy fats, plant protein, and provide a creamy consistency.
- Chipotle peppers: Be sure to use canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, not fresh peppers or chipotle powder.
- Lemon juice: Lemon juice brightens and freshens flavor. You can also use lime juice.
- Nutritional yeast: Since this is a dairy-free aioli recipe, nutritional yeast adds a subtle cheesy flavor.
- Maple syrup: Naturally sweeten it with maple syrup to keep the dressing refined sugar-free.
- Garlic: For a pungent, garlicky kick, add one clove. Feel free to add more if you’re a raw garlic lover.
- Cumin and paprika: A pinch of cumin and paprika increase the smoky, spicy flavor.
How to make vegan chipotle sauce
For the full ingredients list and step-by-step instructions, scroll down to view the recipe card below.
Soak the raw cashews
First, bring a couple cups of water to a boil. Add raw cashews to a bowl. Once the water is boiling, pour it over the raw cashews. Soak for 20 minutes, then drain the water.
Blend the ingredients
Combine all ingredients in a blender. This includes the soaked cashews, chipotle peppers, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, maple syrup, garlic, salt, cumin, smoked paprika, and water.
Blend ingredients until super smooth and creamy. If you do not have a high-powered blender, you can increase the water to get a smooth consistency.
Ways to use vegan chipotle dressing
There are various uses for this spicy aioli dressing. You can spread it, dip it, or drizzle it on all sorts of meals.
- Drizzle: drizzle on top of tacos, a vegan burrito bowl, salads, and pizza
- Spread: spread inside sandwiches, burgers, burritos, crunch wraps, and quesadillas
- Dip: use as a dip for crispy baked french fries, sweet potato fries, or roasted vegetables
- Dollop: add a spoonful on top of mexican stuffed sweet potatoes, soups, and chilis
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Is this the same as chipotle mayo?
Yes, basically. Traditionally, aioli is an emulsified olive oil sauce mashed with lots of garlic. Nowadays, it’s just another way to say, “fancy mayo.” Check out Ok, What is Aioli, Anyway? to read more about the origins.
While the standard aioli is still flavored with garlic, you’ll often stumble across all sorts of varieties at restaurants and cafes. It is quite common to find this beloved chipotle aioli on the menu. Other popular flavors are enhanced with avocado, lemon, cilantro, lime, and red peppers.
What are chipotle peppers in adobo sauce?
If this is your first time seeing “chipotle peppers in adobo sauce” on an ingredients list, you are probably wondering what that means. Here’s your answer: jalapeño chiles that have been dried, smoked, and canned inside a tangy, spicy, tomato-based sauce. This sauce, known as adobo sauce, is made from vinegar, chili powder, sugar, garlic, and herbs.
What can I do with leftover adobo sauce?
A can of chipotle peppers leaves some plain adobo sauce remaining. You can use it to marinate shredded jackfruit, tofu, or meat. Alternatively, add a spoonful to soup and chili for a smoky flavor boost.
Can I use chipotle powder instead?
No, I do not recommend using chipotle powder instead. This recipe requires whole chipotle peppers, particularly canned with adobo sauce. The dried powder will not provide the same results.
How to store it
Transfer the chipotle aioli to a jar or container. Store in the refrigerator (covered and sealed) where it will keep for up to 4 days.
More vegan dressing recipes
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Vegan Chipotle Aioli
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 2 cups 1x
- Category: Dip, Dressing, and Spreads
- Method: Blend
- Cuisine: American, Mexican-Inspired
- Diet: Vegan
This vegan chipotle aioli recipe is easy to make and packed with creamy, smoky, and spicy flavor! It’s a healthy condiment made with cashews and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Best paired with Mexican dishes, you can use it as a dip, dressing, or spread for tacos, burritos, sandwiches, and burgers. It’s dairy-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free, and made without mayo.
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce*
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp ground cumin
- ⅛ tsp smoked paprika
- ⅔ cup water
- Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small pot. Add cashews to a bowl. Pour boiling water over the cashews. Soak for 20 minutes, then drain the water.
- Add soaked cashews, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, maple syrup, garlic, salt, cumin, smoked paprika, and water to a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Transfer the chipotle aioli to a jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Use as a dressing, sauce, dip, or spread.
*Keep your chipotle peppers saucy! Simply lift them out of the can and place directly inside the blender. Don’t wipe them clean. We want that tangy, spicy sauce included.
- Serving Size: 2 tbsp
- Calories: 45
- Sugar: 1g
- Fat: 3g
- Saturated Fat: 0.5g
- Carbohydrates: 3g
- Fiber: 0.5g
- Protein: 1.5g
Keywords: vegan chipotle aioli, vegan chipotle sauce, crema, mayo
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This was a great recipe; simple and easy to make! I made it as directed, and it was a bit sweet for me but that is an easy remedy to alter next time around. Very taste and creamy!
I’m so glad you enjoyed this chipotle aioli, Nancy! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Made this for a buddy bowl tonight. It is fantastic!! I skipped the nutritional yeast because I didn’t have any and added more water. Kid and hubby approved too! Thank you
Wonderful to hear this! Thank you, Cara! 🙂