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Whole30 friendly Adobo Sauce Recipe

You know those little cans of chipotles in adobo sauce that help give a kick of heat and smoky flavour to so many dishes? Well, you can make homemade adobo sauce with peppers, much easier than you’d ever expect possible that has no sugar or other strange ingredients and is both Whole30 and Paleo friendly.

Make your own tasty adobo sauce and use this to add heat or depth of flavour to your favourite dishes. Whole 30 and Paleo friendly.

Whole30 Journey

Day 20 and still going strong. I keep joking that I’m on the “no gluten, no dairy, no sugar, no alcohol, no fun diet” but it really and truly hasn’t been as hard as I expected. Part of that is I’m just truly committed and absolutely refuse to not make it through the 30 days.  Plus, we’ve had a lot of fun experimenting in the kitchen with various recipes and variations on some of our tried and true favourites.  The crockpot, blender and food processor have been so instrumental to our success.

I still get a bit frustrated when I need an ingredient only to find that the store bought version has sugar or palm oil or something equally bad on the list.  For instance, a simple savory spice blend seems to have sugar has one of its top 3 ingredients.

Adobo Sauce – A Must Have Staple

We love using our crockpot on the weekend to make up a bit pot of pork or beef that can be used for multiple meals during the week and in the past, we often included a can of chipotles in adobo sauce for a mexican dish.  Well, fast forward to Whole30 and suddenly that can isn’t going to cut it.   I think my husband was secretly excited since most brands include onions and he absolutely detests them and so I’m stuck trying to remove as many as possible from the mixture before adding to the crockpot.

If you like a moderately spicy flavour than I recommend using Ancho Chiles for this recipe. Or if you are looking for more heat and more smokiness than you can try substituting chipotle chiles but will likely want to dial back on the number.

This recipe was inspired by a recipe from The Organic Dietitian  with some modifications to account for personal tastes starting with using ancho chiles and removing onions.

Make your own tasty adobo sauce and use this to add heat or depth of flavour to your favourite dishes. Whole 30 and Paleo friendly.

Simple Recipes Rock

The hardest part of making this recipe, depending on where you live, might be finding dried chiles.   We are somewhat lucky as there is a Mexican restaurant near us that also stocks many staples for Mexican cooking.   Otherwise, we’d be out of luck or be on a wild goose chase trying to find these.

This recipe does take a bit of time on the stove to get the peppers rehydrated and soft but doesn’t take much effort. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. If you like this recipe, you can easily scale it up and freeze the excess to use later.

Make your own tasty adobo sauce and use this to add heat or depth of flavour to your favourite dishes. Whole 30 and Paleo friendly.

Once the mixture has simmered you can add it to your food processor or blender to puree.   I used my food processor this time because I’m still in my honeymoon phase and trying to figure out all the things I can use it for day-to-day.

Make your own tasty adobo sauce and use this to add heat or depth of flavour to your favourite dishes. Whole 30 and Paleo friendly.

food processor jar on wood plank

Adobo Sauce with Ancho Chiles

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

A Whole30 and Paleo friendly Adobo Sauce made with Ancho Chiles.


  • 6 dried Ancho Chiles, stems removed
  • 1 can tomato paste, 6 ounces
  • 6 ounces water
  • 2 tsp of minced garlic or 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 medjool dates, pits removed
  • 1/4 cup of cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves


  1. Add all ingredients to sauce pan, stir and bring to a simmer on medium-low heat.
  2. Cover and stir regularly in 5-10 minute intervals.
  3. If mixture starts to look too thick add more water.
  4. Continue cooking until ancho chiles are soft (~25-35 minutes).
  5. Once ancho chiles are soft, remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly and then add to food processor or blender.
  6. Mix on high in your food processor or use puree settings on your blender.
  7. Taste and assess whether to add more spice or water to get the optimal mixture for your personal tastes.


If tomato is the strongest flavour as you taste test, try adding more paprika to add smokiness and depth. I like it thick so typically add on only 6-10 ounces of water total. You can add more for a smoother, more sauce-like mixture. You may need to up the spices to keep the same flavour.

Adapted from The Organic Dietitian

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  1. Thank you for this recipe! I’m on Whole30 and wanted to make the copycat Chipotle Beef Barbacoa from WholesomeYum.com. Apparently chipotles in adobo without sugar is impossible to find. Your recipe was fantastic and it made the barbacoa taste just like the restaurant’s beef that I was always order! I need to find more recipes that require chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, so I can use up this delicious (sugar-free!) batch I made. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Sheila! We were shocked about the sugar content in our favourite store bought brand when we did our first Whole30. Finding a work around was critical to our success. So happy that you enjoyed the recipe.

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