Can You Buy Just Adobo Sauce? A Full Guide

Adobo sauce is a versatile and flavorful ingredient that can add a smoky kick to a variety of dishes. But with so many variations and uses, it can be confusing to know where to start.

If you’re wondering whether you can buy just adobo sauce without the peppers or how to make it at home, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of adobo sauce, what it’s made of, and where you can find it.

Whether you’re a seasoned cook or just starting out, this guide will help you unlock the full potential of this delicious sauce. So let’s dive in!

Can You Buy Just Adobo Sauce?

Yes, you can buy just adobo sauce without the peppers. While the most common way to purchase adobo sauce is in a can with chipotle peppers, there are also options available that contain only the sauce.

Many grocery stores carry adobo sauce in their international or Hispanic food sections. However, if you’re having trouble finding it in-store, you can also purchase it online from various retailers.

If you prefer to make your own adobo sauce at home, it’s a relatively simple process. The basic ingredients include dried ancho and guajillo chiles, tomatoes, vinegar, onions, garlic, and various spices such as peppercorns, paprika, oregano, cumin, and cinnamon.

To make the sauce, toast the spices and chilies to enhance their smoky flavor. Then combine them with sautéed onions and garlic, chopped tomatoes, vinegar, and water. Simmer everything together for about 10 minutes until the chilies are softened. Finally, transfer everything to a blender and puree until smooth.

What Is Adobo Sauce?

Adobo sauce is a traditional Mexican sauce made from a blend of chili powder, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and herbs. It was originally used as a marinade to flavor and preserve meats. The sauce is often poured over chipotle peppers, which are then used in a variety of Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes.

While adobo sauce is commonly associated with chipotle peppers, it can also be used on its own as a versatile seasoning for a variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes. The sauce is naturally gluten-free and can be used to flavor rice, beans, chickpeas, jackfruit, TVP, tofu, and tempeh.

When you purchase adobo sauce in a can with chipotle peppers, you essentially get two ingredients in one. The peppers marinate in the adobo sauce, taking on its sweet tang, while the sauce absorbs some of the peppers’ heat.

If you prefer to make your own adobo sauce at home, it’s easy to do so with a few basic ingredients. Dried ancho and guajillo chiles are combined with tomatoes, vinegar, onions, garlic, and various spices such as peppercorns, paprika, oregano, cumin, and cinnamon. The mixture is then simmered until the chilies are softened and pureed until smooth. Adobo sauce is a flavorful addition to any dish that needs a little kick of smoky flavor.

Types Of Adobo Sauce

There are various types of adobo sauce, each with its unique flavor profile and level of heat. Mexican adobo sauce is the most common type and is made with dried chiles like guajillo and ancho peppers, vinegar or citrus juice, onions, garlic, cumin, and oregano. This type of adobo sauce has a sweet tangy flavor with a moderate level of heat.

Spanish adobo sauce, on the other hand, is made with smoked paprika, garlic, vinegar, and olive oil. It has a smoky flavor with a mild level of heat and is often used as a marinade for meat and seafood.

Filipino adobo sauce is another type that is made with soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, and black peppercorns. It has a tangy and savory flavor with a mild level of heat.

Peruvian adobo sauce is made with aji amarillo peppers, garlic, cumin, oregano, and vinegar. It has a bright orange color and a fruity flavor with a medium level of heat.

Ingredients In Adobo Sauce

Adobo sauce is a flavorful sauce made from a variety of ingredients that contribute to its unique taste. The key ingredients in adobo sauce include dried ancho and guajillo chiles, tomatoes, vinegar, onions, garlic, and various spices based on regional preferences. Some common spices used in adobo sauce include peppercorns, paprika, oregano, cumin, and cinnamon.

The dried chiles are the base of the sauce and provide a smoky and slightly sweet flavor. The tomatoes add a depth of flavor and help to thicken the sauce. The vinegar provides a tangy taste that balances out the sweetness of the tomatoes. Onions and garlic add savory notes to the sauce while the spices give it its distinct flavor profile.

Making your own adobo sauce allows you to customize the ingredients to your liking. For example, you can adjust the amount of spice by adding more or less chili peppers. You can also experiment with different spices to create a unique flavor profile.

Can You Buy Adobo Sauce Without Peppers?

Yes, it is possible to buy adobo sauce without peppers. While the canned version of adobo sauce typically contains chipotle peppers, you can find jars or bottles of adobo sauce without peppers at select stores. However, these options may not be as widely available or affordable as the canned version.

If you’re unable to find adobo sauce without peppers at your local store, you can also make your own at home using dried ancho and guajillo chiles. Simply follow the steps outlined above for making homemade adobo sauce, omitting the chipotle peppers.

Whether you choose to buy adobo sauce without peppers or make it yourself, you can still enjoy the delicious blend of spices and flavors that adobo sauce has to offer.

How To Make Adobo Sauce At Home

Making adobo sauce at home is a great way to customize the flavors to your liking and avoid any preservatives or additives. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making your own adobo sauce:


– 4 dried ancho chilies

– 4 dried guajillo chilies

– 2 Roma tomatoes

– 1/2 onion, chopped

– 2 garlic cloves, minced

– 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

– 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano

– 1/4 teaspoon cumin

– 1 teaspoon salt

– Freshly cracked black pepper

– 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

– Water


1. Wipe off any dusty crevices on the chilies using a wet towel.

2. Roast the chilies in a 400F oven for 1-2 minutes.

3. Add the chilies to a mixing bowl and cover them with the hottest tap water you’ve got. Let the chilies reconstitute for 20-30 minutes.

4. Once the chilies have reconstituted, take a taste of the soaking liquid. If you like the flavor, you can use it for the adobo sauce. If not, use water instead.

5. Roast the Roma tomatoes in the oven (400F) for 20-30 minutes or until soft.

6. De-stem and de-seed the chilies and add them to a blender or food processor along with the roasted tomato, chopped onion, minced garlic, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup water (or soaking liquid). Combine well.

7. In a saute pan over medium heat, saute a small chunk of onion until it softens. Then add minced garlic, Mexican oregano, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Saute briefly and then add the chipotle puree from the blender, apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup water (or soaking liquid), and the remaining drained chilies. Combine well and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until it has reduced down to your preferred consistency.

8. Take a final taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

9. Store in a pint-sized Mason jar in the fridge where it will keep for weeks if not longer.

Making adobo sauce at home is not only easy but also allows you to customize it to your liking by adjusting the level of spiciness or sweetness. You can use this versatile sauce to marinate meats or as a condiment for tacos, burritos, or sandwiches. Give it a try and elevate your dishes with this flavorful sauce!

Where To Find Adobo Sauce

If you’re looking to purchase adobo sauce in a grocery store, it can typically be found in the International or Hispanic food section. Specifically, it is often located in the Mexican section next to other canned pepper products and salsas. However, it may also be found in the general condiment aisle or near the canned tomato section.

It’s important to note that the exact location of adobo sauce can vary depending on the store’s layout and organization. If you’re having trouble finding it, don’t be afraid to ask a staff member for assistance.

Alternatively, if you prefer to purchase adobo sauce online, there are various retailers that offer it for sale. Additionally, if you’re feeling adventurous and want to make your own adobo sauce at home, there are plenty of recipes available online that use common ingredients such as dried chilies, tomatoes, vinegar, onions, garlic, and spices.