5-Minute Smoky Chipotle Dressing

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Bowl of Smoky Vegan Chipotle Dressing next to ingredients used to make it

Say hello to your new go-to weeknight sauce: Smoky Chipotle Dressing!

Not only is it the perfect balance of smoky, sweet, and spicy, but it requires just 1 bowl, 5 minutes, and 6 simple ingredients to prepare! Let’s do this.

Lime, cashew butter, salt, pepper, adobo sauce, garlic, and maple syrup for making our Smoky Chipotle Dressing

About Adobo Sauce

The smoky, spicy flavor in this recipe comes from adobo sauce. Not sure what that is? Let’s learn!

Adobo sauce typically consists of tomato, dried chiles, sweetener, salt, onion, vinegar, garlic, and dried herbs/spices.

It originated in Spain where it was used as both a marinade and preservative. It’s believed that the sauce was then introduced in Mexico by Spanish explorers and enthusiastically adopted into Mexican cuisine. (source)

You’ll find canned “chipotle chiles en adobo” at most grocery stores (check the international or Mexican foods aisle). The sauce portion is what we recommend using in this recipe. Or find an authentic homemade recipe here.

How to Make Chipotle Dressing

Making this recipe is seriously simple.

Add all the ingredients (except water) to a bowl and stir to combine. We like using this small whisk for stirring salad dressings and sauces.

Next, add a little water at a time until the dressing is a pourable consistency. But avoid adding too much water as it can dilute the flavor.

Using a spoon to stir adobo sauce and cashew butter for our Smoky Chipotle Dressing recipe

Taste test and adjust as needed. Adobo sauce adds heat, lime juice adds acidity, maple syrup adds sweetness, and salt enhances all the other flavors.

If making this dressing 12+ hours in advance, you may need to thin it out by adding a little additional water after it has been in the fridge for several hours.

Using a whisk to combine the cashew butter, lime juice, adobo sauce, and other ingredients for our Chipotle Dressing recipe

We hope you LOVE this dressing. It’s:

Subtly sweet
Quick & easy
& So delicious!

It’s delicious on any salads that could benefit from a creamy, smoky/spicy kick, such as our Chickpea Chopped Kale Salad, Grilled Corn Salad or Mexican Quinoa Salad.

More Salad Dressing Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Picking up a spoonful of Smoky Chipotle Dressing next to ingredients used to make it

5-Minute Smoky Chipotle Dressing

A creamy, smoky chipotle dressing made in 1 bowl in 5 minutes, with just 6 simple ingredients. The perfect quick dairy-free dressing for just about any salad!
Author Minimalist Baker
Bowl of Creamy Vegan Chipotle Dressing topped with a swirl of adobo sauce
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 5 (~2-Tbsp Servings)
Course Dressing
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Mexican-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 4-5 Days


  • 1/4 cup cashew butter
  • 1 pinch each sea salt & black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp adobo sauce (if you don’t have access to adobo sauce, sub chipotle chili powder but start with less as it can be potent)
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed and minced (or pressed)
  • 2-3 tsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp maple syrup
  • 3-4 Tbsp water (plus more as needed to thin)


  • To a medium mixing bowl add cashew butter, salt and pepper, adobo sauce, crushed or minced garlic, lime juice, and maple syrup and stir to combine.
  • Add water a little at a time to thin into a pourable sauce, whisking as needed. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt to taste, adobo sauce for heat, lime for acidity, or maple syrup for sweetness.
  • Serve on top of salads, especially those that could benefit from a creamy, smoky/spicy kick. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Not freezer friendly. After refrigerating it gets thicker, so thin with more water as needed.



*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser end of the range for adobo sauce and lime juice.

Nutrition (1 of 5 servings)

Serving: 1 two-tablespoon servings Calories: 78 Carbohydrates: 4.3 g Protein: 2.4 g Fat: 6.4 g Saturated Fat: 1.3 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.07 g Monounsaturated Fat: 3.73 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 26 mg Potassium: 76 mg Fiber: 0.4 g Sugar: 1.1 g Vitamin A: 20.91 IU Vitamin C: 0.79 mg Calcium: 7.28 mg Iron: 0.66 mg

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My Rating:

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Dana, we think the flavor would be too strong with either of those, unfortunately! If you have a powerful blender, you could replace the cashew butter with raw cashews + water. Hope that helps!

  1. messmachines says

    I didn’t have cashew butter, so I soaked some cashews in very hot water while I assembled the rest of the ingredients. Also used a combo of lemon and lime juice because that’s what’s in the fridge. It is SOOOO GOOD!

  2. Nina Camille Robinson says

    Thanks for the recipe! Any suggestions on what to do with the canned chipotle peppers after i use the sauce?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Nina! We like to freeze them in an ice cube tray and then transfer to a sealed container in the freezer. Then when ready to use, chop up the “ice cube” and add to recipes like this, this, or this. Hope that helps!

  3. Kellen says

    Every time I have another taste of this dressing I say out loud, OMG!

    I truly cannot believe how good it is. I made this with the broccoli, chickpea and kale salad and now just want to put it on everything.

    I can’t remember the last time I ate Chick-fil-a, so I don’t know if they still even have it, but this reminds me so much of their ‘spicy’ dressing.

    There are some recipes you crave specifically for the sauce or condiment that accompanies it, and this dressing undoubtedly has that effect.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      haha YESSSS. Thanks for sharing, Kellen! It’s our favorite as well! Next time would you mind adding a rating to your review? It’s super helpful to us and other readers! xo

  4. Kim says

    My favorite southwest salad dressing! I seriously don’t use anything else. This recipe tastes just like restaurant dressings but without all the bad stuff. I keep mine for the week and thin it out before I use it and it’s perfect!

  5. Michelle says

    Hi! I have made versions of this with just the seasoned kale, and or with broccoli and carrots and only, and love the flavors already! Tomorrow I plan to make this with all the layers, chickpeas and chipotle dressing. My kids are allergic to cashew. Any recommendations on an alternative base for the dressing? I may just work with sunflower butter and sew how it goes.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Michelle, that might work, but we haven’t tried it. We don’t have a better alternative. Let us know if you try it!

  6. Amy says

    Loved this sauce. Will consider doubling the recipe next time! I used homemade peanut butter as it was what I had. I gradually added the adobo until it had the perfect hum. So yummy.
    (Is there a recipe for your chili powder that has cumin, oregano and garlic powder? I can’t find it anywhere in Australia. Our chili powder just has chili in it.)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Amy! Thanks so much for the lovely review! No recipe yet, but the store-bought versions usually contain some combination of chilies, cumin, oregano, coriander, and garlic powder. Sometimes small amounts of other spices such as allspice and clove. Hope that helps!

  7. Gina says

    This is life changing! I’ve recently cut dairy out of my diet and I have been missing cheese and creamy sauces so much. I had an amazing chipotle taco sauce I used in the past that I have been missing so bad, and I gave this a try and WOW! It is so good. So easy and so satisfying, even my dairy loving husband enjoys it. Thank you for giving me back some creamy goodness in my life!

  8. Ashley says

    I have made this several times now and it is DELICIOUS. I always make it with tahini because I am too lazy to make or buy cashew butter. The flavors marry so well together, I often add more adobo sauce to kick up the flavor for my taste. It is great on the southwest salad (how I discovered this in the first place) but also on bowls and as a dip for roasted potato wedges. Thank you for this recipe, Dana!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy it, Ashley! Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing serving ideas!

  9. Gretchen says

    Hi! Silly question, but I’m new to cashew butter. Did you make your own or does store bought work just as well? Is there one you prefer? This looks delicious!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Either would work! We used Artisana when we made this recipe, but you can see our review of cashew butters here. Hope that helps!

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

        Hi Jennifer, perhaps tahini or sunflower seed butter? But we haven’t tried it so we aren’t sure it would work! Let us know if you give either a try!

  10. Elaine says

    So, so delicious! Chipotle is a wonderful flavor and this recipe captures the delightful creaminess of mayo-based dressings, without the bad fats and eggs. The only change I made was to drop the maple syrup. The flavor is wonderful on salads. I’m going to use it on burgers, too, and as a dip. I can’t stop licking the spoon whenever I make it. Thank you so much for this happy recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy it, Elaine! Thanks so much for the lovely review! xo

  11. Lenora says

    Yummy! Served it tonight as the dressing for a Southwestern salad featuring lots of fresh vegetables, including a black bean and corn salsa. My family loved it!

  12. Marie Biddix says

    This is my new favorite dressing! Chipotle is one of my most favorite flavors so I added a little more. I made parts of the Abundance Bowl and parts of the Chickpea Chopped salad (I only had parts of each meal on hand) and this was my dressing! Smoky, creamy and down right delicious I am slowing switching to vegetarian/vegan dishes due to a recent Hashimoto’s diagnosis, and I am finding myself going to your website first for recipes. The dishes are so flavorful and make it easy to transition to a plant based lifestyle. Thank you!

  13. Rebecca says

    I made this last night as a dressing for the grilled mexican corn salad last night and it was an absolute winner! Will definitely add this into the things I constantly keep in my fridge. So so delicious!

  14. paula chapin says

    Sunflower seeds may be an easy swap for cashews to help you find a plant-based sauce that works for you, but they’re much more than that.

    They’re a cheaper, more ethical, more environmentally friendly alternative that doesn’t sacrifice nutrition.

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          It might work, but we haven’t tried it! You may need to compensate with more maple syrup as cashew has more of a naturally sweet taste and tahini more bitter. Let us know if you give it a try!

  15. Annie Robison says

    Soooooo delicious!!! Added a bit of veggie stock and salsa instead of water…creamy and sooooo good over kale and diced fajita Veggies!

  16. Maggie says

    I made this today for lunch. It was amazing! I had it with a vegan southwest salad. My husband even loved it! Will be making this again soon. One thing that I did was put all the ingredients in a small food processor bc it was a bit difficult to stir.

  17. Jessica says

    Wow this looks so delicious! Do you have any ideas for substituting the cashew butter though? Could tahini possibly work?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I’m not sure if that will blend with that small of an amount. It depends on what type of blender you have?

  18. CJ says

    This looks amazing, yet so simple! Do you have any suggested substitutions for the cashew butter? Here, it’s are really expensive, and I don’t really have the access to buying/soaking/blending cashews. Thanks so much!

  19. Danette says

    This is probably a silly question but is chipotle sauce what comes with the chipotle peppers in a can or jar?