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Difference Between Chipotle and Jalapeno

Craving for a spicy meal once in a while is quite the norm. But do we understand the various ingredients used to achieve this? While many spices may be used to achieve the desired taste, chilies are the most common ingredients used. They are categorized based on the level of heat, fresh, dried and source, just to name a few. Most can be transformed into the desired final product such as powders, sauces, chili salt, and even chili dips. Chipotle and Jalapeno are some of the most common chilies. It is important to differentiate the two so as to achieve the desired pepper flavors.


What is Chipotle?

Derived from the word Nahuatl, this is jalapeno pepper that has been smoke-dried. It is commonly used in both Mexican inspired and Mexican quinines including southwestern and Tex-Mex dishes. It is basically prepared by drying deep red jalapeno peppers by use of smoking chambers and even metal grills. This process may take several days until most of the moisture is removed from the peppers. The end result is chipotle that has the taste of the smoke. Chipotle may be purchased in the form of chipotle pods, powder, and marinades.

Chipotles have a distinct flavor that is spicy, not to mention smoky. It can be used in stews, soups, salsas, barbecue, and hot sauce as well as in both commercial and homemade products.


What is Jalapeno?

Commonly used in Mexican dishes, Jalapenos are the most common chili peppers worldwide. These are small, green when raw and red in color when ripe. They are moderately spicy with varying heat levels based on factors such as soil PH and sunlight available when growing. Although caution should be taken on the quantity consumed, jalapenos are highly nutritious as they are packed with fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, and are low in calories. They may be eaten raw due to the mild flavor, smoked, dried or powdered and incorporated in dishes by:

  • Adding to raw salads, chutneys, salsa, and even guacamoles
  • Cooking in main dishes
  • Blending into smoothies
  • Baking in various dishes
  • Stuffing in cheese, pilafs and even meat
  • Infusing in chili oils


Similarities between Chipotle and Jalapeno

  • Both are common in Mexican dishes
  • Both are derived from the Capsicum annuum pepper species


Differences between Chipotle and Jalapeno


As a result of an increase in capsaicin, the compound that causes heat in peppers, as they are fully dried, chipotle has more heat. On the other hand, jalapeno has mild heat.


Chipotle is dried hence has a wrinkly, flat, red coloring, and dark-hued appearance. On the other hand, jalapeno is fresh, firm and green in color.


While Chipotle has a smoky, bold and earthy flavor, jalapeno has a crisp and mild flavor.

Ideal dish

Chipotle is ideal when used in savory sauces, barbecue, and hearty meals. On the other hand, jalapeno is ideal in salsas, salads, and sandwiches.

Chipotle vs. Jalapeno: Comparison Table


Summary of Chipotle vs. Jalapeno

While both chipotle and jalapeno are made from the same pepper, they are not good substitutes for one another. Chipotle has a lot of heat hence is ideal for savory sauces, barbecue, and hearty meals while jalapeno is mild in terms of heat which makes it ideal for salsas, salads and sandwiches.


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References :

[0]Image credit: https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=275029&picture=sliced-jalapenos-on-cutting-board

[1]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/51/Chipotle_serrano.jpg

[2]Jean Andrews. Peppers: The Domesticated Capsicums. University of Texas Press, 1995. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=SsjvX31EMekC&pg=PA108&dq=Difference+between+Chipotle+and+Jalapeno&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj-7quuq6rjAhXEuHEKHb22AbsQ6AEIKzAB#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20Chipotle%20and%20Jalapeno&f=false

[3]Olivia Smith. Jalapeno Recipes. Alpha Books Publishers, 2018. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=PhN2DwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=jalapeno+peppers&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwihzeuPrarjAhUTbcAKHdMzBX0Q6AEIQDAG#v=onepage&q=jalapeno%20peppers&f=false

[4]Sherkat F & Hui Y. Handbook of Food Science, Technology, and Engineering - 4 Volume Set. CRC Press, 2005. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=llDOBQAAQBAJ&pg=PA182-IA10&dq=chipotle+pepper&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiQ6cuHrarjAhVQzIUKHTnKBEsQ6AEIJjAA#v=onepage&q=chipotle%20pepper&f=false

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