Chipotle Salsa Spice Levels

Chipotle Salsa Spice Levels: Heat Guide (Updated)

Last Updated on May 16, 2024 by Shari Mason

Chipotle plays a crucial role in both Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, infusing notable spiciness and exceptional flavor into any dish it enhances.

If you’re planning to make salsa with chipotle but have no idea about the other peppers you can use? You’re in the right place.

We will discuss chipotle salsa spice levels options you can choose from and the spicy ingredients generally used in making chipotle salsa.

Everything About Chipotle Salsa Spice Levels

Tomatillo Green Chili Salsa on a Bowl

There are 4 different types of chipotle salsa you can choose from and each varies in terms of its spice levels, ranging from mild to hot.

Chipotle peppers are smoke-dried ripe jalapeño peppers and are processed in several different forms, such as powder, flakes, canned, whole, meat marinade, and more.

Its ripening point and smoke-drying process are the two main reasons behind a chipotle salsa’s sweet, spicy flavors, and distinctive smokey and earthy notes.


4 Chipotle Spice Levels Options

1. Fresh Tomato Salsa (Mild)

Close Up Shot of Mild Tomato Salsa

Fresh tomato salsa, or fresh salsa, is the easiest on your taste buds. It can be paired with tacos, nachos, tortillas, and more.

“If you don’t know my name and you don’t know what movie I’m from, don’t come ask for a picture while I’m trying to eat chipotle.”

Ansel Elgort, Actor

This salsa just delivers a mild level of heat or just the right kick. Everyone can give it a try without having a burning sensation in the mouth.

Its main ingredients typically include tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño pepper, and lemon juice.


2. Roasted Chili Corn Salsa (Medium)

Roasted chili corn salsa is slightly sweet and zesty. It is usually served with nachos, burritos, tortillas, salads, and sometimes as a side.

Even though this salsa packs a medium kick of heat, it gets complemented by the perfect balance of sweetness, tanginess, and saltiness. 

Its main ingredients typically include white sweet corn, poblano pepper, jalapeño pepper, cilantro, red onion, and lime or lemon juice.

3. Tomatillo Green-Chili Salsa (Medium) 

Tomato green-chili salsa has a watery yet pasty texture. It can be served with several delicious Mexican dishes, such as quesadillas, fajitas, tacos, and more.

This salsa has a medium punch of heat to the taste buds and is a great alternative to the usual hot red salsas. 

Its main ingredients typically include tomatillos, tomatoes, jalapeño pepper, onion, and garlic.

4. Tomatillo Red Chili Salsa (Hot)

Tomatillo Red Chili Salsa on Glass Bowl

Tomatillo red chili salsa is a thin, watery salsa. It’s a delight, especially when paired with nachos, tacos, burritos, tortillas, and more. 

This salsa is the spiciest among the other types of salsa. Therefore we do not suggest it for people with weaker spice tolerance. 

Its main ingredients typically include tomatillos, New Mexican chilies, tabasco pepper, garlic, cumin, and lime juice.

Green vs Red Salsa

Green salsa is made from unripe or less mature chiles and is usually served mildly chilled or as a warm sauce. Since the green peppers were picked sooner, it delivers a distinct bitter taste.

On the other hand, red salsa is made from ripe chiles and is usually served mildly chilled. It delivers a sweeter taste and a hotter kick since the red peppers were grown fully mature before they were picked.

What Makes Chipotle Salsa Spicy

Poblano Peppers

Poblano, or chile ancho (when dried), originated in Puebla, Mexico, and was named after the state. It is large and somewhat heart-shaped and has a dark green color.

It gives a mild to medium kick, registering between 1,000 to 2,000 SHU on the Scoville Scale. It is usually served as roasted, dried, fried, stuffed, or in salsa ingredients. 

This pepper is available in supermarkets and farmers’ markets, but most especially in the Southwestern region of the United States.

Jalapeño Peppers

Jalapeño is a popular pepper typically used in many Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants. It is the main pepper ingredient in making a chipotle. 

While it has a mild to medium heat level like the Poblano, Jalapeño is much hotter. It ranges from 2,500 to 8,000 SHU on the Scoville Scale.

Jalapeño is widely grown in California, New Mexico, Texas, and farms in the Southwest [1]. It is readily available in most grocery stores all across the states.

Red Onion

Red onion is commonly cooked in a variety of dishes. It can also be eaten raw, like in sandwiches, burgers, salads, and more.

This round or oval-like, reddish-purple vegetable has zero Scoville Heat Unit, but it gives a lingering sweet and spicy aftertaste.

You won’t have a hard time finding it since red onions are widely distributed all over the states. You can easily find it in supermarkets, farmers’ markets, and online stores. 

New Mexican Chilies

dried mexican chili peppers

New Mexican Chile, or New Mexico Chile, is a mild Mexican pepper best used in rice dishes, soup, sauce, or in salsa ingredients.

This pepper is slightly pungent with fine sweet, spicy, and earthy notes. It has a subtle heat level that measures between 700 to 4,000 on the Scoville Scale. 

New Mexican Chile has already become a common pepper and can be bought in most farmers’ markets and grocery stores.


Tabasco is best known as the main ingredient in the famous Tabasco sauce. It has an orange-yellowish color which turns to vibrant red when fully ripe.

Tabasco provides a definite medium kick of heat to your taste, ranging from 30,000 to 50,000 on the Scoville Scale. 

Tabasco peppers are cultivated and grown mainly in the United States. You can easily find and get one at your local supermarkets.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne is a thin, bright red chili pepper and is generally sold in its ground form. It is specially used for additional heat and flavoring to various dishes.

Cayenne has the same heat level as Tabasco, ranging from 30,000 to 50,000 on the Scoville Scale. 

This pepper is widely available in the market today. However, ground cayenne is relatively easier to find than whole cayenne.


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Red salsa chipotle is spicier than green salsa chipotle. Chili peppers get hotter and spicier over time when they become ripe u003ca href=u0022[u003c/au003eu003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003e2u003c/au003eu003ca href=u0022]u003c/au003e, which they turn from green to red.

u003cstrongu003eAre all salsas in Chipotle spicy?u003c/strongu003e

Yes, because chipotle itself is generally made from smoke-dried ripest jalapeños. It is also used in many great dishes to add heat and flavor.

u003cstrongu003eHow hot is chipotle tomatillo red chili salsa?u003c/strongu003e

It will give a sufficient kick to your taste buds since its Scoville Heat Unit generally ranges from 15,000 to 30,000.

In A Nutshell

Chipotle is smoke-dried jalapeno peppers that can be sold in various forms, such as powder, flakes, canned, whole, meat marinade, and more.

Every chili pepper has a respective Scoville Heat Unit, which determines its pungency. The higher the heat unit is, the hotter a chili pepper becomes.

Red peppers are hotter than green peppers. Green is the premature color of any chili pepper, while red signifies ripeness.


Shari Mason

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