copycat chipotle dressing served

There’s a lot to love about the food from fast casual favorite Chipotle. There are the bombshell-sized burritos, the salads, and so much more. But if we had to pick one menu item that keeps people coming back, we’d call the restaurant’s eponymous dressing a fine choice. That sweet, slightly smokey, lightly honeyed red vinaigrette dressing goes great on everything from salads to street tacos to burritos to chips and more.

And when you make your own copycat Chipotle dressing at home, you can pour that sweet smokey goodness on even more eats — the only limit here is your imagination. That’s because chef, food writer, and registered dietician Kristen Carli of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness has you covered when it comes to a DIY Chipotle dressing. And aside from the chipotle peppers themselves, you probably have everything you’ll need for it on hand already.

What does the ‘chipotle’ in this copycat chipotle dressing recipe mean, anyway?

copycat chipotle dressing being prepared

Before we get to the (refreshingly simple) recipe for making your own copycat Chipotle dressing, let’s take a quick look at the definitions here. A chipotle pepper is simply a jalapeño pepper that has been dried and then smoked. The term comes from the Nahuatl language — as does the word "jalapeño."

Contrary to common misconception, the word does not refer to spice, heat, or a type of cuisine in general. It simply refers to a dried and smoked pepper common in cooking across much of the Americas.

Gather your ingredients for this copycat chipotle dressing

copycat chipotle dressing ingredients on counter

Gathering your ingredients for this copycat Chipotle dressing is one of only two steps to make this dressing, which will keep for up to four days if sealed and refrigerated. Second step? Just mixing it up. Yep, it really is that easy.

You’ll ned a quarter cup of red wine vinegar, a quarter cup of honey, three quarters of a cup of olive oil, a half teaspoon each of dried oregano, salt, and black pepper, a half teaspoon of garlic powder, a full teaspoon of cumin, two chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (with stems removed if they weren’t already), and an additional teaspoon of adobo sauce.

Make your copycat Chipotle dressing, then enjoy

making copycat chipotle dressing

Bear with us now because this step gets pretty complicated. All of those copycat Chipotle dressing ingredients we talked about in the step before? Okay, take all of those and combine them all together, ideally in a food processor, but a blender will work too.

Now turn that processor or blender on and process the ingredients until smooth.

Got that? Didn’t miss anything? Yeah, it really is that simple. No cooking, no timing, just blending it all together well. Now you can slather this stuff on salads, tacos, in burritos, on carne asada, on grilled chicken, on rice, or on whatever else needs some sweet, smokey honey-kissed spiced goodness.