dried chipotle pepper

Chipotle Morita

A staple in Mexican cuisine, chipotle Morita peppers are derived from smoked and dried jalapeños. Their unique flavor profile sets them apart from other types of chilis.

Read on to learn what makes this pepper so unique.

Facts about
Chipotle Morita

Heat level:
2,500 - 8,000
Capsicum annuum
North America

What is a chipotle Morita pepper?

A chipotle Morita pepper, often simply referred to as a Morita, is a type of smoked and dried jalapeño. This pepper undergoes a transformative process; it begins as the familiar green jalapeño and is allowed to fully mature on the vine until it achieves a deep red hue. The ripe jalapeños are smoked, imparting a distinct smoky flavor. 

The term “Morita” translates to “little blackberry” in Spanish, which likely alludes to its darkened color and small size. Chipotle Moritas, hailing from their native Mexico, have cemented their place in Mexican cuisine. Their spiciness is similar to regular jalapeños, placing them on the milder side among chili peppers. 

Nevertheless, they pack a flavorful punch, blending the jalapeño’s heat with a smoky depth. The popularity of this chili variety has extended beyond Mexico, and it is notably the most prevalent form of chipotle found in the United States.

Morita vs. chipotle

While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there’s a distinction to be made between Morita and chipotle peppers. Both originate from smoked, dried jalapeños, but the morita, with its darker hue and smokier flavor, is smoked for a shorter duration than other chipotle peppers. This results in the Morita retaining a slightly fruitier taste. Conversely, “chipotle” is a broad term referring to any smoked jalepeño, so they might exhibit a more pronounced smoky flavor, a slightly drier texture, and other minor differences based on the exact preparation.

Morita vs. Meco

While Morita and meco peppers are both types of chipotle, there are distinct differences. 

Morita chipotles are smoked for a shorter duration, possessing a darker color, moister texture, and a somewhat fruitier undertone beneath the smoke. On the other hand, Meco chipotles, recognizable by their light tan or coffee color, are smoked for a longer period. This extended smoking time yields a more intense smoky flavor and a drier, parchment-like texture. While both variants have unique qualities and uses in cuisine, their distinct smoking durations and subsequent flavor profiles set them apart.

How hot are they?

Chipotle Morita peppers typically sit on the milder side of the chili heat spectrum. They register between 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), making them comparable to fresh jalapeños.

Chipotle Moritas are suitable for a broad range of palates, given their moderate heat level. Even those who don’t gravitate toward extremely spicy foods can generally tolerate and enjoy the warmth these peppers provide.

What do they taste like?

The taste profile of a Chipotle Morita pepper is unique and multifaceted. At its core, there’s a rich smokiness, a characteristic trait of chipotles. 

However, since Moritas are smoked for a shorter duration than other chipotles, they retain a pronounced fruity undertone. Combined with their smoky notes, this deep fruity flavor gives Moritas an edge, offering a taste depth many other chipotles can’t quite achieve.

Uses and recipe ideas

Chipotle Morita peppers are incredibly versatile in the culinary world. 

Rehydrating these dried chilis in hot water can be transformed into a paste and incorporated into soups, sauces, or salsas. Grinding them offers another dimension of use, resulting in a smoky, fruity seasoning perfect for rubs or sprinkling over dishes for an added kick. 

Moreover, their dried form can be steeped in liquids to impart a smoky depth to broths or even cocktails. For those looking to experiment, try incorporating rehydrated Moritas into a creamy enchilada sauce or blending them into a smoky salsa for a taco night with a twist.

Recipes that commonly use chipotle morita:

  • Chipotle Morita salsa: A smoky and slightly fruity salsa that blends the unique flavor of the chipotle morita with tomatoes, onions, and garlic. This salsa is perfect for tacos, grilled meats, or simply with tortilla chips.
  • Smoky Chipotle Morita chili: A hearty bean and meat chili infused with the rich, smoky flavor of rehydrated morita peppers, giving it depth and a unique twist.
  • Morita-infused enchilada sauce: This sauce combines the Morita’s smokiness with the tanginess of tomatoes, creating a perfect balance and a must-have for any enchilada dish.
  • Chipotle Morita cream sauce: A creamy, spicy sauce that can elevate dishes like pasta, grilled chicken, or vegetables, merging the fruity undertone of Morita with the richness of cream.
  • Spicy Morita marinated steak: A meat marinade that uses the ground Chipotle Morita pepper for a smoky and slightly fruity touch, ensuring a flavorful and juicy grilled steak.

Where to buy Chipotle Morita

In the United States, chipotle morita peppers can be found in many well-stocked grocery stores, especially in areas with a significant Hispanic or Latino population. They are typically located in the international or Hispanic foods section. 

However, if they’re unavailable in your local grocery store, specialty stores or international markets, especially those focusing on Mexican or Latin American ingredients, they will almost certainly carry them. Online retailers like Amazon also sell dried chipotle morita peppers.

Substitutes for Chipotle Morita

If you can’t find chipotle morita peppers, any other variety of chipotle pepper can be used: chipotle in adobo sauce, ground chipotle pepper, chipotle meco, etc. With alternative types of chipotle, your dish may end up similarly smoky but may lack the unique fruitiness. A touch of sweet smoked paprika can help balance out other kinds of chipotles that don’t have fruity notes to get you closer to the authentic taste of chipotle Mortia. 

Chipotle Morita peppers, with their unique blend of smoky depth and fruity undertones, offer culinary enthusiasts a versatile ingredient that can transform and elevate a plethora of dishes. Their rich history rooted in Mexican cuisine and growing global appreciation ensures they’ll continue to spice up kitchens everywhere.