Chipotle Steak Recipe (Copycat)

This copycat Chipotle Steak recipe tastes even better than the real thing. The marinade is quick and easy and full of the smoky, spicy flavors you love!

This copycat Chipotle Steak recipe tastes even better than the real thing. The marinade is quick and easy and full of the smoky, spicy flavors you love!
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Chipotle Steak Marinade

Like Chipotle's Chicken and Barbacoa, the Steak gets its flavor from dried ancho chiles and adobo sauce.

To create this smoky flavor at home, you can:

  1. Buy Ancho Chile powder online (Culinary Hill may earn money if you buy through this link)
  2. Make your own Ancho Chile powder
  3. Soak Dried ancho chiles (Culinary Hill may earn money if you buy through this link)

Marinade Method 1: Using Ancho Chile Powder

Ancho Chile Pepper powder is widely available online (see link above) or in most grocery stores, or you may make your own.

1/4 cup of the powder is equivalent to 2 oz. of the peppers (stems and seeds removed, ground up).

Add this fragrant, warm flavor to your spice cabinet in just a few minutes with my recipe for Homemade Ancho Chile Powder. Much cheaper than store-brought!

Marinade Method 2: Soaking Dried Ancho Chiles

  • Slow-Soaking the dried ancho chiles takes at least 12 hours. Once the chiles are soft, you open them up, remove the stems, and rinse out the seeds (I recommend using kitchen or latex gloves).  For additional heat, add in seeds from the chipotle peppers.
  • Quick-Soaking will save you hours. You toast the dried chiles in a skillet and microwave them in water.

Chipotle does not use red onion in their marinade, but I include it because I think it tastes better. I had to decide if I would post the recipe that tastes closest to Chipotle's recipe, or if I would post the recipe that tastes the best. I kept the onion.

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender.

A square photo of the dark red Chipotle Chicken marinade in a food processor.

What is Chipotle Steak made of?

Chipotle only lists "Beef" in their ingredient statement. However, a clever Quora user emailed Chipotle customer service and learned that Chipotle steak could be one or more of the following cuts:

  • Loin
  • Ball tip
  • Round
  • Flat
  • Top butt
  • Clod
  • Knuckle

At the average grocery store, I am able to find loin, round, and flat steak. So, those are the ones I listed in my recipe. But if you can find knuckle (or anything else), toss it in!

This copycat Chipotle Steak recipe tastes even better than the real thing. The marinade is quick and easy and full of the smoky, spicy flavors you love!

How to Cook Chipotle Steak:

Chipotle grills their steak on a flat-top grill.

Here are your cooking options at home:

  1. Stove-top skillet (indoor, similar to Chipotle's method)
  2. Gas grill (outdoor, minimal cleanup)

Braising, sautéing, baking, roasting, and slow cooking are out.

I also don't recommend cooking the steak ahead of time (although you can certainly marinate it ahead).

What is a substitute for adobo sauce?

Whisk together:

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder (or 1/2 teaspoon each smoked paprika and cayenne powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Pinch EACH of oregano, garlic powder, and salt

What can I do with my leftover Chipotle peppers and/or adobo sauce?

Transfer to a bag and freeze for future use, or use in:

5 from 6 votes

Chipotle Steak Recipe (Copycat)

This copycat Chipotle Steak recipe tastes even better than the real thing. The marinade is quick and easy and full of the smoky, spicy flavors you love!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword steak
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 20 servings
Calories 243kcal
  • 1/2 medium red onion coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or rice bran oil, plus more for the cooking surface (see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano (see notes)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 pounds steak (loin, round, or flat)

To make the marinade:

  • To the bowl of a food processor or blender, add red onion, garlic, adobo sauce, ancho chile powder, olive oil, cumin, dried oregano, and salt and pepper to taste (I like 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper). Blend until smooth. Pour into a measuring cup and add water to reach 1 cup.
  • Place the steak in a large zipper-top plastic and add 1 cup marinade. Refrigerate overnight if desired. Let beef sit in the marinade for at least 30 minutes at room temperature before grilling.

To make the steak:

  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet until shimmering (or preheat a grill over medium high heat). Add steak to the pan and cook, turning occasionally, until the temperature reaches 135 degrees for rare or 145 degrees for medium rare. Depending on the size of your skillet, you can cook the steak in batches.
  • Remove to a cutting board and tent with foil for 10 minutes. Chop into small pieces. Season to taste with salt. Serve on tortillas or in bowls with additional toppings as desired.

Recipe Notes

To make the marinade with dried ancho chiles (Culinary Hill may earn money if you buy through this link):
  1. Quick-Soaking method for ancho chiles: Remove stems and seeds from dried chiles (wearing gloves is recommended). In a dry skillet over medium-low heat, toast the chiles until fragrant but not smoking, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and add 4 cups (1 quart) water and 2 Tablespoons adobo sauce. Microwave on HIGH for 6 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add peppers to the food processor, using the reserved cooking liquid to rinse as much adobo as possible from the canned chipotle peppers in Step 2.
  2. Slow-Soaking method for ancho chiles: Place in a bowl and add enough water to cover completely. Top with a small plate or bowl to weigh down the chiles so they are completely submerged. Soak at least 12 hours or overnight. Drain well.
You can use either Italian or Mexican oregano. They have different flavors (Mexican oregano tastes more like marjoram) but both taste great in this recipe. Feel free to use whatever you have.
Adobo sauce: You can get adobo sauce from cans of Chipotle peppers or you can purchase a jar of just adobo paste (La Costeña makes one). Substitute about 3 tablespoons of paste + 1 tablespoon water.
Rice Bran oil: Chipotle uses Rice Bran oil in all of their products. Olive oil is more widely available (probably already in your pantry) and works equally well, especially if it has a neutral taste.

Nutrition

Calories: 243kcal

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  1. Vic

    Hello! Question! Is this marinade per pound of steak? Or for all 4 pounds? If for all 4 pounds, do you put it all in one Ziploc bag? Thanks! Excited to try it out!

    1. Meggan

      Hi Vic, this marinade is for all 4 pounds of steak. You can put it all in one bag and just mash the marinade to distribute it evenly. -Meggan

  2. Terri

    Can tri tip be used?

    1. Meggan

      I haven’t tried it this way, but I don’t see why not! I think it would be delicious!

  3. K

    Absolutely Loved!5 stars

  4. Aliha khan

    Hi! Wondering how does each serving have 17g of fat. Which ingredients used are high in fat besides the oil?

    1. meggan

      Hi Aliha, it looks like each serving has 10g of fat, not 17g. I played around with the nutrition label and it has a few different options for which tofu brand/kind to select, and the fat content varies depending on that. So I could pick a generic tofu and it would show 7.9g fat, or I could pick “Vitasoy USA Organic Nasoya, Tofu Plus Extra Firm” and it shows 9.6g. If I pick a softer tofu (firm or silken) then the fat increases slightly, to 12.2g or 14.6g. So, I think it really depends on which brand you pick. I’m also not a nutritionist so maybe there is something else happening there that I don’t understand. But, the only other source of fat here is the olive oil, and the recipe is reflecting 1 tablespoon of that. I hope this is helpful! Sorry for the confusion. -Meggan

  5. Joel

    Is it REALLY HALF AN ONION? or like half cup?5 stars

    1. meggan

      Hi Joel, it’s half an onion, probably around 1 cup. But, I list it as “half an onion” because you put it in a blender as part of the marinade. So, there is no reason to chop it up much (just quartered or whatever you need to make it blend evenly). The marinade makes enough for 4 pounds of steak. I hope this is helpful! If you have any other questions, just let me know. Thanks. -Meggan

  6. Amit

    Thanks for the recipe. Looking forward to try it. What kind of loin steak would you recommend? Would top sirloin steak worK? Any other advice on what kind of steak to use? Thx

  7. Kelly

    My kids want to eat at chipotle everyday. I followed instructions made steaks taste just like Chipotle but tender. Thank you very much for the recipe and instructions!5 stars

  8. Jessica Wesley

    How many dried chilies would you need to use if doing that method?

    1. meggan

      Hi Jessica, sorry I didn’t have that written out! It’s 1 ounce of dried chiles. When I buy them, it’s usually a 2-ounce package and 3-4 chiles in it depending on the size. I’ve updated the recipe notes. Thanks for pointing that out, and sorry again! If you have any other questions, just let me know. -Meggan

  9. Andrew

    This is awesome.. As someone who is just getting into cooking this was simple and easy to follow and was exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much for sharing this!5 stars

  10. Vanessa King

    will this get too spicy if it marinades for 48 hours?

    1. meggan

      Hi Vanessa, I don’t think so. I’ve let this marinade for 4-5 days and the flavor does not get significantly spicier. You should be fine! Thanks.

  11. Jane Casburn

    Do you think I could cook the steak and the chicken version the day before and re- heat? Having a lunch graduation party.

    1. meggan

      Hi Jane, yes absolutely. With the steak, you just don’t want to cook it too much because you don’t want it to be tough and dried out. So cook it medium rare, perhaps, or medium if that’s more your taste. Does that make sense? And if you want to reheat in the oven, I would cover your pans with foil to keep the chicken and steak from drying out. Or, you could toss it in a hot skillet to heat it up. Thank you so much and please let me know if you need anything else.

  12. John Doe

    To make the steak:
    Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet until shimmering (or preheat a grill over medium high heat). Add “CHICKEN ????” to the pan and cook, turning occasionally, until the temperature reaches 135 degrees for rare or 145 degrees for medium rare. Depending on the size of your skillet, you can cook the steak in batches.5 stars

    1. Not a stealer

      John,
      This author stole this recipe from Browneyedbaker. Browneyedbaker’s recipe was chicken that why it said chicken in the first place. If you’re going to steal something, make sure you don’t literally COPY & PASTE IT.

    2. meggan

      FALSE.

      Exhibit A: I first posted my Chipotle Chicken recipe on January 21, 2014 as documented by the Wayback Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20140130023928/www.culinaryhill.com/chipotle-chicken/

      I later changed the recipe to offer a version that used the ancho chile powder instead of working with the dried chiles since readers had trouble locating them. I still discuss how to work with the dried chiles in my post, though, since some people prefer this method.

      Exhibit B: Brown Eyed Baker posted her version in May 2016 which was documented by the Wayback Machine in early 2017:
      https://web.archive.org/web/20170519100906/https://www.browneyedbaker.com/chipotle-chicken-recipe/

      As you can see from the record, she previously cited me as her source since SHE ADAPTED HER RECIPE FROM MINE (you’ll find it in the gray box marked “Did you make this recipe?” under her recipe). She doesn’t cite me as her source anymore. I don’t care either way.

      While it’s true I had a typo and wrote chicken instead of steak in this post, it’s because I copied the steak marinade FROM MYSELF. So sorry for the typo. I also removed your sentence with f-bomb from your comment; there is really no reason to use that language on my site. Especially when you’re WRONG. And so very rude.

    3. meggan

      D’OH!!! Thanks for being my proofreader, your check is in the mail. But seriously I appreciate you.

  13. Melissa

    Is there a recipe for the adobo sauce? Would prefer to make it myself after reading the ingredients. And also would rather not waste the Chile’s. Thanks!

    1. meggan

      Hi Melissa! Sorry for my delayed reply. There are homemade adobo sauce recipes on the Internet and I’ll be posting my own in the next few weeks (thanks to your request!). In the meantime if you check google you might find one that looks good to you. Thanks for the question! I’m also going to make a homemade chili powder recipe which someone else requested. Take care.

  14. chipotle steak recipe copycat is so delicious and yummy.I loved your way of cooking and recipes.Before this i made Chicken Keema Paratha for my husband its taste also funny and delicious.Sharing a link with you: ( https://www.sooperchef.pk/chicken-keema-paratha-recipe/ ).

    Thanks for the recipe.5 stars

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