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!
Chipotle Steak Marinade
To create this smoky flavor at home, you can:
- Buy Ancho Chile powder online (Culinary Hill may earn money if you buy through this link)
- Make your own Ancho Chile powder
- 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.
¼ cup of the powder is equivalent to 2 oz. of the peppers (stems and seeds removed, ground up).
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.
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:
- Ball tip
- Top butt
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!
How to Cook Chipotle Steak:
Chipotle grills their steak on a flat-top grill.
Here are your cooking options at home:
- Stove-top skillet (indoor, similar to Chipotle’s method)
- 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?
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon chipotle powder (or ½ teaspoon each smoked paprika and cayenne powder)
- ½ 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:
- Chicken Tinga
- Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers
- Chipotle Chicken (copycat)
- Chipotle Barbacoa (copycat)
- Chipotle Sofritas (tofu)
- Chipotle honey vinaigrette (copycat)
- Chipotle black beans (copycat)
- Chipotle pinto beans (copycat)
Chipotle Steak (Copycat)
- 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 ground 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 ½ 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.
- 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 ¼ 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.
- 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.