Chipotle Shrimp with Crema Verde


The flavor of chipotle chile peppers is one of my favorite flavors – up there with garlic, cilantro, curry, pesto, and fish sauce.

Chipotle chile peppers are jalapeños which are dried and smoked. I don’t understand why they can’t be called smoked jalapeños, but no one asked my opinion. So chipotles they are.

You can purchase them whole and already ground. They also come in a can all plumped up in adobo sauce.

However you use chipotles, they add a unique, spicy smokiness to whatever food you’re preparing, whether you’re adding them to an enchilada sauce, seasoning flank steak, or spicing up a mayo.

Today I needed to make an appetizer with shrimp. I immediately thought of chipotle for seasoning – a fairly strong flavor that works with shrimp. Just for fun I also made a crema verde for a cool balance to the spicy shrimp.

Here’s what I did.


Chipotle Shrimp with Crema Verde

Crema Verde

12 ounces crema or sour cream
2 ounces chopped green chiles
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed and dried
Salt, optional

To make the crema verde, place the Crema and green chiles in a small food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.

Gradually add cilantro leaves, processing as you add them, until the whole bunch of cilantro has been incorporated into the Crema.

Cover and refrigerate overnight if you’re not going to use right away. However, serve at room temperature.


Chipotle Shrimp

3/4 pound medium-size shrimp, cleaned
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 teaspoons ground chipotle chile pepper
Olive oil, as necessary

Make sure the cleaned shrimp are dry using paper towels. Place them in a large bowl and toss them gently in oil.

Add the chipotle, salt, and pepper. You can always season more after the shrimp are cooked.

Heat a little oil in a large, flat skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the shrimp in one layer, turning them over with tongs after only 1-2 minutes. The time will depend on the size of the shrimp. Typically they are done as soon as they turn from translucent to opaque and pink.

Cook the remaining batches and place the warm shrimp on a platter.


Sprinkle more chipotle powder, or even ground sweet paprika if desired and serve with the crema verde.


Besides being a fabulous and easy appetizer, the shrimp served over a layer of the crema verde, topped with a sprig of cilantro, would also be a wonderful first course to a southwestern-inspired meal.


64 thoughts on “Chipotle Shrimp with Crema Verde

  1. I LOVE chipotle chilli powder, and funnily I only learned this past weekend (on US internet radio) that chipotles are smoked jalapenos… My thought was the same as yours: why aren’t they called smoked jalapenos then?!
    Chipotles are very hard to come by here in Germany, you either have to special order them (for a price…) or bring them back from a US vacation. Luckily I brought some back last year.
    Although I don’t eat seafood, your recipe sounds really delicious, I think I’ll try that with chicken instead.

    • Many years ago, after much confusion, I bought a reference book by Mark Miller, well known as a chef of Southwestern cuisine, about chile peppers. That cleared everything up for me! And there are so many different varieties! When my daughter lived in London I would bring her salsa and Sriracha sauce when I visited!

  2. I love to put chipotle peppers in enchilada sauce! Just recently I learned that they are simply dried and smoked jalapenos and I had exactly the same reaction as you! Such fantastic photos… that last closeup makes me want to reach right out and pop one in my mouth ;)

    • Thank you so much! Many years ago I bought a chile pepper book by Mark Miller because I thought the whole chile pepper thing was so confusing – and with good reason! It’s a great reference.

    • When my daughter lived in London I was always bringing her Mexican and Southwestern care packages! Actually, if you can get the powder, then that cuts out a lot of steps you’d have to take with the whole dried chiles!

      • I know, but I like having all those steps!
        It’s really odd, this time last year they were available in abundance, but recently I haven’t been able to find any online or in person anywhere?!

      • Oh, I see. I find it quite tedious, which is why I make a giant batch about once a year. What I do with the ancho chile paste is fun for me, tho! What about Do they have Mexican products?

  3. Beautiful work Mimi! Thanx for letting us know what Chipotle is, we’ve heard that several times in American movies and series and thought that it was something complicated, like curry or garam masala spice mixes. Unfortunately we don’t have dried smoked jalapenos here, so we’ll have to improvise (perhaps smoked paprika may work as well, right?).
    So great reading the About Me page as well, your life sounds so interesting. It’s really an honor that such an experienced Chef has visited out blog.
    Thank you for the wonderful recipe and for stopping by Mimi!

    • You’re not typically chile pepper connoisseurs if you live in the UK! I don’t know why, either – Southwestern cuisine and Indian have so many similar ingredients, but there just aren’t Mexican/Southwestern restaurants in the UK..

  4. In 2016, you can order anything you want on line. That’s where I found ancho chiles, which are dried poblano peppers – and really good. I have a spice rub from anchos plus smoked paprika, which has become a family favorite. But perhaps your chipotle option will beat it out :).

    • Luckily, I’m far enough to the south to find just about anything I need chile pepper-wise locally. That’s the one plus about living here! I always keep my freezer stocked with ancho chile paste, and I often include other dried chile peppers including chipotles for fun. Love them!

  5. Absolutely mouth watering my friend! It’s not even 6AM and I am wanting to reach in and grab one! I love your combination of flavors, I literally can imagine them singing in my mouth!! ♥

  6. I love both aspects of this dish – the shrimp and the crema. I can imagine them both together, and then using them for other recipes!

  7. I love this dish! In fact I just made a similar version (soon to appear on my blog). Great minds! Yours looks terrific — thanks.

  8. The crema verde has to be a nice compliment to your spicy shrimp. That last photo of yours is great…makes me want to grab that shrimp by the tail and take a bite. :D

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