Gutierrez replaces compatriot Sergio Perez at the Swiss team having stepped up from GP2.
"I’m really looking forward to my first season in Formula One," said the 2010 GP3 champion.
"My long association with the Sauber F1 Team has given me the chance to understand the complexity of Formula One. But I also realise, of course, that I still have a huge amount to learn. I will be working flat out to adapt to the whole F1 environment as quickly as possible and, if things open up during races, I want to make sure I’m ready to take full advantage."
Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn added, "Esteban is a driver we know very well as a result of a relationship with the team going back several years, and he has already had a number of opportunities to test with our car. Plus, he has always stayed in close contact with our engineers, which has allowed him to learn a lot about Formula One. I’m in no doubt he is now ready to take the final step and put his outstanding talent on display."