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29 May 2019

Make your own chili powder at home with this recipe, with freshly ground dried chili peppers and your favorite additional herbs and spices. So much better than anything store bought. Create your own signature blend!

Chili powder is one of the most important ingredients to any spicy food loving cook. It forms the base of flavor on which to build other flavors as you layer in your ingredients.

Very much like a good curry powder in Indian cuisine, your choice of chili powder can not only define your dish, but it can make or break that dish as well.

A great chili powder will incorporate different flavors to make your dish truly memorable, with a focus on depth and character, not just heat.

Homemade Chili Powder - In a bowl

Many people have asked me…

What Exactly is Chili Powder?

Chili Powder is a blend of dried chili peppers that have been ground into a powder and mixed with other ingredients to form a seasoning blend. This is not to be confused with a Mexican chile powder, which is a singular dried chili pepper type that has been ground to a powder.

An example is “Ancho Powder”, made from ground ancho peppers. It is one of my favorites to cook with, but when referring to the American version of chili powder, we’re talking about the blend.

You can, of course, purchase your own chili powders online, and there are some very good artisan blends out there, but making them at home is the best method, primarily because of freshness, and because you can control what goes into your finished chili powder yourself.

About the Chili Peppers

You can make chili powder from any type of chili pepper. There are many, many peppers available to you in the world to do this, and, because of this immense variety, your variations are practically endless.

Most American chili powder blends incorporate Mexican or New Mexican pepper varieties. Favorites include ancho peppers, chipotles, moritas, pasillas, guajillos, and chiles de arbol.

However, you are free to incorporate others. In fact, I grow chili peppers in my home garden every year and I dehydrate them to make my own powders all the time.

If you’re interested in doing this, see my post on How to Dehydrate Chili Peppers to Make Homemade Chili Powders.

Dried chili pepper pods for making Homemade Chili Powder

You don’t have to dehydrate them yourself, though. You can easily purchase dried peppers from your local grocer, usually find in the Mexican section, or look at a local Mexican grocer.

If you’re unable to find them, order them online. I will leave some links below to help you get started. Also, you can order singular chili powders online as well and use them to form your own blends, such as ancho powder, guajillo powder, and more.

The best chili powders include multiple ground chili pepper types to add dimension to the final seasoning.

Once you have chosen your chili peppers, you can then consider your additional ingredients.

Homemade Chili Powder - Ingredients

Chili Powder Ingredients

You don’t need a ton of other ingredients to make a great chili powder, as the focus is on the chili peppers.

The other ingredients are there to support and enhance the chili peppers. My favorites include garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, basil, oregano, and sometimes a bit of salt and pepper.

That’s it. You CAN include other ingredients to your preference, though, as you will be the ultimate cook and judge of your own food, and besides, it is sort of fun to experiment with different seasoning blends.

Let’s discuss how we make our own homemade chili powder, shall we?

Homemade Chili Powder – the Recipe Method

First, choose your chili peppers. For this recipe, I am using dried guajillos, anchos and cayenne peppers.

Add the dried peppers to a hot pan and dry toast them a couple minutes per side, until they just start to puff up and darken in color. You will just able to start to smell them. This helps release their natural oils.

Toasting dried chili pepper pods for making Homemade Chili Powder

Remove from heat, then remove the stems. Slice them open and remove the seeds.

Add the dried pods to a food processor and process them until a powder forms. You may have some coarse chunks that you can either leave in or strain out.

Processed Homemade Chili Powder

Store in airtight containers and use as desired. Makes about 1/3 cup of chili powder.

FOR MAKING A CHILI POWDER BLEND

Mix together the chili powder with the garlic powder, onion powder, salt and cumin. You can add other ingredients as well, such as dried oregano, dried basil or more.

Mixing the Homemade Chili Powder in a bowl

Store in airtight containers and use as desired.

Chili Powder Substitutes

Many recipes call for chili powder as a primary seasoning ingredient, but what happens if you don’t have any on hand? Here are a few alternatives:

  • Cajun seasoning blend
  • Creole seasoning blend
  • Taco seasoning
  • Single chili powder, such as ancho powder, guajillo powder, paprika powder, etc.
  • Old Bay seasoning

You probably won’t wind up with the same intended flavors in the final recipe, but at least you’ll have some flavor. Check out my post on Chili Powder Substitutes for a longer discussion and other ideas.

Try Some of My Seasonings/Powders Made from Dehydrated Peppers

Mike’s Recommended Products

Try some of these links to Amazon (affiliate links, my friends) to help you get started on making your own homemade chili powders.

Other Resources

Homemade Chili Powder - Recipe

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS.Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Homemade Chili Powder - Recipe
Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Homemade Chili Powder – Recipe

Make your own chili powder at home with this recipe, with freshly ground dried chili peppers and your favorite additional herbs and spices. So much better than anything store bought. Create your own signature blend!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Main Course, Seasonings
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili powder, spicy
Servings: 24 teaspoons
Calories: 35kcal

Ingredients

FOR HOMEMADE CHILI POWDER

  • 2 guajillo peppers
  • 3 ancho peppers
  • 4-5 dried cayenne peppers or use chile de arbol

FOR A CHILI SEASONING BLEND

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin

Instructions

  • Add the dried guajillos, anchos and cayenne peppers to a hot pan and dry toast them a couple minutes per side, until they just start to puff up and darken in color. You will just able to start to smell them. This helps release their natural oils.
  • Remove from heat, then remove the stems. Slice them open and remove the seeds.
  • Add the dried pods to a food processor and process them until a powder forms. You may have some coarse chunks that you can either leave in or strain out.
  • Store in airtight containers and use as desired. Makes about 1/3 cup of chili powder.

FOR MAKING A CHILI POWDER BLEND

  • Mix together the chili powder with the garlic powder, onion powder, salt and cumin. You can add other ingredients as well, such as dried oregano, dried basil or more.
  • Store in airtight containers and use as desired.

Notes

Heat Factor: Mild, but this particular blend is big on flavor. You can easily adjust the heat factor by choosing different peppers. You can also easily add more or less of the other ingredients to your personal tastes.
This makes about 1/2 cup total.

Nutrition

Calories: 35kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 106mg | Potassium: 194mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2610IU | Vitamin C: 3.3mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.7mg

16 comments

  1. Carol Wheeler

    I live in Mexico, and chili powder for Texas chili is something we have to bring down with us. However we have all kinds of wonderful dried chiles in the traditional markets and supermarkets, so I’m going to give your recipe a try. It sounds delicious.

    Ground chile is available everywhere, so I’ll use that. In teaspoons, how many would you use of guajillo and ancho? I also plan to add a drizzle of homemade chile morita en aceite to my pot of chili. (We like it spicy!)

    Muchas gracias.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hi, Carol. I would use 3 tablespoons each of ancho and guajillo powders, then adjust from there. Let me know how it goes for you. I hope you enjoy it.

  2. c Preston

    5 stars
    Thanks for this site. I am just beginning to explore the wide world of chilis, and you have given good guidance many times.
    c

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks so much! I’m glad to be helpful and inspire. Enjoy!

  3. HELP. I have ground New Mexico chili powder. How much of it do I use to make recipe for chili powder with
    1 tablespoon garlic powder
    1 tablespoon onion powder
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon cumin

    Thanks.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Erica, start with 5-6 tablespoons and adjust from there. You will likely want MORE chili powder, but it is good to start small then add more to taste. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  4. Jenni Bobicz

    I have some recipes that I have been using store-bought chili powder in, and now I’d like to remake these recipes using pure chile powder instead. I bought some high-quality singular chile powder (I think it’s ground ancho). Since the store-bought stuff has salt and other spices in it, I’m thinking I probably need to use less chile powder in the recipes, and maybe add some salt, garlic, oregano, and cumin. One of these recipes is a taco seasoning mix that I usually make a big batch of in advance, so I won’t be able to add to taste. Do you have a recommendation on how much less chile powder to use, and what ratio of salt, garlic, and cumin to add?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Jenni, I lean toward chili pepper heavy blends, and find myself using about 2/3 chili powder when making a blend like this. The other 1/3 consists of the rest of the ingredients, like garlic, oregano, then a bit of salt and cumin. Watch the salt, as it can get salty pretty quickly. I actually usually do NOT add salt to many of my blends, preferring to add it in separately. Cumin should be used sparingly, as it is a pretty strong flavor. Give that a go, taste, then adjust from there to your personal tastes. Let me know how it goes for you. I hope this helps!

  5. 5 stars
    Very happy that I subscribed to your newsletter. Always full of great information and fantastic recipes. I’m just hardening off my pepper seedlings (been a cool spring here in Ontario Canada!) and looking forward to some exciting sauces and cooking from your recipes. In the meantime I’ve pretty much finished last years dried peppers thanks to this recipe!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Excellent! Thanks, Jim! Glad you found me!

  6. 5 stars
    doubled the chilis and other ingredients then added a teaspoon of oak smoked paprika. great 🙂

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