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 from grocery stores. 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.
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.
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.
You don’t have to dehydrate them yourself, though. You can easily purchase store bought dried peppers from your local grocer, usually find in the Mexican section, or look at a local Mexican grocer. You can also use pre ground chiles and just mix them.
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 spice 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.
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 to make your own spice mix.
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. Paprika and smoked paprika are popular choices as well.
Add the dried peppers to a cast iron pan or 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.
Tips for Making Your Own 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.
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
- Homemade Spicy Chili Powder
- Chipotle Powder
- Roasted Red Jalapeno Powder
- Steak Seasoning Mix
- Homemade Rib Rub
- Homemade Cajun Seasoning
- How to Make Chili Flakes
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.
- Ancho Peppers
- Guajillo Peppers
- Magic Bullet MBR-1701 17-Piece Express Mixing Set – For Grinding down the chile peppers for powders.
- How to Dehydrate Chili Peppers – Includes a video with a longer discussion on drying chili peppers in general.
- The Spicy Dehydrator Cookbook – by Michael Hultquist (that’s me!)
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
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
- 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.