Homemade Chili Powder from dried chiles that will elevate your dishes to new levels of deliciousness! Are you tired of store-bought chili powders that lack that special kick? Look no further, because this easy-to-follow recipe will guide you through creating a tantalizing blend of spices that will leave your taste buds so happy!
Get ready to unlock the secret to a flavor-packed chili powder recipe that combines just the right amount of heat, smoky undertones, and a burst of aromatic goodness.
This Homemade Chili Powder recipe is richer and darker in color than the store-bought stuff. Its aroma is heady and full. In fact, I wish I could share the way it smells, if you could get a whiff of this powder, you’d head right to your kitchen and make up a batch of your own.
I first shared this recipe in 2011. It’s such a great recipe, but it was in need of an update. So, I’ve updated it here with new information and pictures, all for a better user experience. I’ve shared my tips and tricks for how to make this beautiful chili powder in your own home.
Homemade chili powder is so much better than anything from the store. You control the flavor and heat.
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Inspiration in the cupboard
I was looking through the cupboard the other day (rummaging for a snack maybe? Late night chocolate craving?), and came across a bunch of dried chiles.
I had purchased some a while ago to make mole. Only, I never actually got around to making the mole with those chiles. So, there they sat, forgotten.
Different chiles have different flavors
You’ll need whole dried chile peppers to make this. And you’ll want a variety of peppers to give a nice rich depth of flavor to the powder.
When I first made this recipe, I found those chiles in the back of my cupboard, there were some dried Pasillas, mulatos, and a few Anaheim chiles. Since then, I’ve made this many times varying the chiles.
I’m keeping the chili powder recipe as it was written, but know that you can mix up you chiles. And, it’s a great way to use up leftover dried chiles. Try to include more of the mild and fruity ones and punch up the heat with a few hot ones if you want.
Dried chiles can be found in the produce section or the Hispanic section of your grocery store. If you have a Mexican market near you, you’ll find a great variety of chiles.
Here are some of the types you may find.
Pasillas are a rich, sweet, mildly hot chile.
Mulatos, are a dark brown chile with a light fruity nuance and a smoky character. These also have a mild heat.
Ancho chiles are another mild variety with a sweet fruity flavor.
Anaheim chile are medium hot typically, but with a nice clean fresh flavor. These can also be known as New Mexico peppers, California, or Colorado peppers.
Chipotle and Guajillo peppers are smoky with more heat.
And Arbol, Pequin, and Bird’s Eye chiles (or Thai chiles) are going to be hot and spicy.
How to tell if a dried chile is still fresh
Even though these chiles had been in the cupboard for a while, I knew they were still good.
You see, good dried chiles will have some moisture in them and should be fairly pliable.
Don’t use dried chiles that are so dry and fragile that they shatter when touched. The exception to this is the Arbol chile; it’ll be brittle even right after being dried.
What’s the difference between chile and chili powder?
Pure ground dried chile peppers make chile powder. Usually, chile powder has nothing else added. So, if you took a bunch of chipotle chiles and ground them all up, and didn’t add anything else, you’d have chipotle chile powder.
Chili powder, on the other hand, is a blend of peppers and other spices, including cumin, oregano, and sometimes salt.
I’ve left all salt out of my recipe, as I don’t feel it needs it. And, I prefer to salt the dish I make rather than the spice mix.
how to make chili powder from dried chiles
If you, too, have some forgotten chiles in the house, but they aren’t the same ones that I had, or if you want to purchase some chiles but can’t find these exact ones, don’t fret, use this recipe as a starter guideline.
One more chile of another kind, a couple more smaller hotter ones – it’s all good. The chiles and other ingredients can be varied according to your taste.
The flavor of your powder will vary. But that can be fun.
Add in a chipotle (smoked jalapeno) to increase the smoky heat flavor.
To bump up just the heat, replace some of the Pasillas with some dried chiles de Arbol.
Mix it up. Come up with your own special spicy rub.
The full printable Chili Powder recipe ingredients and instructions are available in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. You can find important tips and tricks in the post.
Remove stems and seeds.
The seeds can be bitter, so try to get as many as you can out.
Cut each chile in half with scissors and flatten the pieces.
Tip: If you have sensitive skin, you can wear gloves to prevent the chile oils from getting on your hands. And be sure not to touch your eyes during or after working with peppers.
dry them out
Put the chiles in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan and check the chiles.
The smaller ones will be toasted first, so remove them and set aside.
Bake the larger pieces another 4 minutes and check again. As parts of the chiles toast, break them off and set aside, returning the pan to the oven if necessary.
break them up
When the chiles are all toasted and crispy, break each piece into smaller pieces and place in a food processor or bowl of a blender.
Pulse the chiles in the food processor a few times until you have powder. You can grind it fine, or leave some larger pieces in there – however you like.
toast & grind the cumin
Toast the cumin seeds by placing them in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir the seeds constantly, being very careful not to let them scorch. When they are fragrant and a few shades darker than the untoasted seeds, they’re ready.
Grind the toasted seeds with a mortar and pestle or with a rolling pin between two sheets of waxed or parchment paper.
Add the ground cumin, garlic powder, and oregano to the ground chiles in the food processor. Pulse a few more times to thoroughly mix the powder.
Let the dust settle for a minute after pulsing. You don’t want a cloud of chile dust in your face.
Store your homemade chili powder in a small, airtight container like a glass mason jar in a dark pantry up to 6 months.
You can also store chili powder in the freezer in a freezer ziptop bag.
Makes a great gift!
This Homemade Chile Powder makes a great gift too. Just pop it into cute small glass jars and tie with a pretty ribbon. Just think how much your friends and family will love getting this custom homemade spice mix as a gift.
How to use Homemade Chili Powder
Add it to Crock Pot Vegetarian Chili it’s also great sprinkled over chili dogs.
Use it in enchilada sauce.
Sprinkle some on a burger, like my Vegetarian Black Bean Burgers.
Kick up some appetizers like Mexican Chili Cheese dip.
My husband wants to do a simple rub for his next BBQ steak.
I suspect that it won’t last too long in the house – there’s so many things you can do with it.
Oooo, maybe add a teaspoon to some eggs before scrambling them for a nice breakfast burrito or huevos rancheros.
Change it up
Make your own signature blend
Besides changing up the chiles that you use, like we already talked about, you can play around with other spices if you like.
Onion powder, smoked paprika, sweet paprika would all be lovely.
Add a pinch of cayenne pepper for more heat.
Cinnamon and cocoa powder will give you a nice mole flavor.
Reasons you’ll love this recipe!
- Customizable Heat: One great aspect of making your own chili powder is the ability to customize the heat level. You can experiment with different types and quantities of chili peppers to achieve your desired spiciness.
- Flavorful Blending: The combination of spices in this homemade chili powder recipe creates a complex and well-balanced flavor profile. It adds depth and richness to your dishes, making them truly unforgettable. All without any added salt.
- Versatility: While chili powder is often associated with a bowl of chili, don’t limit yourself! This homemade blend can be used in all kinds of recipes such as soups, stews, marinades, rubs, and even on roasted vegetables for an extra kick.
- Freshness and Shelf Life: By making your own chili powder, you ensure the freshness and quality of the ingredients. Properly stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, your homemade chili powder can maintain its flavor for several months.
- Cost-Effective: Making chili powder at home is not only a flavorful endeavor but also a cost-effective one. It allows you to save money compared to buying pre-packaged blends, and you can easily scale the recipe based on your needs.
Remember, this homemade chili powder recipe is your ticket to culinary greatness, enhancing your dishes with its vibrant flavors and giving your taste buds a reason to rejoice. So, grab your chiles and spices and get ready to embark on a flavor-filled journey in the world of homemade chili powder!
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Homemade Chili Powder Recipe
Homemade Chili Powder
- 8 dried Pasilla / Ancho chiles
- 1 dried Mulato
- 1 dried Anaheim
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds toasted
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano Mexican oregano, if you can get it
- Preheat your oven to 300 °F.
- Remove stems and seeds from all the chiles. Cut each chile in half with scissors and flatten the pieces. Put the chiles in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan and check the chiles. The smaller chiles will be toasted first, so remove them and set aside. Bake the larger pieces another 4 minutes and check again. As parts of the chiles toast, break them off and set aside, returning the pan to the oven if necessary.8 dried Pasilla / Ancho chiles, 1 dried Mulato, 1 dried Anaheim
- When all chiles are toasted and crispy, break each piece into smaller pieces and place in a food processor or bowl of a blender. Pulse the chiles in the food processor a few times until you have powder.
- Toast the cumin seeds by placing them in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir the seeds constantly, being very careful not to let them scorch. When they are a few shades darker than the untoasted seeds, about 5 minutes, they’re ready.2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- Grind the toasted seeds with a mortar and pestle or with a rolling pin between two sheets of waxed paper.
- Add the ground cumin, garlic powder, and oregano to the ground chiles in the food processor. Pulse a few more times to thoroughly mix the powder.2 tablespoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- Store your chili powder in a small, airtight container like a glass jar with a lid that can be tightened. If you make more chili powder than you’ll be using in the immediate future, you can triple bag it in plastic bags and put it in the freezer.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.