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Today’s recipe for Homemade Chili Powder is easy to make and incredibly flavorful. You only need a handful of simple ingredients and less than 10 minutes to whip up this Mexican-inspired masterpiece.
If you know me at all, you are sure to know about my ongoing love affair with Homemade Spice Blends and Seasonings. Not only do they empower you as a culinary artist, they always taste SO much better than any store-bought variety! If you are just getting started with your own spice blends, this homemade chili powder recipe is a great place to start.
You can make this irresistible chili seasoning with only 5 ingredients that are inexpensive and easy to access. The second you watch that chile pepper puff up with tantalizing toastiness as it fills your home with an amazing ancho aroma, you are going to be hooked!
Table of Contents
- Ancho Chiles – These dried poblano peppers have a rich, smokiness mixed with vibrant hints of fruit. When we toast these already-dried peppers, it increases their fragrant flavor profile even more. If desired, you can use a blend of chile peppers. At times, I use 8 ancho chiles and 4 California peppers for a milder flavor.
- Mexican Oregano – As a relative of lemon verbena, this indigenous Mexican herb offers notes of lemony citrus and a mild licorice flavor. Look for it at your local Mexican market. If you can’t find it, marjoram is the herb with the closest flavor profile. Mediterranean oregano has similar undertones and can be substituted in a pinch.
- Garlic Powder – Infuses the spice blend with a sweet, earthy pungency.
- Cumin – Adds a comforting warmth and smoky earthiness with a hint of citrus.
- Chimayo Chili Powder – This ingredient is optional, but I highly recommend it. It offers a deep, smoky-sweet flavor and only a mild level of heat. Plus, it brings a beautiful red color to the mix as well.
- Toast the Chiles. Place a large, dry skillet over high heat. Toast the ancho chili pods until they begin to puff up a bit and become slightly fragrant. This happens rapidly, so work quickly and make sure each side gets toasted for a few seconds.
- Remove the Seeds. Let the chilis cool for a few minutes. Then, remove the stems and shake out the seeds. It’s okay for some seeds to be left in — just keep in mind that more seeds will equal a hotter chili seasoning.
- Pulverize Into Powder. Transfer the chilis to a high-speed blender, food processor, or spice blender and blitz until a fine powder forms. If using a spice blender, divide the chilis into batches to make it easier.
- Add In Other Spices. Toss the garlic powder, Mexican oregano, cumin, and Chimayo powder into the blender with the ground toasted chilis. Pulse enough times to fully blend and combine the spices.
- Store or Serve. Transfer to an airtight container for storage. This recipe makes just over a cup of smoky chili powder for your sprinkling and seasoning pleasure.
Don’t Skip the Cooling Step
Allow the chile pods to cool before removing the stem and shaking out any seeds. The more seeds you leave inside the chile, the spicier your chili seasoning will be.
While you will find these two terms used interchangeably, they are not technically the same thing.
Chile powder refers to the pepper itself and usually is one type of finely ground chile pepper. Chili powder, on the other hand, refers to a blend of spices that includes chile peppers.
In this chili powder recipe, we start by toasting and pulverizing ancho chiles to turn them into a homemade chile powder. We then add garlic powder, cumin, and oregano which transforms the ancho chile powder into a complete chili seasoning blend.
This savory, smoky homemade chili powder is perfect for all your Tex-Mex and Mexican-inspired dishes or anytime you want to add some spicy flavor. Here are just a few ideas of ways to incorporate it:
– Chili recipes like Hearty Chili Con Carne, 5 Alarm Chili (Hot Chili Recipe), or this Chile Verde (Mexican Pork Chili)
– Mexican dishes like Enchiladas Rojas (Red Enchiladas), Mexican Breakfast Burritos, or Carne Asada Tacos
– Tex-Mex favorites like Tex Mex Chicken Spaghetti and Shredded Beef Chimichangas
– Zesty dishes like Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice, Cajun Shrimp and Rice, or Arroz Rojo (Mexican Red Rice).
This particular recipe for homemade chile powder is intended to add deep, smoky flavor with a mild to medium level of heat.
This recipe has a base of ancho chile peppers which register at about 1,000-2,000 Scoville heat units (SHU). In case you aren’t familiar, Scoville heat units are the most commonly accepted way to measure the heat of chile peppers. The Chimayo chili powder I included registers between 4,000 – 6,000 SHU.
It may seem like these numbers are high, but the heat level is relatively low when compared to other peppers! For example, cayenne peppers register between 30,000 to 50,000 SHU. Ancho chiles and Chimayo powder are remarkably flavorful without an overwhelming level of heat.
That said, you can crank up the heat level if that suits your taste. Feel free to toss some cayenne into the mix or purposefully leave some of the seeds in the toasted chile peppers.
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Homemade Chili Powder (Chili Seasoning)
- In a dry skillet over high heat, toast the dried ancho chile pods for a few seconds on each side until slightly fragrant and they start to puff up a little. Let them cool slightly, then remove the stem and shake out any seeds. The more seeds left in, the hotter the chili seasoning will be.
- Using a food processor, spice grinder or high speed blender (like Vitamix), pulverize cooled chiles into a powder. Work in small batches if using a spice grinder.
- Add the oregano, garlic, cumin and optional Chimayo powder. Pulse several times to combine and blend. Store in an airtight container. Makes a little more than 1 cup total.
- For a milder flavor, I also use a mix of dried chiles: 8 Ancho and 4 California.
- Mexican oregano is native to Mexico. Unlike Mediterranean oregano, it’s a relative of lemon verbena, with mild licorice and citrus flavors.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.