Homemade Chili Powder

Alternate Spellings: Chile Powder

Cuisine: American

Region: The Southwest

Recipe Type: Spice

Average User Rating: 0.88 / 5

Vegetarian / Vegan: Vegetarian

Never use store-bought chili powder, if you can help it. It is bland, flavorless, and will not provide any of the explosive flavor for which real chili powder is so famous. Try to use the homemade powder as soon as possible - the longer it sits, the more of its flavor and potency it loses.

All of these ingredients can be found at your local Mexican grocery, or even your local big-box grocery, and assuming you live in the Southern US or Mexico, that's not going to be much of a problem. If you cannot find all of these chiles, simply use a 50/50 mix of ancho and either California or New Mexico chiles (same number as below). We tend not to make our chili powder very spicy - that way, when cooking for a group, we can make several small pots of chili, making some spicy and some not. If you are not using the dried chipotles, substitute 1 tsp. smoked paprika to retain the necessary smoky flavor.


(You should end up with about 1.25 cups of packed chili threads once you cut them all up)

3 ancho chiles
3 New Mexico chiles
3 California chiles
1 cascabel chile
1 pasilla chile
2 mora seca (dried chipotle) chiles
1/4 cup cumin seeds
3 TB granulated garlic
2 TB Mexican oregano
1 tsp. sea salt


Remove seeds and stems from all chiles. Using a pair of kitchen shears or scissors, cut the chiles into 1/2" wide strips. Heat a pan over medium heat (dry, no oil) and very lightly toast chile strips, tossing quite frequently, until they begin to brown slightly and curl. You want to dehydrate and toast the chiles, but not burn them. Remove from pan and set aside to cool, at least 1/2 hour - they should be brittle and easy to crumble. If not, repeat process. Add cumin seeds to pan and lightly toast until slightly brown and aromatic, again taking care not to burn the seeds. Place toasted chile strips, toasted cumin seeds, garlic, oregano, salt, and paprika (if you didn't use the chipotles) into a spice grinder or coffee mill. Grind to a fine powder and seal in a glass jar. Keep in the refrigerator.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 1 cup

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