Homemade chili powder with dried chiles is even more delicious than store-bought, and it’s easier to make than you think! Whole dried chiles are toasted on the stovetop and blended into a powder, then mixed with dry seasonings like garlic powder, cumin, and smoked paprika. Use homemade chili seasoning to make chili, season roasted vegetables, and more!

small jar of homemade chili powder with a small wooden spoon

As a Registered Dietitian and recipe developer, I know that high quality seasonings are one of the most important factors in making healthy foods taste delicious. That’s why I love to make seasoning blends myself – like my robust homemade Italian seasoning blend!

I reach for chili powder frequently when cooking and developing recipes. It is a key ingredient in lots of my recipes – you’ll find it in my reader favorite mushroom enchiladas, vegan black bean butternut squash chili, sheet pan shrimp fajitas, and vegan chili spiced tofu tacos. It was only a matter of time before I made homemade chili powder!

This chili powder is made using dried chiles, adapted from this Alton Brown recipe. My version features ground dried chiles plus a blend of dried seasonings, including garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, smoked paprika and cumin. I also use a small amount of unsweetened cocoa powder, which gives chili powder a deeper, richer flavor.

If you’re apprehensive about using dried chiles, I promise you they are incredibly easy to work with. This salt-free seasoning recipe comes together in about 15 minutes and makes about 3/4 cup of chili powder – enough for several batches of chili.

homemade chili powder ingredients measured out on a light grey backdrop

Ingredients in homemade chili powder

Here is everything you need to make your own chili powder:

  • Dried chiles: Whole dried chiles are the main component of this chili powder. You can buy dried chiles at several major grocery stores, or you can order them online. You’ll want to use 2-3 types of chiles to provide different flavor notes to your chili powder. Read about the different types of dried chiles you can use below.
  • Smoked paprika: This Spanish seasoning is made from ground up fire roasted red peppers. It lends a smoky-sweet flavor to chili powder.
  • Cumin: Cumin is a dried spice with a warm, earthly, and slightly tart flavor. You can find cumin powder or whole cumin seeds, but for ease, I opted for cumin powder in this recipe.
  • Oregano: Oregano is a dried herb with a slightly sweet and peppery flavor that pairs well in this chili seasoning blend.
  • Garlic powder: Garlic powder (also sold as ground garlic) is dehydrated garlic that has been finely ground into a powder. Do not confuse garlic powder with garlic salt, or you’ll end up with a salty seasoning blend.
  • Onion powder: Onion powder is made from dehydrated and ground onions. You could also use onion granules in this recipe, as everything gets blended up together into a fine powder.
  • Cocoa powder: Unsweetened cocoa powder is typically used for sweet recipes, but a little bit added to chili powder makes for a richer, deeper flavor blend. It works to enhance the dried herbs and spices. You can use either regular cocoa powder or dutch process – just make sure it is unsweetened.

Kitchen tools needed: To make this recipe, you’ll need a skillet to toast the dried chiles, a small blender (this blender worked just fine), measuring spoons, and kitchen shears. You may also choose to wear gloves when handling the dried chiles. If not, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling the chiles, and don’t rub your eyes or skin before you wash!

Types of dried chiles

There are dozens of different Mexican dried chiles available, and the dried chiles you choose to use in this recipe will drastically impact the flavor.

In general, there are two types of Mexican dried chiles: red chiles and dark chiles. Red chiles are a reddish color and have a fruity flavor. They can be mild to super spicy, so choose based on your tolerance for spice.

Dark chiles are deep brown, nearly black in color. They tend to be on the milder side, but impart deeper and richer flavors to chili powder.

You’ll want to select 2-3 different types of dried chiles for chili powder, but you definitely want both a red chile and a dark chile. I used Guajillo chile (red) and chipotle (dark) for this chile powder and it is on the spicier side!

Here are some different kinds of dried chiles you can choose from, in order from milder to spicier:

  • Anaheim: Sweet, smokey, tangy, mild
  • Cascabel: Nutty, earthy, smokey
  • Ancho: Mild, sweet, with notes of chocolate and raisin
  • Mulato: Smokey with hints of licorice and chocolate
  • Guajillo: Fruity, sweet, tart, with mild to medium heat
  • Chipotle: Smokey sweet with notes of cherry, medium heat
  • Chile de Àrbol: Earthy, nutty, smokey, spicy
  • Pequin: fruity, citrusy, nutty, spicy

How to make chili powder with dried chiles

hand cutting the stem off a dried chile
1. Trim the stems off of the dried chiles.
white bowl with dried chile seeds and stems
2. Shake the seeds out of the chiles and discard them. The seeds are bitter and will impact the flavor.
dried chiles in a white skillet
3. Toast the chiles in a skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes until fragrant, stirring regularly.
dried chiles in a small blender
4. Once cool enough to handle, transfer the dried chiles to a blender.
blended chile powder in a Nutribullet blender cup
5. Blend the chiles into a powder.
spices in a nutribullet blender cup
6. Add the additional seasonings to the blender.
blended chili powder mix in a nutribullet blender cup
7. Blend up the dried seasonings to combine them with the dried chile powder.
jar of homemade chili powder from a top down view with two dried chilis next to the jar on a white backdrop
8. Transfer chili powder to a small jar to store it.

How long does homemade chili seasoning last?

Stored in a jar in a cool, dark place, chili powder will last for 6 months to 1 year – plenty of time to use up a batch of homemade seasoning!

What to make with homemade chili powder

Chili powder is a versatile seasoning you can use for much more than chili! Here are some of my favorite recipes that feature chili powder:

small jar of homemade chili powder with a small wooden spoon

Chili peppers nutrition benefits

Chili peppers, whether fresh or dry, are loaded with micronutrients! They contain vitamin C, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin K, and copper.

In addition to micronutrients, chili peppers are rich in beneficial plant compounds, including capsaicin, lutein, capsanthin, and ferulic acid. These compounds act as antioxidants in the body, fighting free radicals to prevent cell damage.

Let me know if you love this post by leaving a comment or star rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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small jar of homemade chili powder with a small wooden spoon

15-Minute DIY Chili Powder with Dried Chiles

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  • Author: Alex Aldeborgh, RD
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 3/4 cup of chile powder 1x
  • Category: Seasonings
  • Method: stovetop, blender
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Vegan
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Description

Homemade chili powder with dried chiles is even more delicious than store-bought, and it’s easier to make than you think! Whole dried chiles are toasted on the stovetop and blended into a powder, then mixed with dry seasonings like garlic powder, cumin, and smoked paprika. Use homemade chili seasoning to make chili, season roasted vegetables, and more!

Use homemade chili powder to make reader favorite mushroom enchiladas and vegan black bean butternut squash chili.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 oz dried chiles, a mix of both red and dark chiles (see notes for different types of chiles)
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder


Instructions

  1. Using kitchen shears, cut off the stems from the dried chiles and discard the stems.
    hand cutting the stem off a dried chile
  2. Shake out the seeds from each of the chiles and discard. The seeds will impart an unwanted bitter flavor to chile powder, so get rid of as many as you can.
    white bowl with dried chile seeds and stems
  3. Toast the de-seeded chiles in a skillet on the stovetop over medium heat. Toast for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until very fragrant.
    dried chiles in a white skillet
  4. Remove from heat and let the chiles cool for a few minutes.
  5. Transfer the chiles to a small blender – I used a NutriBullet. Blend them into a powder. It’s OK if it isn’t a super fine powder.
    dried chiles in a small blender
  6. Add the additional seasonings to the blender: smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and unsweetened cocoa powder.
    spices in a nutribullet blender cup
  7. Blend everything together so all the seasonings are evenly distributed.
    blended chili powder mix in a nutribullet blender cup
  8. Transfer to a small glass jar for storage.

Notes

Wash your hands thoroughly right after handling the dried chiles to avoid a burning sensation on your hands or in your eyes. You could also wear gloves while handling the chiles.

You’ll want to select 2-3 different types of dried chiles for chili powder, but you definitely want both a red chile and a dark chile. I used Guajillo chile (red) and chipotle (dark) for this chile powder and it is on the spicier side!

Here are some different types of chile to choose from, in order from mild to spicier:

  • Anaheim: Sweet, smokey, tangy, mild
  • Cascabel: Nutty, earthy, smokey
  • Ancho: Mild, sweet, with notes of chocolate and raisin
  • Mulato: Smokey with hints of licorice and chocolate
  • Guajillo: Fruity, sweet, tart, with mild to medium heat
  • Chipotle: Smokey sweet with notes of cherry, medium heat
  • Chile de Àrbol: Earthy, nutty, smokey, spicy
  • Pequin: fruity, citrusy, nutty, spicy

Stored in a jar in a cool, dark place, chili powder will last for 6 months to 1 year.

Recipe adapted from this Alton Brown recipe.