Chili Powder

Homemade Chili PowderFreshly ground chiles and spices like coriander, oregano and cinnamon make up this home ground chili powder.

I’ll never cease to be amazed at how much money people spend on “gourmet” chili powders. They often come in some kind of kitschy packaging (like a mini burlap sack or a cowboy hat), with promises such as “authentic!” or “the worlds best!” emblazoned all over them. Aside from being obscenely expensive they’ve also probably been sitting on the shelf for months. Inside, there’s usually a tiny plastic bag of spices that are long past their prime, and if you’re lucky, you might find a folded up piece of paper with a few mediocre chili recipes scrawled on it.

Once spices have been ground the flavours quickly sublimate out, so it’s highly unlikely that a packaged chili powder is going to be the “world’s best”, and is it even possible for a Tex-Mex spice mix to be “authentic”? Meanwhile you’ve given another eight bucks of your hard earned cash to some guy in Yonkers who’s probably never even been to Texas or Mexico.

This is why I tend to grind my own spice blends at home, in small batches (like this Chinese five spice powder I made a few months ago). It’s cheap, it’s simple, and the results will be 10x more potent than any pre-ground mix you’ll pick up in a store. Best of all, you can adjust the mixture to your liking, making it more deserving of the title “world’s best chili powder”.

Chili Powder

5 dried Guajillo chilies
2 dried Chipotle chiles
4 Arbol chiles (or other thin red spicy chiles)
1 Tbs paprika
1 Tbs coriander seed
1 Tbs cumin seed
1 cinnamon stick
2 tsp Mexican oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black peppercorns

Use a damp paper towel to wipe the surface of each dried chili clean. Place on a baking sheet and toast in a 200 degree oven until the chilies are completely dry (crisp), and fragrant.

Toast the coriander seed, cumin seed and cinnamon stick until fragrant, but be careful not to burn them.

Remove the seeds from the Guajillo and Chipotle chiles, then add them along with everything else to a blender, or spice grinder. Blitz until the spice mixture is a fine powder then pass it through a sieve to remove any remaining chunks.

Store in an air tight container until ready to use.

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    Looks interesting! Just curious to know how strong the cinnamon is in this?

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    Looks interesting! Just curious to know how strong the cinnamon is in this?

  • marc

    Well, it depends on what type you use. I actually used a small piece of Vietnamese cinnamon (cassia bark), but it’s definitely not the dominant flavour.

  • marc

    Well, it depends on what type you use. I actually used a small piece of Vietnamese cinnamon (cassia bark), but it’s definitely not the dominant flavour.

  • http://www.minimalchronicles.blogspot.com/ chiara.u

    Mmm it’s fantastic (perfect for my “red”!)and the chinese five spices powder is great too…but unfortunately it’s difficult for me to find the right ingredients… or fresh ones! I must have a journey to New York one of these days!!!
    Bte :)

  • http://www.minimalchronicles.blogspot.com chiara.u

    Mmm it’s fantastic (perfect for my “red”!)and the chinese five spices powder is great too…but unfortunately it’s difficult for me to find the right ingredients… or fresh ones! I must have a journey to New York one of these days!!!
    Bte :)

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com/ Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    Fabulous mix for chili powder! Making your own is so much better as you can adjust the amounts of spices just to your liking!

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    Fabulous mix for chili powder! Making your own is so much better as you can adjust the amounts of spices just to your liking!

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ chef E

    I like your combination! I just made some fresh about a month ago, but Tandoor powder, and had fun! I also have been playing with oregano, since a post from Oysterculture…

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com chef E

    I like your combination! I just made some fresh about a month ago, but Tandoor powder, and had fun! I also have been playing with oregano, since a post from Oysterculture…

  • http://culinarydisaster.com/wordpress Jeff

    Once I started making my own chili powder I have never ever glanced at the store bought stuff.

    I also like to add a couple ancho chili peppers to mine too.

    Never tried the cinnamon either but next run going to have to give it a shot.

  • http://culinarydisaster.com/wordpress Jeff

    Once I started making my own chili powder I have never ever glanced at the store bought stuff.

    I also like to add a couple ancho chili peppers to mine too.

    Never tried the cinnamon either but next run going to have to give it a shot.

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com/ elra

    Very fibrant, and I am sure it’s delicious. I love chili.

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com elra

    Very fibrant, and I am sure it’s delicious. I love chili.

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com/ elra

    I mean vibrant!

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com elra

    I mean vibrant!

  • http://www.practicallydone.com/ helen

    How about setting up an online store to sell these? I’d buy them!

  • http://www.practicallydone.com helen

    How about setting up an online store to sell these? I’d buy them!

  • http://justcallmemarta.blogspot.com/ Marta

    I’m with you, it’s all about the home-made, freshly-ground spice blends! I make all my own masalas and other combos, it’s the cheapest too ;) Your chili powder looks dynamite!!!

  • http://justcallmemarta.blogspot.com Marta

    I’m with you, it’s all about the home-made, freshly-ground spice blends! I make all my own masalas and other combos, it’s the cheapest too ;) Your chili powder looks dynamite!!!

  • http://duodishes.wordpress.com/ The Duo Dishes

    You’re good for making this by hand. So fresh. How long will it stay at its peak?

    • marc

      Ideally you’d use it right away, but if you keep it in an airtight container it should stay fragrant for a few months, even longer in the freezer.

  • http://duodishes.wordpress.com The Duo Dishes

    You’re good for making this by hand. So fresh. How long will it stay at its peak?

    • marc

      Ideally you’d use it right away, but if you keep it in an airtight container it should stay fragrant for a few months, even longer in the freezer.

  • http://www.diaryofafanaticfoodie.com/ heather

    ohh. how lovely and versatile. i can think of so many uses for it!

    did you ask me about the shades? we got the “home design” brand (i think that’s the name) from home depot. they’re fabric shades with no cords – they’re just controlled by pushing or pulling on the bottom. they come in a few colors, and bed, bath and beyond also has some similar ones. they were a total cinch to install and we’ve been really happy with them. for a 29 inch width shade, i think we paid $37 a piece…. so we’re installing slowly to budget, but we’re really, really happy with them so far!!

  • http://www.diaryofafanaticfoodie.com heather

    ohh. how lovely and versatile. i can think of so many uses for it!

    did you ask me about the shades? we got the “home design” brand (i think that’s the name) from home depot. they’re fabric shades with no cords – they’re just controlled by pushing or pulling on the bottom. they come in a few colors, and bed, bath and beyond also has some similar ones. they were a total cinch to install and we’ve been really happy with them. for a 29 inch width shade, i think we paid $37 a piece…. so we’re installing slowly to budget, but we’re really, really happy with them so far!!

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    My last batch of gourmet chili powder came in an Actual Cow! Okay, maybe not. I generally go the wet route w/my chili seasoning–rehydrated dried chiles and spices w/beef stock, veg stock or some beer in a blender. Not sure why it has never occurred to me to make a dry powder. Will put on the to do list. :)

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    My last batch of gourmet chili powder came in an Actual Cow! Okay, maybe not. I generally go the wet route w/my chili seasoning–rehydrated dried chiles and spices w/beef stock, veg stock or some beer in a blender. Not sure why it has never occurred to me to make a dry powder. Will put on the to do list. :)

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    Oh, I forgot–maybe blend in some dark cocoa powder, too. Tasty!

    • marc

      Yumm, I grind cacao nibs into my chili powder sometimes:-)

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    Oh, I forgot–maybe blend in some dark cocoa powder, too. Tasty!

    • marc

      Yumm, I grind cacao nibs into my chili powder sometimes:-)

  • http://www.glutenfreegourmand.blogspot.com/ Gina – The Gluten-Free Gourman

    I love chocolate in chile sauce, too. I experiment with lots of different spice combinations, and occasionally do a chile sauce from whole chilies. The one I use most, however, is very simple: I use dried New Mexico chile powder from the Mexican section in the store and add water until it’s the right consistency. You can make this sauce in whatever size batches you need, spice it up with other flavors, or use it alone. I like how you used cumin in this mix – I’ll have to try that next; it sounds like something I’d love.

  • http://www.glutenfreegourmand.blogspot.com Gina – The Gluten-Free Gourmand

    I love chocolate in chile sauce, too. I experiment with lots of different spice combinations, and occasionally do a chile sauce from whole chilies. The one I use most, however, is very simple: I use dried New Mexico chile powder from the Mexican section in the store and add water until it’s the right consistency. You can make this sauce in whatever size batches you need, spice it up with other flavors, or use it alone. I like how you used cumin in this mix – I’ll have to try that next; it sounds like something I’d love.

  • http://foodhuntress.blogspot.com/ enrisa marie

    I like this chili powder version. “Smells” fragrant.

  • http://foodhuntress.blogspot.com enrisa marie

    I like this chili powder version. “Smells” fragrant.

  • http://www.whatdoiwant2cooktoday.blogspot.com/ Jan

    Now that’s what I call chili powder!

  • http://www.whatdoiwant2cooktoday.blogspot.com Jan

    Now that’s what I call chili powder!

  • http://www.thewickednoodle.com/ the wicked noodle

    I agree that making your own is so much better! This looks like a fantastic mix!

  • http://www.thewickednoodle.com the wicked noodle

    I agree that making your own is so much better! This looks like a fantastic mix!

  • http://www.figandcherry.com/ Christie @ Fig & Cherry

    Hi Marc, Gorgeous colour you’ve created! Just wondering how long the chillies need to become dry and crisp? Just so I know whether or not to walk away from the oven… hehe.

    • http://norecipes.com/ Marc @ NoRecipes

      Depends on how dry they are to begin with. Usually only takes 5-10 min if they’re relatively fresh “dried” chiles, shorter if they are older and more dry to begin with.

  • http://www.figandcherry.com Christie @ Fig & Cherry

    Hi Marc, Gorgeous colour you’ve created! Just wondering how long the chillies need to become dry and crisp? Just so I know whether or not to walk away from the oven… hehe.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc @ NoRecipes

      Depends on how dry they are to begin with. Usually only takes 5-10 min if they’re relatively fresh “dried” chiles, shorter if they are older and more dry to begin with.

  • http://zencancook.com/ zenchef

    Looks great to me. I got hypnotized by the picture. Do you find guajillo chiles in Manhattan? I always end up making a trip to Queens.

  • http://zencancook.com zenchef

    Looks great to me. I got hypnotized by the picture. Do you find guajillo chiles in Manhattan? I always end up making a trip to Queens.

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  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    That i s nice chili powder blend!

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com Kevin

    That i s nice chili powder blend!

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I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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