Raid your spice cupboard and quickly stir up this flavourful homemade chili powder. Ten ingredients that make a rich and complex mix. You won’t want to buy the commercially-made stuff again. (Skip to recipe)

homemade chili powder in a jar

Chili powder seems to be kind of a North American thing. We love our chili, don’t we?

When cooks in the rest of the world see the words ‘chili powder’ in a recipe, they think of straight-up ground chili peppers (which we would call cayenne). However, to us North Americans, chili powder is the prepared mix of spices that is the principle seasoning in that spicy ground meat and bean dish (though, no beans if you are a purist) called chili con carne or just chili. It’s also used to flavour many other Tex-Mex dishes. We tend to use chili powder liberally in all sorts of southwest-inspired foods like tacos, bean dishes, enchiladas, and pulled pork or carnitas.

homemade chili powder; 10 ingredients

There are as many recipes for chili powder as there are companies that make them, each with their own signature ingredients and varying heat levels. However, if you have a stocked spice cabinet, it’s easy to throw together your own homemade chili powder mix. Here’s a good base recipe, rich and complex, with a moderate heat level. You can take it from there – adding a touch more or less of each ingredient to suit your taste, or adding other favourite spices of your own. I love the subtle richness that comes from adding a bit of cocoa powder (an ingredient used in some savoury Mexican dishes, like molés).

homemade chili powder; layers of spices in jar

Try your homemade chili powder in this easy Number One Chili, these super tasty Lentil Sloppy Joes, this lazy man’s Slow Cooker Pulled Pork, or these tender Oven-Baked Barbecue Ribs.

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Kitchen Frau Notes: I’ve kept the heat level to moderate in this chili powder mix, preferring to add spice to individual dishes if I want them ‘hotter’. That way I can customize recipes by adding more cayenne or chipotle or fresh hot peppers directly when cooking, depending on the crowd I’m feeding. (Or you can always pass the hot sauce at the table.)  However, you can also increase the amount of cayenne in the homemade chili powder mix if you’d like more heat.

easy homemade chili powder - 10 ingredients you probably have in your cupboardsHomemade Chili Powder Mix

*All spices used are ground, except for the oregano which can be ground or the finely crumbled dry herb.

1 tablespoon of each:

  • cayenne pepper
  • chipotle pepper or smoked hot paprika
  • fine sea salt
  • sweet paprika
  • cumin
  • coriander
  • dried oregano
  • garlic powder
  • unsweetened cocoa powder


  • 1 teaspoon allspice

Mix all ingredients. Store in a sealed container in a cool, dark place for up to a year.

Makes a generous ½ cup (about 80gms).

Guten Appetit!


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