Homemade Chili Powder

Homemade chili powder

The Spruce

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 5 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
9 Calories
0g Fat
2g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 9
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 12mg 1%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 42mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Although real chili powder and our substitution are equally delicious and add a beautiful kick to all sorts of savory dishes, real chili powder carries an extra pungency that only a mix of pulverized chilis can offer. But in a pinch, our easy recipe can contribute some heat and flavor.

This quick homemade chili powder takes less than five minutes and can be stored in an airtight container for later use. Chances are you already have everything you need to make our spice mix. Add it to chilis, meatloaves, tacos, or just about any dish in which you want Southwestern flavors. Chili powder can add depth of flavor to burgers, chicken, soups, stews, sauces, and roasted vegetables.

As with any spice mix, adjust the ingredients to suit your taste: add more cayenne pepper for a fiery spice mix, or add more paprika for a sweeter flavor. Our measurements yield about two tablespoons total of the mix; to make 1/2 cup of chili powder, use tablespoons of each spice rather than teaspoons.


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  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano

  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for chili powder
    The Spruce
  2. Combine garlic, cumin, cayenne, oregano, and sweet paprika in a small bowl. Mix well.

    Chili powder ingredients in bowl
    The Spruce
  3. Place in an airtight container and store in a dark place.

    Chili powder
    The Spruce
  4. Enjoy!

For the Best Chili Powder Mix

To make flavorful and potent chili powder, keep in mind to:

  • Use fresh spices: spices lose their potency as they get older, so check the labels on the spices you'll be using. If you frequently grind spices, you might want to purchase a coffee grinder and reserve it for spices. A mortar and pestle may be used as well.​
  • Label your chili powder: the "best by" date for your homemade chili powder will be the same as the least fresh spice or herb you use in it.
  • Store spices in a cool, dark place: keep the spice mix away from the direct sunlight or any heat source.
  • Keep away from moisture: to keep humidity from entering the jars but also to protect your eyes from vapors, don't pour the chili powder directly over a steaming or simmering pot.

How to Use Chili Powder

Chili powder is a versatile and handy spice mix to have in your pantry. Here are a few ideas on how to put the mix to its best use:

  • Marinades: Combine 1 teaspoon of the mix with 3 teaspoons of olive oil, the juice of a lime, and salt and pepper to taste. Use this paste to marinate steaks, chicken breasts, or combine it with a stick of butter to coat a turkey or whole chicken before roasting it in the oven.
  • Dips and spreads: Combine 1 1/2 teaspoons of the mix with 8 ounces of full-fat cream cheese. Mix well and add 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro, 1/4 cup of chopped parsley, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, and salt and pepper to taste. After combining thoroughly, place the dip in a small bowl and serve with crudités or pita chips. Use the spread on sandwiches and wraps. For lighter dips and spreads, use full-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream instead of cream cheese for a different flavor profile.
  • Soups and rice: spice up your favorite tomato soup with 1 teaspoon of the mix. Add the powder halfway through the cooking process. Add 1 teaspoon of the mix to your white or brown rice before placing the pot on the stove.
  • Quick bean-and-grain salad: Add 1 teaspoon of the mix to a can of any beans of your liking. Season with salt and pepper, and olive oil. Mix the beans with quinoa, barley, farro, or any grain to make a quick and nutritious bean salad. Garnish with cilantro.
  • Guacamole: Combine 1 teaspoon of the mix with the flesh of 2 avocados. Add salt and pepper to taste, the squeeze of a lime, and some chopped cilantro.