Homemade Chili Powder

Toasting chiles and cumin seeds in your own kitchen and grinding them in a spice grinder makes the best chili powder of all. This homemade chili powder recipe calls for anchos, but you can use any combination of dried chiles. [Editor’s Note: We used ancho chiles—and only ancho chiles—and could hardly believe just how much this upped our chili game.]–Robb Walsh

LC Homemade Chili Powder Note

The author says above to use any combination of dried chiles in this recipe, although we have to say, we haven’t attempted that yet since we’re so taken with the recipe exactly as-is. Those of you with an experimental spirit and an expansive knowledge of the nuances of chiles, by all means, go create something new! (Just remember to jot down notes on what you did and the amounts so you can replicate it if you like the way it turns out.)

Homemade Chili Powder Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 25 M
  • Makes about 1/3 cup


  • 5 whole dried ancho chiles (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


  • 1. Remove the stems and seeds from the anchos and spread the peppers out flat. Reserve the seeds. Place the chiles flat on a comal or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Lightly toast the ancho chiles until they are brittle, being careful not to burn them. Transfer them chiles to a plate and let them cool.
  • 2. Toast the cumin on the hot comal or skillet, still over medium heat, stirring and shaking until fragrant. Transfer to a separate plate. If a hotter chili powder is desired, toss some of the chile seeds onto the hot surface and toast them, too.)
  • 3. Cut the chiles into small strips with scissors. In a clean coffee grinder, coarsely grind the strips in several batches until powdered. Coarsely grind the cumin and chile seeds, if using, in the coffee grinder. Combine the powdered chile, cumin, ground seeds, Mexican oregano, and garlic powder in a bowl and then grind this coarse powder in the coffee grinder in batches until finely ground, about 2 minutes. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Melissa Maedgen

Sep 12, 2015

I've never used commercial chili powders because I like to know the proportion of chiles, cumin, etc., going into my chili. It's worth the trouble to make this homemade chili powder. When you make your own chili powder to keep on hand, and you'll have a shortcut but still know the balance of flavors you're dealing with.

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