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

A large silver spoon holding a scoop of homemade chili powder with some spilled on the side.

Homemade Chili Powder

5 / 2 votes
With this homemade chili powder in your pantry, you’ll never need (or want!) the store-bought stuff again.
David Leite
CuisineTex Mex
Servings15 servings
Calories2 kcal
Prep Time25 minutes
Total Time25 minutes



  • 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're brittle, being careful not to burn them. Place the chiles on a plate and let them cool.
  • 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.
  • 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.
The Chili Cookbook

Adapted From

The Chili Cookbook

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Serving: 1 teaspoonCalories: 2 kcalCarbohydrates: 0.5 gProtein: 0.1 gFat: 0.1 gSaturated Fat: 0.01 gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.02 gSodium: 1 mgFiber: 0.2 gSugar: 0.1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe © 2015 Robb Walsh. Photo © 2021 Michelle. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

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.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


    1. Terry, dried chiles are very light, so 2 ounces is the approximate total weight for all five chiles.