The “Best” Basic Chili Powder Recipe

Hoping to make your own seasoning mixes to save money and get the artificial ingredients out of your diet? This Easy Homemade Chili Powder Recipe is made with things you most likely have in your pantry - and tastes the best out of the blends we tested in our kitchen. Tastes great in chili (of course), but also on veggies, pasta, rice...I've even heard of folks putting it in hot chocolate!

I love making my own homemade seasonings.  From taco seasoning to celery salt to cinnamon sugar, herbes de provencevegetable brothcurry powder, cinnamon sugar, and even DORITO® seasoning –if it’s a blend I will try to make it–I just have a thing about “DIY”s and saving money, and all of the good things that go along with it.

Chili powder is no exception.

For the past year or so I’ve been on the hunt for a great chili recipe.

We’re tried tons of recipes, and so you can imagine I’ve gone through a ton of chili powder.

(Well-maybe about 2 pounds is more like it :).)

I’ve always made my own Homemade Chili Powder and the recipe has served us well, but this week I decided to experiment with a bunch of recipes and do some taste tests so I could recommend a recipe for you all.

The chili powder recipe that we were using called for a base of chili peppers.  And while we like it a lot, the chilis are a little hard to come by, and they are a little pricey, so I wanted to find a recipe with a base of paprika–a spice that is in almost everyone’s kitchen.

I hope to share my original at some point, but for now, this one should keep you pretty happy.

One other chili powder came in a close second, but it needs a bit more work before I share that one.

After literally making and trying about 15 different recipes, we have a winner (and I now have a bunch of “non winners” that I’ll blend together to put in a corporate chili powder container so nothing goes to waste.)

First of all, just to share a bit about me if you haven’t been around my blog for a long time, I LOVE making my own just-about-everything.

Partially because I am cheap frugal, but also because I think it’s a fun challenge.

I also do it to avoid icky ingredients in things.

Why Make Your Own Seasoning Blends

I have a whole post written on homemade seasoning blends, but here’s a brief synopsis:

1.  Save Money – It’s a lot cheaper to make your own seasoning blends–you’re basically paying “the other guy” to do the measuring and blending.

2.  Adaptable for Taste – You can play around with the ingredients to find a mixture that you like best.

3.  Adaptable for Special Diets – You can adapt to special diets easily.  (Some spice mixes have gluten, dairy, or other ingredients in them that folks with those allergies need to avoid.

4.  Avoid Toxins – Many spice blends have chemical nasties in them (like silicon dioxide) to make them free flowing.  Personally, I’d rather break up a few lumps in my spices than eat silicon dioxide, thank you very much.

5.  Enjoyment – It’s fun to experiment in the kitchen :)!

How to Use Chili Powder

1.  Chili – Of course, use it in chili.  (I’m pretty clever, huh?)

2.  Sides – Sprinkle it on rice and beans, or even on veggies.

3.  Salads – Sprinkle on salads with a drizzle of olive oil and salt for a makeshift dressing.

4.  Eggs – Sprinkle on eggs.

5.  Pepper Substitute – As a substitute for pepper in a recipe.  Just add a bit more chili powder than pepper.

6.  Desserts – On Desserts – really?  Yes, it’s true.  Try some on chocolate ice cream, in brownies, etc.

7.  On Fruit – try sprinkling chili powder on fruit for a fun twist.

 Hoping to make your own seasoning mixes to save money and get the artificial ingredients out of your diet? This Easy Homemade Chili Powder Recipe is made with things you most likely have in your pantry - and tastes the best out of the blends we tested in our kitchen. Tastes great in chili (of course), but also on veggies, pasta, rice...I've even heard of folks putting it in hot chocolate!


5.0 from 1 reviews
The "Best" Basic Chili Powder Recipe
Recipe type: Spices
Cuisine: Gluten-Free
Serves: Approx. 4 T
Looking for a Great Chili Powder Recipe that doesn't use a lot of fancy ingredients? This is it! Make your own Homemade Spice Blends and save money!
  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Blend thoroughly.
  3. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Paprika is a pepper and should be refrigerated for maximum shelf life and potency.

I hope you like this as much as we do.

It’s great on so many things — we taste-tested these mixtures on popcorn and brown rice, veggies, and salads.  While we were working on finding “the winner”, my boys and my husband had a great time sampling the options while we were moving a “new to us” trundle bed into our boys’ room.

It went like this — move mattress in–taste rice–move bed piece in–taste rice.  You get the picture.

You should see my kitchen now–little containers of rice with chili powder on top and popcorn is just about everywhere :).  I had my sons help me with the blending and measuring so things are a bit more messy than usual.  It’s hard not to have a mess in a whole food kitchen, isn’t it?

And in case you are wondering where I buy my spices, right now I buy a lot from this company in bulk (I think the have superior flavor and fragrance) but I do get some from Mountain Rose Herbs that aren’t easily available elsewhere.

So now you have another great homemade seasoning blend to add to your frugal pantry arsenal.

And now I get to go back to working on a really great chili recipe to share with you all.

Other Homemade Seasoning Blends:

Taco Seasoning
The “Best” Cinnamon Sugar – Made Healthier
Mild Curry Powder
Vegetable Broth Mix | All-Purpose Seasoning
Celery Salt and How to Use It
Pumpkin Pie Spice

Do you have a favorite chili recipe to share?  I’d love to try it!

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom.


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  1. Joanne P says:

    I have several chili recipes that we like. Just depends on our mood. One is a poached chicken breast chili, with a chicken broth and tomato base with black beans. Another one is a pretty basic hamburger with pinto beans but uses cocoa as a flavoring in addition to the chili powder, gives it a depth of flavor. I’ll dig out these two recipes.

    We also like chili powder on slow roasted chicken.

    I will try your recipe for chili powder, your recipe is similar to mine, and I tried to replicate it from the Frontier Herbs no salt blend. A suggestion for your chili powder is to use hot paprika, or smoked paprika, or hot, smoked paprika. Hot paprika now is pretty widely available. Penzeys has high quality herbs and spices and they carry it. The hot paprika has a different flavor than the cayenne, and I sometimes will use both in a recipe.

    Just a suggestion for the future because we really have become addicted to hot and or smoked paprika.


    • Hi Joanne. We actually have Frontier’s smoked paprika in our home as well. My husband LOVES it. And one of the other blends I tried had cocoa in it. I LOVE cocoa in chili. I would love to see your recipes – thanks!

  2. The oregano and cumin… are they in powdered form?

  3. when you say paprika, do you mean the hot paprika or the sweet paprika (like for goulash)?

  4. Roger Wilson says:

    If you don’t want to make your own the best chili powder I have ever had is Pedro Lopez Brand from a little family owned artisan company out of Topeka Ks. It sells for $12 for a 16 Oz jar and is a complex blend of 18 ingredients. It has been around since the early 1900s but has never been marketed extensively.

  5. OK, this is where I confess my utter love of French’s Chili-O chili seasoning for my chili. I use two packets for 2 lbs of ground beef, then augment with spicy chili powder, cumin, real onion, and granulated garlic. I have attempted to make chili without the Chili-O, but it was missing something, and I don’t know what. My husband went many years without his sensitivity to corn causing migraines, but no more. Chili-O has lots of corn. Any wise ideas of how to get a full flavored chili without it? Everything I have tried from scratch to mixes without corn doesn’t have the full flavor I’m looking for.

    • I have another chili powder recipe I hope to share but what are the ingredients?

      • wheat flour, chili pepper, “other spices”, salt, maltodextrin, sugar, paprika, onion powder, red pepper, garlic powder, less than 2% silicon dioxide Based on taste, I’d say those “other spices” do not include cumin. Otherwise, I’m at a loss at to what it is I’m missing. I’m looking forward to trying your recipes for mixes because I am interested in moving to a more “whole foods” idea. Cooking from scratch is generally so much cheaper….if only it were also faster!

        • I have a basic chili powder that I use w/ aleppo peppers and I like it better. You could take my recipe and add some sweetener and flour to it and see how that goes? Look fwd to seeing you around again. I am hoping to try a vegan cheese sprinkle soon as well!

          • I tried your recipe tonight. It was good, but still not quite right. Since I had some chili-o seasoning, I did a taste test. Added about 1 T flour, 1 T sugar, 1 tsp of salt and so far it’s close enough(haven’t cooked the chili yet!) I wonder if I had some of my friend’s fresh ground whole wheat flour if that would add to the flavor, and maybe brown sugar (and a smaller amount) instead of white granulated. Even so, this is definitely the closest I’ve ever been able to get to the nostalgic flavor I was looking for!! Thanks!!

  6. Thanks for this recipe–I am almost out of store bought chili powder and am totally going to make this. I guess I am ignorant about these sorts of things–I always though chili powder was a one-ingredient spice/seasoning, and never considered that it would have a blend of stuff that contained yuckies! So I am glad to find this out, and replace what I’ve been buying with something much better!

    Regarding the paprika needing refrigeration, I was wondering if other peppers, or any other spices/seasonings need to be refrigerated as well? I keep my garlic and onion powders in the freezer, as well as my homemade garlic and onion salts, because it keeps them from clumping and/or getting hard chunks in them (this may have been your suggestion as well–can’t remember ;)) But I am always interested in prolonging the life of my spices and seasonings, so I would love to know what else needs cold storage. Thanks SO much!!

    • I keep all of my peppers in the fridge since I heard that it important. I didn’t know that about the onion and garlic – interesting. Why does that help? My onion granules don’t have that problem but sometimes the powders do. Thanks!

      • Thanks for your reply! I will definitely put my peppers in the fridge. I am not sure why freezing the others helps, but it does! I can’t remember where I read that, but I was having an awful time with clumps beforehand. Maybe it has something to do with the moisture content in the air being frozen and not being able to affect the powders in the same way. Crazy! I appreciate all your hard work and suggestions–love reading your posts!

  7. Chris Hartley says:

    This is a great recipe that I plan on using. Now you said it must be refrigerated. For those of us who sometimes we forget we have these things, because their in the refrigerator and not the cabinet, what is the shelf life?

  8. Kathryn Arnold says:

    I’ve always used mixes for chili seasoning but in the interest of eliminating mystery ingredients from my diet I decided to try chili from scratch. I didn’t even Google for a recipe because I just knew you’d have chili seasoning covered. Bingo! Thanks much. 🙂

    • You are a riot. So much more is “covered” that I haven’t posted. And so much more is “I want to do that” but haven’t yet. Sighola. Blessings, Kathryn!

  9. Edna Sluder says:

    I was out of chili powder for my homemade taco seasoning mix. I added the basic chili powder recipe and it had a better flavor than the same mix using bought chili powder.

  10. I am making chili for a crowd at my wedding.. in your opinion would this be a good base if I am making a large quantity? Also is this a spicey recipe?

    • I think so. It isn’t very spicy at all. I’d try a small batch first to see how you like it. I prefer my aleppo based recipe but this is much less expensive.

  11. I wish my boyfriend understood the value of DIY. I love making my own breads, crackers, seitan, etc., but he thinks it’s easier to just buy them. But there’s also the time driving to the store! I’m happy to find this recipe. I forgot chili powder at the store, but I have all of these ingredients. Crossing “chili powder” off of my list. Thank you!

  12. Homemade chilli powder… your recipe looks very interesting
    You say it makes 4 tablespoons, but I can’t see how much to use per pound of minced beef????
    Please reply asap as I want to get cooking 🙂

  13. Great recipe, thanks!
    As an aside, although there are lots of chemical nasties in processed food, silicone dioxide isn’t one of them – it’s actually a naturally occuring mineral!

  14. I found your post on Google+ and had to tell you it was timely. I was just about to start making spice blends for Christmas gifts. This is perfect. Have a terrific holiday.

  15. while it is nice of you to post a recipe and im sure your mix tastes good. this is not chili powder. Chili powder is made with 70% ground dried chiles such as Arbol. Alton brown has an authentic recipe.

    • Hi Nick. I appreciate your sharing it but there are many others on the internet who use paprika in chili powder. I know it’s not authentic but I wanted to offer a simpler avenue for my readers. I typically use the ancho – LOVE them. But they are hard to come by.

  16. This is awesome.. thank you. 🙂

  17. Shirley R. says:

    Thank you for doing the hard work for making our own seasonings. I am fascinated that we can mix them ourselves instead of buying them. Enjoying your site. Lots of hard work see here.

  18. Imagine my dismay when I forgot chili powder for my favorite southern living chili that requires 6 tablespoons. I doubled your recipe and I must say after making this chili recipe for years, my husband and I agreed, it was the tastiest ever! I’ll never buy chili powder again. By the way I used a very hot chili powder from the Indian store, using les than required. Delicious! Thank you.

  19. I guess I’m confused. Will you girls help me. This looks like a recipe for chili seasoning not chili powder. Chili powder is ground up chilies, correct? Or have I been living a lie. I’ve even ground up dried New Mexico chilies. That makes great chili powder. Help!!!

    • Hi there. Typically it is chilies ground up, but I wanted something that was made with ingredients that most people have easy access to. Do you need a recipe for that b/c I have one. Thanks!

  20. I’m so glad I came across this recipe. I had just ran out of chili powder and thought “there’s got to be a recipe out there to make it” since I knew that chili powder was a combo of different spices. This combo smell delightful.
    My husband and I have no choice but to make everything at home now since he got a kidney transplant and he is allergic to corn.
    I’m going to use this mix tomorrow in some beans and then later on in some chili for dinner.

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