The “Best” Basic Chili Powder Recipe

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It is not a substitute for your doctor's care plan or advice.

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!

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 have seen my kitchen after doing all of these taste tests –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 check my Resources Page for more options.

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.

 

4.4 from 12 reviews
The "Best" Basic Chili Powder Recipe
 
Author:
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!
Ingredients
Instructions
  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.
Notes
Use 1-2 Tbsp of chili powder per pound of meat, or to taste.

 

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, LLC.

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  1. I make chili using this recipe for the chili powder and love it.

    Since I like to tinker, I add a little bit of fennel seeds, a dash of white pepper.

    The next time I make it, I’m going to try anise instead of fennel and perhaps smoked paprika in place of paprika.

    Sorry you have to read the unnecessary negative comments. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Don’t use recipes much, but came across one that called for “chili powder” so wondered what that was. Once I looked up the ingredients (similar on many sites) I don’t understand why this is necessary. If you’re making a pot of chili con frijoles or carne, it usually includes a large amount of minced onion, garlic and a variety of peppers depending on taste and availability, usually jalapeno, serrano, habenero, cayenne etc. And of course you would add cumin. So the powders just seem unnecessary. And paprika? I thought that was Hungarian. Like for goulash. I can see where a few dried or smoked chile peppers might add to the flavor but otherwise am still unclear on the need for “chili powder” .

    • Hi Wini. Thanks for reading. I can only say that if you make chili without it, it doesn’t taste good. Paprika is a kind of pepper. Paprika is originally from Mexico despite the fact that it’s typically associated with goulash. Hope that helps.

  3. Seriously? Your recipe for “The Best Basic Chili Powder” has no chiles in it? Serioiusly? Call it Southwest Seasoning or Albuquerque Stardust or whatever you want, but not “The Best Basic Chili Powder”.

    • Hi Steve. Sorry this upsets you. I mentioned in the post that this was at attempt to give a chili powder flavor without having to buy chilis which are more difficult to come by typically. Perhaps you didn’t read that explanation. Thanks.

      • Steve Leyton says:

        Ancho chile powder is so widely available these days you could say it’s ubiquitous. Supermarkets, food specialty stores, Latino food stores, on line … chiles are everywhere and ancho chile powder has become, according to many people, a pantry essential just as certainly as are the other ingredients in this recipe. As I said, call it Southwest Seasoning, but not chile powder and certainly not “The Best”. For a delicious chile powder, cut the paprika back to a teaspoon or two (try using smoked paprika instead of sweet) and add 2-3 TBS of ground ancho chile.

        • So would you say that this is a recent development? This recipe was published back in 2013.

          I personally was not a spice connoisseur at the time, and I am not one now. I will say that while Ancho is maybe more popular now, there are several popular spice resources online where it is not available. One is Frontier. You have to buy the Anchos whole. Then there is Bulk Herb Store (not as popular as the others). No anchos at all. Monterey Spice is a 3rd. So I will stand by what I said that Ancho isn’t as readily available (though you are right that it is becoming more popular) and that was the point of my post. To make a DIY “chili” powder recipe that almost anyone could easily do. I love anchos and wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on their lovely flavor but I have made chili with this recipe numerous times and gotten compliments on the flavor.

          Thanks again and I hope that further clarifies.

          • Allergychick says:

            I LOVE your recipes! I am allergic to milk, wheat/gluten and CORN, the worst. Finding your website online has saved me from boring suppers and brought back the SPICE in life! I agree that Frontera is hands down the best ORGANIC bulk spices! I made your chili powder recipe above and found I added ground chipotle peppers from sister company Simply Organic each time I used the first batch. The second batch, I just added ground chipotle peppers…Which can be found at Whole Foods to try out. I also added anchor Chile powder my local Health Food Store carries, Organic, and found I liked your recipe best as it is most versatile…So my last batch (4cups worth) is your basic recipe with the ground chipotle peppers next to it in spice cabinet!

            As you clearly stated, it’s the Best Basic Recipe! You show us how to combine ingredients, tell us how to tweeking them by using family as ‘helpers’ and let us modify as we choose!

            Thank you for the bulk reference… I asked my local Health Food Store about them…And that is where they order and then divide their spices! I was so happy, I placed a huge order that day and haven’t looked back!

            As a cautionary note: SMOKED PAPRIKA MAY CONTAIN A CORN DERIVATIVE. I haven’t found an organic one that doesn’t, so I add ground chipotle for depth. Keeping it ORGANIC ONLY, ONE INGREDIENT is the best way to avoid allergies…AND YOUR RECIPES ARE HARDCORE AWESOME FANTASTIC ?

          • You are so kind! Wow. Made my day! I’ve spent loads of time today w/ a sick kid and cleaning up broken links on my site. Kind of boring! Thank you! And great tip on the Smoked Paprika. I had no idea. What is in it?

      • Thank you for this easy recipe! I used it as part of a “Tex-mex” spice blend for a casserole which I took to a party, and went home with an empty casserole dish–got lots of compliments.

        • Fabulous! I’m SO glad to hear it! If you have time I would love to know the casserole recipe – I’m at adrienne {at} wholenewmom {dot} com. Much appreciated!

    • First of all, the recipe DOES include cayenne pepper (which IS a type of chile pepper), so it DOES include chile peppers.

      Secondly, it’s “chili powder,” not “powdered chili.” Word placement matters; it can turn a noun into an adjective. Thus, while “chili powder” COULD refer to a powder that contains chilis, that is not a requirement; it could just as well refer to a powder intended to be USED in CHILI, much as GUN POWDER is meant to be used in GUNS (yet no guns were ground up in the making of gun powder).

      Thirdly, “best” is understood by most reasoning people to be a subjective term when it is not accompanied by defined qualifiers. When it comes to food recipes, it is almost always subjective. The author even alludes to this by putting quotation marks around the word in the title.

      This recipe’s list of ingredients is very similar to that found in mixes marketed as “chili powder” on store shelves nationwide. As clearly stated in the article, this powder was intended to be used in place of those very chili powders. Furthermore, while many use powdered ancho chilies, there is absolutely nothing *wrong* with using some other type of chile (such as cayenne) in the mix. Both are CHILES (“chilis,” in gringo-ese), so this recipe is accurately termed, however you look at it.

      Reading comprehension is a skill.

      Good manners are appreciated — others are not.

  4. This recipe saved dinner tonight! I needed chili powder and was all out with dinner already cooking on the stove. Thankfully I had everything I needed for this recipe and the dish tasted even better than usual!

    • So thankful! Thanks for taking the time to come back and share! I used some just the other day to make a quick chicken lunch for a friend in need. Shredded chicken with this in the Instant Pot and some butter on top. YUM~

  5. Thank you! My young husband had a heart attack recently and now we are re-inventing the diet in the house by finding low, fat and low, sodium versions online. He is a very picky eater and I’m hoping recreating his usual diet with healthier versions will help him adjust and be more compliant! I’ll let you know how it goes afterwards ?

  6. Thank you!
    And yes, it’s hard to keep a whole food kitchen from getting messy…just ask my brother ;-D
    I would also rather have a few lumps than silicon dioxide in my chili powder, that’s how I found you, I GOOGLE searched chili powder without silicon dioxide. I look forward to reading your other spice blends.
    Thanks again! Much appreciation 🙂

  7. Thank you so much for this simple and practical recipe 🙂 Our family is really enjoying the homemade chili powder! I love your site and look forward to trying lots of other recipes. Keep up the good work and thank you again.
    God bless you,
    Sofia

  8. Mickey Maus says:

    Seems like a stupid recipe to me – a chili powder without chilis. A non-chili chili powder? It’s like saying, chocolate is too expensive so I’ll just eat sugar. If you are indeed the creator of this nonsense recipe you have unfortunately confused many other people and websites because this recipe seems to be all over the web – UNFORTUNATELY. In the interest of edification, before publishing such nonsense, it would seem you should have published a REAL recipe for chili powder. All you have done here is propagate confusion and misinformation despite any disclaimer.

    • Sorry but your analogy is not accurate. Paprika is actually a chili – it’s just a less expensive and more readily available one. Paprika is a spice made from the air dried fruit of the chili pepper called capsicum annum. I hope that clarifies things.

      • Well, you’re half right. Paprika is made from pimientos, which are thick-walled, mild, and often bell-shaped peppers of the capsicum annum grossum family. These are not chilis (or chiles).

        Chili peppers are members of the capsicum annum longum family — longish, tapered, thin-walled peppers with elevated levels of capsicum (providing their characteristic heat).

        Your recipe does include chili peppers by way of the powdered cayenne, so you’re still good. 🙂 Besides, if it’s a powder meant to be used in chili (the dish), it’s perfectly acceptable to call it chili powder, whether it contains chili peppers or not.

        What’s worse than a grammar Nazi? A grammar Nazi that doesn’t understand grammar.

    • Mickey Maus, you’re an angry elf. You must be from the South Pole!! Adrienne, keep up the great work. You’re helping a lot people cope with a restricted diet. Thanks; I’ll be making my first salt-free chili tomorrow.

    • Adrienne, keep up the great work. You’re helping a lot people cope with a restricted diet. Thanks; I’ll be making my first salt-free chili tomorrow.

  9. thanks for this recipe! we buy spices in bulk at a co-op and they rarely have any spice blends, just the basics. it’s so much cheaper/more flavorful to make your own than to buy pre-jarred anyway! i have found that most store-bought ‘chili powders’ have quite a similar list of ingredients as this, for all the folks saying that this is missing ingredients. recipes calling for chili powder assume that there’s no salt or black pepper and have ingredients listed accordingly. this is my fave recipe that i’ve tried so far — thanks again!

  10. No salt and pepper?

    • Hi there. Salt isn’t typically included in a chili pepper. You would simply add it to the dish. There are loads of peppers – just not black pepper. Hope you like it!

  11. Hi: My daughter has become highly allergic to garlic in any form. It has become almost impossible to eat at restaurants because garlic is almost in everything and at times difficult to even cook at home because it is because it is not listed as an ingredient. For example, we cannot use chili powder because most likely it contains garlic. Can grinded red pepper flakes be used in place of bought chili powder? Also, what can be substituted in place of garlic in seasoning mixes? All recommendations very appreciated!

    • Chili powder is a blend of many spices and not just ground pepper. Red pepper flakes are chili peppers so if you grind them you can use them as one component of your chili powder. Onion would be the best sub for garlic. How did you know she was allergic? I know how terrible that is!

      • World Travelr says:

        Hi!
        Onions may not be your best substitute for garlic. Someone allergic to garlic may be allergic to anything in the allium genus of plants. Allergy testing will be able to tell you if you are allergic to the whole family of plants or just sensitive to some.
        We use a spice from India called asafoetida to replace garlic and onions. Asafoetida is a resin that has a very pungent smell that when used in cooking gives the dish a flavor like onions and garlic. You can purchase asafoetida, often called Hing, in powdered form. The resin is very expensive so it is often combined with flour made from rice, garbanzo bean or wheat. We can’t have gluten so we check all labels for fillers. I buy Nature ‘n’ Me brand organic pure Hing powder from my local Indian grocery. You can also buy it on Amazon. It is expensive, but a small bottle will last a long time. A pinch or less will flavor a whole dish!

  12. You just saved dinner for me. This will work! I forgot to buy a new jar of chili powder when I went grocery shopping last week, and the nearest grocery store to where I live is a 20 minute walk down the road… and I’m too busy today to bother. Thanks!

  13. Hey! Is this recipe enough to flavour a pound of ground meat? Is it a single serving or multiple use?

  14. LOL.

    Ummm. I think your “chili powder” recipe is missing a key ingredient.

    You know…CHILIS

    • Hi Brad. Thanks for reading and for commenting. Yes, you are right. That was the point of the post – to offer a less expensive option that would also make it easier for folks to obtain the ingredients. It’s good as well :). Hope to see you around again.

  15. SpiceLover;) says:

    OMGUSH Thank you so much for replying fast 😀 your website is definitely a life saver, i had run out of my store bought ones 😉

  16. SpiceLover;) says:

    Hai:) Idk if ur still active in replying comments but i hope you still do D: How much should i times the recipe for a whole bottle like in the picture above?:D thanks – spices lover((^^

    • Hi there. It all depends on the size of your container. Just measure it and then adjust the recipe accordingly. Enjoy!

    • Hi, SpiceLover. If you haven’t figured it out, yet, this recipe will make about 2 fluid ounces of mix. So, if you have a pint-sized (16 ounces) jar you want to fill, just multiply all the ingredients by eight. If you use a LOT of chili powder and want to make a quart (32 ounces) just multiply all by 16. Just remember that 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon, 2 tablespoons = 1 ounce, and 8 ounces = 1 cup = 16 tablespoons = 48 teaspoons. (Therefore, 1/8 c = 1 oz, 1/4 c = 2 oz, 1/2 c = 4 oz, 1/3 c = 16 teaspoons (or 2 oz + 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp)… Who said math isn’t fun? 🙂 )

      If you are careful with your math and measurements but find that the jar isn’t as full as you expected after you mix them thoroughly, don’t fret. The finer powders in the mix will take up space between larger particles of other powders, causing the blend to settle into a smaller space.

      Make sure you’re using fresh spices; if *any* of them start losing a substantial amount of flavor before you use the whole jar, you might not be happy with what remains.