You know those office chili cook-offs where everybody brings their crockpots full of their special chili for people to eat out of paper bowls and then votes on the spiciest or best chili without beans or with beans? We’ve all been to one. Well, thanks to my custom chili powder I won one of those cook-offs!

There are several reasons you should make your own chili powder.

First, as the title suggests you can customize it to be exactly the way you like it. If you want a hint of spice, adjust the dried chili. Those who want to feel the heat can bump up the chili. Leave out the cumin if you hate it.

Secondly, you will save so much money by making your own spice blends from bulk spices and herbs. For nearly the same price as a little jar of whatever spice from the grocery store you can buy a whole bag of the same thing from a natural food store or online. Once you have a selection of spices in your kitchen you can make any type of spice blend on a whim.

I keep my spices in repurposed jars labeled with a permanent so I’m prepared for any spice emergency. Chili powder is just one of the many spice blends I make and use all the time.

Finally, it’s fun to make your own blends and mixes. My kids love helping mix them up or shake the jar after I added all the layers of this and that. I try out specialty ground dried chilies like ancho or chipotle for something new. Experiment and have fun! Check out the tips and tricks below the recipe.

Chili Powder Recipe

  • 1/4 cup ground dried chilies
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican oregano
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Measure all the spices and the oregano in a pint jar or a bowl. Shake or stir to combine. Store in a airtight jar away from heat and light. Use 1/4 cup for a batch of chili and adjust to taste. My chili recipe uses 2 pounds of meat and I start with 1/4 cup and add more if needed.

Tips and Tricks

  • I buy New Mexico ground dried chilies from Amazon in a 1 pound package.
  • Look for specialty chilies in ethnic stores, natural food stores, or online to change up your chili powder mix.
  • I buy Mexican oregano online but you can substitute regular oregano if that’s what you have.
  • Check the ingredient list when you are buying ground chilies. Sometimes it’s called chili powder and it’s just the dried chilies and sometimes it’s a chili powder blend.
  • This is great for food allergies because some commercial mixes have gluten in them. If you make your own, you can be sure that it’s safe.