Chili powder is an essential ingredient in many recipes. Of course, it is convenient to buy pre-prepared chili powder in the store. However, this is an easy spice to make on your own. Our homemade chili powder will improve your recipes and also save you money in the long term.
The key to homemade chili powder is the chilis you select. I have a pretty standard list of peppers that I use for chili. These include New Mexico, Ancho, Guajillo and Arbol. Chilis vary a great deal by name and availability. You can substitute California for New Mexico, Pasilla for Ancho and Serrano or Cascabel for Arbol. Use the Scoville heat guide as a measure to how hot you want your chili.
Scoville heat guide:
New Mexico 750-1,250
There are also lots of ways to prepare the dried chilis. I like to heat them in a skillet with cumin and coriander seeds and then blend them in my Nutri Ninja to a powder. From Serious Eats I got the idea of adding a whole star anise.
This is a recipe I make in bulk. Using 6 of each pepper will get you about 4 ounces of chili powder. Obviously, you could make more. I have read that chili powder maintains its potency for 2 to 3 years, but I like to make just enough to last a month or two.
The other issue is that when you heat the dried chilis in a skillet they can be quite potent. I have learned to only make homemade chili powder when the rest of the family is not around. Make sure and have the vents on.
When seeding the peppers you do have to be careful about getting your hands exposed. Personally, I don’t use gloves. But I admit I have been burned by cutting chilis many times over the years. In my homemade chili powder recipe, the arbol peppers are the only one hot enough to cause irritation. However, arbols are small and really easy to deseed without touching the hot part. Serious Eats has a good guide to how to prepare dried chilis (they make there’s into a paste).
Homemade chili powder is extremely inexpensive. For $5 you can get enough chili’s to make a pound of chili powder.
Homemade Chili Powder
This is a low cost, easy to make home chili powder that can be used in any recipe calling for chili powder
- 3 Tablespoons cumin seeds
- 2 Tablespoons coriander seeds
- 3 whole star anise optional
- 18 dried chilis stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped (6 New Mexico/California, 6 ancho/pasilla or guajillo, 6 arbol)
Place dried chopped chilis, cumin, coriander and star anise in skillet and cook over medium high heat for about 5-6 minutes until it just starts smoking. Place chili and spices in blender or spice grinder and blend. Store in tightly sealed jar.
You can experiment with different types of chilis using the Scoville heat level as a guide.