From the Spice Cupboard: Chili Powder

From the Spice Cupboard: Chili Powder

Emma Christensen
Sep 14, 2010
Oh, chili powder, how we love you. We use it for traditional Latin American dishes like enchiladas and tacos, of course. But a spoonful also adds a south-of-the-border kick to grilled meat, a pot of beans, and lots more. Here's a basic recipe for homemade chili powder. Do you make your own, and if so, how does this recipe compare?

Chili powder is really just a blend of the spices most commonly found in Latin-American cooking. The base spices are usually are ancho chile powder, paprika, cumin, and Mexican oregano. Other spices like coriander, cayenne, and garlic powder round out individual blends. We particularly love the Chili 3000 blend from Penzeys Spices, which adds lemon peel to the usual host of spices.

It’s an easy blend to make yourself, with the added advantage that you can tailor the mix to your own tastes. You can also use whole spices, toasted and ground, for even fresher flavor. This basic recipe is a good place to start:

DIY Chili Powder

2 tablespoons ground chilis - ancho is best, but paprika can do in a pinch
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Optional extras: 2 teaspoons coriander, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder

Combine spices in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, shake until evenly mixed, and store in a dark cupboard.

What are all the ways you use chili powder in your cooking?

Related: Store Review: Penzeys Spices

(Image: Emma Christensen)

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