Homemade Chili Powder

The secret to really good chili is the chili powder. And the only way to get really good chili powder is to make it yourself. Start with dry chilies that are readily available in Hispanic markets and Latin food sections of most supermarkets. Just which chilies you use is a matter of personal taste and will take some experimentation. I use ancho and pasilla for their rich flavors, guajillo for their beautiful red color, and arbol for heat. You can also add some chipotle or morida chilies for a smoky flavor and a bit more heat. Although individual peppers vary in heat and flavor intensity, you can achieve a rather consistent powder if you weigh each different type

Makes about ½ cup


2 ounces dried assorted dried chilies


Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. By turns place each type of chili in the hot skillet and toast well on each side being careful that they do not burn. Be especially careful with guajillos and arbols because they burn easily. Anchos and pasillas, being thick, benefit from having a weight, another skillet for example, put on them.

Let the chilies cool a bit then remove the stems, and seeds if you wish (I leave the seeds in). Cut the large chilies into pieces and place in a food processor. Just crumble in the arbols. Process for a couple of minutes, stopping now and then to scrape down the sides of the processor jar, until the largest pieces are less than ½-inch wide.

You can use the chili mixture as is or you can empty the contents of the food processor into a coffee grinder (one that you reserve for spices otherwise your coffee may be a bit interesting for a couple of days) and reduce it to a fine powder. Store in a tightly closed jar.


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