Chipotle Chili Powder Recipe

When you grind your own blend at home, you control the special balance of flavors that make this powder so versatile and addictive.

Chipotle Chili Powder Recipe

We will guide you through selecting ingredients, toasting them to intensify flavors, and properly storing your homemade powder. Follow along to craft a custom spice mix that lends authentic zest to tacos, meats, snacks, and beyond.

Gather Your Ingredients for Homemade Chipotle Chili Powder

Making your own chipotle chili powder at home allows you to control the flavor profile and heat level. To get started, you'll need to gather some basic ingredients. The key item is the dried chipotle peppers themselves, which provide the signature smoky chili flavor.

dried chipotle peppers

Look for whole-dried chipotle peppers at specialty markets or online spice retailers. You'll need about 6-8 peppers for a standard spice grinder batch. If you can't find chipotle peppers, dried ancho chilies can substitute with similar results.

Along with the peppers, you'll need some complementary spices like cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper. Whole cumin seeds and black peppercorns are ideal, but pre-ground will work, too, if needed. Finally, kosher or sea salt balances out the blend.

Grind the Ingredients for Powdered Perfection

Transforming the ingredients for homemade chipotle chili powder into a fine powder is simple with the right equipment. A dedicated electric spice grinder works best. These appliances finely grind whole spices quickly while minimizing mess.

Alternatively, a high-powered blender like a Vitamix can work in a pinch. Just blend in short pulses to prevent over-processing into a paste. For very small batches, consider using a mortar and pestle instead.

Craft Your Own Chipotle Chili Powder Recipe

Making chipotle chili powder at home lets you control the ingredients and customize the flavor profile.

Follow this basic recipe to get started:


  • 6-8 dried chipotle peppers (or substitute ancho)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 4 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt


  1. Toast peppers, cumin, and peppercorns until fragrant
  2. Let cool, then grind into powder
  3. Stir in remaining spices and salt
  4. Store powder in an airtight jar for up to 3 months

Adjust the ingredients to make it smokier, spicier, milder, or more complex. And be sure to use your homemade powder to add flavor to your favorite Mexican recipes.

Explore Flavor Variations For Your Powder

Customizing your homemade blend lets you create a chipotle chili powder that suits your taste perfectly. The basic recipe relies on smoky chipotle peppers paired with earthy cumin and a touch of heat. But you can further modify the flavor profile.

Try using only half the amount of chipotles and substituting milder ancho chilies for the other half. This reduces the overall heat while keeping a nice chili flavor.

For extra smokiness, increase the smoked paprika or add a touch of sweet smoked paprika too. Other dried peppers like guajillo lend fruity notes, while pasilla has hints of raisin.

Vary the supporting spices as well. Oregano or Mexican oregano boosts herbal characteristics. Cocoa powder contributes subtle chocolate undertones. Cinnamon brings warmth, while coriander adds citrus.

Finally, include more or less cayenne pepper based on your heat tolerance. You can also add spicy chipotle chili flakes on top of the powder. Get creative until you find your perfect blend!

Store Your Homemade Powder Correctly

 sealed glass jar

Like any homemade spice mix, proper storage is key to preserving your chipotle chili powder's flavor and freshness. Keep it in a tightly sealed glass jar away from light, heat, and moisture. A cool, dark pantry shelf works perfectly.

Over time, the vibrant color will fade slightly, and the potency will diminish. For the best quality and taste, try to use your powder within three months. Give the jar a shake before each use to redistribute any settling.

If stored properly, the powder should remain usable for up to 1 year before losing its punch. Make sure to write the recipe and date on the jar so you remember what's inside. Grind a fresh batch when the aroma and flavor become lackluster.

Explore Uses For Chipotle Chili Powder

This versatile spice blend enhances dishes across multiple cuisines. Authentic chipotle chili powder stars in many Mexican recipes. A teaspoon stirred into slow-cooked beans provides a flavorful base. It's also excellent rubbed onto proteins before grilling fajitas or tacos.

Beyond Mexican food, try homemade chipotle powder in chili, soups, stews, and pot roasts. Shake a dash onto popcorn or roasted nuts for a quick snack. Mix into burger patties for a smoky bite. Stir some into ketchup or mayo for a spicy dipping sauce.

Use this powder to make your own adobo sauce by combining it with garlic, vinegar, and tomato. You can even add a spoonful to hot chocolate or coffee for a spicy kick. However you use it, this powder adds deep chili flavor with a hint of habanero-like heat.


How are chipotle peppers different from generic chili powder?

Unlike regular chili powder, chipotles start with jalapeno peppers that are smoked and dried, giving them a uniquely smoky, earthy flavor. This sets them apart from other ground chilies.

Can I use a food processor instead of a spice grinder?

You can try using a food processor, but it may over-grind the ingredients into a pasty texture. A spice grinder is specially designed to grind whole spices into a fine, fluffy powder.

What is a good substitute for ancho chile peppers?

If you can't find ancho chile peppers, try using dried New Mexico, pasilla or mulato chiles instead. They all have a mild, sweet flavor that substitutes well.

Is there a shelf-stable alternative to homemade chipotle powder?

Opt for a brand like McCormick or Spice Island that uses higher-quality dried peppers without unwanted additives. Check the ingredients list for any artificial flavors.

How do I know if my homemade powder has gone bad?

If the powder is more than a year old, smells musty or stale, or has lost its vibrant color, it's time to discard it and make a fresh batch. The old powder will taste flat.


Now that you're inspired to create your own signature chipotle chili powder, it's time to gather ingredients and start grinding. Don't be afraid to experiment with customizing the blend to your taste and tweak it over time.

With the right ratios of sweet and spicy, smoky and earthy, you'll have everyone begging for the recipe. Use your fresh, homemade powder promptly to enjoy and maximize the complex flavors and aromas in your favorite Mexican dishes.

Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

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