Green chili powder is a real thing and has a distinctive flavor compared to common red chili powders. While you can buy it online, making your own green chili powder at home from fresh peppers is easy, affordable, and lets you customize the flavor.
Any fresh green chile like Anaheim, jalapeno, hatch, or serrano can be used. The pepper variety impacts the flavor profile and heat level. For example, Anaheim peppers have mild heat and slight sweetness. Jalapenos bring medium heat and grassy notes. Hatch chiles provide mild to medium heat with an earthy flavor. Serrano peppers pack medium heat and are bright and grassy.
Dry the Peppers
Start with 10-20 fresh green chilies, depending on the desired yield. Remove stems and slice peppers lengthwise, leaving seeds in.
Use a dehydrator at 125°F for 8-10 hours until completely dried. Place pepper halves cut side up so they dry evenly. A dehydrator preserves the interior color.
Alternatively, dry in the sun for 3-4 days. Set pepper halves on a baking sheet in direct sunlight. Bring inside at night. Peppers are done when dried and brittle.
Grind into Powder
Once dried, grind peppers into powder using a dedicated spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Work in small batches to prevent overfilling. Grind into a fine, fluffy powder.
Funnel powder into a clean, airtight container. Store in a cool, dry place and use within 3 months for the best flavor. Makes approximately 1 ounce per pound of fresh peppers.
Homemade green chili powder brings mild to medium heat and green chili flavor without affecting color. It works well in:
- Salsa verde and green sauces
- Meats like pork and chicken
- Salad dressings
- Sprinkled on fresh salads
- Eggs dishes like omelets and scrambled eggs
- Yeast bread, cornbread, biscuits, and flatbreads
- Rubs for meats before grilling or smoking
- Mix into ground meat for burgers and sausages
- Stir into soups, stews, and chilis
- Add to guacamole, salad dressings, and dips
Use more powder for mild heat or less for extra heat. Start with 1-2 teaspoons per recipe and adjust to preference. Store the homemade powder in a cool, dark place and use it within 3 months for optimal freshness.
Make a Flavorful Aioli
An easy way to use green chili powder is in aioli, perfect for sandwiches, burgers, and a veggie dip.
- Whisk together 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1/2 lime juice, and 1 teaspoon of water until blended. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of garlic or olive oil until emulsified.
- Stir in 1 minced garlic clove and 1.5-2 teaspoons of green chili powder. Add salt to taste. For mild heat, use all mild or medium powder. For more kicks, opt for all hot powder.
- Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving for flavors to develop. If too thick, whisk in more lime juice or oil to thin.
Dehydrate Once For Multiple Uses
When you have plenty of fresh green chiles, dehydrate them once and then grind portions as needed for:
- Immediate use as green chili powder
- Further dehydrate it into chili flakes for longer storage
- Rehydrate in soups and stews for a mild green chili flavor
- Grind only what you need for each use to retain freshness
Dehydrating green chiles takes time upfront, but provides flavorful green chili powder, flakes, and reconstituted chiles all from one process. Adjust your grind to create the desired texture. Then use it to add flavor and gentle heat to your favorite Mexican and Southwestern recipes.
Make a Versatile Spice Blend
For an easy shortcut flavor boost, make a custom spice blend with green chili powder and common spices like:
Experiment with portions to create your signature spice blend. Use to quickly season meats before cooking, stir into soups and chilis, or sprinkle on vegetables before roasting. With a homemade green chili blend on hand, weeknight cooking is full of Southwestern flavor.
Tips for the Best Green Chili Powder
- Select fresh, firm, brightly colored peppers without soft spots
- Use gloves when handling peppers to avoid skin irritation
- Leave seeds in for added heat and nutrition
- Let peppers dry completely until brittle and crunchy
- Store powder in a cool, dark place in airtight containers
- Use within 3 months for optimal freshness and heat
Homemade green chili powder made from your favorite fresh green chiles is easy with a dehydrator or oven. In just a few steps, you can create customized spice blends to add flavor and heat to Mexican dishes. Experiment with different pepper varieties to find your perfect blend.
What's the difference between red and green chili powder?
Red chili powder is made from dried red chile peppers, while green chili powder comes from dried green chile peppers. Green chili powder has a brighter, more vegetal flavor compared to the earthier, bolder notes in most red powders. The color of green powder is also much more muted than vibrant red powders.
Does green chili powder have less heat than red?
Not necessarily. The heat level depends on the type of chile used. Some green chile varieties like serranos pack plenty of punch, while others like anaheims are quite mild. You can control the heat by selecting your preferred pepper. Leaving the seeds in increases heat too.
How should I store homemade green chili powder?
Keep your homemade powder in an airtight container in a cool, dark spot. Avoid humidity and light to retain the flavors and oils. Stored properly, the powder will stay fresh for 2-3 months. For longer storage, consider freezing the powder.
Can I substitute store-bought chili powder in recipes calling for green?
It's best to use homemade green chili powder when a recipe specifies it. The flavor and color will be much different from commercial red chili powder. Start with the amount listed in the recipe and adjust to your taste, since the heat of homemade can vary.
What kinds of dishes use green chili powder?
Its mild flavor and green hue make it perfect for things like salsa verde, enchilada sauce, chicken tinga, and chili verde, sprinkled over eggs, stirred into dips and dressings, mixed into burgers or meatballs, added to rubs for meats and stirred into guacamole.
With the power of homemade green chili powder, you can easily add Southwestern flair to everyday cooking. Adjust the chile variety and spice level to create your own signature powder.
Use it to season meats, liven up eggs, and add heat to dips and dressings. Or take it up a notch by blending your own spice mixes with complementary dried herbs. Home dehydrating makes use of fresh green chile surpluses and provides customized powder on hand anytime.
The next time you crave green chile flavor, you'll be glad you made your own.