What is Chili Powder?

What is chili powder? Chili powder is a mixture of different spices blended together. Most cooks have their own preference to the various spices they use and how much of each they like. This mixture adds a lot of flavor and often various stages of “heat” to the recipe.

What is Chili Powder?What is Chili Powder?

Chili powder is not to be confused with cayenne pepper and others which may have the same appearance. Cayenne and some of the others are much hotter than chili powder. When purchasing chili powder, know your favorite brand. The different brands vary tremendously in flavor and heat. For the best taste and consistency, make your own.


While you can buy chili powder from the store, you’ll gain a better understanding of what is chili powder if you make your own. There are thousands of chili powder recipes to choose from, so the best advice is to get hold of the best spices you can afford and try different combinations. The following is a list of ingredients which you will find in many chili powder recipes. The proportions of each spice usually varies somewhat. What is chili powder? Start by blending ½ to 1 teaspoon of each ingredient (Or some) as your taste buds prefers. See how you like it before mixing a larger quantity.


  • Ground cumin
  • Garlic powder or minced garlic cloves
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Paprika
  • Dried oregano
  • Ground coriander

This combination will give you the best and most authentic taste. These are all fairly common spices, so they shouldn’t be too hard to obtain. You should be able to get hold of all the spices pre-ground, but you’ll find you get a more intense flavor if you can get hold of fresh pods and grind them yourself. An old coffee grinder will give you a very fine powder, but you can also use a mortar and pestle for a slightly rougher texture. You’ll also find another answer to the question “what is chili powder” in the smell that arises from your creation.

Choosing The Right Chilies

Whether you’re making your own chili powder or buying a pack from a store, you can usually work out how spicy the final result will be by looking at the types of chilies used to make the powder. The following are grown in the United States year round.

  • Chipotle - These will give your powder a mild and smoky flavor

  • Habanero - The hottest of the hot. These take a while to dry out, so buy them several days in advance of making your own chili powder

  • Poblano - These give a sweet and medium hot flavor, and come pre-dried.

Cooking With Chili Powder

The best answer to “what is chili powder used for?” is simply to add a bit of a kick to your dish. However, too much of it will ruin the other flavors, and most chili powder recipes will ask for a tablespoon or less. The following is a very simple but warming chili con carne.


  • 3 Cups chopped onion
  • 2 Pounds beef. You can use either stewing beef or minced, depending on what you want the final texture of your chili to be. Either way, season your beef with salt and pepper before cooking it.
  • 3 Tablespoons jalapeno pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 6 Mashed garlic cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder, though you can add more to make it more spicy
  • 14oz Beef broth
  • 14oz Beer
  • 1 Cup red wine
  • 2 Tablespoons dried oregano
  • ¼ Cup white wine vinegar

Get the heaviest pan you can find, as you’ll be cooking this dish for a while.

A cast iron dish covered in enamel will be your best option as they retain heat well, but whatever you choose, make sure it has a snug fitting lid.

Heat some oil in the pan, and fry off the beef till it goes brown.

There’s quite a lot of beef, so you might need to do this in stages.

Add the onion to the pan, and sauté for 5 minutes until they’re soft.

Add the spices and garlic and sauté for a further 1 minute

Add the red wine, and use it to scrape up any browned bits of meat stuck to the pan

Stir in the oregano and remaining liquids and leave for an hour and a half, or until the beef is tender.

You’ll work out what is chili powder is for when you taste it, as you’ll either need to add more powder or serve it with plenty of yogurt.


What is chili powder in this Spanish egg recipe? It makes a delicious spicy dish! This is a large crowd size egg recipe serving 12 to 16. You might want to cut it in half.


  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Chopped medium onion
  • 1 Chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 Clove minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 Can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes drained
  • 1 Teaspoon oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ Teaspoon paprika
  • ½ Teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons salt
  • ½ Teaspoon hot sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons canned green chisel
  • 1 Teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

TO MAKE SAUCE melt butter in a large skillet; sauté onion, pepper and garlic until tender.

Remove from heat and stir in flour; return to heat and stir until well blended.

Add tomatoes, all spices, hot sauce, green chisel and Worcestershire sauce; simmer for 30 minutes.


  • 2 Cups sauce
  • 12 to 16 Eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced black olives
  • 3 to 4 Cups shredded Cheddar cheese

PREHEAT OVEN to 350F degrees.

TO ASSEMBLE RECIPE grease 12 to 16 individual baking dishes.

In each layer 2 tablespoons of sauce, 1 egg, ½ teaspoon black olives and ¼ cup of cheese.

Bake 15 minutes until egg is slightly set and bubbly; serve hot.


  • 1 Pound lean ground beef
  • 1 Cup chopped onion
  • ½ Cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 ½ Pound shredded head lettuce
  • 4 Large chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Package (10 ounces) corn chips
  • 1 Pound cheese spread
  • 1 Can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes with green chilies

Combine beef, onion, green pepper and chili powder in a large skillet over medium heat.

Stir and cook until beef is crumbly and well cooked; drain.

Place lettuce in a large bowl; top with tomatoes, corn chips and beef mixture.

Combine cheese spread and canned tomatoes in a saucepan.

Cook mixture over low heat until cheese melts stirring often.

Pour cheese mixture over salad and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.