This chili seasoning recipe is a keeper! It’s a flavorful blend of bold spices that you can easily customize the heat level, unlike store-bought seasoning.
Table of Contents
The secret is in the spices to achieve the most delicious pot of chili. This homemade chili seasoning mix has the perfect ratio of savory and spicy flavors. Dried and ground chilies, peppers, salt, paprika, and alliums form the base. Customizing to your taste is easy, especially if you prefer to crank up the heat.
This recipe makes enough for one batch, but go ahead and scale up so that you have extra in your spice cabinet anytime you’re ready to make chili. It’s versatile to use! Add it to your favorite chili recipe, whether beef, turkey, chicken, or vegetarian.
- Chili Powder: I use pre-blended chili powder jars sold in grocery stores, which is typically a milder blend of ground dried chilies, paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, alliums, black pepper, and herbs like parsley and oregano. This is the base, and then I add hotter types of peppers like chipotle or cayenne for an extra kick of heat.
- Cumin: Has a nutty, slightly sweet, warming flavor with a hint of citrus flavor.
- Coriander: Coriander are the seeds of the cilantro plant. It adds an earthy, slightly sweet, and tart taste. It has a floral aroma when toasted or bloomed in fat when cooking.
- Paprika: I recommend using smoked paprika for a deep charred flavor to the chili. Use sweet paprika if you prefer a less smokey taste.
- Salt: Use kosher salt or sea salt to enhance the savory taste of the chili. If adding table salt, start with half the amount of kosher salt. Season the pot of chili to the desired salt level.
- Alliums: Garlic powder and onion powder have been heat treated, which adds a roasted taste. The drying process mellows out the sulfurous notes.
- Black pepper: The black peppercorn adds a lingering spice, especially if freshly ground.
Mix the spices
Combine chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, coriander, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and chipotle chili powder to make my homemade spice mix. This creates a mild flavor. If you’d like a spicier taste, gradually increase the chipotle or add in cayenne pepper, about ¼ teaspoon at a time.
How to use the chili seasoning
This chili seasoning recipe makes enough for one pot of chili. The spice mix yields about ¼ cup. It’s enough to flavor 1 ½ to 2 pounds of ground beef, chicken, turkey, or vegetables like sweet potatoes.
For example, if you make my easy chili recipe, it will yield 8 cups of chili. It’s easy to reduce or increase the amount of the final spice blend depending on the batch size you plan to make.
How to store
Store the chili seasoning mix in an airtight container for the best flavor and extended shelf life. I prefer glass jars because their thick walls are less permeable to moisture pickup.
Glass keeps moisture from entering so the ingredients don’t become clumpy over time. Store in a cool, dark, dry pantry or your spice drawer for up to 6 months.
There are several ways to vary the flavor of the seasoning. Switch up the taste with these tasty suggestions:
- Chilies: Chili powder blends tend to be mild. Increase the heat with cayenne pepper and smokiness with chipotle or larger red chili flakes for a lasting heat. Keep it mild ancho chili powder. Start with adding ¼ teaspoon at a time to the seasoning base.
- Herbs: Add herbaceous notes with dried oregano, parsley, basil, or thyme. I add oregano to my homemade taco seasoning mix; it has a nice lingering minty note. Start with ½ to 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.
- Sweetness: Add some sweetness to balance the savory and spicy ingredients. Brown sugar provides a molasses flavor, and granulated sugar adds a pure sweetness. Begin with 1 teaspoon, then gradually increase.
Chili recipes to try
Make a batch of this chili seasoning and add it to one of my delicious recipes to quickly boost the taste!
- Instant pot chili
- Vegetarian chili
- White bean chicken chili
- Slow cooker turkey chili
- Instant Pot turkey chili
- Classic beef chili
Frequently asked questions
The base should contain chili powder, salt, black pepper, paprika, cumin, and coriander. Alliums like garlic and onion add earthiness.
Yes! To the chili seasoning base, gradually add cayenne pepper or chipotle chili powder if you like a smokier taste. Red chili flakes that aren’t ground will add a lingering heat.
The difference between homemade chili seasoning vs. store-bought packets
Store-bought packets are a convenient option but are less customizable. They typically contain chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, flour for thickening, salt, onion, garlic, and sometimes even cocoa powder. If you prefer a gluten-free option, make your own mix. I like to add smoked paprika and chipotle for a charred note and more heat.
Homemade Chili Seasoning
- Mix the Spices – In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, coriander, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and chipotle (if using).
- Store – Transfer seasoning mix to an airtight container or jar.
- Recipe Yield: About ¼ cup of seasoning for one pot of chili (about 8 cups).
- Serving Size: About 1 ½ teaspoons per 1 cup of chili
- Storing: Store in an airtight container or jar for up to 6 months in a cool, dry place.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
Tried this recipe?
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