Chili Seasoning Recipe

5 from 6 votes
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This Chili Seasoning recipe uses simple pantry ingredients that you can find at any basic grocery store. It is cheaper and tastes better than store-bought chili powder. Swap it 1:1 for storebought chili powder in any recipe.

Homemade chili seasoning in a glass container with spoons.

What IS Chili Powder?

Chili powder is a seasoning blend made from ground, dried chilies along with other spices that can include garlic, cumin, and oregano, among others.

It’s commonly used in Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking to add flavor and a bit of heat to dishes. The exact composition of chili powder can vary greatly depending on the brand or the recipe used if making it at home.

It’s important to note that it is different from “chile powder,” or “cayenne pepper” which is made of purely ground chilies without additional spices mixed in. See Chili Powder vs. Cayenne Pepper: What You NEED to Know.

The cream cheese chicken chili is in a bowl and is topped with corn kernels, chilies, and cream cheese.

Why You’ll Love This Homemade Chili Seasoning Recipe

This easy-to-follow recipe boosts the flavor of any dish with its warm, aromatic Mexican flavor.

Better Flavor Than a Chili Seasoning Packet

Each ingredient in this spice blend has been chosen for its ability to contribute deep, complex flavors that balance heat with earthiness, sweetness, and a hint of smokiness. No surprises here, it tastes like storebought chili powder – but fresher and more vibrant!

Store-bought chili powders always have salt, and recipes that call for chili powder are seasoned with this salt in mind.

To make sure you could swap in this blend 1:1 with perfect results, I calculated the amount of salt per teaspoon of the popular chili powders. I then made sure this homemade chili seasoning recipe has the same ratio of salt. That means you can swap this homemade blend right into any of your recipes without changing the flavor outcome.

No Extra Ingredients or Additives

Homemade blends skip the fillers and preservatives found in store-bought packets, giving you all the flavor without unnecessary extras.

Super Cheap!

Making chili seasoning at home saves money, and you likely already have all the spices you need in your pantry.

Chicken tacos on a table.

Here’s What You Need for this Chili Seasoning Recipe

Making your own chili seasoning at home is a game-changer. It’s simple, and you’ll probably have most of these ingredients in your pantry already. Let’s break down what you’ll need to get started.

Chili Seasoning Ingredients

  • Paprika: Adds a deep, smoky flavor and a rich color.
  • Smoked Paprika: Gives an extra smokiness, if you like a bit more fire.
  • Cayenne Pepper: Brings the heat. Adjust to your spice preference.
  • Onion Powder: Offers a savory depth without the bulk of fresh onions.
  • Ground Cumin: Contributes an earthy, warm note that’s quintessential in chili.
  • Garlic Powder: Adds a sharp, distinct flavor that complements other spices.
  • Dried Oregano: Imparts a slight bitterness and an herbal touch.
  • Kosher Salt: Enhances all the flavors and ties them together.
  • Ground Coriander: Lends a slight citrusy, nutty taste.
Homemade chili seasoning recipe ingredients.

Variations and Substitutions

Feel free to add your own secret ingredients to the blend, just keep the total ratio of salt to other ingredients the same.

  • Ancho Chili Powder: For a milder, fruitier spice profile.
  • Chipotle Powder: Swap for smoked paprika for a different kind of smokiness and heat.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: You can use red pepper flakes in place of cayenne if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Fresh Garlic: Use in place of garlic powder for a more pungent kick.
  • Fresh Herbs: Substitute dried oregano with fresh for a more vibrant flavor, but use it quickly.
  • Sea Salt: If kosher salt isn’t available, sea salt can be used but in a different quantity due to varying crystal sizes.

Grab these Tools

  • Measuring Spoons: Precision is key for the perfect blend.
  • Mixing Bowl: To combine your spices thoroughly.
  • Airtight Container: For storing your seasoning and keeping it fresh.
  • Whisk or Fork: To mix the spices and break up any clumps.

How to Make This Homemade Chili Seasoning Blend: An Easy Guide

Creating your own chili seasoning from scratch is both rewarding and incredibly easy. With just a few staple spices, you can whip up a batch that’s tailored to your taste and ready for countless dishes.

Homemade Chili Seasoning Recipe

  • Begin by gathering all your spices. Measure them out carefully to ensure your seasoning is balanced.
  • In a small bowl, combine the paprika, smoked paprika (if you’re using it), cayenne pepper, onion powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, kosher salt, and ground coriander.
  • Using a whisk or fork, mix the spices together until they are well blended. Take your time to break up any clumps so the spices will distribute evenly when you use them.
  • Once your seasoning is thoroughly mixed, transfer it to an airtight container. This will keep your chili seasoning fresh and ready to use whenever the craving strikes.
  • Label your seasoning jar with the date so you’ll know to use it up within six months for the best flavor.

And there you have it—a simple, perfect blend of spices that will elevate any chili dish. Enjoy the rich flavors this homemade touch adds to your cooking!

Ground beef chili in a pot with a bowl of chili next to it.

How to Use This Chili Seasoning Recipe

Using homemade chili seasoning can transform your meals, adding depth and heat that’s just right. It’s the best secret ingredient! Here’s how you can put this robust blend to good use.

Homemade chili powder in a sealed container.

Homemade Chili Seasoning Mix: Make Ahead and Storage

Properly storing your homemade chili seasoning can keep it tasting fresh and vibrant for months. Here’s how to ensure longevity and quality.

  • Make Ahead: Chili seasoning can be made in bulk and stored, meaning you can have it on hand whenever the chili mood strikes.
  • Airtight Container: Store your seasoning blend in an airtight container to prevent moisture from clumping your spices.
  • Cool and Dark: Keep your spice mix in a cool, dark place like a pantry or a kitchen cabinet away from direct sunlight.
  • Label and Date: Label your container with the date you mixed the seasoning to keep track of freshness.
  • Avoid Heat Sources: Store away from the stove or oven to prevent heat from altering the flavor and color of the spices.
  • Shelf Life: Your homemade chili seasoning should stay fresh for up to six months if stored properly.
Cayennne Pepper next to Chili Powder to compare.

How to Make the Homemade Spice Mixes: Final Notes + Secrets

Unlock the full potential of your chili seasoning with these expert tips.

  • Freshness Counts: Make sure your dried spices aren’t past their prime for the most vibrant flavor.
  • Adjust the Heat: Love it hot? Dial up the cayenne. Prefer it mild? Ease up and add more paprika instead.
  • Toast for Depth: Briefly toasting the spices in a dry pan can intensify their flavors before you mix them together.
  • Store Properly: Keep your seasoning in an airtight container, away from light and heat, to maintain its punch.
  • Layer Flavors: Don’t be afraid to add fresh ingredients like garlic and onion to your dishes in addition to this seasoning for more complexity.
  • Customize: Remember, this is your seasoning blend. Feel free to tweak the ingredients to suit your personal taste preferences, but if you want to use it as a direct substitution for store-bought chili powder, keep the quantity of salt to other ingredients the same.

Now you’re ready to whip up a batch of chili!

Homemade Chili Powder FAQs

Just skimming through? Here are some quick answers to commonly-asked questions about chili seasoning.

Can I make this chili seasoning blend in advance?
You can absolutely prepare this blend ahead of time. It stays fresh for up to 6 months when stored properly.

Is this seasoning blend spicy?
The heat level depends on the chili powders you choose. Ancho is milder, while cayenne adds more heat.

Can this blend be used for dishes other than chili?
This versatile blend is great for meats, stews, veggies, and even popcorn.

What if I don’t have all the spices listed?
You can still get a tasty blend without one or two spices, but the flavor will change with each omission.

How much of the seasoning should I use?
Use about 2 to 3 tablespoons per pound of meat or per can of beans.

Can I reduce the salt in the recipe?
Adjusting the salt to your taste or dietary needs is fine, but it may change the flavor balance slightly.

Does this seasoning have any allergens?
Typically, there are no common allergens, but always check spice labels for cross-contamination if you have allergies.

What is the difference between chili seasoning and chili powder?
Chili seasoning includes a blend of spices with chili powder, whereas chili powder is ground dried chilies.

What is a good substitute for chili seasoning in a pinch?
Combine ground cumin, garlic powder, and a bit of cayenne as a quick fix.

Other Mexican Recipes You’ll love!

If you love flavor-packed Mexican cuisine as much as I do, you MUST try these super-popular dishes:

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5 from 6 votes

Chili Seasoning Recipe

This homemade chili seasoning recipe combines simple pantry spices to create a rich, complex flavor that can be used in many different dishes. It’s easy to adjust to your heat preference and is much fresher than store-bought mixes.
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Servings: 1 cup


  • 8 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika or more regular paprika
  • 2 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
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  • Mix the Spices: In a bowl, combine all the ground spices together. Ensure they’re well mixed for an even flavor distribution.
  • Taste and Adjust: Give the blend a taste and tweak the salt or heat level to your liking.


Storage: Store the blend in an airtight container, keeping it in a cool, dry place to maintain freshness. The seasoning can be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months. 
Use about 2 to 3 tablespoons per pound of meat or per can of beans.
Smoked paprika adds a nice depth and smokiness; you can use regular paprika if that’s what you have on hand.


Calories: 12kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.5g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 221mg | Potassium: 74mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 1215IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Gabby says:

    5 stars
    I’m curious if this seasoning blend could be used for other dishes besides chili, like stews or soups?

    1. Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD says:

      Hi Gabby, yes! I use it on so many things. I use it for ground beef or chicken, and anywhere else I want a tex mex flavor.

  2. Leila says:

    5 stars
    This recipe was spot on as a chili powder replacement. Thanks!

  3. Natalia says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is a lifesaver! I always struggle to find a pre-made chili seasoning that I truly love. Now I make my own!

  4. Mariana says:

    5 stars
    I love the smoked paprika in this recipe. It adds a depth of flavor that I can’t wait to experience in my homemade chili.

  5. Amber says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe!

  6. Melody says:

    5 stars
    Perfect flavor and not too salty. Thanks for a great homemade chili seasoning recipe!