How to make chili powder

How to Make Chili Powder using Fresh Chillies

Welcome to this chili powder recipe, showing you how to make chili powder! Super simple and highly recommend to make yourself. You can adapt the spice level to your liking and have a really nice, conservative free chili powder!

To make chili powder, simply dry your favorite chillies and grind them! Add ingredients (like onion and garlic) and grind them as well. Add another drying step after grinding to make the powder even finer.

Store bought chili powder is basically dried chillies with conservatives, making them less good for your health but making them spoil only after a really long time. Removing seeds from the powder will make the powder much less spicy.

It’s really easy to spice up your favorite recipes and highly used in my kitchen! I simply make my own so that I have more control on the outcome. Let’s see how to make chili powder!

Disclosure: please note that some of the links below may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase.

Step 1: Choose your ingredients

chili powder

Chili powder

Homemade chili powder! A great addition to any kitchen and manageable to personal taste! Enjoy.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Course Spicy additive
Servings 100 g


  • Food processor


  • 10 red chili peppers (~10cm)
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika powder


  • Choose the ingredients
  • Chop the ingredients
  • Dry the ingredients
  • Grind the ingredients
  • Conserve the chili powder
  • Using the chili powder
Keyword how to make chili powder

What to consider when choosing the ingredients

You can do whatever you want here, just pick some of your favorite chillies, general red chili peppers, bird’s eye chillies, madame jeanette, whatever you want! You can also use fresh chillies, dried chillies, whatever.

In general, the smaller the chili, the bigger the heat. This is because the smaller chillies contain more capsaicin, the component responsible of that spicy sensation. I would recommend starting with larger, red chillies (~5-10cm) and removing the seeds because these contain a lot of heat. Especially when you make this the first time!

Accompany with some onions, garlic, bell peppers, whatever you like. It’s hard to go wrong here, just keep in mind not to make it too spicy if you don’t know what you are doing!

I added some smoked paprika powder for the smokey flavor, really nice to add but again, do as you wish! Add some salt, garlic powder, pepper, I encourage to experiment and get a feel of what happens when you add certain ingredients.

Let’s see what I did:

Step 2: Chop the ingredients

I started with fresh ingredients, red chili peppers and red onion. Keeping the recipe easy and still having a great powder. Remove seeds from the chillies by rolling them in between your hands and fingers to break up the seeds inside. Roughly chop them and wash them thoroughly in a drainer to flush out the seeds.

washed and chopped chillies

Pre-heat your oven to just below 100C, 100C should work as well but you want the moist to evaporate without boiling. Also the vitamins in the ingredients start breaking down at 100C!

Properly dry the chillies with some kitchen paper or towel and continue with chopping the onions.

Chop the onion about the same size as the chillies such that they dry out in parallel to eachother. Otherwise, the onion will dry out sooner or later than the chillies which is not really convenient. In general, the smaller the cut the faster it will dry, keep that in mind.

Step 3: Dry the ingredients

Add the ingredients on some parchment paper and add to the pre-heated oven at 90C. Again 100C is fine, just put the ingredients on the bottom of the oven to be in the coolest spot.

It really depends on the used ingredients, chopping sizes and actual temperature of the oven on how long to dry them, aim for like 4 hours and check how the ingredients look.

Everything looks deflated when properly dried, like in the image below. If this is not the case, dry for another hour and check again.

dried chillies

Alternatively, put the ingredients in the sun for a couple of days and they dry out as well. You want moist to be able to escape so hanging them somewhere would make this process more stable. In general, I buy my chillies in large batches and hang them in my kitchen using some needle and thread. This dries the chillies after a couple of weeks as well!

hanging chillies

Finally, you can also consider buying a food dryer to do this. I don’t have one myself but I will surely add my experience here once I do.

In general, it’s not the worst thing if the ingredients aren’t perfectly dry yet. I’ve added another drying step after grinding so you can continue to the next step even if you don’t know if the drying is completed.

Step 4: Grinding the ingredients

When (somewhat) dried, add the ingredients to a food processor. If you don’t have one I highly recommend getting one, as this is unmissable in any chef’s kitchen! Click here to purchase the one I use.

I highly use this product in many of my recipes. Almost every sambal found here is made with a food processor!

Grind the ingredients and you might find the outcome a little flakey, rather than a powder. No worries! Add the substance back in to the oven and dry for another 30 minutes. Grind again and you will find the powder you need!

stored chili powder

Step 5: Conserve the chili powder

Now that your chili powder is completed, you probably don’t want it to go bad very soon. In theory this generally does not really happen to dried spices, since there is no moist left to ruin the party. However, some measures should be taken to properly store your spices so you can save them for years.

First of all, make sure the container you want to use is airtight and cleansed with boiling water! After the boiling water, make sure all the moist is gone. Use a hair dryer to make sure the container is dry!

If you want to go one step further you can save your chili powder in multiple small size containers. Every time you open the lid of your container, fresh and moist air enters the container which the chili powder will absorb.

You know the quality of your spices are degrading when everything start lumping together, stay safe when storing your spices! Only use clean utensils when removing some powder from the container, you don’t want to bring in any bacteria.

how to make chili powder

Step 6: Using the chili powder

This step is just to tell you a little about the basic knowledge of how to use chili powder. Since we are working with a powder, the surface area of the substance is really high.

This means it will very easily heat up so burning will happen easily, ruining your dish.

Dried spices also quickly release their flavors so you can add them later in the cooking process, when temperatures are less high.

I would recommend cooking on high heat (if needed) before adding your dried spices, reduce to medium heat and finish cooking your dish so there is time for the flavors to settle.

If high heat is not really needed, add the dried spices directly to the oil you use for cooking as a first step, before doing anything else. This will nicely implement the flavors and colors!

Compared to using fresh spices, like kaffir leaves, lemon grass, ginger, fresh herbs. These tend to burn less quickly and take more time to release flavors. You want to add them sooner rather than later!

I hope you have fun making your own chili powder, let me know what you made and rate if you made mine! Enjoy.

Consider making the following homemade spicy additives as well, to have a standard stock of flavor enhancement:

Or check out my spicy additives section to find more you might like!

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