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Healthy Eats and Repeat

Coloring with Chili Powder

I noticed a while back that my bottle of chili powder had an ingredient list. I never thought about chili powder being a blend of spices, but there it was for me to read. Many commercial blends of chili powder contain ground dry chiles, salt, garlic, and other spices like paprika, cumin, cayenne, oregano, etc.


Spices contain insignificant amounts of fat, carbohydrates, or protein for the small amounts we use in recipes, so they are not an appreciable source of calories.

With chili powder blends that have salt added, sodium is worth considering. The USDA's Nutrient Reference states 1 Tbsp of chili powder to have 230mg sodium. Even dividing this among a 4-serving recipes – around 58mg sodium – it is not a lot of sodium. However, look at your recipes to notice how much you use – in addition to added salt and other ingredients high in sodium.

  • Buy: Look for chili powder in sealed containers or bags.
  • Price: Store-brand and off-label brands tend to be cheaper than name-brand spices. If the taste and flavor in one brand does not appeal, try another brand.
  • Store: Chili powder – and other spices – are best stored in dark, dry, and cool places in sealable jars or bottles. Spices in bags will retain quality better if moved into a sealable container. Check each year that chili powder still has a strong smell. If not, it is time to throw out.
    • Prepare: Chili powder is already prepared and ready to use. If you want to make your own, try the recipe in this post, or find another you prefer.
    • Eat: In dishes you want to add a lightly spicy and warm flavor, chili powder is a good choice. Chili powder is common in savory dishes, but you may also find it in sweet recipes like brownies.


    There is no single chili powder recipe. Try this one, adjust as desired, and make the blend your own!

    Chili Powder Blend (makes 1/4 cup)

    Experiment with drying or blending hot (spicy) chiles into powder. Ancho (dried poblano peppers), chipotle chiles (dried jalapeño peppers), and dried arbol chili peppers are common in chili powder blends.

    2 Tbsp ground chiles (try a mix of dried ground chiles like ancho, chipotle, arbol, etc.)
    1 tsp dried oregano
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1 tsp paprika
    1 tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp onion powder
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

    1. In a small bowl, mix all spices and herbs together. Move into a sealable container, store at room temperature in a dark, dry area. Use within 6 months.