Homemade Chili Seasoning

by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.81 from 87 votes
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I made a pot of my basic chili a few weeks ago, which uses my homemade chili seasoning, so I wanted to post the homemade chili seasoning blend by itself to highlight the fact that it can be used for so much more than just chili.

How to Make Homemade Chili Seasoning

A bowl of homemade chili seasoning being stirred together on a wooden background.

How to Use Homemade Chili Seasoning:

This homemade chili seasoning is equivalent to one store bought chili seasoning packet. This homemade chili seasoning will be enough to season one 6 serving batch of chili, or a batch of chili that uses one pound of ground beef or ground turkey.

Brown the ground beef or ground turkey first, drain the excess fat if needed, then add the homemade chili seasoning. Continue to sauté the seasoning with the beef for about a minute more, which will toast the spices and make them a bit more pronounced. Continue making your chili by adding diced tomatoes, beans, or whatever else you prefer (see my Easy Chili Recipe).

In addition to making a big pot of warm and comforting homemade chili, you can add this chili seasoning to vegetables, meat, or fish before roasting or grilling (check out my Chili Roasted Potatoes), or even sprinkle a little into your mac and cheese. I mean, what can’t you do with chili seasoning?!

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Homemade Chili Seasoning

4.81 from 87 votes
This simple homemade chili seasoning is made with a few basic pantry staple spices and can be used for so much more than a pot of traditional chili! 
This simple homemade chili seasoning is made with a few basic pantry staple spices and can be used for so much more than a pot of traditional chili! Budgetbytes.com
Servings 1 recipe
Prep 5 minutes
Total 5 minutes



  • Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine. Store in an air-tight container, away from heat and moisture for up to six months.

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Makes enough for one pot of chili (about 6 servings).
If the chili powder you are using is spicy, you can reduce or eliminate the cayenne pepper from this recipe.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 18.1kcalCarbohydrates: 2.9gProtein: 0.3gFat: 0.1gSodium: 2841.5mgFiber: 0.4g
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What is “chili powder”?

Chili powder is a blend of spices used to season chili, which is commonly sold pre-mixed in the United States. So, in effect, you could use just that alone to season your pot of chili, but my homemade chili seasoning takes it up a few notches.

Chili powder can vary in heat from brand to brand, so make sure to give yours a taste before making your chili. If the chili powder you are using is spicy, you can reduce or eliminate the cayenne pepper from this recipe.

Bottle of chili powder being hand held.

The chili powder pictured above (Kroger brand) is spicy, as the label indicates, but not every brand is nice enough to let you know ahead of time if their blend is spicy. If you’re looking for a mild, not-spicy blend, check out McCormick’s chili powder. They also make a “hot Mexican” chili powder, which is quite spicy.

Can You Use Taco Seasoning for Chili?

They’re quite similar, but not exactly the same. For my Homemade Taco Seasoning, I use a slightly smokier blend of spices and add a little oregano. I do think you could use them interchangeably in a pinch, if needed, but prefer this slightly more simple blend for chili.

The spices needed for homemade chili seasoning in a wooden bowl before being stirred together.

What is the Best Secret Ingredient for Chili?

The answer to this is subjective, of course, but in addition to your basic homemade chili seasoning you can add some fun “secret ingredients’ to your chili. Here are some fun secret ingredients for chili: 

  • Cocoa powder or dark chocolate, which gives an earthy flavor
  • Beer: light Mexican or dark beer, like Guinness 
  • Brown sugar or molasses (sweet makes a great contrast to spicy!)
  • Cinnamon, goes nicely with savory flavors as well as sweet!
  • Red wine (for beef chili)
  • Coffee or espresso (similar to cocoa, this provides a deep earthiness)

What are your favorite chili seasonings? Share in the comments below!

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  1. This is great! I did add a pinch of red pepper flakes as we like it a little hot. I’ll never buy the packets again. Thank you!

  2. Loved this recipe. I used dark chili powder, and I did add smoked paprika and chipotle powder.
    I always add beer, cocoa, and a bit of peanut butter to my chili with beans.
    I may add some instant espresso next time.

  3. I went to the cupboard to get my
    McCormicks. But to my wondering eye I had none. Didn’t feel like going out so I called in Google. And the recipe was the first up I have to say I may never buy store bought again

  4. Followed it exactly and it was perfect! Doesn’t need paprika because it has the Cayenne. I would say if you don’t like as much spice you could substitute the Cayenne with paprika. But seriously try it exactly as described first because this is a great alternative to getting those chili seasoning packets that have unnatural ingredients.

  5. This recipe is missing paprika (I prefer smoked), and coriander (ground or whole seeds). Optional, cornstarch or arrowroot if you need a thickener.