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.
Originally posted 1-17-14, updated 8-14-18.
How to Make Homemade Chili Seasoning
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?!
Homemade Chili Seasoning
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp approximately freshly ground pepper
- 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.
Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclosure here.
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.
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.
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!