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Don’t have chili powder, or realized you’re all out while you’re cooking? Here’s the best chili powder substitute to use in recipes.

Chili powder substitute
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Making a recipe that calls for chili powder and don’t have it? Here’s a few options that are suitable as a substitution. Chili powder is a spice blend made with dried chilis and other spices. It’s the main spice in chili, and is used often in Mexican cuisine. There’s really nothing like it! But, here’s the good news: you can fake it if you need to. Here are a few ideas for substitutions for this spicy ingredient.

Best chili powder substitute

1. Homemade chili powder mix

The best substitute for chili powder? A homemade chili powder mix! To make homemade chili powder, simply combine the following spices to make ¼ cup chili powder:

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • ½ tablespoon cumin
  • ½ tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon cayenne

2. Paprika, cumin and cayenne

The next best substitute for chili powder? A mix of paprika, cumin and cayenne. If you don’t have all the spices above, you can make a “cheater” version. Here’s the ratio to use:

  • Substitution Ratio: For every 1 tablespoon chili powder, use 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin, and a scant ¼ teaspoon cayenne. You can customize the cayenne to taste based on your spice preference.

3. Chipotle chili powder

This chili powder substitute must be treated with caution, but chipotle chili powder can bring some of the savory pepper flavor to dishes along with the heat. However, keep in mind that it is extremely spicy!

For every 1 tablespoon chili powder, we’d substitute only ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder, though you could use more to taste. It would also work in combination with paprika and cumin: use 1 ½ teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin and ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder.

Here are some recipes that use chili powder:

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Chili seasoning

Homemade Chili Powder Substitute


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: ¼ cup 1x

Description

Here’s how to make homemade chili powder! Mix this all natural blend into a batch of chili, or use it for grilled or roasted veggies, dips, and more.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • ½ tablespoon cumin
  • ½ tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon cayenne

Instructions

  1. Whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl. Transfer to an airtight container or jar. Store for 6 months to 1 year in a cool, dry place.
  • Category: Seasoning
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Spice Blend
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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8 Comments

  1. JAX says:

    No clue how much to use for like 2 quarts or A Gallon of chilli No information of it’s use at all

    1. Ginny says:

      How much chili powder does your recipe call for? That’s how much of this you’d use.

  2. Dee jones says:

    How much do I use per pound of meat

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      1 to 2 tablespoons, to your preference.

      1. Kash says:

        One or two is a big difference. 1teaspoon to 1 cup. lol

  3. Kyle Delgren says:

    I wanted to make a chilli for my daughter that wasn’t spicy at all, I’ve been using this substitute without the cayenne and it tastes great! Thanks

  4. Anonymous says:

    Needed chili powder in a hurry for enchilada sauce. I’m in Russia, I even have to make the tortillas. So your recipe was just in time for lunch. Thanks, you two!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      You’re welcome!