Smoked Chili Powder

Go for the smoke…

Sure chili powder always has an earthy undertone, due to the inclusion of cumin, garlic, and onion powder in the mix. But that earthiness is taken to another level when you opt for smoky chilies and smoked paprika to use as the chili pepper base.

Ancho peppers and chipotle are both recommended dry chilies for this smoked chili powder recipes. You can use all ancho for a milder powder, all chipotle for a medium smoky heat, or a mix of the two for a level of spiciness somewhere in-between. Use this recipe anywhere you’d use regular chili powder, but we highly recommend it as a barbecue rub or finishing seasoning for steaks. Also try it mixed with mayonaisse to create a smoky aioli, perfect for fry dipping.

Smoked Chili Powder

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 8 to 10 ancho peppers or chipotle peppers (or a mix of the two)
  • 1/4 cup cumin seeds
  • 1/4 cup smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place the dried chilies on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake 5 to 10 minutes, until the remaining liquid in the dried chilies is removed (crisp to the touch, but not burned).
  • Over medium heat (or in a toaster oven), toast the cumin seeds until fragrant.
  • Using a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder), crush the chilies and cumin seed into a fine powder.
  • Place the chili/cumin mix into a bowl, then add remaining ingredients. Mix until fully combine.
  • Use immediately or store in an airtight container.


Use solely ancho peppers if you are looking for a milder smoked chili powder, or opt for chipotle peppers only if you prefer a medium level of heat. A mix between the two will provide variant levels of heat between the extremes.
Did you make this?Mention @PepperScale or tag #PepperScale so we can see what you made!

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on August 17, 2019 to include new content.
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