Homemade Ancho Chile Powder

Homemade Ancho Chile Powder is DIRT CHEAP when you make it at home – just one ingredient! Add it to soups, salad dressings, and chicken for a spicy heat.

Ancho Chile Powder is a really fun ingredients to add to your spice cabinet. You can use it to flavor all kinds of things, including soups (your chili, especially), salad dressings, and marinades. It’s also a key flavor in my Chipotle Chicken copycat recipe.

A portrait photo of Homemade Ancho Chile Powder in a small clear jar. There is a dried ancho chile in the background slightly out of focus. The jar's white lid is to the right of the jar.

The problem with Ancho Chile Powder is not it’s versatility nor it’s robust flavor. It’s the COST. It’s usually several dollars for a jar, or even more, and I’m guessing you only shell out that kind of money for saffron. And probably not even for saffron.

So the punchline of all this is, homemade Ancho Chile Powder is SO EASY to make, and dirt cheap. So let’s get right to it.

How to Make Ancho Chile Powder

First of all, the recipe is so easy it’s not even a recipe.

It’s literally just dried Ancho Chiles ground up.

I typically buy the chiles in 2 ounce packages, and depending on the size of the chiles, each package contains 2 to 4 chiles.  1 (2 ounce) package of dried Ancho Chiles will yield about 1/4 cup ancho chile powder.

By the way, Ancho Chiles are Poblano Peppers that have been dried.  Furthermore, Poblano Peppers are my all-time favorite pepper.

A side by side photo collage of the dried ancho chiles in a spice grinder, and of the ground ancho chile powder pulverized in the spice grinder.

The Process

I recommend wearing gloves while handling the dried chiles, just in case. Pull off the stems, clean out the seeds, and tear the dried chiles into smallish pieces. Add to a grinder. Grind.

We all know we are supposed to pitch and re-buy spices every 6 months… maybe you do, maybe you don’t.  But with things like Chili Powder, freshness = potency.  Freshness really does matter here.

The Equipment

I like to use an electric spice grinder, but a small food processor or a high-quality blender should also be able to handle the heat.

Exhibit A: My Chipotle Chicken.

A square photo of chopped Chipotle Chicken, with a chef's knife blade on the right.

Where to Find Dried Ancho Chiles

Ancho dried chiles are always in stock at my local International foods markets and Mexican grocery stores. Sometimes I find them at regular groceries stores too or even Walmart. They usually sell for around $2 or less for a 2-ounce package.

You can also buy them online, although I understand that spending $18 on dried ancho chiles isn’t much better than spending $10 on a jar of Ancho Chile Powder. Even if it’s a good value, it’s still a lot of money.

So, try to find them locally. In California, they are sometimes labeled as “Ancho-Pasilla Chiles” or just “Pasilla Chiles.”

More Ideas

So now you’ve ground up a nice pile of Homemade Ancho Chile Powder.  What are you going to do with it?

Besides using it in my Chipotle Chicken Copycat Recipe, I’ve collected a few other recipes from around the web.  These bloggers are doing amazing things with Ancho Chile Powder.  Find your inspiration!

And once you have dried ancho chiles in your cupboard, you’ll find there are all sorts of recipes around where you can you put the whole chile to use instead of grinding it into powder.  Expand your culinary horizons!

Blackened Fish Taco Bowls (GF) – Noshtastic

Pot Roast Tacos (GF) – Noshtastic

Guiness Pulled Pork Sliders – Normageddon

Ancho Chicken Flatbread Sandwich – Fox Valley Foodie

Sweet Potato Burrito Bowl (Vegan) – Cook with Manali

Crispy Pork Belly Tacos – The Stay at Home Chef

Mexican Chocolate Avocado Mousse – Cook Eat Paleo

Save this Homemade Ancho Chile Powder to your “Spices” Pinterest board!

And let’s be friends on Pinterest! I’m always pinning tasty recipes!

A square photo of Homemade Ancho Chile Powder in a small clear jar. There is a dried ancho chile in the background slightly out of focus. The jar's white lid is to the right of the jar.
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Homemade Ancho Chile Powder

Homemade Ancho Chile Powder is DIRT CHEAP when you make it at home - just one ingredient! Add it to soups, salad dressings, and chicken for a spicy heat.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Calories 10 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces dried Ancho Chiles

Instructions

  1. Open the chile peppers by pulling them apart with your hands or cutting with a knife (wearing gloves is recommended). Carefully pull out and discard the stem. Shake or scrape out all seeds. Repeat with remaining chilies.
  2. Tear cleaned chile pieces into 1” or 2” pieces. Place in an electric grinder or small food processor and process in batches until finely ground.
  3. Store covered in an airtight container.

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Homemade Ancho Chile Powder is DIRT CHEAP when you make it at home - just one ingredient! Add it to soups, salad dressings, and chicken for a spicy heat.

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23 comments

  1. Great way to get fresh seasonings and not spend a lot of money. Spices are expensive! Does this smell really spicy when you grind it up or just fragrant?

  2. Really nice post, Meggan! Very informative (as usual) and it’s a nice touch to include the recipes from other bloggers. I’ll take a look!

  3. Thanks for this good practical advice!  It’s easy to find the whole dried ones and the ground stuff is hard to find and expensive.

    • Thank you, Jennifer! I agree, the jarred ancho chile pepper is way more expensive compared to the peppers. It’s crazy! Glad you found this to be useful! :)

  4. Can you use a food processor if you do not have a grinder?

    • Hi Emily, if you can get a find grind, then yes you can. I haven’t tried it, but I am definitely willing to do so and report back. It’s certainly worth a try!

  5. I am definitely going to try this.  Does a regular grocery store sell dried ancho chile peppers or will I need to go to a specially store?

    • Hi Tricia, it’s hit & miss for me. Sometimes regular grocery stores have them, or maybe they sell other dried chiles but not anchos. Walmart has them sometimes too but not always. If I absolutely need them and can only make one stop, I go to my local international food market. So that would probably be a “specialty” store. I do know that when I find them, they are always cheap (under $2). So I tend to stock up and keep some packages in the freezer. Good luck!

  6. Is it necessary to wear gloves?

    • No, it is absolutely not necessary to wear gloves. I’m kind of obsessed with wearing latex gloves in my kitchen because I have small children, and if I have to attend to them suddenly, I don’t want to hurt them with some random piece of spicy food. It’s easier to just rip off the gloves. But no. I am going to go back and revisit this post and make sure the wording is clearer about that. Sorry for the confusion!

  7. No worries. Thank you so much for your prompt response. : )

  8. Hi Meggan. I live in Australia so which peppers could I use to make this???? Love the recipes. X

    • Hi Pauline! I am not sure if this is actually helpful, but I found this Australian Mexican Food store: http://www.montereyfoods.com.au/home.php They sell dried ancho chile peppers. If not this grocery store, perhaps there is another Mexican grocery store that you know of? I could suggest other dried chiles, but truly if you want to make ancho chile powder it has to be made with dried ancho chiles. For obvious reasons. :) Good luck! If I find out anything more I’ll be sure to let you know.

  9. Thanks for the fast reply. I looked on the web site….WOW!!!! What a great site. I’ll be using that for sure, some good products there.
    Thanks Meggan X

  10. If you like low & slow barbeque beef ribs, my go-to bbq expert, Meathead, has a killer rub for beef ribs which uses Ancho chile. He says “I’m looking for complexity with two different flavors and two different levels of heat. Most American chili powders and ancho powders do not have a lot of heat, but good flavor. In fact, ancho is usually in a lot of American chili powders. Go with ancho if you can find it. It has a nice raisiny character. With chipotle or cayenne I’m after a kiss of heat. Chipotle has better flavor though.” His rub recipe is at http://amazingribs.com/recipes/rubs_pastes_marinades_and_brines/big_bad_beef_rub.html. I’m smoking my ribs right now.
    In the near future I’ll be creating one of my monthly posters featuring “the ampersand as fun & fabulous art” entitled “Low & Slow” for bbq fans and ampersand fans. But one poster that I created a few months ago is for “Hot & Spicy” fans: http://amperart.com/91-hot-spicy/ See the tail of the ampersand?

    Thanks for your tasty site, Meggan.

    • Hey Chaz! Thanks for the great comment. A recipe recommendation AND tasty art in one, it’s my lucky day! Your Hot & Spicy piece is pretty sweet. Well done. Thanks for the best comment ever, I appreciate it! I’m looking forward to seeing your Low & Slow poster when it’s ready. Take care!

  11. Meggan, you too? You’re from Wisconsin? My friend is from Wisconsin, and she can’t stop bragging how great everything is there, from the cheese to the beer to something about creamy custard. Now it seems everything I discover that has the most wonderful flavor is stamped “Made in Wisconsin”: Dang That’s Good Butterscotch Root Beer, Soda Fountain Malted Milk Powder, Steele Reserve Malt Liquor, Redd’s Wicked Black Cherry Ale, Silver Springs coarse cut horseradish (along with the National Mustard Museum in Middleton), and the most insane pizza box you’ve ever seen – Screamin’ Sicilian (the pizza’s pretty good too, for frozen). The only thing my friend Kimmy says that Wisconsin doesn’t have is her! (But she still goes back to see her family and get some of that custard.)

    Here’s a compliment for you that has nothing to do with Wisconsin, but with what I do which is branding and advertising: Your website refreshingly reflects your tagline of “modern home cooking with a midwestern heart.” The graphic design, both layout and typography, is indeed very modern and appealing. The photos are bold and colorful, and I can’t wait to try out some recipes.

    Your quick, personal, unexpected reply & the fact that you actually checked out AmperArt (thanks! – hope you subscribed) says something about your “midwestern heart” too, Meggan. Okay, so I guess that goes back to Wisconsin again.

    Those ribs I made with the Ancho powder? Amazing.

    • Ha ha, gotta love the Wisconsin pride! I don’t live there anymore (or at least, not right now but I’ll find my way back!) but everything she said is true, especially about the frozen custard. I’m actually headed there today for a video workshop and a breath of crisp, fresh fall air. I will definitely look for the Screamin’ Sicilian. I always look for the Lozza Mozza frozen pizza when I get into town, but it’s good to try new things! Thanks for your compliments on my logo and tagline. I had help with both. :) I shared your poster on my FB page too. I think my followers will love it! Take care Chaz and hope to talk to you again. :)

  12. Are these Poblano chilies dried and roasted, or just dried? When I raise them in my garden, do I have to roast them before use?

  13. Ancho chilies are the main ingredient in American chili powder like you can get in the spice section at grocery stores. I stopped buying ready made American chili powder because the producers were putting more and more salt into them. I couldn’t make a decent tasting batch of chile without getting it way too salty for my taste. I was able to order salt free chili powder online but figured why not make my own! There are numerous good recipes out there for chili powder. American chili powder includes, along with the powdered ancho chilies, cumin powder, garlic powder, sweet paprika, oregano, and black pepper. Also, prior to grinding up the ancho chilies, try putting the seeded peppers on a baking sheet in the oven at about 250 degrees for about 5 or 6 minutes. This will enhance the fragrance of the peppers and when they cool they will be a bit crispy and easier to grind up.

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