Ditch the packet - it's so easy to make homemade chili seasoning! This blend of pantry staples (including a secret ingredient) seasons one batch of chili to provide a well-balanced flavor. Includes optional add-ins depending upon the rest of your chili recipe.
Ever since perfecting Instant Pot turkey chili I don't think I've made classic chili any other way, other than to sub in beef on occasion. (Our other favorite? White chicken chili). You get that classic chili richness and long-simmered texture in a fraction of the time. I mean, hello, just 15 minutes of pressure cook time!
This homemade chili seasoning recipe is exactly what I use in that family-favorite chili. A mix of spices you likely already have, it provides a nice all-purpose flavor that can simply be described as really good chili.
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- Adding an ingredient not often found in dry chili seasoning mixes (cocoa powder) is a game-changer for developing a deeper flavor to your existing chili recipes.
- This recipe is measured out to spice up one pot of chili, but is really easy to scale up.
- Homemade chili seasoning is made up of spices and seasonings you likely already have in your pantry. There's no need to wonder if you have a packet on hand when preparing chili.
- Making your own chili seasoning blend means that you can control the sodium level, spiciness, etc.
- Chili Powder: Did you know that commercially-available chili powder in the U.S. is often a blend of several different things, including dried pepper(s), garlic, salt, other spices, etc. This is the base of the spice blend to add that classic chili flavor.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: If this is a head scratcher for you, don't be afraid! This does not make your chili taste like chocolate. Cocoa powder provides background depth to the other flavors and helps make your chili just taste like really good chili. Cocoa powder has no sugar so there's no worry about clashing sweetness.
- Cumin: A classic chili seasoning component.
- Oregano: While I typically use basic Greek oregano in Tex-Mex style recipes, punchier Mexican oregano would be a great option to use in chili if it's available to you.
- Garlic Powder: Optional, if your chili recipe doesn't include fresh garlic.
- Onion Powder: Optional, if your recipe doesn't have onions.
- Cayenne: Optional, but ¼ teaspoon will add a fairly subtle spice. Omit it if you like, but to that note add more if that's your preference. This can be substituted with crushed red pepper flakes.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Comparing to Store-Bought - Packets of chili seasoning often contain around 1.25 ounces, which is roughly 5 tablespoons. As written this chili seasoning recipe can replace one packet.
- Storage Instructions - Store any excess in an air-tight container.
- Large Batch - Double, triple, quadruple, quintuple (you get the gist) this homemade chili seasoning recipe to streamline future dinners. If using the base spices, jot down that you'll need 4 tablespoons per standard pot of chili (one pound of meat, one can of beans, six servings, etc). Increase the amount to 4 ½ tablespoons if adding the optional ones.
More Homemade Spice Blends
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Homemade Chili Seasoning
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder (if your chili doesn't have fresh garlic)
- ½ teaspoon onion powder (if your chili doesn't have onions)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or more, for spicier chili)
- Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl and use to season one pot of chili (one pound of meat and one can of beans, roughly six servings). Store any excess in an air-tight container.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer