Homemade chili seasoning recipe using garden fresh peppers


Say goodbye to store-bought seasoning packets and embrace the opportunity to create a custom blend tailored to your taste preferences. With a combination of hot and sweet-mild peppers, dried to perfection and expertly mixed with an array of aromatic spices, this chili seasoning is the secret ingredient that will wow your family and friends. 

Why make homemade chili seasoning?

I’m as guilty as anyone of buying chili seasoning packets when I feel unmotivated.

However, if you genuinely want your chili to leave a lasting impression, this recipe is exactly what you need. The combination of fresh chilis and powdered spices adds an extra “WOW” factor to your dish, plus it presents an excellent opportunity to utilize any surplus chili varieties you may have in your garden.

With this homemade chili powder recipe, you can take full control of the flavors and create a chili that will impress even the most discerning taste buds.

chili seasoning closup

Homemade chili seasoning recipe

This homemade chili seasoning recipe features a combination of hot and sweet-mild peppers, dried to perfection and blended with a flavorful mix of spices like cumin, paprika, and garlic powder. Create a custom seasoning that adds a delightful kick to your chili dishes, allowing you to enjoy a perfectly spiced bowl of comfort anytime.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 5 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 6 people


  • 10-15 hot and sweet peppers e.g. jalapeño, bell, poblano, habanero
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp paprika powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin powder
  • 4 tbsp chili powder


  • Prepare the peppers by removing some of the seeds and pith, then slicing them into pieces no larger than 1".
  • Lay the chili slices in a single layer on a baking tray.
  • Dehydrate the pepper slices by placing the tray in the oven on the lowest heat setting for 7-8 hours. Keep the oven door slightly open during this time. Alternatively, you can use a dehydrator set at 125 degrees Fahrenheit for the same duration.
  • Allow the dried peppers to cool completely.
  • Combine the dried peppers with all the other dry ingredients in a spice grinder or food processor.
  • Grind the mixture on high until it becomes a coarse powder.

What kind of peppers to use in chili

The options for the kind of peppers to use in chili are nearly endless. In this recipe, we recommend a mix of sweet and hot peppers but feel free to get creative and use whatever you have on hand. For a mild-to-medium chili, combining bell peppers with jalapeños works well. If you’re looking for a spicier kick, you can opt for hotter varieties like habaneros or ghost peppers.

Remember that each chili pepper brings its unique flavor profile to the table, so use this to your advantage. For instance, a chocolate habanero adds a subtle smokiness, while others might offer fruity or citrusy undertones. Embrace the versatility of chili peppers and experiment with different combinations to create a chili that suits your taste preferences perfectly. The beauty of making your chili seasoning lies in the ability to customize the flavors according to your liking.

How to make this chili seasoning hotter or milder

Customizing the heat level of this chili seasoning is incredibly simple, making it a fantastic recipe for all taste preferences. To achieve a milder or hotter chili, you have several options at your disposal. First, you can adjust the ratio of sweet to hot peppers in the mix. If you prefer a milder flavor, increase the proportion of sweet peppers, whereas for a spicier kick, incorporate more hot peppers of your choice.

Moreover, the choice of chili powder also plays a significant role in determining the heat level. For a medium-spicy seasoning, cayenne chili powder is a popular choice. However, if you desire a milder chili, you can omit the cayenne and solely use paprika in the blend. On the other hand, if you’re craving an extra dose of heat, consider using chili powders like habanero or ghost pepper to give your chili the fiery intensity you’re after.

By adjusting the types and quantities of peppers and chili powder, you can easily tailor this chili seasoning to suit your preferred level of spiciness, making your homemade chili a truly personalized dish.

How to thicken your chili

Most store-bought chili seasoning packets contain some sort of thickener, so you may find your chili is liquidier than you like. 

Luckily there are several easy ways you can thicken your chili. One option is to create a quick microwave roux by combining two tablespoons of flour with two tablespoons of fat, such as olive oil or butter. Microwave this mixture in two 30-second intervals, then blend it into your chili to thicken it to your liking.

Alternatively, you can make a slurry using three tablespoons of water mixed with one tablespoon of cornstarch. Stir the slurry well before adding it to your chili, and bring it back up to a low boil. 

Tomato paste is another excellent thickening agent that works well, particularly for those seeking lower-carb or gluten-free options. Incorporating tomato paste into your chili adds both flavor and thickness, enhancing the overall texture of the dish.

How much chili seasoning to use per 1lb of meat (or veggies)

For each 1lb of meat or vegetables, a good starting point for the chili seasoning is five tablespoons. Begin by incorporating five tablespoons of the seasoning mix into the dish, and then taste the chili before serving. If the flavor is not yet at your desired level, you can gradually add an additional tablespoon of seasoning and continue to taste until it perfectly matches your flavor preferences. This approach allows you to fine-tune the seasoning to create a chili that is truly tailored to your liking.

How to save this chili seasoning

Since the recipe uses partially dried fresh peppers, storing any leftover seasoning in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator is essential. You can prepare this a few days ahead of time, and it will last for up to 2 weeks when refrigerated. A small mason jar works great for this purpose. The refrigeration helps maintain the flavor and potency of the spices, ensuring your seasoning remains fresh and ready for future use.

Alternatively, if you prefer a dry powder version of the seasoning that can be stored in your pantry, you can dry the chilies further. To do this, use a dehydrator and extend the drying time to 48-72 hours or until the peppers are completely dried. Once thoroughly dried, grind them into a fine powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. The resulting dry chili powder can be stored in an airtight container in your pantry, ready to add flavor and heat to your dishes whenever needed.

Making your own homemade chili seasoning is a game-changer for any chili lover. The flexibility to customize the heat level, choose your preferred peppers, and blend in an array of spices allows you to take complete control of your chili’s flavor profile. So, say goodbye to pre-packaged options and embrace the joy of crafting your unique chili seasoning.

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