Leena Cooks: Her Own Ancho Chile Powder!

By on Feb 1, 2012 in Leena Cooks, Recipes, Spices | 5 comments

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Screw expensive, store-bought chile powder. I'm making my own!

Last week, I was buying ingredients for a new Mexican chicken recipe, and nearly peed and slipped on it. The two chile powders the recipe called for cost a total of $17! Hell no! I decided to hit my local Mexican grocery store, find some dried chiles and make my own chile powder. Screw you, McCormicks!

The recipe and heaps of food porn after the jump.

One of the chile powders needed was Ancho, and if you notice, this package says both "pasilla" (the fresh chile) and "ancho" (the dried chile). This is essentially a dried poblano chile, pretty mild, and only $2!!

When it comes to buying dried chile peppers, I find the best place to shop is a Mexican grocery store. Beware of buying the peppers in a bag, like I did, as they tend to be really dry. A lot of Mexican grocery stores will have bins of dried chiles to choose from, and the chiles should be be flexible, not dry and crackly.

How to cut a dried chile. Cut off the top and stem, then make a slit down one side. Peel open the pepper, remove the seeds, and stack.

Bake the dried chiles in a 300 F oven for 5 minutes.

The baked peppers! They might not be crispy when you take them out, but they will crisp up as they cool.

Crush up the chiles after they cool, and place in a blender. Give it a whirl, and boom. Chile powder. If this was a spicier chile and I wanted the powder even spicier, this is where I would add back some of the seeds and give the blender a few more whirls.

My finished ancho chile powder!

Price breakdown- store bought= $10 for a 1.75 ounce jar homemade=$2 + 10 minutes of effort. HOMEMADE FOR THE WIN!

I swear, the fact that it was easy to make AND cheap makes it taste better.

: Leena’s homemade chile powder

: A great and cheap alternative to store bought chile powders!

  • 2 ounces dried chile peppers of your choice (I used ancho here, and chipotle in a later recipe)

  1. Put on rubber gloves or suffer the wrath of chile later. Cut the top and stem off of the chile pepper, then cut a slit down one side. Peel open the chile and remove all of the seeds. Repeat with other peppers.
  2. Place the seeded chile peppers on a dry, clean sheet pan in a 300 F oven for 5 minutes. Allow peppers to cool completely.
  3. Crush up the peppers, place in a blender, and whirl until it is at your desired coarseness.
  4. Place in a spice jar and enjoy!


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  1. Lora Wiley

    5 Feb ’12

    Post a Reply

    Wow very impressed you made your own. Bookmarked as a “must try”.

    • Leena

      6 Feb ’12

      Thanks, Lora. It is so simple, it’s almost ridiculous to buy your own in stores. Let me know what you think when you try it out!

  2. Brooke - in Oregon

    6 Feb ’12

    Post a Reply

    I have ancho, habanero, Thai hot, cayenne, Anaheim and mixed pepper flakes from my peppers last year I used a coffee grinder for the powders starting with the least spicy and ending with the habaneros. I am a wimp with hot food but my family loves it 🙂 it was a fun way to use up the last of the peppers I didn’t get pickled! Lol

    • Leena

      6 Feb ’12

      ooo, habanero? I bet that could be fun to play with in the kitchen! Thanks for stopping by, Brooke!

  3. Mairsydoats

    27 Feb ’12

    Post a Reply

    I did pretty much the same thing – I’d bought bags of dried chiles for a salsa recipe, and decided to make my own chile powder – did it in my coffee grinder with a ratio of 4 guajillo, 3 pasillo, and 2 chipotle per batch (pretty much fits in a 4 oz jar).  Added about a teaspoon or so of dried orange peel (as little pith as practical).  Absolutely kicks ass!

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