My mother and I are having trouble finding pure mild chili powder in our area (Superstore, Walmart, Your Independent Grocer, and an Indian grocery store or two. We don't got much else in the suburbs).

Every time we think we've found it, turns out to be a blend of spices. We have no use for that with a full spice cupboard. You guys got any tips?

  • 2
    'a blend of spices'… yeah, it's usially going to be that, even for 'pure' chilli poweder - that's how they achieve consistency. If you mean 'chilli con carne mix' then that's an unfortunate labelling issue. The UK definitely suffers from that, I didn't think the US did, where they seem to use different spellings for different variants, chilli, chili, chile etc [which as a Brit I've never got the hang of].
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 6, 2020 at 10:37
  • 2
    @Tetsujin you've probably seen Chilli powder in the UK but it may be of interest including to the OP. There's useful stuff in the migrated comments too.
    – Chris H
    Jul 6, 2020 at 10:54
  • 2
    I have indeed @ChrisH - I have to say, the UK's 'major brand' labelling on all those variants is a nightmare. I do as one of the commenters & either buy from the 'Indian aisle' in the supermarket or online by specific type, ancho, new mexican red, kashmiri mirch, aleppo, etc etc so I know what I'm getting.
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 6, 2020 at 11:00
  • 2
    Corty - please don't add 'thanks' or comments to the question. Stack Exchange just doesn't work that way & right now that's all anyone sees when they look at the question in a list of questions. Your thanks can be adequately demonstrated by upvoting &/or selecting an answer as 'accepted'. No more is required. You could drop it as a comment in this list of comments - however, comments are ephemeral & may be tidied up at any time by moderators, once any needed clarification is achieved, so are not a permanent structure. [some individual stacks are tougher on this, some are laissez faire]
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 6, 2020 at 17:26
  • 6
    “in our area” — it might help if you could add a tag or mention of which area this is, or at least which country.
    – gidds
    Jul 6, 2020 at 18:46

2 Answers 2


As you have found, often the generic chili powders that are sold in the US by the major brands like Schwarz aren't pure chili powder, they have other additives like oregano, salt and garlic. The best way to avoid this is to buy a specific variety of chili powder, which would usually be named after the chili used. A few widely available chili powders that you can find in many stores in the US are:

  • Paprika: usually very mild, often smoked
  • Ancho: these are dried poblanos, generally pretty mild
  • Cayenne: mild to medium, not smoked

As to where to find these the Hispanic/Spanish/Mexican sections of supermarkets often have a good selection, otherwise online sources can certainly fit the bill. I've seen chili powder sold in health food stores, sometime by weight, and often they have good variety. I keep a few types around and mix them depending on the effect I want.

  • 10
    There are a lot of varieties of paprika. Even in the US, you can generally find two or three varieties in many grocery stores (hot, smoked, mild (sometimes called 'sweet'), etc.) Fancier places might have multiple types of hungarian paprika, maybe a spanish one, half-sharp (between sweet & hot), etc.) But it's also worth noting that in the US, "chili powder" is usually a spice blend. "powdered chili" or "chile powder" are more likely to be from a single variety of dried capsicum.
    – Joe
    Jul 6, 2020 at 14:40
  • 1
    @Joe I've been burned (literally) by getting paprika that was hotter than I expected. I wish the labeling was more consistent. Jul 7, 2020 at 15:58

You could look for chili powders online. Alternatively, you can buy (mild) dried chillies and grind them to a powder yourself, using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. This way, you can even control the heat levels somewhat by changing the amount of seeds you include.

  • 1
    The local Mexican grocery store here has dried red Hatch/Anaheim type peppers year round. At $4 a pound, minus seeds, you get about 3/4 pound excellent chili powder. Jul 7, 2020 at 23:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.