How to Make Ancho Chile Powder

Ancho chiles are dried poblano peppers. They have a subtle, spicy flavor. Ancho chile powder is a key ingredient in many Mexican dishes, including tamales, adobo and mole. It is cheaper to make fresh ancho chile powder at home than to buy it in the store. This article will show you how to make ancho chile powder.


  1. Image titled Make Ancho Chile Powder Step 1
    Buy ancho chiles.
    • Ancho chiles are available at most large grocery stores and in specialty markets.
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    Dry ancho chiles.
    • If you prefer or cannot find ancho chiles in your area, you can make your own ancho chiles from fresh poblano peppers.
    • Choose fresh poblano peppers that are unblemished and a dark green color with long enough stems to tie.
    • Tie the stems of the peppers on a piece of twine. The peppers can be close together and you can make the strand any length you choose.
    • Hang the pepper strand in a dry area with good air circulation.
    • Wait several weeks until the peppers have become smooth, dry and dark red.
  3. Image titled Make Ancho Chile Powder Step 3
    Remove the stems from the peppers with a sharp knife
  4. Image titled Make Ancho Chile Powder Step 4
    Remove the membrane that holds the seeds.
    • Do not remove the seeds themselves. They should be part of the powder.
  5. Image titled Make Ancho Chile Powder Step 5
    Cut the peppers into 1/2-inch (1.25-cm) pieces.
  6. Image titled Make Ancho Chile Powder Step 6
    Toast the ancho chile pieces over low heat in a dry heavy-bottomed skillet.
    • While ancho chiles are dried, they are not completely dehydrated. This step will keep your peppers from turning into chile paste when you grind them.
  7. Image titled Make Ancho Chile Powder Step 7
    Grind the pepper pieces into a spice grinder or small food processor.
    • Put the peppers into the spice grinder or food processor in batches. Don't try to grind too much at once.
    • Grind the peppers until they make a powder. The fineness of the powder depends on your preference, but most ancho chile powder is fairly fine.
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  • Some people like to add other spices in with their ancho chiles to make a blended chile powder with a more complicated flavor. Common spices are coriander, cumin, paprika, oregano, dried garlic, and ground cinnamon. Feel free to experiment with these and other spices. Just add them to the spice grinder or food processor at the same time as the ancho chile pieces.
  • If your peppers turn into paste when you grind them, you can put the paste into a heavy-bottomed skillet over very low heat until it dries and then grind it again to make powder. You can also spread the paste out on a parchment-lined pan and put it in your oven at the lowest temperature for about an hour and then grind it again.


  • Grinding chiles can cause chile dust to float in the air. If any chile dust comes out while you are grinding your chiles, leave the room until the dust settles. Chile dust can be irritating to your eyes, nose and throat.
  • When processing chiles, be careful not to touch your eyes or face as the capsaicin in chiles can burn. It is a good idea to wear gloves while processing chiles.

Things You'll Need

  • Ancho chiles
  • Twine (optional)
  • Sharp knife
  • Heavy-bottomed skillet
  • Spice grinder or small food processor

Article Info

Categories: Spice Mixes