What Is Mexican Chili Powder? 4 Delicious And Interesting Ways To Use Mexican Chili Powder

Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by

If you are like me and absolutely love Mexican food, you may be wondering, but what is Mexican chili powder? There are so many dishes and recipes that call for the use of this seasoning online! It is delicious and a vivid red color that adds a bit of spice to any dish!

I do recommend using it only if you can handle the heat. Throughout this blog, you will learn about what is Mexican Chili Powder and the ways to use it! You will be surprised to know how many Chili powders exist and that you can even make your own!

What Is Mexican Chili Powder?

First, before we dive into using Mexican Chili powder, we have to know what is Mexican Chili Powder. Keep in mind that every seasoning company makes their own and the exact recipe differs. That being said, Mexican chili powder is a hot pepper powder often made with dried peppers.

Although most recipes and seasoning companies use dried chili peppers, there are many substitutes and additions that can be made. The red and orange color that we all know and love from Mexican Chili powder usually comes from the use of cayenne peppers.

The History Of Heat And Peppers In Mexico

There is a long and amazing hot pepper history in Mexico. This actually dates back to before any European country set foot in Mexico or Latin America. The first time the use of peppers and spice was recorded was as early as 400 BC. Hot peppers in Mesoamerica decorated sweet drinks.

 Is Mexican chili powder the same as ancho chili powder?

It did not take long for the Aztecs to realize how valuable and delicious these hot pepper chilis were. They became so popular in fact, that the word ‘chili’ comes from Nahuatl, an Aztec language. In no time, Aztecs were cultivating and growing hundreds of different varieties of pepper plants purposefully.

The most common hot pepper plants grown by the Aztecs were cayenne peppers, jalapenos, serrano, and others. These hot peppers are interestingly still used today in cooking! They not only bring out the intense flavors of Mexican dishes but also add a bright natural color that is hard to resist.

These hot peppers did not take off in the rest of the world though until the Spanish took the hot peppers and chili seasonings to other countries. Christopher Columbus and his men spread Mexican chili peppers and made them global.

5 Ways To Use Mexican Chili Powder

1. Marinate Meat

Did you know you can marinate your meat in a mixture that includes Mexican chili powder? I love using this seasoning in my cooking because it increases the flavor and the hints of spice. Personally, I have always been someone who likes to eat spicy foods, no matter if I make a face.

For those of us that like to marinate meat and other dishes, you can make a seasoning blend with the Mexican chili powder and some kind of acidic liquid like lemon juice. Rub it into the meat and place this blend and the meat into a Ziplock bag for the freezer or fridge.

 What can chili powder be used for?

2. On The Go Seasoning

Once you get used to eating Mexican Chili powder because of the kick it gives, it will be hard to eat normally afterwards. This is why I like to carry around a small bottle of Mexican Chili powder. This seasoning in inexpensive and easy to carry around because of the small size.

Do you have white rice without flavor?  You can use this Mexican Chili powder to increase the color and the flavor of the rice.

3. Season As You Cook

Not all of us have time in the day to season food in advance. This is why the strong flavors behind hot chili pepper powder add a strong layer of flavor and color. When you don’t season or marinate before, it is important to at least season the dish as you cook.

Start with a small pinch of seasoning onto one side of your meat. Afterward, turn the meat over and season it finely. Although the chili powder does increase and exaggerate the flavors of the dish, using too much can cause the meal to be salty.

4. As A Substitute

 Is Mexican chili powder the same as Tajin?

Are you a paprika powder or hot sauce lover and yet you cannot find others in your home? You are in luck because this delicious Mexican Chili powder can be used as a substitute for other seasonings like paprika. Both powders have the same vivid red color that tints food and also gives it flavor.

When looking into what is Mexican chili powder, we should also look at common examples and products sold in stores. For example, the popular seasoning brand, Tajin, has their own tangy version of Mexican chili powder.

Tips And Tricks On Making Your Own Mexican Chili Powder

Did you know that you can make your own Mexican chili powder? Although not everyone knows what is Mexican chili powder, it is a common seasoning that you can make with a few common ingredients. If you are someone who frequently cooks with peppers, let’s make a chili powder!

The best part about making a chili powder after learning what is Mexican chili powder is that you can modify the recipe as you wish. Some people love the vivid red color but do not want to use hot peppers like the ancho chili powder peppers.


Hopefully, you have learned something interesting and new about what is Mexican Chili Powder! This delicious powder is a favorite in my household because of how it adds both color and flavor to any dish. If you can handle the spice, this is bound to easily become one of your favorites!

While we do use a lot of this powder in our own cooking, there are also many substitutes that work just as well! Did you learn anything new about what is Mexican Chili Powder? Let us know in the comment section below and don’t be afraid to share the answer to what is Mexican chili powder with friends.


Is Mexican chili powder the same as ancho chili powder?

No! Although some Mexican chili powders do use ancho chili powders, not all ancho chili powders are strictly red Mexican chili powders.

Is Mexican chili powder the same as Tajin?

No! This is not the same. However, the brand Tajin does carry a version of a Mexican Chili powder with a tangy flavor.

What is a good substitute for Mexican chili powder?

You can use cayenne pepper powder and paprika powder as a good substitute for Mexican Chili powder.

What can chili powder be used for?

You can use chili powder for hot and vividly colored Mexican dishes like meat, rice, and tacos.