Flavor Story: Hot Mexican Chili Powder

Flavor Story: Hot Mexican Chili Powder


Flavor Profile

The secret to great chili is in the chili powder, a blend of herbs and spices that turns simple ingredients like ground beef and kidney beans into a dish we crave—and sometimes debate over! Should it have beans? Should the meat be ground or cubed? However you like your chili, our hot Mexican chili powder delivers just the right blend of chili peppers, cumin, oregano, garlic and salt to start the party. This is our zesty blend, with just a bit more heat than our regular chili powder. We love it in Mexican, Tex-Mex and Southwestern dishes, from chili to tacos, and enchiladas to pinto beans. But it’s also a tasty addition to rubs, marinades, vegetable salads, cornbread and more. If your hot Mexican chili powder is a deep red color, with a rich, herby aroma that sets your nose tingling, you’ll know it’s McCormick.


  • South American cooks use hot chili powder to lend deep flavor and spice to grilled meats, fillings for enchiladas and tamales, and traditional sauces for beef, pork and poultry. We love how they blend it with cumin, turmeric, oregano and lime for roast chicken and beef.
  • Whether you like your chili with or without beans, with ground or chunky beef—we can all agree that hot Mexican chili powder is a necessary addition to the mix. Use it straight or blend it with regular chili powder to soften the punch.
  • Surprise! These days, hot Mexican chili powder is turning up in desserts. It’s especially tasty with chocolate. Add a pinch or two to your favorite recipes for brownies, flourless chocolate cake, chocolate cupcakes or Sunday morning hot cocoa.

Perfect Partners

  • Tomatoes and hot Mexican chili powder go hand-in-glove. Use it to flavor fresh salsa, everyday tomato soup, tomato sauce for Tex-Mex dishes, or slow-cooked brisket with onion and tomato. Its depth and warmth complements tomato’s bright acidity.
  • Meatless Monday gets an especially delicious boost from hot chili powder. It’ll perk up any vegetarian entrée or side. Think red beans and rice, egg and vegetable frittata, eggplant and garbanzo bean stew, steamed green beans and almonds or vegetable stir-fry.
  • Hot Mexican chili powder takes well to the char of the grill. Rub it onto any meat or vegetable you’re putting to the fire. We love to switch up the flavor of rubs, marinades and barbecue sauces by adding chili powder, oregano and an extra touch of garlic.


Q: If I don’t have hot Mexican chili powder on hand, what makes a good substitute?

A: Hot Mexican chili powder is hotter than regular chili powder, but you can substitute one for the other in equal measure. To add hot chili powder’s spicy edge, include a generous dash of ground red pepper, also called cayenne. If you’re out of regular chili powder, you can make your own. Mix equal parts oregano leaves, paprika, garlic powder and ground cumin. Then spice it up to your heart’s delight with cayenne.

History/Fun Facts

Texans like to lay claim to the invention of chili powder, but Mexicans have been using it for generations. Chili powder is a blend of flavors. It starts with dried chili peppers that are toasted, ground and then mixed with herbs and spices, including cumin, oregano, garlic and salt. We do the job of all that toasting and mixing for you. The result is a spice blend perfect for any time you want robust flavor—Texan or Mexican!

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