Why You Should Consider Making Your Own Chile Spice Blends

There are so many reasons to add chile powder to dishes. You may be someone who loves to live on the edge and take as much heat as possible. Others, however, simply enjoy the additional jolt of flavor. While crushed red chile flakes, made from a mix of peppers found in the capsicum annuum family, have taken center stage in many pantry cabinets throughout the United States as the go-to dried chile, let's not forget about the rest of our options (via Bon Appetit). In fact, many traditional dishes around the globe are based on different kinds of chiles.

Chiles not only range in level of spiciness but can also have various flavor profiles, which can add extreme amounts of variety to a dish. As explained by Chili Pepper Madness, ancho peppers, which are the dried form of poblano peppers, are better known for their smoky flavor — while still having a moderate heat level, of course. These peppers are extremely popular in Mexican cuisine but could easily complement various dishes. Given the different flavors and heat levels found in different chiles, why not consider making your own blends?

Homemade chile blends are an easy way to add variety

While there are many reasons to make your own chile blends, many cooks strive to create a blend that suits their desired spice level. Serious Eats notes that some parents have taken to blending chile powders as a way of slowly increasing the heat levels their children can tolerate. Of course, this could also be a great approach for adults. After all, many dishes benefit from the depth of flavor created by chiles. Anyone who is only using a minimal amount in fear of the dish becoming too spicy risks missing out on the wonderful flavors developed by using chiles.

While many associate peppers mostly with heat, in reality, they are so much more than that. Playing around with different chiles and creating your own chile blends at home is a great place to start to reshape this mindset. 

Start by familiarizing yourself with different chiles and their characteristics. Next, purchase dried chiles, remove the seeds and stems, and bake them for 10-15 minutes at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps to dehydrate the chiles further. Once cooled, grind them in a coffee or spice grinder, and voila (via Jess Pryles). Either use these chile spices on their own for an intense flavor or blend them together to create complex flavors. Once you have created a blend that can become a pantry staple, it's time to dive deeper into fresh and dried whole peppers!