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What is Habanero Chile Powder Used For?

Slofoodgroup Team August 14, 2022

Uses For Habanero Chile Powder

The first time you open your package of habanero chile powder and get an eye-watering waft of the powerful heat that exudes from the ground peppers within, you might be wondering what in the world you could use it for that won’t  set yourself on fire internally.

Habanero peppers pack a lot of heat in a relatively small pepper, ranking extremely high on the Scoville scale (a measurement of pungency of and amount of capsaicinoids in peppers) and as much as 30 times hotter than jalapeños. They are not all heat, though. That peppery flesh of the habaneros hosts a range of flavor adjectives—from citrusy and spicy to floral and smoky. Those flavors carry over to the powdered form, making it perfect for a wide variety of uses.  Here are some of our favorites:

  • Make a delicious chili con carne—with or without beans (keep reading for our favorite recipe). 
  • Mix a small amount with sugar and use it to rim the glass for  a daiquiri. 
  • Use it to make a spicy taco seasoning to keep on hand.
  • Mix it with salt and use it to rim your margarita. 
  • Stir it into a Bloody Mary in place of hot sauce. 
  • Make a dry rub or hot sauce for chicken wings.
  • Use it in place of whole peppers in your next batch of mango or pineapple salsa. 

Recipe for Spicy Chili Con Carne

As a group of chefs and culinary enthusiasts, we have tried a LOT of chili recipes, but we always felt that they could be improved regarding heat level, texture, overall flavor, or something else. So we set out to create the perfect chili con carne, and a bit of habanero powder was just what it needed.. We chose to make our recipe without beans, but it’s easy enough to add them at the end, so we’ll leave that up to your discretion. 


  • 1 small onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1 pound minced stew meat (beef or pork)
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ cup masa flour
  • ½ teaspoon habanero chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 ¼ cup beef broth
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Heat pot on the medium setting. Add oil for sautéing. 
  2. Add the onions and sprinkle with salt. Heat for 3 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Mix in your garlic. Cook for another 2 minutes. 
  4. Stir in the ground chuck, break it up, and then stir in the minced stew meat and Worcestershire sauce. 
  5. Thoroughly mix in the tomato paste and masa flour, followed by the oregano, cumin and habanero chile powder.
  6. Stirring continuously, slowly add in the beef broth. 
  7. Optional: if you choose to add beans to your chili con carne, now is the time to do it. Make sure they are pre-cooked, though. 
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper and let simmer for 15 minutes. 

Serving Instructions

Serve with toppings to include avocado, cilantro, sour cream, lime, and anything else you see fit. Enjoy by the spoonful as a stew, in corn tortillas or lettuce wraps, or over rice.