Ancho Powder

ancho chile powder 5lb bulk


Ancho powder is one of the most-used chile powders in Mexican cooking. The powder is made using poblano chiles which are dried (and then referred to as ancho) then ground to produce a dark colored, mild flavored powder. The ancho chile has a slightly raisiny flavor that pairs well with pork and beef.


The grinding of chiles dates back to the Aztecs.  Chiles were dried for preservation.  The dried chiles were sometimes ground and added as a flavoring to foods including their drinking chocolate.

How I Use Ancho 

In my kitchen, ancho powder is my "go-to" chile powder favorite.  First, make sure to select a pure powder with no preservatives for best flavor. Although traditionally used in chile sauces as well as in soups and stews you can find ancho powder in everything from chocolate truffles (see recipes) to cakes and brownies.

I keep a 1lb canister handy in my cupboard.  I use it in my favorite Cajun spice mixture and I've even added to my Chocolate Espresso Pot de Creme recipe.   If I want to make quick fajitas I just slice some beef very thin and coat the slices in ancho powder.  Then I sauté the coated slices quickly, add some sliced onions and red or orange bell peppers, and finish it with a splash of Tequila.

Featured Recipe - Red Chile Sauce


1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup finely diced onions
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup Chimayo chile powder
2 cups water
1 round Mexican chocolate - 3 ounces (Ibarra brand)
1/4 cup ground canela (Mexican cinnamon sticks)
1/2 cup ancho powder
salt to taste 

Sauté onions and garlic in vegetable oil until tender. heat water (or chicken stock), add Chimayo chile and ancho powder to dissolve, then add chocolate and whisk until melted. Add canela and sautéed onions and garlic. Whisk until mixture thickens. Place sauce on plate and set baked chile on top.

Fun Fact about Ancho Powder

Nutrition Information For Ancho Powder

Serving Size
1 pepper
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g
Saturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 7mg
Total Carbohydrate 9g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 0g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A  0% Vitamin C  0%
Calcium  0% Iron  0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Need A Substitute?

If you can't find ancho powder (or just want to try something else)  you can use New Mexico chile powder. The flavor is a bit different but it is a good lower-heat powder.  If you like a hotter powder, try guajillo chile powder.  If that's not enough heat then you can go with chile de arbol powder which is quite hot.  There are even hotter powders but I'll save that topic for another article.

One tablespoon of ancho powder is equivalent to one medium chile.


Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.