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Old 10-02-2018, 10:47 AM
 
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It is puzzling to know when to use these 3 spices in what dishes and knowing (or not knowing) when they are interchangeable. What is your take on it?
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Old 10-02-2018, 10:53 AM
 
Location: McAllen, TX
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The main difference are the types of peppers the powder comes from.

Chili Powder is usually a blend of a mild chili powder like Ancho and other spices such as garlic powder. You can, however, buy just the chili powder with no other spices.

Cayenne is exactly that, powdered dried Cayenne peppers which are medium hot to just plain hot.

Paprika usually comes from sweet peppers. The most common is called the tomato pepper. There are medium and spicy varieties of this as well from other types of peppers.
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Old 10-02-2018, 11:36 AM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
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Chili powder also has smoky tasting cumin in it.

Smokiness is also a prevalent quality of most paprika.
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Old 10-02-2018, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
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Chili powder is a blend of spices, including some red pepper.

Cayenne is ground cayenne chili pepper.

Paprika is ground paprika pepper

Read the ingredients on the spice packet or tin to know what you are buying .

There are many chili pepper blends sold as chili powder. Some are meant for tacos, or chili or are just general purpose seasonings. Follow your recipe instructions.

You can certainly blend your own chili powder. You could start with ground chilis, like cayenne, and add oregano, garlic powder, onion powdsr, salt, black pepper or anything you like. Grind together.
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Old 10-02-2018, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Middle of the ocean
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Plus, there are different types of paprika.
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Old 10-02-2018, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Florida
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Many BBQ rubs use all three. I've used both paprika and cayenne in Cajun and Creole dishes. Paprika is used in many dishes from eastern Europe and I believe it is a main ingredient in Spanish chorizo. There are many kinds of paprika. We always have sweet and smoked in the pantry.
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Old 10-02-2018, 06:24 PM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
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Chili powder is a blend of chile and spices.

Chile powder is pure powdered red chile pods minus the seeds.
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Old 10-03-2018, 05:38 AM
 
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I buy whole dried or smoked chili peppers and grind my own. Usually at least ancho, chipotle, and New Mexican along with cumin and Mexican oregano. The more varieties of dried or smoked chili peppers you use, the more complex the flavor.

I think grocery store chili powder is mostly ancho as the pepper in the ingredients list. It’s fine for some things but not complex.
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Old 10-03-2018, 10:38 AM
 
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I would like to know which ones to use on what and when. thanks
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Old 10-03-2018, 11:22 AM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickerman View Post
I would like to know which ones to use on what and when. thanks
Chile powder is used as a base to make chili powder.

And for the sake of definition:

Chile is a pepper

Chili is a flavor

Basically, chili powder is a blend with a characteristic flavor. It is a complex flavor due to its incorporation of several spices in addition to a base of chile powder and can be used as a sole seasoning ingredient (not counting salt) to give your dish a Mexican flavor profile.

Chile powder (which is a broad heading that can consist of any number of types of chile including cayenne, Chimayo red, ancho, chipotle, or paprika) is a much simpler flavor profile as it consists of a single ingredient and generally would be used along with other spices to create a more complex flavor. The exception to this is when making a red chile sauce which is made primarily of red chile and any other spices are optional.

If you have a recipe that calls for cayenne pepper, you could hypothetically substitute another type of chile powder such as chipotle or smoked paprika for a smokier flavor, regular paprika for something with less 'heat', or New Mexico red chile for its particular flavor.

On the other hand, if your recipe calls for chili powder, you don't generally want to use a chile powder because it lacks the range and depth of flavor that the other spices in the blend, such as garlic and cumin, will bring to the dish.

If you are just trying to spice up some beans or ground beef or something, I suggest going with chili powder as it is kind of an all-in-one.
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