Chili Spice Mix: Ready for Gift-Giving!

One of my favorite parts about the Christmas season is the treat-giving and goodie-exchanging. I love tasting new things, I love being surprised with unexpected gifts (who doesn’t?!), and I love enjoying something a bit sinful that I didn’t have to trash my own kitchen making. However, it seems like every year close to Christmas I get to a point where I’m just sugared out! Last year, right about that time one of my husband’s co-workers gave us a cute little jar of Chili Seasoning and it was seriously one of my favorite things ever. Not only was it a nice change from the cookies and candy, it was something that I got to use all winter long. This is a great mix to give away, but it’s also great to just keep in your spice cupboard. I keep a supply constantly on hand and use it for not only chili, but seasoning chicken and beef, fajitas, veggies on the grill, etc. It’s a handy thing to have around!

You can probably tell from the picture that the adorable packaging is not my handy-work; it has Lolly (pretty much the best crafter ever) written all over it! Isn’t she amazing? I don’t know what I would do without her. She created these amazing labels for us so you can whip these up at home and give them out as gifts! Stuff like this is great because unlike cookies and baked goods, you can make these way ahead of time and just have them on hand when you need a little gift for someone. Don’t worry, I’ll give you all of the details on that cute packaging in just a minute.

First, here’s the seasoning mix. Spices can get expensive, but if you buy them in bulk it’s quite economical. A giant jar of chili powder at Costco and Sam’s club costs nearly the same price as the little tiny one at the grocery store! So buy in bulk in order to make multiple bags. The only thing I haven’t found in a big ol‘ bottle for a cheap-o price is the coriander. However it only calls for a small amount in coriander, so go ahead and splurge on that one.

Chili Seasoning Mix
this makes one gift serving, so multiply by however many you’d like to package up.

1/2 C chili powder
1/4 C ground cumin
2 T garlic salt
2 T dried oregano leaves
1 T ground coriander
1 t cayenne pepper or chipotle chili powder (add more if you like spicy chili)

All you have to do is mix it up, absolutely no brain power involved 🙂 If you are making a big batch, make sure to mix it very well so all of the spices get evenly distributed.

* * * * * * * * * *

Okay, check these awesome labels out! This is the front- and Lolly being the overachiever she is designed not one, but three different designs to choose from!

The other side of the label has a perfect little tag to write in the lucky person’s name and yours too so whenever they grab it to make chili they can be reminded of the coolest gift-giver ever who gave it to them.

Underneath the label you’ll find the recipe instructions on how to make the chili.

In addition to those cute packages, Lolly also designed an option for putting the spice mix in a mason jar. It will fit into a half-pint jar, either the short and squatty type we used for the Pie in a Jar, or the taller style usually used for jams and jellies. The cute label to the left can be put on top of the lid of a wide-mouth jar, and then there’s another sheet to attach the recipe card to the jar. Tie a pretty ribbon around the rim and you are good to go! Again, what would we do without Lolly?!

CLICK HERE to go visit Lolly and grab all of the cute packaging, for free! Make sure to leave her a big thank you in her comment section too! She’ll have all of the directions there on how to attach the tags and what kind of baggie you need.

If you’d like to cook this up for yourself, here’s the recipe. It’s purposely quick and easy and made mostly from stuff you can stockpile in your pantry. I figure if you’re going to have a pre-made spice mix to save time and effort, then the rest of the recipe should be super easy as well! I keep most of this stuff on hand all of the time so this is one of my go-to “oh crap” meals when I realize I have nothing to eat! You can even leave out the fresh bell pepper if you need to. And the bonus is, it tastes really really yummy!

Hearty Chili

1 lb ground beef, turkey or sausage
1 onion, diced
1 red or green bell pepper, diced
4 T chili seasoning mix
2 16oz cans pinto beans (I sometimes even use black beans)
2 16 oz cans kidney beans
1 28oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 14oz can beef broth

Drain and rinse beans and set aside. Combine meat and onion in large pot over med-high heat and cook until browned. Drain and discard fat. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

We top our chili with cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado, and lime wedges for squeezing!

And I have a picture of this chili, really I do. Somewhere. In my millions of pictures of food. And when I locate it I will add it to this post!

Sara Wells
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Do you girls happen to have the slow cooker instructions for this "hearty chili" recipe?? I couldn't find it in the post … although it's probably pretty straight forward, just want to be sure I don't mess something up! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Thanks best bites, I want you to know I referred a few family members to your site today. 🙂 Also, my husband thinks the chili won't look so bad in a jar as well. We'll give it a shot. 🙂 Oh and I was thinking with the dried beans I would have to include instructions on how to cook the beans first and then add the rest of the ingredients (I think that's a bit too time intensive though). Thanks again. 🙂

  3. The fam- hmmm, actually it might be cute in a jar. I would maybe just put a thick ribbon around the base of the jar so it made it look a little cuter 🙂 Or you could do a disposable plastic container, but that's not quite as cute. Dried beans would be nice, but the recipe calls for canned beans so that might be weird. Great idea to give some chili too though!

  4. Great idea! I would like to give the spice mix with some of the chili as well. Any ideas on how to package the chili? I'm thinking chili doesn't look too attractive in clear jars. Or do you think just giving dried beans in a jar with the recipe for the chili? 🙂

  5. Great gift idea! Sometimes it's nice to get away from the cookies and sweets, and I think homemade chili sounds wonderful!

  6. Sara, you know I love you guys. But the added spices are just all the things that are in regular chili powder, with the exception of coriander. Is it the coriander that really does it?

  7. Sorry, another comment from me – actually about the Blendtec giveaway – but I didn't want to leave my comment on there – when you mention making ice cream, do you mean to say frozen fruit instead of fresh? That's what it looks like in the picture anyway. Also, I just bought coriander today and am going to make this – I think I'm going to add a touch of cinnamon though, because I love a hint of cinnamon in my chili.

  8. Tara Lynn–You may run into problems if you use all-purpose flour because bread flour has more gluten than all-purpose flour, so the bread might not rise properly. HOWEVER. 🙂 If you try it out and it works, please let us know!

  9. Nope Jana, this is not the same as buying store-bought chili powder, otherwise there would obviously be no reason for adding stuff to it silly! If that was the case, then instead of "Chili Spice Mix" we would call it, "Chili Powder in a bag" and we're a bit smarter than that 😉

    1. Yeah, it’s ‘chili powder’ just powdered chilies like ‘garlic powder’ is powdered garlic? I love the seasoning mix, so yummy!

  10. You guys are THE best! I love this idea!

    Last year I gave away whole wheat pancake mix. I loved that I didn't have to bake and it was fresh when the peeps who got it wanted it!

    I'm totally doing this.

  11. So this chili spice mix is made of store bought chili powder + all the stuff that comes in store bought chili powder?

    The packaging is sweet, but I'm going to have to go "eh." to the recipe. Sorry, ladies.

    1. So do you powder real dried chilis for your chili, Jana? If so, do you have a quick way to do it? I confess I have only done that with arbol and pasilla chilis once, and only because I couldn’t find them powdered for me…call me lazy, but I don’t have time to do that on a regular basis! It wasn’t even faster than if I had just reconstituted the dang things and thrown them in the blender with some broth. Please share if you have a better way to add more chili variety to a dried seasoning mix. 🙂

  12. Such a unique idea. The packaging makes a wonderful presentation. Thank you for the idea!

  13. This chili seasoning would make a great gift! Also, and on an unrelated note, can I substitute unbleached all-purpose flour for the unbleached white bread flour in the multigrain bread kit? If so, will it affect the outcome of the bread? Thanks a bunch!

  14. You are awesome…this is exactly what I was going to do for Christmas presents this year…was just stumped on a good recipe! Bingo!! Thank you! Can't wait to try it.

  15. I LOVE this idea! I'm all about something besides the plate of sweets. And since you introduced us to Lolly, I love her as well. She does the cutest tags (and more!). Thanks to all of you.

  16. Thanks for sharing this idea – I've been searching for a small gift to give one of my best guy friends and this is perfect.

  17. Dang, just read the other comments. Too bad Poky, ID has no international markets, silly town.

  18. Thanks for this idea! It is great – I hadn't thought about it but it is really nice to have something not sweet – I think I am going to use up my stash of empty baby food jars for this.

  19. I was just about to tell you to check out an Indian grocery (or masala bazaar as they are sometimes called) when I noticed that Lolly had already done so. She's not only talented, she's smart too!

    Thanks for sharing the recipe for this mix. It is perfect for this time of year.

  20. oh, good thought Lolly. Amazing that with the plethora of foreign food stores in Boise Idaho I didn't think of that 😉 I'll have to look into Indian food!

  21. Great idea with the Chili seasoning. Studio 5…. that is how I found you! Can you say cinnamonbun popcorn? YUMMY! I wonder what you have cooking for us – I bet it is magical!

  22. A great place to get CHEAP coriander (by the truck load if you want that much)is an Indian grocery store!

    That's where I get it and it's literally just a few dollars for a gigantic bag of the stuff! They also have other killer spices for amazing prices there too (hey that rhymed)!

    Thanks for having me over today guys! It was a blast to make up the chili spice mix (and the KILLER chili recipe you sent too)!

    Holiday HUGS!

  23. Oh what a delightful idea!
    Who wouldn't want homemade chili spice this time of the year!
    And the packaging…makes it!
    I would adore receiving this little treat!