Pure chili powder or ground chiles, which most often do not contain added ingredients, are available from specialty spice stores. These seasonings consist only of ground or powdered chiles and are added to recipes suggesting the use of seasonings without the additional ingredients.
All types of chili powders add flavor and heat to ethnic dishes. When a recipe includes "chili powder" it is the common powder that is being suggested, unless it states that a specific type of chili powder, such as jalapeno chili powder or if it states ground chile.
Common varieties of chiles used for the powder are Ancho, Cayenne, Chipolte, New Mexico, and Pasilla chiles. Ancho, New Mexico and Pasilla chile powder provides a mild to moderately spicy taste with a fruity flavor that goes well in stews, seafoods, meat rubs, meat dishes, grilled meats, meat and bean chilies, bean dishes, mole sauces, guacamole, taco, burritos and tamale fillings, or other similar foods. Typically, the Ancho, New Mexico and the Pasilla powders will contain other spices. Chipolte and Cayenne powders, which are most often pure chile powders without other spices added, are much spicier and provide significantly more heat to a food dish. The Chipolte and Cayenne chile powders provide a more earthy taste that enhances the flavor of some barbecued meats and sauces, marinades, grilling rubs, dips, soups, hot and spicy stews or meat chilies, and roasted vegetables or potatoes.