25 Best Chili Recipes to warm you from the inside out! Try these flavorful homemade chili recipes made with hearty ingredients, from beef to chicken, beans to veggies, spices, and then some. Perfect for football season, potlucks, and cozy family meals!
Ask anyone in the US what food is synonymous with “cozy”, and homemade chili is bound to top the list. Every household needs a reliable, tasty, and, above all, no-fuss chili recipe to whip out when the weather gets chilly! Plus, with football season in full swing, a pot of chili never fails as a crowd-pleaser on game day.
Whether it’s fall, winter, or even in summertime, we’ll never say no to a hearty bowl of chili. We’ve rounded up 25 of the best chili recipes that are perfect for every occasion, from slow cooker beef chili to the easiest vegetarian chili, and loads more.
What Is the Secret to Making Good Chili?
Before we dive into a pot of perfect chili, let’s have a look at the simple tricks you can use to make these recipes a success. Here are some insider secrets for the best homemade chili:
- Make your own chili spice. Making your own spice blend allows you to have full control over the level of heat as well as the balance of flavors.
- Use quality ingredients. Use the best quality ground beef or brisket you can buy. The same goes for ground or shredded chicken, turkey, or venison. Also, always remember to brown the meat to lock in the flavor.
- Drain the beans. If you’re using canned beans, remember to drain and rinse them before adding them to the chili. This way the brine doesn’t dilute and affect the flavor.
- Cook low and slow. As a general rule, the longer a pot of chili cooks, the better it will be! Make sure you cook your chili long enough, either on the stove or in a slow cooker. If you’re in a hurry, however, the Instant Pot is great for packing in lots of flavors in a shorter length of time.
- Enhance the flavor. Try adding a “secret ingredient” to bring a little something extra to the dish. See below for easy ideas that can enhance the flavors, for the best possible chili.
- Don’t forget the toppings. Nothing rounds out a hearty bowl of chili better than your favorite garnishes and toppings! Pile on diced avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream, crunchy corn chips, salsa, or fresh herbs like cilantro to really kick your chili up a notch.
What Gives Chili the Best Flavor?
In addition to the tips above, many of the best chili recipes include extra ingredients that really play up the flavors. Below are some easy ingredients that you can add to enhance your homemade chili:
- Cinnamon – It doesn’t take much cinnamon to really bring out the flavors of a spicy bowl of chili. You can stir in a single cinnamon stick or just one teaspoon of ground cinnamon for a hint of extra warmth.
- Coffee – Adding a shot of espresso (or one cup of brewed coffee) is an easy shortcut for chili that tastes like it’s been simmering all day.
- Chocolate – It might come as a surprise, but cocoa compliments the flavor of chili perfectly. Stir a couple of tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, or a handful of dark chocolate pieces.
- Beer – Using beer, like a lager, in place of stock can bring delicious malt flavors to your pot of chili.
- Umami – This is particularly handy in vegetarian and vegan chili recipes. Adding umami-rich ingredients like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or mushrooms is an excellent way to boost “meaty” flavor, without the meat.
- Lime – Finish off your homemade chili with a squeeze of fresh lime just before serving. The acidity really works to boost the flavors.
25 Best Homemade Chili Recipes
Who’s ready for the best chili ever? Check out these easy and flavorful chili recipes, and don’t forget to scroll for more helpful chili tips and storage guidance.
How to Make the Best Chili
Learn how to make the best chili con carne with tender shredded chuck roast. This easy yet super flavorful beef chili recipe is perfect for football season and beyond!
The Best Slow Cooker Chili
Nothing cooks low and slow like a slow cooker. Cozy up with this hearty crockpot chili made from two different kinds of ground meat, beans, and perfect chili seasoning.
Creamy Enchilada Chili
If you love saucy Mexican enchiladas, you’re going to love this homemade chili recipe! Enjoy all the delicious, spicy flavors of an enchilada in every spoonful, minus the tortilla.
Skip the meat and serve up a bowl of incredibly cozy and flavorful vegan quinoa chili. Made with hearty grains and loads of veggies, this recipe is the ultimate meatless Monday comfort food.
Easy Turkey Chili (Secret Ingredient Recipe)
Turkey keeps things lean in this homemade chili recipe made with black beans, plus a secret ingredient that packs in the most unique and delicious flavor. You’ll never guess what it is!
Southern Soul Food Chili
Enjoy this soulful Southern-style chili recipe as a cozy meal or Game Day food. This recipe is easy to make in the slow cooker or Instant pot, filled with classic ingredients like pork sausage, black-eyed peas, and collard greens.
The World’s Best Chili
Bacon makes everything better, including homemade beef chili! This satisfying chili recipe is filled with rich, smoky flavor, made with juicy stew meat, bacon, and beans.
Vegan Pumpkin Chili
Pumpkin brings tons of richness and warmth to this flavorful vegan chili recipe. Ready for the slow cooker with just 10 minutes of prep, it’s the perfect chili for fall!
Cincinnati chili is made with chunky ground beef, beans, spices, plus a couple of secret ingredients for the best possible flavor. Serve it over hot dogs or spaghetti with plenty of cheese for an authentic Midwest diner-style meal.
Slow Cooker Aloha Chili
Tropical pineapple gives this classic slow-cooker chili a Hawaiian-style twist. This is a savory one-pot beef chili recipe with bright bursts of fruity sweetness. So original, and so good!
Slow Cooker Beef Chili
Take this easy slow cooker chili along to your next football party or potluck, and watch it disappear from the crock. This easy set-it-and-forget-it recipe is full of heart ingredients and perfect for piling up with toppings.
Three Bean Sweet Potato Chili
Try this Southwest-style chili made with mashed sweet potatoes and three types of beans for a hearty and nutritious bowlful of YUM.
Cozy Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Chili
Stay cozy with a comforting bowl of chili made in the slow cooker with chunks of butternut squash, chipotle peppers, and cinnamon.
Easy Homemade Slow Cooker Chili
This easy crock pot chili tastes just as amazing as your house smells while it cooks! Pop the ingredients into your slow cooker and return hours later to a savory ground sausage chili that will warm you from the inside out.
No Beans Chili Recipe
If you love chili but aren’t too fond of beans, this is the recipe for you. Skip the legumes and make this delicious and meaty Texas-style chili that’s just as rich, hearty, and filled with Southwestern flavor.
Crock Pot Mexican White Chicken Chili
Enjoy a protein-packed bowl of flavorful white chicken chili made with tender shredded chicken, beans, and Mexican-style seasonings. Pile everything into your crock pot for an easy meal that cooks itself!
Chili Con Carne (Beef Chili)
Classic chili con carne is hard to beat, and this recipe is the BEST. The chunks of beef are cooked to fall-apart-tender perfection in a broth made from juicy tomatoes, spices, and a special ingredient: beer!
White Bean Chicken Chili
Shredded chicken, roasted sweet corn, jalapeños, and white beans come together in a creamy chili recipe the whole family will gobble up. This recipe is the perfect excuse to use up your leftover rotisserie chicken.
Best Ever Meaty Mushroom Chili
Cold weather calls for this meaty chili recipe jam-packed with ground beef, mushrooms, and bacon. Serve up a bowl with your favorite chili toppings for a filling, comforting meal.
Crock Pot Beef and Three Bean Chili
This ultimate make-ahead crockpot chili is filled with beef, spices, and three kinds of beans. This versatile recipe can be made vegan with a few simple swaps, and you can make it in the Instant Pot instead for a quick, flavorful dinner.
Easiest Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili
Hearty beans and quinoa cook up to tender perfection in this easy-peasy vegetarian chili recipe. Made in the slow cooker for the perfect hands-free, high-protein dinner.
Slow Cooker Chili Mac
Combine a best-ever slow cooker chili recipe with tender elbow macaroni, and enjoy this easy, cheesy, family-friendly homemade chili mac.
Whole30 Chili Recipe
This Whole30 chili recipe is seriously the Bomb.com, ready in just 30 minutes! Ground beef, vegetables, spices, and fire-roasted tomatoes pack in tons of flavor in a short amount of time.
Crockpot Turkey Pumpkin Chili
Make this savory and lean turkey chili enriched with pumpkin puree for an easy meal infused with the flavors of fall. This recipe is healthy and slow-cooked in the crockpot for an all-around delicious and nourishing bowlful.
Homemade No-Bean Keto Chili
No beans, no problem – you’ll love how hearty and filling this Texas keto chili is anyway! This healthy chili recipe is make-ahead and freezer-friendly, perfect for reheating whenever a craving strikes.
Does Chili Taste Better the Longer You Cook It?
In short, yes. Simmering chili ingredients over low heat for an extended period of time gives the flavors ample time to meld together. That’s why slow cookers are such a popular choice when it comes to making the best homemade chili. And if you’re making chili on the stovetop, aim to let it cook for at least one hour.
Of course, there are methods that you can use to get that slow-cooked taste, minus the hours of cooking time. The Instant Pot is one of them: pressure cooking locks in the steam and raises the temperature quickly, and, as a result, extracts more flavor within a shorter cooking time. Another way to enhance the flavor of chili is to add complementary flavorings like cocoa powder, cinnamon, or coffee – see the section earlier for details.
How to Thicken Chili
Everyone has their own preference when it comes to the thickness of their favorite chili recipe. If you’re a fan of chunkier chili, or if you find that your chili looks a little runny, here are some easy ways to thicken it up:
- Make a Slurry – Whisk together cornstarch with warm water to form a slurry, and add this in towards the end.
- Add Flour – Create a roux with equal parts flour and melted butter.
- Add Masa Harina – This is a popular South American maize flour that helps to thicken chili while adding a subtle sweetness. You can use it to create a slurry with water similar to how you would with cornstarch.
- Use a Blender – Blending portions of chili using a food processor or a handheld immersion blender can help make the texture extra thick and creamy.
Is Chili Healthy?
Chili is a great way to pack healthy protein, vegetables, grains, and legumes into one bowl. As with most things, it all depends on how it’s prepared.
To make your chili recipes healthier, avoid adding too many high-fat toppings like sour cream. Or, replace sour cream altogether with substitutes like creamy avocado or Greek yogurt! Another easy way to up the nutrition factor without sacrificing flavor is to bulk up chili recipes with more beans and veggies.
How Long Does Chili Last in the Fridge?
Storing leftover chili airtight is a great way to make a meal go even further. How long it lasts in the fridge depends on the type of chili:
- Meat-based chili, like chili con carne, will keep fresh for up to 3-4 days in the fridge.
- Vegetarian chili can be refrigerated for as long as 5-6 days.
For longer-term storage, most chili recipes will also keep fresh when frozen for up to 4-6 months.
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