Bonfires, pumpkins, sweaters, boots and hot apple cider may be considered the hallmarks of autumn, but as we pull out our slow cookers and favorite fall recipes, only one traditional cold weather dish comes to mind: the perfect chili.
On your quest for the best chili recipe during National Chili Month, it can be a little intimidating to sift through thousands of recipes and guides. Have no fear! We’re serving up everything you need to know about chili, along with the 6 Best Chili Recipes of the Year.
Let’s dig in.
How do you make chili?
There are many ways to make chili! Most chili-lovers choose to prepare chili on the stovetop, but there are many great chili recipes which are prepared in a slow cooker, Instant Pot, or even on the grill. There are benefits to each method, but one of the most important things to remember is that no matter the method, your ground beef must be browned before adding it to the pot. Raw ground beef is an absolute no go. Once your meat is browned and added to your chili pot with the other ingredients, remember that the best chili is cooked low and slow. This allows all the ingredients to combine and craft that savory, crave-worthy flavor we all look for in a great chili.
How long should the chili cook?
Stovetop chili should simmer for at least one hour – or a little longer. As your chili simmers, it allows the flavors of the peppers, ground beef and spices to blend and blossom – and produce a piping hot bowl ‘o red worth the blue ribbon. That being said, make sure to consult your favorite chili recipe for detailed instructions. For example, if you are making slow cooker chili, you will likely cook it for 6-8 hours. If you are using an Instant Pot recipe, the cook time will be vastly different.
What should you add to chili?
Toppings are nearly as important as the actual chili ingredients, in our book. Some traditional favorite chili toppings include: sour cream, shredded cheese, sliced avocado, sliced olives, shredded lettuce, chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, guacamole, tortilla chips, or salsa.
What should you serve with chili?
Everyone knows you should serve cornbread with chili, but you might be wondering what else you can serve to mix it up a little. We love a delicious chili recipe served over a juicy, all beef hot dog, or a perfect bowl of chili served with tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream and salsa.
What is the best secret ingredient for chili?
The best secret ingredient for chili is the one that makes your chili stand out from the rest. We tend to love chili recipes with subtle, nuanced flavors that come from secret ingredients like: sherry, beer, honey, coffee, or even chocolate.
Now that all your chili questions have been answered, let’s jump in to the 6 Best Chili Recipes of the Year!
Loaded with sweet Vidalia onion, ground beef, Kansas City Steak Original Steak Seasoning, ground coffee, chili powder, jalapeno, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, dark red kidney beans and dark beer, this is an award-winning chili if ever we’ve tasted one. First, brown the ground beef in a pan on your stovetop, then add it and the other ingredients to your pot and simmer for an hour. Sprinkle a little chopped green onion on top and serve with your favorite cornbread.
The second best chili recipe of the year is Burnt End Chili, and it is a “Kansas City style” take on the traditional chili recipe, if we do say so ourselves! Chili ingredients include succulent burnt ends or tenderloin tips, which are mixed with fresh green pepper and yellow onion, black beans, kidney beans, diced and crushed tomatoes, garlic cloves, chili powder, BBQ rub, cumin, epazote, cayenne powder, chipotle powder, beer and salt, and refrigerated overnight. The next day, pour into a slow cooker and cook on a low setting for 5 hours. No need to top this chili recipe; it can stand alone.
3. Sunday Chili
Cold weather Sundays are for football and chili, right? We love this chili recipe from Pinch of Yum because it incorporates a few unusual chili ingredients like bacon and carrots, which add amazing flavor to the finished dish. Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
Chili is traditionally centered around beef and beans, but we love this lighter variation! Boiled, shredded boneless chicken breast, salsa, chicken stock, pepper jack cheese, navy beans, white kidney beans, corn, cumin and garlic powder are simmered on the stovetop until heated through. Serve hot and top with corn chips. Add a dollop of sour cream if desired!
We know, we know. Pineapple? In a best chili recipe list? Stay with us. We love this unique, flavorful spin on the traditional favorite from Two Healthy Kitchens, and we know you will, too. Turkey sausage, onion, pineapple tidbits in juice, diced tomatoes, black beans, tomato paste, chili powder and cumin are just some of the ingredients that work together to deliver delicious in the fifth chili recipe on our list.
Okay, you caught us. This recipe isn’t exactly for chili…but we know you’ll love this southwestern grilled steak flavored with chili seasoning, cocoa and cinnamon just as much as your favorite chili recipe. Pull out your favorite Kansas City Strip Steaks and fire up the grill! Serve with a fresh salad and southwestern rice for a savory meal that will warm you up!
Are you ready to get cooking? We are! Share your favorite chili recipe in the comments below!