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How to Make Your Own Chili

Learn how to make your own chili for easy family meals. There are so many varieties of chili recipes that you’re certain to find one to please your eaters.

Are you looking for a tasty comfort food dish that will wow your family and friends? Do you want something full of flavor that’s easy to make from the comfort of your own kitchen? If so, then look no further than homemade chili!

With just a few simple ingredients, you can whip up this delicious meal without spending too much time in the kitchen. Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or just learning your way around the stove, our guide on how to make chili at home will have you creating memorable chili dishes with ease.

how to make homemade chili

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What are the basic ingredients in chili?

Chili is a popular and delicious dish that can be prepared in many different ways. It usually consists of a hearty combination of beans, onions, tomatoes, and spices. Meat can also be included in chili recipes.

There are several types of chili recipes to choose from. Traditional chili contains ground beef mixed with tomatoes, onion, garlic, and other seasonings.

Vegetarian chili uses vegetables in lieu of meat and often includes tempeh or tofu as the main protein source.

Southwestern-style chili mainly features chilies native to Arizona, New Mexico, and California. This type of recipe tends to include beans, black pepper, oregano, vegetable broth or beer for additional flavor.

Chunky Chili involves larger cuts of diced meats and vegetables that are cooked together in a stew-like consistency with added spices including cumin for a flavorful meal option.

What are some common additions or variations to chili?

Chili is a delicious comfort food that can be customized to suit any palate. Some classic variations of chili include green chili, which omits the tomatoes and adds peppers like jalapeño, Anaheim, and Hatch.

Cincinnati-style chili is seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Texas-style chili has no beans, and white chicken chili is made with chicken in place of beef.

Other popular additions to classic chili recipes include:

  • corn kernels
  • beer for a subtle bitterness
  • bacon for a smoky flavor
  • diced sweet potatoes for texture
  • cocoa powder to bring out the warmth of the spices
  • aromatics like onions and garlic for an extra kick of flavor
  • diced bell peppers for crunchy sweetness

The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to customizing your bowl of chili!

chili cooking on stovetop

How can I make a vegetarian chili?

Vegetarian chili recipes are very popular! Rather than using meat, the protein comes from one or more varieties of beans.

Another alternative is to use meat crumbles substitute, tofu or tempeh in place of beef in a chili recipe.

How can I make a gluten-free chili?

Making a gluten-free chili is not as intimidating as it may sound. Most chili recipes are naturally gluten-free as long as you use ingredients that do not have gluten.

Be careful with chili mixes and kits if you’re avoiding gluten. That’s a reason to make your own homemade chili seasoning, plus you have less sodium and no preservatives.

If you need to thicken your chili, substitute cornstarch or a 1-for-1 substitute rather than traditional flour-based thickening agents. Once everything is combined, let the mixture simmer and enjoy the flavors! With this method for a gluten-free chili preparation, you can have a tasty dish ready in no time.

white chili cooking in slow cooker

How do I make chili in a slow cooker?

Making chili in a slow cooker is a great way to quickly and easily feed a crowd. All you need to do is assemble the ingredients, place them in the slow cooker, set the timer, and wait!

It’s basically a “dump” recipe, and you can walk away (or leave the house) to let the crock pot do its job.

How do I make chili on the stove?

Making chili on the stove is a flexible and convenient way to turn favorite ingredients into a delicious dish. You’ll need a large stockpot with a lid. Similar to simmering soup low and slow, you’ll cook chili for 30-60 minutes.

red bowl of homemade chili with spoon and cornbread on wooden table

How do I make chili in an Instant Pot?

An Instant Pot is the perfect tool for making chili. Just add all your ingredients to the pot, close the lid and select “Soup” or “Bean/Chili” from the menu. Thanks to the automated process of pressure-cooking, you’ll have a delicious bowl of chili ready in just 40 minutes – that’s including prep time!

Using the pressure cooker is a fabulous way to avoid the long time most chili recipes need to simmer and stew.

Our homemade chili recipes

making your own chili at home - white bowl of meat chili