30 Championship-Worthy Chili Recipes
Whether you’re a serious chili cook-off contestant or you just crave comfort in a bowl, here are 30 chili recipes to make — and debate
According to the International Chili Society, this dish is “America’s greatest culinary creation.” What’s more, it’s one of America’s most contested meals. Which recipe is best? Texas-style? With or without beans? Beef? Turkey? Vegan (gasp)?
Cook-offs — where your favorite chili went up against mine — began in earnest back in 1952 at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas. In 1967, the now-famous Terlingua Chili Championship, also in Texas, set the tone for decades to come.
People still feel passionate about the “right” and “wrong” ways to make chili. And those of us who just like eating it get to sit back and have another serving. Whatever cohort you belong to, if you're looking for a gold-medal-worthy bowl, these 30 recipes have what it takes. And don't forget the tortilla chips or buttery cornbread to serve on top or on the side.
Jump ahead to:
Beef chili recipes
Keep some ground beef in your freezer and you could have these delicious chilis any time!
This recipe is a Yummly original created by Katie Workman. It features lean ground beef, jalapeños, and white or yellow onion.
Enjoy a weeknight beef chili from none other than Martha Stewart.
Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen explains: “This may seem an unseemly amount of chili powder, but it makes the flavor jump right off the plate with a minimum of ingredients.”
There’s no dearth of chilies, cilantro, or oregano in this rich and spicy Texas dish from Serious Eats.
All the richness of mole combined with beef broth — what’s not to love? In this Bon Appetit recipe (via Epicurious), a traditional Texas-style chili (beef only!) can be topped with beans.
Put leftover brisket to good use with this recipe from Andrew Zimmern.
Instant Pot and chili are a match made in kitchen gear heaven — and this ground beef chili recipe from Damn Delicious is easy to customize.
If you’re hungry for something a little different, this Instant Pot chili has it all — ground beef, turkey, pumpkin, and pumpkin spices.
The macronutrients in this good chili from Keto Karma depend on your choices in tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and sausage.
Naturally, the traditional Hawaiian chili has pineapples, soy sauce, and ginger and is served over rice.
Chicken chili recipes
Chicken is a great source of protein if you’re trying to skip red meat. And it makes wonderful chili.
This recipe from How Sweet It Is features the winning combination of two “big game” tastes — buffalo chicken and chicken chili. Olive oil, green onions, crushed tomato sauce, smoked paprika, black pepper, one or two tablespoons of chili powder, and four cloves of garlic are just some of the ingredients in this elaborate dish.
“I like white chili to be more like a bowl of beans than a bowl of creamy soup,” writes The Pioneer Woman. And this recipe is just that — plus green chile, chicken with all the toppings, and milk and masa to thicken it toward the end.
This white chicken chili recipe from Emily Bites takes the tomato-y approach.
Make one of the most popular slow cooker recipes from Skinnytaste, tweaked for the Instant Pot!
Turkey chili recipes
Another great source of protein, and lighter than ground beef, check out these turkey chili recipes below
“The turkey chili is a big favorite of Oprah’s,” says Food and Wine. Isn’t that all you need to know?
This straightforward white chili recipe perfect for Thanksgiving leftovers is brought to you by Simply Recipes. Cayenne, avocado, and a few other ingredients make this dish extra special.
This recipe from Ambitious Kitchen is for anyone craving a delicious, lean turkey chili. Ground turkey, bell peppers, and cayenne pepper work together with red kidney beans and fresh cilantro — and this dish requires only half a teaspoon of salt.
Cincinnati has its own chili? Well, yes — more specifically, it's chili and spaghetti together into one dish. This version from Leite's Culinaria features lean turkey and a fantastic mix of spices — like cinnamon, cocoa powder, allspice, cloves, and a touch of sweet molasses. And yes, spaghetti.
Pork chili recipes
That other white meat makes a hearty, flavorful bowl of chili, whether in ground form or pulled
Corn, ground cumin, and sour cream make this white chili recipe from Pork pop.
This recipe from Dear Crissy boils down to another traditional chili with kidney beans, pinto beans, and pork.
Ground meat isn’t the only way to pull off chili. For this recipe from The Salty Marshmallow, you can use a pork roast — ideally, a cut with a bit of fat, like pork shoulder — for a wonderful shredded texture.
The ingredient list doesn’t get much shorter than this — an easy sweet-and-hot chili recipe featuring ground pork and pineapple salsa.
This family recipe from Let’s Dish feels a bit like an Italian white bean stew with mild pork sausage — yet it’s just another homemade chili.
Leite's Culinaria does not disappoint, and chili made with pork shoulder and pinto beans is just more proof. Writes Jenny Howard, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is why we have pressure cookers. Because they render an inexpensive cut of pork and plain old pinto beans into a smoky, soulful, put-your-spoon-down-and-sigh bowl of chili in a fraction of the time it would otherwise take.”
Vegetarian chili recipes
Who needs meat to make a robust, rich chili when beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, or quinoa can all step in for this filling dish?
Vegetarian chili is a staple now. What makes this recipe from The Live-In Kitchen stand out are green and red peppers, plus other veggies, three kinds of beans, cheddar cheese, and plenty of spices and toppings.
This lentil chili recipe from Whole Foods Market raises a couple of questions: Is it a chili or a stew, and does it matter when it’s this yummy?
This Connoisseurus Veg chili boasting complex layers of flavor is delicious, filling — and vegan!
Your slow cooker was made for this wildly popular vegetarian chili from Wholesomedelicious.
Black beans and chipotle peppers in adobo give this chili from Gimme Some Oven that extra oomph.
What’s genius about chili are the endless possibilities. In this vegan chili recipe from I Heart Vegetables, walnuts and soy sauce complement the usual suspects like fire-roasted tomatoes and two kinds of beans.
More comfort food
There's a whole world of recipes to snuggle up with beyond chili. Take a look: