Top-Rated Chili Recipes
Nothing warms the body and soul like a hearty bowl of chili. Reviewers rated these recipes tops.
The origins of chili are uncertain, but it's natural to think of it as an American classic. Chili has many regional interpretations, and within each region almost as many recipes as there are cooks. Take chili con carne, a specialty of the Lone Star State: just beef with chiles and onions, maybe some tomatoes, garlic, and definitely seasonings, all cooked until meltingly tender. No self-respecting Texan would consider adding beans. In other regions, chili simply isn't chili unless it has beans. Here we embrace several styles and offer over 30 different healthy bowls voted the best by readers and Cooking Light staffers.
First Up: With more than 50 stellar reviews, this classic chili recipe hits the spot. We love what meredith had to say: “I love chili – and this is the best chili recipe I have ever tried. I will stop trying new recipes and use this one from now on. This is how chili should taste.”
Simmering the chili in the oven rather than on the stovetop prevents scorching at the bottom of the pan. Find achiote paste and dried whole chiles at Latin markets. Ask your butcher for chili-grind beef, which is more coarsely ground and requires the 1/2-inch plate on the grinder.
A panful of char-roasted fresh green peppers gives Colorado chili its distinctive hue. You can sub sweet green bell peppers for Cubanelles if you prefer. Look for masa harina—the traditional thickener in this chili—in the supermarket's international aisle or at Latin markets. Serve with brown rice, if desired.
Reviewer OceanOwl offered these suggestions: "This is a fantastic chili! I added lots of extra chili powder and some more paprika (turned out I added more beef than the recipe asked for) and a touch of cinnamon for some Cincinnati flavor. Perfect consistency. I will definitely make this again soon!"
The best vegetarian chilies use ingredients with meaty texture and flavor. Here, nutty wheat berry grains provide chew, while mushrooms and liquid aminos (soy protein concentrate) boost umami. Top with blistered jalapeños.
Warm spices like allspice and cinnamon distinguish Cincy-style chili. Simmering beef in water keeps it supermoist. This version trades the traditional mound of spaghetti for pan-crisped bucatini, a topper that keeps calories and carbs in check.
Oven-roasting fresh chile peppers builds complexity. A combination of diced chicken and ground pork amps up meaty flavor. Half-and-half and creamy avocado topping make the broth velvety.
Texas chili is purely beef-driven: no beans allowed. This version boasts smoky, complex, deep flavor from a mix of dried chiles and chili powders, while corn flour gives it extra body.
Chili doesn't get much faster; Just 30 minutes delivers long-simmered satisfaction Along with mashed beans, butternut squash lends color and starch to thicken. Rotisserie chicken also helps make this hearty chili superspeedy without sacrificing rich, deep, and complex flavor.
"According to me, my husband, and my in-laws, this is the BEST chili (not just vegetarian chili) we have ever eaten," raves AlyBoudreau18. "It is so fresh, hearty and whomever said the flavor was 'exceptional' was spot on! I want a second serving everytime I eat it!"
Make this low-calorie chili in just 20 minutes for a quick, one-pot supper.
Reviewer KelleyHelpler loved it: "This chili is AWESOME! I make a lot of Cooking Light recipes, but this one is over the top. My husband isn't fond of ground turkey, but he can't get enough of this chili."
RyannUden rated this recipe 5 stars: "This chili had a wonderful depth of flavor while keeping just enough heat without overpowering our taste buds. The recipe itself was quick and fairly easy,"
"You cannot go wrong with chocolate and chili," says reviewer kmarquize. "This recipe is easy and fun to make. It's perfect for a cool evening and it makes great left overs."
PaulineV agrees, "I've tried so many different chili recipes and I keep coming back to this one. It is delicious, easy to make and a hit each time I serve it. The beef stew chunks and wine are a must.....and don't forget to top it off with sour cream, green onions and shredded cheese."
Reviewer jecca1120 attests, "What they say is true - it does taste like it's been cooking for several hours, not for only 30 minutes! I couldn't find the frozen, seasoned black beans and corn, so I used canned beans and frozen corn instead. I will absolutely make this again."
"This was a wonderful way to use up dry turkey left over from Thanksgiving," reviewed Momanon. "We eat a lot of soup and this one will jump to the top of our list of favorites. The flavor is unique and delicious."