How to Make Chili

Follow these easy tips and recipes to make the best homemade chili

Whether you’re from San Antonio, San Francisco, or Sanibel Island, there’s nothing to stop you from making a big pot of homemade chili as flavorful and spicy as the cowboys created it. Really, learning how to make chili is just getting together the right ingredients and tasting along the way! Most chili recipes start with a base of aromatic vegetables known as “the holy trinity” in Cajun and Southern cooking: onions, bell pepper and celery.

Once the vegetables are soft and tender, add chili powder and cumin for that signature spicy flavor, along with liquid (anything from tomatoes to broth to beer) and protein — whether it be beans, beef, chicken or your own variation with anything from sausage to lamb. Traditional Texan chili con carne is a meat-only affair, but modern versions include beans and tomatoes.

1-Hour White Bean Chili
2 slices bacon, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 tsp. minced fresh sage
1 medium-large yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 cloves large garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. ancho, chipotle or other chile powder (not chili powder mix)
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained
1 tsp. minced fresh oregano
2 cups chicken stock

6 Servings

1. Cook the bacon in a 4-quart Dutch oven or other deep-sided heavy pot over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes until the bacon renders its fat and starts to crisp.

2. Add the onion and garlic and cook until very soft, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the red pepper, carrot, celery, salt, oregano, sage, cumin, chile pepper, and paprika and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5-7 minutes more.

4. Add the cannellini beans and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes or until thick and saucy.

WATCH: 3 Surprising Things You Need in Your Spice Rack

More Chili Recipes:
Heat and Serve Chili 
Chicken Chorizo Chili 
Sweet Potato Chili
Chicken Chili with Black Beans and Corn 
30-Minute Chili

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