Chuck "The Chili Guy" Miller

Hey I'm Chuck "The Chili Guy" Miller. Chili is my passion so I have expertly crafted my list of tried and true award worthy chili recipes that will warm your soul. My gift to you from one chili connoisseur to another. - Chuck

What Chili Is Gluten-Free? Where to Get Safe Chili

If you have a gluten sensitivity and you’re craving chili, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about what chili is gluten-free. It’s easy enough to make your own gluten-free chili at home, and many commercial products are also gluten-free.

Since most traditional chili ingredients, like ground beef, beans, tomatoes, onions, and spices, are inherently gluten-free, making your own gluten-free chili is easy. The key to ensuring that your chili remains gluten-free is to avoid adding any gluten-containing thickeners or seasonings. For instance, some chili recipes call for flour as a thickening agent, which should be replaced with gluten-free alternatives like cornstarch.

If you’re out and about when a chili craving strikes, you’ll be glad to know that a lot of popular premade chili options are gluten-free, too, including the chili from Wendy’s and Chili’s. Do be careful, though: Cross-contamination is a possibility. A safer bet if you want chili in a hurry is to buy a can of chili and heat it up. Most brands provide gluten-free options; just be sure to check the label carefully before you buy.

What Are the Different Styles of Chili?

While the word “chili” usually conjures up an image of ground beef and beans in a red stew, that’s far from the only type of chili out there. Once you explore what the different styles of chili are, you just might find a new favorite!

Classic Chili

Classic chili is the traditional chili recipe most people think of when they think of chili. It’s meaty, flavorful, and filled with simple ingredients that most people have in their pantry, and it takes less than an hour to make. You can make it as spicy or as mild as you want, and one pot can feed a whole family.

Texas Chili

Texas is the birthplace of chili as we know it today, but Texas chili is different than regular chili. Texas chili is bursting with meaty flavor because it uses chunks of beef cut up into bite-sized pieces as opposed to ground beef. Most importantly, Texas chili doesn’t include any beans, but in some parts of Texas, it doesn’t include tomatoes, either.

Chili Verde

If you’re looking for an authentic Mexican chili, look no further than chili verde. This slow-cooker chili needs plenty of time for all of the flavors to meld together and for the pork to take on a melt-in-your-mouth texture. This is a meal that dates back to the Aztecs, and while it’s seen some changes over the years, this is the traditional chili that started it all.

Green Chili

Green chili is an iconic dish in Colorado and New Mexico that is a variation of the Mexican chili verde. This chili is creamy, warm, and soothing, and it’s simple to put together. Instead of using ground meat, you’ll cut pork shoulder into chunks and combine it with tomatillos, peppers, onion, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, and oregano in chicken stock. It’s a great slow-cooker recipe that can be served on its own or as a topping for enchiladas.

White Chicken Chili

White chicken chili is creamy, zesty, and packed full of flavor. It’s also quick and easy to make, relying on a rotisserie chicken to shorten the cooking time. You can have this tasty chili on the table in less than an hour!

Turkey Chili

If you like traditional chili but are looking for something leaner without sacrificing taste, turkey chili fits the bill nicely. It comes together very much like a classic chili does, but instead of using ground beef, you use ground turkey instead. Throw in a few extra vegetables and you can increase the nutritional value without making something that tastes like health food.

Vegetarian Chili

If you’re a vegetarian, you don’t have to go without delicious chili. Using fresh vegetables, beans, and an immersion blender to make a thick and creamy texture, you can easily pull together a tasty vegetarian chili. It’s so good that even meat-eaters are sure to like it!

Vegan Chili

Not every recipe adapts well to vegan ingredients, but a great vegan chili is easy to make. You can replicate the meaty flavor and texture found in regular chili with tofu crumbles seasoned with soy sauce, chili powder, smoked paprika, and nutritional yeast. When the chili is fully cooked, your carnivorous friends won’t even be able to tell the difference.

Chili Cheese Fries

Chili cheese fries have been an American staple for years, especially when you’re watching the game or going out with your friends. Chili is a delicious topping for otherwise boring and bland fries that everybody will want a taste of.

Chili Dogs

Chili dogs are a go-to party food, especially in the summer, when this messy meal can be eaten outdoors without the fear of making a mess of the floor. Chili dogs don’t take long to come together, so whether you’re having a party or creating some game-day treats, you don’t have to plan too far in advance to get these on the table.

The Ultimate Chili Ideas for Your Next Dinner

Chili conveys warmth, comfort, and a burst of flavor with every bite, but you don’t have to stick with your traditional chili recipe to make a delicious chili dinner. If you’re looking for the ultimate chili ideas to shake up your routine, you’ve come to the right place.

  • Veggie Delight Chili: For vegetarians, a medley of beans, colorful bell peppers, onions, and zesty spices can create a hearty chili that’s as satisfying as its meaty counterpart.
  • White Chicken Chili: Creamy and comforting, this chili features tender chicken, white beans, and green chilies for a Tex-Mex twist.
  • Turkey Chili: Lean ground turkey, fiery chili peppers, and a dash of cumin turn up the heat in this health-conscious chili option.
  • Crock-Pot Chili: Busy days? No problem. Let your slow cooker work its magic as it transforms simple ingredients into a rich and flavorful chili.
  • Chili Mac and Cheese: Take your chili to the next level by serving it over a bed of mac and cheese!
  • Vegan Sweet Potato Chili: Sweet potato chili is a sweet and spicy combo that’s as nutritious as it is delicious, featuring sweet potatoes, black beans, and a symphony of spices.

How to Prep Fresh Beans for Chili: A Step-by-Step Guide

You can use canned beans for chili, but you’ll get the best texture if you use dried ones and cook them yourself instead. It takes a little more time, but the results are well worth it! Here’s how to prep fresh beans for chili:

1. Choose the Right Beans

Start by selecting the type of beans you want to use. Common choices include kidney beans, black beans, or pinto beans.

2. Sort and Rinse

Pour your beans onto a clean surface and sort through them, removing any damaged or discolored beans or debris. Then, rinse them thoroughly under cold running water to remove any dirt or impurities.

3. Soak

Soaking the beans not only reduces their cooking time but also makes them easier to digest. There are two methods: overnight soaking or quick soaking. For the overnight method, cover the beans with water and let them soak for 8 to 12 hours. For the quick method, put the beans in a pot of water and bring them to a boil, then remove them from the heat and let them sit for an hour.

4. Drain and Rinse Again

After soaking, drain and rinse the beans one more time. This helps remove any residual gas-inducing compounds.

5. Make Your Chili

Your beans are now prepped and ready to be added to your chili recipe. Simply cook them according to your recipe instructions.

How Chili is Rated

Chili peppers are an essential ingredient in every chili recipe in one way or another, whether it be through chili powders or actual chili peppers. They’re so prominently featured in recipes because chili peppers contain the compound capsaicin, which creates their signature heat by exciting the tongue’s pain receptors to make the chili taste hot. These compounds act as a defense mechanism against destructive microbes, mold, insects, and hungry mammals. Different peppers contain varying amounts of capsaicin, which adds to how spicy a pepper tastes, both on its own and when added to another dish. The amount of capsaicin in the peppers is measured using Scoville ratings. Scoville ratings, also known as SHU, were developed in 1912 by Wilbur Scoville to measure the pungency of the spice. It ranges from mild to extremely hot.

  • Mild (100 to 2,500 SHU)
  • Medium (2,500 to 30,000 SHU)
  • Hot (30,000 to 100,000 SHU)
  • Extra Hot (100,000 to 300,000 SHU)
  • Extremely Hot (above 300,000 SHU)

Understanding how chili is rated is essential for knowing which peppers will add just the right amount of spice to your chili.

Crowd-Pleasing Chili Ideas

Chili is a great recipe to make when you need to feed a lot of people: It’s easy to make, it’s easy to scale up to feed a crowd, and everyone loves it! Here’s a great recipe for chili for a crowd:


  • 3 lb. ground beef
  • 5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 29-oz. cans of tomato sauce
  • 3 29-oz. cans of diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 15 minced garlic cloves
  • 3 32-oz. cans of kidney beans
  • 3 15-oz. cans of black beans
  • 9 chopped serrano peppers
  • 5 cups chopped bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 6 tbsp. cumin
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. pepper


  1. Set your stove burner to medium heat. Add the olive oil to a large pot, then add the minced garlic and let it cook for a minute. Then, add your onions and cook them until they’re translucent.
  2. Add your ground beef and break it up into little chunks. Cook it until you don’t see any pink.
  3. Add your beans, peppers, and seasonings. Stir all of these ingredients together.
  4. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth. Bring the chili to a rolling boil, then turn down the heat to the lowest setting.
  5. Cover it and let it simmer for 30 minutes or until it reaches the desired consistency.

Serving Suggestions

The easiest way to serve your chili is buffet-style with a toppings bar, including plenty of shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips, chopped onions or scallions, avocado slices, and perhaps some lime wedges. Other crowd-pleasing chili ideas include serving hot dogs, fries, nachos, or baked potatoes to ladle the chili over.

How to Make Homemade Chili Seasoning

Chili seasoning is what makes chili chili: It’s where chili gets its distinctive flavor from. You can buy premade chili seasoning at the store, but the best chili is made with homemade chili seasoning. Making your own chili seasoning lets you customize the spice blend to suite your palate, and you probably already have most of what you need in your pantry.

Here’s a good homemade chili seasoning recipe to get you started:

  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Whisk everything together in a small bowl, then pour it into a jar or zip-top storage bag and tuck it away in your cupboard if you’re not making chili right away.

Healthier Options for Chili Recipes

Chili is a beloved comfort food, but some recipes can have a lot of calories and sodium. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to tweak your recipe to create chili that’s are both delicious and nutritious. Healthier options for chili recipes include:

  • Lean Protein: Use lean meats like ground turkey or chicken instead of higher-fat beef. These options reduce saturated fat while providing a good dose of protein.
  • More Veggies: Enhance the nutritional value of your chili by adding vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, and zucchini. These not only boost fiber content but also add vitamins and minerals.
  • A Mixture of Beans: Beans are a staple in chili recipes. A mix of kidney, black, and pinto beans can increase the fiber and protein content.
  • Spices for Flavor: Fresh herbs and spices add flavor without extra calories. Ingredients like cumin, paprika, and chili powder give your chili a kick.
  • Less Salt: Minimize the use of salt by replacing it with herbs, spices, or low-sodium broth. This helps control your sodium intake.
  • Healthier Toppings: When serving your chili, you can use Greek yogurt as a topping instead of sour cream. You can also sprinkle on some low-fat cheese. These swaps cut saturated fat while keeping the creamy texture.

Do You Cook Ground Beef Before Putting it in Chili?

If you’re going to be simmering the whole pot anyway, do you need to cook the ground beef before putting it in chili? You might be tempted to take a shortcut here, but don’t do it: You should always cook the meat before you add it to the pot with the rest of your chili ingredients.

It’s true that the raw meat would probably get cooked if you let the chili simmer long enough, but while the result would be safe to eat, it wouldn’t be satisfying. Cooking the meat first gives a better texture as well as better flavor: Browning the meat deepens its rich, meaty taste. Cooking your ground beef in a skillet also gives you the opportunity to drain off excess fat that would otherwise make your chili greasy.

Here’s how to cook ground beef before putting it in your chili:

  1. Brown the Beef: Start by heating a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add your ground beef and break it into smaller pieces using a spatula or spoon. Continue cooking it until it’s no longer pink, stirring occasionally.
  2. Drain Excess Fat: Ground beef can release a lot of fat while cooking. To avoid greasy chili, drain the excess fat by tilting the skillet and skimming off the grease with a large spoon.
  3. Add Spices: Separately cooking the beef allows you to season it with your preferred spices, such as chili powder, cumin, and garlic, to create a well-seasoned base for your chili. Adding these flavors enhances the overall taste of your dish.

Do You Boil the Beans Before Putting Them in Chili?

Beans are a common ingredient in most chili recipes, but before you add them to the pot, note whether they’re canned or dried: This will tell you whether you need to boil the beans before putting them in your chili.

Whether you’re using kidney beans, black beans, or pinto beans, if they’re dried beans, you’ll need to either boil them separately while the chili is simmering or let them soak overnight to rehydrate them. This is because the acidic foods in the chili (tomatoes and tomato sauce) will keep the dried beans from cooking properly alongside the rest of the ingredients. By the time the beans are cooked all the way, the rest of your ingredients will be overcooked.

However, if you use canned beans, you don’t have to worry about this issue. You can simply drain the beans and add them into the pot with the rest of your chili ingredients.