Best Homemade Chili Ever | The Pioneer Woman!

To accompany this video, we are including some important tips for making good chili at home that you can implement with the above video.

This video shows you step-by-step directions for cooking this incredibly simple chili at home!

Tips for making good chili at home

1) Spice up your chili by making your own chili spice

Adding your own blend of spices to any type of chili is a very effective way to take this dish to the next level. Chili seasoning is one of the best spices to use when making chili. This seasoning usually contains garlic powder, ground cumin, ground chilies, and Mexican oregano. Feel free to experiment by making your own custom blend.

You can make your own custom blend chili seasoning by using any or all of the following spices, seasonings, and herbs, based on your preference.

  • Dried parsley flakes
  • Chili powder
  • Dried minced onion
  • Salt
  • Cornstarch
  • Dried minced garlic
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground coriander
  • Dried cilantro flakes, basil and oregano
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Pepper

2) Give it a touch of sweetness

As chili is rich in taste and often spicy, adding a sweet flavor is a great way to balance the spicy flavors of the chili. In our experience, adding carrots is the easiest way to add natural sweetness to the dish, but other vegetables such as sweet potatoes or winter squash can also be used. It’s okay if you don’t like veggie-filled chilis. There is also ketchup and brown sugar that you can use in your recipes.

3) Make sure you cook it long enough

You can make a big difference in the taste of chili by the length of time you cook it. It takes time for the flavors of chili recipes to meld and come together, and collagen-rich meats, such as chuck roast and ground beef, need 90 minutes to two hours in order to break down and become tender. Make it the day before or use a slow cooker if you don’t have time to simmer for a long period of time.

4) Add a little spice to it

There are some people who like their chili really spicy, but even mild spices will improve the taste of your chili. Adding dried guajillo chilies to your sauce is a subtle way to add heat. Simply soak them in hot water for 30 minutes, puree them, and add them to your chili. It is also possible to add a little extra heat by using sliced fresh jalapenos or serrano peppers. Last but not least, you can also add ground cayenne pepper or canned chipotles in adobo to make your dish really spicy.

5) Be sure to always bloom your spices

When it comes to using spices, it’s not always about what kinds you use, but rather how you use them. Adding salt and chili spices at the end will not give the dish the depth of flavor that it needs. Make sure to add the spices when you brown the meat or soften the onions in order to bring out the flavor of the spices. This “blooming” process releases the essential oils from the spices.

6) Make sure to include one or two secret ingredients

What’s the best secret ingredient to make your chili taste even better? Some people swear that a shot of bourbon adds the perfect amount of heat, while others swear by the added depth of flavor that coffee, cinnamon or chocolate can give. In order to meld the flavors, sometimes all you need is an acidic ingredient (like lime juice or vinegar) at the end of the process.

Other than the above suggestions, some other things you can experiment with as secret ingredients for chili include wine or beer, liquid smoke, soy sauce, fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sweet spices such as nutmeg, allspice, or cloves, peanut butter, and molasses.

Just experiment with some of these suggestions, preferably one at a time, to help you identify your preferred secret ingredient! It’s probably best to try them just one, or at most two, at a time, as trying more could result in a flavor disaster.

7) You need to make sure that the thickness of the chili is appropriate

It is said that the best chili is thick and comforting, but don’t be overly concerned if your chili ends up on the thin side. We already know that there are a few easy ways to thicken chili, like mashing up some of the beans or adding a small amount of masa harina corn flour.

Some other tips for making your chili thicker include the following:

  • Cooking the chili uncovered for part of the cook time. Usually 20-30 minutes is sufficient to allow the liquid in the chili to reduce.
  • Adding some additional cooked beans.
  • Adding some corn chips or tortilla chips.

8) Make sure you drain the beans before cooking them

There is a thick, goopy liquid surrounding the beans when you open a can of beans. Even though the liquid does contain starch from beans, adding it to your chili will cause it to be too thin. Instead, drain and rinse the beans before adding them to the pot, in order to ensure that the chili is as thick as possible.

9) Better yet, don’t use canned beans at all

Freshly cooked beans will also improve the taste of your chili, just as homemade chili is better than canned chili. After simmering for a long time, canned beans can become unappealing and mushy. But dried beans retain their perfect texture. As an alternative, you can also add extra flavor to the beans by brining them in saltwater overnight. For 1 pound of beans, use about 3 tablespoons of salt and 4 quarts of water.

10) Make sure you choose your meat carefully

What type of meat is best for chili? Well, you certainly have a wide range of options! If we are using ground beef, we like to ask the butcher to grind it fresh from chuck roast, which creates a particularly meaty flavor. You may also opt to add chunks of meat (if you like), for a distinctive texture and flavor. Our favorite way to make beef chili is with chuck roast and brisket, but you can also use elk, venison or chicken thighs.

11) Make sure that the meat is always browned before adding it to the pot

While it may be tempting to toss all the ingredients in a slow cooker and walk away, browning the meat first on a stove before adding to the slow cooker will make your chili turn out so much better. It produces a deeper, richer taste, and it provides an excellent opportunity to toast your spices as well.

12) It is important that you serve your chili with a variety of garnishes

The best bowl of chili is even better when you top it with fresh flavors. While sour cream and shredded cheese are classic, we like to add spicy pickled jalapenos, pungent green onions, herbaceous cilantro, acidic lime, creamy avocado, or crunchy tortilla chips as well. So let your imagination run wild!

Scroll to Top