16 Delicious Chili Recipes To Keep You Warm This Winter

When the days are short and gloomy and the winter blues are getting you down, there's always at least one upside to cold weather for those who take comfort in food — indulging in plenty of soups and stews. Nothing compares to the warmth a hearty bowl of chili can provide on a nippy evening. While it's hard to beat the classic style of chili that hails from the Southwest, there are so many varieties and categories of chili to explore — enough to keep you busy in the kitchen and your belly full all winter long. 

Making chili can be as traditional or experimental as you desire. Whichever path you choose, these Tasting Table recipes will get you started on your chili-making journey. From cozy white chicken chilis to rich and spicy red chilis to recipes that incorporate unexpected ingredients and unusual proteins to vegetarian options, there's something for every chili lovers. 

Taco Al Pastor-Style pork chili

If you're looking for a chili that goes above and beyond your ordinary stew, try this recipe that harnesses the flavors of tacos al pastor. The Mexican-inspired chili uses tender, slow-cooked pork, along with pineapple juice, dried pineapple, and guajillo chiles. 

If using a slow cooker, cooking will take about 8 hours, so plan accordingly. Unlike ordinary chilis, this one is thickened with masa harina, a corn flour that is typically used to make tortillas and will result in a thicker and more flavorful chili.

Recipe: Taco Al Pastor-Style Pork Chili

Beef Chili with pancetta, ancho and chocolate

When you're searching for deeper, richer flavors to satisfy your chili craving, look no further than this recipe. It incorporates ancho chiles with velvety dark beer, rich dark chocolate, and sweet dark brown sugar.

Combined with beef and pancetta, this chili comes together to form an unbelievably decadent stew that's perfect on the coldest nights of winter. For topping options, we recommend sour cream, cheddar cheese, pickled jalapeños, chopped onions, sliced avocado, and lime wedges.

Recipe: Beef Chili With Pancetta, Ancho and Chocolate

Rich no bean chili

Though beans are typically an essential ingredient to make chili, this recipe is for those who want to indulge in a warm bowl of the classic dish but would rather avoid legumes. With loads of hearty ground beef and vegetables in addition to plenty of spices and tomato flavor, you'll hardly notice the beans are missing from this classic-tasting chili.

To add a splash of complex flavor, crumble in a couple of cubes of dark chocolate and add a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Top with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and aromatic cilantro.

Recipe: Rich No Bean Chili

Paleo beef and pork chili

If you're avoiding legumes due to following a paleo diet, then this beef and pork chili recipe is for you. The popular diet aims to eliminate processed foods and to primarily consume ingredients that would have only been eaten by Paleolithic humans. Despite its simplistic ingredients, this caveman's chili will have you feeling like you're cozying up to an ancient fire.

For those who aren't super strict paleo adherers, a little salt will go a long way to enhance the flavors of the vegetables and meat. Be sure to top with scallions and sesame seeds. 

Recipe: Paleo Beef and Pork Chili

Slow cooker white chicken chili

White Chicken Chili is a beloved comfort food for many. It differs from regular chili in that it isn't tomato-based and uses cannellini beans and other ingredients of lighter hues. For this recipe, puree 1 cup of the beans to use as the chili's thickener. Cooking all ingredients in a slow cooker for up to 4 hours ensures a deeply flavorful batch.

Garnish with lime wedges, sliced radishes, sour cream, and tortilla strips. And if you want to spice it up, add a dash of hot sauce.

Recipe: Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Vegan 3-bean chili

This nutritious vegan chili recipe is inspired by the flavors of succotash, the North American dish that consists of beans and corn alongside other veggies. The red kidney beans, cannellini beans, and garbanzo beans are the stars of this dish. 

With the addition of plenty of veggies like butternut squash, fire-roasted tomatoes, red peppers, jalapeños, and corn, you'll hardly notice the absence of meat. With such a hearty meal, you won't need many toppings except a few sprigs of fresh cilantro.

Recipe: Vegan 3-Bean Chili

White turkey chili

Diverting from the usual red-meat-heavy chili recipes and replacing them with lean, ground turkey has its benefits, health-wise and flavor-wise. This white turkey chili has a similar texture to darker chilis but with lighter flavors. The addition of cinnamon alongside the usual spices is a simple but unique twist.

As is true for most chilis, this is a great recipe to make in large batches and enjoy for days to come. In fact, it will only get more flavorful after a night in the fridge.

Recipe: White Turkey Chili

Smoky turkey chili

Another great option for those avoiding red meat, this smoky turkey chili is full of warm and comforting flavors that are perfect for a winter meal. With its heavy use of tomatoes, it resembles traditional chili but gets a flavor boost from loads of spices including smoked paprika, cinnamon, and chili powder. 

The use of black beans instead of kidney beans is another unique twist on the classic flavors. Just be sure to let it simmer for a while to allow for maximum spice absorption. 

Recipe: Smoky Turkey Chili

Smoky Chicken Chili

Loaded with shredded chicken and beans, this chili option is a great protein-rich one-pot dinner. Start with a hefty amount of bell peppers and onions, load it up with spices, then add in the tomato puree and let the chicken simmer until it's thoroughly cooked all the way through (the most important step for food safety reasons).

Stir in the drained beans and dark chocolate and let it simmer for a little longer until the rich, flavorful, chili has the perfect amount of depth. Lastly, top with your preferred chili garnishes.

Recipe: Smoky Chicken Chili

Bison chili

While beef is typically used in chili, this recipe utilizes bison for a leaner, healthier meal. Bison meat has more protein than beef and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, B12, and iron. Plus, it tends to be higher quality than most beef. 

Some other essential ingredients for this recipe are chiles de árbol, guajillo peppers, and a cinnamon stick, all of which will enhance the smoky sweet flavor. Top with cilantro and sour cream and if you're longing for an accompaniment, try a side of cornbread.

Recipe: Bison Chili

Instant Pot white chicken chili

If you have an instant pot and are looking for a chili recipe to have on the table in less than an hour, look no further than this white chicken chili. With the addition of cream cheese, it comes out extra creamy. 

The shredded chicken breasts and the combo of cannellini and black beans make this a substantial and satisfying one-pot meal.After it's all put together and cooked properly in the pressure cooker, top with queso fresco, scallions, and a lime wedge.

Recipe: Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

Texas Red Chili

Texas is home to many delicious foods that have become American staples, but chili in particular has a special place in the state's culinary history. In fact, it's the official dish of The Lone Star State. This chili recipe captures the original essence of the Tex-Mex staple, which was once referred to as a "bowl of red."

The key ingredient, aside from the ground beef and beans, of course, is the use of masa flour and ancho chile powder. Top with sour cream and shredded cheese and indulge in a true Texan treat.

Recipe: Texas Red Chili

Hearty turkey chili

This turkey chili recipe is a little thicker than other recipes on the list, making it a heartier option. Plus with little prep time and simplistic ingredients, it's also super easy. All you'll need is ground turkey, a diced onion, chopped bell peppers, crushed garlic, chicken stock, beans, a can of tomatoes, and spices you likely already have in your pantry.

It's ready in under an hour and can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days and frozen for 6 months. Eat on its own or serve on top of rice with sliced avocado and cilantro.

Recipe: Hearty Turkey Chili

Venison chili

The word venison can be used to refer to any meat that is hunted. In this recipe, elk meat is used, which is said to be a good deal healthier and leaner than beef, though admittedly it may be harder to find on grocery store shelves depending on where you live in the world.

But if elk meat is something you've seen at your local farmer's market or butcher shop and you've been curious, this dish is a great way to incorporate it. Making this venison chili is a great way to sample a new protein while sticking to a familiar and comforting dish.

Recipe: Venison Chili

The best hot dog chili

Time to finally talk about one of the best uses for chili: to make a chili dog. While a bowl of chili is perfect for a cozy night in, for those nights when you're having guests over to watch sporting events, or for an evening when your family just wants to indulge in a junk food classic — make this chili to use as the ultimate hot dog topping.

It's a simple chili recipe that you can have thrown together in under 30 minutes. It will taste way fresher than canned alternatives.

Recipe: The Best Hot Dog Chili

Classic Cincinnati chili

This Cincinnati-style chili is inspired by the type of chili served up at regional spots in Ohio like Skyline Chili. The ingredient list contains mostly classics like ground beef and tomato paste but there are also a few items that seem unusual for chili like Worcestershire sauce and cocoa powder. 

But by far the most unusual thing about Cincinnati chili is how it's enjoyed–on top of buttered spaghetti (an optional addition). Whichever way you choose to enjoy it, don't forget to top with lots of cheddar cheese.

Recipe: Classic Cincinnati Chili