The Absolute Best Way To Add More Flavor To Your Chili

Creative home cooks are often looking for new ways to amp up flavors and textures within their recipes, and chili is no exception to this. Such a flavorful and meaty entrée is already composed of so many ingredients like chile peppers, tomatoes, beans, garlic, and beef, per Serious Eats. We're not looking to add more stuff to this mix, but rather, how to improve upon some of these standard chili ingredients.

Sure, you can swap out chili seasonings, use grass-fed beef over the regular stuff, or try chili beans instead of kidney or pinto, but what about showing some love to the vegetable department? Bell peppers, onions, and even carrots are often used in such recipes, per Our Everday Life, as they add elements of contrasting textures and subtle flavor notes. And best of all, there's one easy technique that will transform these ordinary veggies into flavorful ones for just about any chili dish.

Use this technique for meat too

Which tastes better? Golden-brown, sauteed broccoli or its plain, raw form? Many people would agree that sauteed broccoli, or almost any sauteed vegetables for that matter, has a far more intense flavor. The reason is due to browning, which is also known as the Maillard reaction, per Cook's Illustrated. The site says that this is the process of sugar molecules, amino acids, and heat all interacting with each other to create those beautiful brown hues and flavors.

Southern Living adds that vegetables should be browned and softened before mixing them with liquids like stock or tomato sauce. Browning not only intensifies the flavor of vegetables, but also changes its exterior from raw and firm to charred and slightly crispy, per Le Creuset.

This goes for browning chili meat as well, per Southern Living, which states that it's important to season your meat properly and brown it before continuing on with the cooking process of chili. Like vegetables, meat also benefits greatly from browning, as it will help to amplify its textures and meaty flavor notes.

Adding raw vegetables and raw meat to your chili is a big no-no since you'll be missing out on those "browning" flavors we all know and crave. So be sure to give your meat and veggies a quick and easy sauté before incorporating them with other chili ingredients.