The Best Type Of Seasoning To Spice Up Your Chili

Chili is beloved for its tender meat and deep flavors that are often smoky and spicy. Ground meat is often sauteed and then simmered with veggies, a blend of seasonings, peppers, and beans (depending on which region of the United States you're in). With regards to chili's seasonings, a standard mix often includes chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, and cumin, according to food blog Wellness Mama. But if you venture to Cincinnati, for instance, you may find cinnamon, allspice, and ground cloves in your chili, per Simply Recipes. On the other hand, Texas chili is more straightforward with its seasonings, as it usually relies on salt, pepper, cumin seeds, and dried chile peppers, via Epicurious.

Like most culinary dishes, there's always room to improve a bowl of chili and one of the best ways is by switching up your seasonings. In fact, there's a certain kind of seasoning that will take your chili to an entirely new level.

It's not quite chili powder

As previously mentioned, Texas-style chili often relies on dried chile peppers, which sounds similar to chili powder. The two are vastly different though, as chili powder relies on dried chile peppers that are ground (per Southern Living). Chili powder is made up of ground chile pods (via Fine Cooking) and other types of seasonings like onion powder, cumin, and oregano, as noted by Bon App├ętit. In other words, chili powder is the purest form of dried chile peppers since it's not mixed with anything else, while chili powder is more of a spice blend.

But why add chili powder to your chili? Well, according to this Fine Cooking source, there are several types of chili powders, and they all impart varying flavors and heat to your dish. For instance, chipotle powder is quite hot but is balanced by its sweet and smoky notes. If you're leaning on the "moderate heat" end of the scale, opt for either ancho or New Mexico powders. These both have fruity notes, but the New Mexico iteration is more earthy while the ancho version is sweeter on the palate.

In short, chili powder adds an extra something special to chili. It goes beyond the standard chili powder stuff and imparts layers of spice, sweetness, and authentic "chile" flavors.