Chili con carne served on a bowl
Pepperoncinis Will Spice Up Your Chili In New, Zesty Ways
While chili powder, hot sauce, and jalapeños are typically used to spice up a pot of chili, if you want a more complex flavor in addition to spice, try adding pepperoncinis.
These small pickled peppers bring sour, briny, and slightly sweet flavors that pop against the backdrop of the chili's heartier ingredients, like ground meat, beans, and tomatoes.
Pepperoncinis land at 100-500 heat units on the Scoville scale, while jalapeños are at 2,500-8,000 heat units. The pickled peppers bring some spice, but not an overwhelming heat.
You can add chopped pepperoncinis to your pot, pour in some of the pickling juice, or use both. Remember to taste as you go, as overdoing it may alter the dish's flavor too much.
If you're adding sliced or diced pepperoncinis, add them after cooking the meat and aromatics, alongside the liquid ingredients like canned tomatoes and stock or water.
For an extra dose of briny flavor, pour a tablespoon — or more, depending on your taste — of pickling liquid from the jar into the chili pot alongside the other liquid ingredients.