A large pot of chili being stirred
The Unexpected Ingredients For Umami-Packed Chili
Spicy chiles, umami-packed tomatoes, and hearty spices are the basics of a good chili, but Marmite and Vegemite can pump up the flavor.
Marmite, a British icon, is a spread made of concentrated yeast extract, vegetable extract, salt, and celery flavor. It's an acquired taste on its own, but more subtle in cooking.
Vegemite, beloved in Australia, is a slightly more bitter and veggie-filled version of Marmite with onion, malt, and actual celery. The two are basically interchangeable in chili.
A spoonful of these salty, savory, umami-rich condiments can add a complex depth to your chili, and these spreads can even add a meaty taste to a vegetarian or vegan chili.
Marmite or Vegemite is best used in a classic red chili, since white chili has a more delicate flavor. Red chile peppers and bold spices balance out the intensity of the spread.
When adding Marmite or Vegemite to a chili recipe that doesn't call for it, dial back other salty ingredients like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or salt itself.