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What Is The Best Secret Ingredient For Chili

A bowl of red beef chili topped with parsley, sour cream, and cheddar cheese

Photo: All recipes

Chili season is upon us. That means it’s time to dust off your favorite chili recipe and grab your beloved chili pot. But before you get too far into the preparation, consider adding one of our six secret ingredients; each capable of transforming any bowl of ho-hum chili into something magnificent. And don’t expect anything exotic (we would never do that to you). Instead, our secret ingredients are items you probably already have in your kitchen.


Here are our six secret ingredients for the best chili

1. Canned pumpkin puree

You already use it to make quick pumpkin breads and waffles, but did you know you can add it to chili too? Pumpkin is a great addition to chili because it adds body, providing a natural creaminess and richness to your chili. This helps smooth things out a bit in that sea of ​​meat and beans. It’s tasty too. It has a sweet earthiness that, when cooked, becomes even tastier. When should you add it? Mix some pumpkin puree into your chili right after sauteing your flavorings (onions, garlic, etc…) and before adding any liquid. This will deepen and sweeten its flavor, making it a great balance for all the chiles and heat. If you don’t have a recipe for it yet in mind, try this pumpkin chili as a start.

2. Cocoa powder

Brownies made with cocoa powder are really great, as is the chili. Cocoa powder has earthy undertones that play well with the spices found in chili peppers. You don’t need it much either. If you’re making a large pot, 1 to 2 tablespoons will be all you need. Add it with your liquid ingredients and simmer for as long as possible to maximize flavor. Take the lead from this Paleo Chili recipe.

3. Coffee

Save some of that morning cup of joe for your stew. The bitter taste complements the flesh and spice of your chili. Skip the flavored coffees as they won’t have the same effect. Instead, choose a good-quality coffee or cold brew with hints of chocolate and spice, and add about 1/4 cup to your large batch of chili when you add the other liquid ingredients.

4. Maple syrup

Brown sugar is a common sweetener added to chili peppers. It’s a relatively neutral-tasting sugar with a touch of molasses that pairs well with the other ingredients. But try swapping it out for maple syrup next time for a fun twist. Maple syrup has a brown sugar-like “vibe” with an almost caramelized flavor. And similar to many of the secret ingredients listed here, it has that earthy feel to it that makes it a perfect addition to your bowl. Add this towards the end of cooking, starting with 1 tablespoon and adding more to taste as needed.

5. Pepperoncinis (more liquid)

Ancho chiles, New Mexico chiles, and jalapeños all go great with chile, but we like it spicy And pickled sweet peppers that you also find in a jar in the condiments section of the grocery store. These pickled banana chilies are the perfect addition here. Add them early to flavor your chili as it cooks, and use them as a condiment, too. And don’t forget that pickling liquid! Add some at the end, just before serving for a burst of acidity!

6. Root beer

In addition to being delicious in a root beer float, root beer also makes a great addition to your chili. Replace some of the tomato juices or other liquids in your version with root beer and let it simmer. Or swap it out for regular beer in this beer beef, beans, and chili recipe for a new twist on a classic. The longer it sits, the more concentrated the flavor you’ll get. If you’re ready, consider cooking your root beer ahead of time in some sort of root beer concentrate, like you would balsamic vinegar. This root beer “syrup” will add a great balance of sweetness and bitterness that you will love.


Chili season is upon us. That means it’s time to dust off your favorite chili recipe and grab your beloved chili pot. But before you get too far into the preparation, consider adding one of our six secret ingredients; each capable of transforming any bowl of ho-hum chili into something magnificent. And don’t expect anything exotic (we would never do that to you). Instead, our secret ingredients are items you probably already have in your kitchen.


Here are our six secret ingredients for the best chili

1. Canned pumpkin puree

You already use it to make quick pumpkin breads and waffles, but did you know you can add it to chili too? Pumpkin is a great addition to chili because it adds body, providing a natural creaminess and richness to your chili. This helps smooth things out a bit in that sea of ​​meat and beans. It’s tasty too. It has a sweet earthiness that, when cooked, becomes even tastier. When should you add it? Mix some pumpkin puree into your chili right after sauteing your flavorings (onions, garlic, etc…) and before adding any liquid. This will deepen and sweeten its flavor, making it a great balance for all the chiles and heat. If you don’t have a recipe for it yet in mind, try this pumpkin chili as a start.

2. Cocoa powder

Brownies made with cocoa powder are really great, as is the chili. Cocoa powder has earthy undertones that play well with the spices found in chili peppers. You don’t need it much either. If you’re making a large pot, 1 to 2 tablespoons will be all you need. Add it with your liquid ingredients and simmer for as long as possible to maximize flavor. Take the lead from this Paleo Chili recipe.

3. Coffee

Save some of that morning cup of joe for your stew. The bitter taste complements the flesh and spice of your chili. Skip the flavored coffees as they won’t have the same effect. Instead, choose a good-quality coffee or cold brew with hints of chocolate and spice, and add about 1/4 cup to your large batch of chili when you add the other liquid ingredients.

4. Maple syrup

Brown sugar is a common sweetener added to chili peppers. It’s a relatively neutral-tasting sugar with a touch of molasses that pairs well with the other ingredients. But try swapping it out for maple syrup next time for a fun twist. Maple syrup has a brown sugar-like “vibe” with an almost caramelized flavor. And similar to many of the secret ingredients listed here, it has that earthy feel to it that makes it a perfect addition to your bowl. Add this towards the end of cooking, starting with 1 tablespoon and adding more to taste as needed.

5. Pepperoncinis (more liquid)

Ancho chiles, New Mexico chiles, and jalapeños all go great with chile, but we like it spicy And pickled sweet peppers that you also find in a jar in the condiments section of the grocery store. These pickled banana chilies are the perfect addition here. Add them early to flavor your chili as it cooks, and use them as a condiment, too. And don’t forget that pickling liquid! Add some at the end, just before serving for a burst of acidity!

6. Root beer

In addition to being delicious in a root beer float, root beer also makes a great addition to your chili. Replace some of the tomato juices or other liquids in your version with root beer and let it simmer. Or swap it out for regular beer in this beer beef, beans, and chili recipe for a new twist on a classic. The longer it sits, the more concentrated the flavor you’ll get. If you’re ready, consider cooking your root beer ahead of time in some sort of root beer concentrate, like you would balsamic vinegar. This root beer “syrup” will add a great balance of sweetness and bitterness that you will love.


Video about What Is The Best Secret Ingredient For Chili

The Secret Ingredient You Need To Be Using In Your Chili

There is no one way to make good chili. Some chili aficionados use specific spices or are very particular with the beef they choose, while others think that brining the beans is the most important part.

Then there are the quirky chili cookers who use ingredients like beer, whiskey, and Sriracha sauce, and a few even go the extra mile by making their own chili powder.

Yes, if you’re going to make chili, it’s got to have the right kind of burn. We’re here to introduce you to the secret ingredient that you must include the next time you embark on a chili-making adventure.

#Chili #Secrets #Cooking

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