28 Warm-You-Up Chili Recipes | Midwest Living

28 Warm-You-Up Chili Recipes

A simmering pot of chili is sure to warm up your kitchen—and your family—on a cold day. Our recipes range from mild to five-alarm (REALLY hot!).

Chili with macaroni

This recipe, from Bryon Bensen at the Eau Claire, Wisconsin, fire department, drew a two-alarm rating. It's served over macaroni and can be topped with sour cream, cheese and green onions -- and red pepper sauce, if you want to up the alarm rating even more.

Other firehouse recipes include Donovan's Code 3 Chili, a four-alarm specialty from Cincinnati; Thumbs-Up Chili, a three-alarm dinner from Rockford, Illinois; and United Way Cook-Off Chili, a four-alarm favorite from Minnesota's Duluth Fire Department.

Bryon Bensen's Chili

Donovan's Code 3 Chili recipe

Thumbs-Up Chili recipe

United Way Cook-Off Chili recipe

Pumpkin Chili

This recipe, submitted by Melanie Madore of Ashland, Missouri, was a finalist in our recipe contest. Unlike many pumpkin chilis, what sets this one apart is using cubed pumpkin (or butternut squash) rather than canned.

Pumpkin Chili

Chicken Chili

Short on time? Move the slow-cooker setting for this mild white chili recipe to high. If you like, serve in store-bought bread bowls.

Chicken Chili

Chipotle Black-Bean Chili

This chili is great for tucking into your slow cooker in the morning, so you can come home to a warm winter dinner. Omit the meat if you'd prefer a hearty meatless main dish. If you like, add chopped avocado or shredded cheese as toppers before serving.

Chipotle Black-Bean Chili recipe

Apple Harvest Chili

Fresh apple, dried fruit and cashews add color, sweetness and crunch to a ready-in-45 vegetarian chili. For a twist on the traditional toppers (and to hint what’s inside), garnish with apple slivers.

Apple Harvest Chili

Warm-Me-Up Chicken Chili

Combine chicken, chopped vegetables and canned beans for this warm-and-comforting chili. This fall recipe gives variations for Slow Cooker Chicken Chili as well as a spicier Chipotle Chicken Chili.

Warm-Me-Up Chicken Chili

Cincinnati-Style Chili

Locals spar over whether Skyline or Gold Star makes the better version (and whether the secret ingredients should be cinnamon, cocoa or allspice). Whichever, chili in the Queen City translates as a mild, meaty sauce served over spaghetti noodles and topped with shredded cheese.

Cincinnati-Style Chili

Harvest Chipotle Chili

Sweet potatoes and apples hold their own with spicy chipotle chilies in this perfect sweet-heat balance. Does it take a lot of peeling and chopping? Yes. Is it worth it? Oh, yeah.

Harvest Chipotle Chili

Mexican Winter Chili

Cook pork in a blend of cocoa powder, cumin, cinnamon, pumpkin and poblano pepper for a rich, hearty chili.

Mexican Winter Chili

Shredded Pork Posole

Hominy is the signature ingredient in this traditional, chililike Mexican soup.

Shredded Pork Posole

Firehouse chili

Chili, a one-pot meal, is a dinner table staple at many Midwest firehouses. Three-Alarm Lansing Fire Chili comes from Lansing, Michigan's Fire Station 8. The recipe uses beef roast and pork sausage, plus a surprise ingredient: a chocolate bar. (If you prefer less spicy chili, omit the jalapeno pepper.)

Three-Alarm Lansing Fire Chili recipe

Cherry Chili

It’s everything cherry at Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor, Michigan. Staffers put their tangy fruit salsa to good use in this white bean and chicken chili.

Cherry Chili

Two-Alarm Famous Chili

This recipe has been passed down from firefighter to firefighter over the years at Fire Station 1 on Mulberry Street in Des Moines. The recipe we received, based on 8 pounds of ground beef, serves 15 to 20 people -- or 10 firefighters. We've trimmed it down to 2 pounds of beef, which should make 8 to 10 servings at your house. A firefighter describes this chili as "spicy without being too hot to hurt you."

Famous Chili recipe

Five-Alarm I.D.L.H. Chili

Firefighters in Fort Wayne, Indiana, dig into this chili with care. The initials stand for "immediately dangerous to life and health." The chili includes three kinds of fresh chilies and four kinds of powdered chilies. For additional flavor, sear the sirloin steak on the grill first. Alter peppers and seasoning amounts for desired heat.

Another five-alarm recipe comes from firefighter Chris Muenks of the Jefferson County, Missouri, fire department.

I.D.L.H. Chili recipe

Chris Muenks' Chili

Chicken Salsa Chili

Our Test Kitchen created this quick and easy chicken chili, which takes just 15 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook. Serve with assorted toppers such as sour cream, low-fat yogurt, chopped red onions, shredded sharp cheddar cheese and chopped avocado.

Chicken Salsa Chili

Chili with macaroni

This recipe, from Bryon Bensen at the Eau Claire, Wisconsin, fire department, drew a two-alarm rating. It's served over macaroni and can be topped with sour cream, cheese and green onions -- and red pepper sauce, if you want to up the alarm rating even more.

Other firehouse recipes include Donovan's Code 3 Chili, a four-alarm specialty from Cincinnati; Thumbs-Up Chili, a three-alarm dinner from Rockford, Illinois; and United Way Cook-Off Chili, a four-alarm favorite from Minnesota's Duluth Fire Department.

Bryon Bensen's Chili

Donovan's Code 3 Chili recipe

Thumbs-Up Chili recipe

United Way Cook-Off Chili recipe

White chili

White chili typically combines chicken broth, navy beans or Great Northern beans, chicken and flavorings for a stew that tends to be milder than the beefy red chili recipes. You can still adjust the heat up or down, though, by using more or less chilies and red pepper.

Our White Surprise Chili (left) has been a favorite with readers for years. White Chili in a Bread Bowl is a thick, creamy soup served at the Holiday Inn in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The Southwestern White Chili recipe uses canned instead of dried beans for a quicker-fixing chili; this recipe comes from Lewis and Clark's restaurant in St. Charles, Missouri.

White Surprise Chili recipe

White Chili in a Bread Bowl recipe

Southwestern White Chili recipe

Ground Beef and Salsa Chili

Ground Beef and Salsa Chili, from The Dakota Diner in Webster, South Dakota, can be on the table in 30 minutes or less. Match the pot of chili to your taste by the spiciness of the salsa you choose.

Ground Beef and Salsa Chili

New World Chili

Pumpkin, dried cranberries, jalapeno peppers, and turkey add an unusual flavor twist to slow-simmering chili.

New World Chili

Winter Woods Chili

The meat lovers in your family will love this chili, which combines beef and bacon. Mix a classic cheddar topper with fresh oregano for a new twist.

Winter Woods Chili

Chunky Bean and Chicken Chili

Crushed tortilla chips, stirred into the chili's base, give this dish a lusciously creamy texture. Put it together in just 20 minutes.

Chunky Bean and Chicken Chili

Two-Bean Chili with Avocado

Creamy avocado, fresh cilantro and bottled salsa brighten this chili recipe.

Two-Bean Chili with Avocado

Pineapple Pork Chili

This five-ingredient dinner, flavored by ground pork or beef and pineapple salsa, goes together in just 20 minutes.

Pineapple Pork Chili

Pork and Jalapeno Chili

This chili comes from the Firehouse Brewing Company in Rapid City, South Dakota. The chef adds chocolate to take the edge off the tangy tomato flavor. The chili won first place at the Black Hills Stock Show Chili Cook-Off.

A different version of pork-based stew is Fire and Ice Chili, which combines pineapple chunks with more traditional chili ingredients.

Pork and Jalapeno Chili recipe

Fire and Ice Chili recipe

Zesty Black Bean Chili

Another quick-fix recipe, this chili uses a variety of canned or ready-to-eat ingredients, including salsa, black beans, vegetable juice and turkey kielbasa. Try serving it with Cumin-Cheddar Corn Bread and with Bananas a la Mexican for a complete, fast-and-easy meal.

Zesty Black Bean Chili recipe

Cumin-Cheddar Corn Bread recipe

Bananas a la Mexican recipe

Prizewinning Chilis

When we asked for readers' best chili recipes, Midwest cooks submitted dozens. In our 9 favorites, innovative ingredients--whiskey, red wine, cocoa powder and molasses--work magic on the basics of meat, beans and, of course, chilies. Three-Bean Beauty chili, pictured, was one of the winners. Click below for the Three-Bean Beauty Chili recipe or the complete list of winners.

Three-Bean Beauty Chili

9 Prizewinning Reader Chili Recipes

More great soup, stew and chili recipes

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