Tips for Making Chili, Plus a Chili Cook-Off Winning Recipe!

Chili is a delicious dish to make on a cold fall or winter day. Chili is a hearty dish that is full of fresh flavors, and it can also be simple to make. Whether you are making a big pot of chili for the big game or meal prepping for the days ahead, enjoy our top tips for making chili.

#1 Brown the Meat

Before adding all of the chili ingredients together, brown the meat to develop a fuller flavor. Ground beef is standard in most chili recipes, but don’t be afraid to try something new like bone-in short ribs, brisket, chuck roast, ground chicken, or turkey.

#2 Don’t Forget Vegetables

When making chili, don’t forget the veggies for an added layer of flavor. Some classic options include fresh garlic, roasted bell peppers, and sautéed onions. The vegetables will add a noticeable crunch and pop of color to your recipe. Herbs like cilantro or oregano can also enhance the flavor of the dish.

#3 Elevate with Extra Flavor

Elevate your chili recipe by adding an extra layer of flavor. 70%+ cocoa, bacon, cinnamon, cocoa powder, ground coffee and tomato paste will all add a rich and unique layer of flavor to your chili recipe making it as unique as you.

#4 Only Add Flavorful Liquids

Instead of adding water to chili, add something flavorful like beer, broth, red wine vinegar, or Worcestershire sauce. Each one of these options brings out different notes and levels of sweetness that can enhance your culinary creation.

#5 Opt for Dried Beans

When cooking chili use dried beans instead of canned beans. After hours of cooking, canned beans will turn mushy, so instead, grab your favorite dried beans and soak them overnight in salted water before cooking.

#6 Season Often

Herbs and spice blends are all key to flavoring chili, but many cooks wait until the very end to add them in. Instead, season early and often so flavors mix and mingle to develop an even richer taste. By seasoning and tasting throughout the entire cooking process, you will enjoy a balanced, full-flavored bowl of chili. 

#7 Add Some Acidity at the End

Chili is most commonly prepared at a low temperature and for an extended period of time (low and slow), which develops a deeper, spiced aroma, but the longer cook time can often result in a flat flavor. Perk up your pot of chili by adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or sherry vinegar right before you remove it from the stovetop. You can even use a squeeze or two of fresh lime, which will also bring a bright bit of tang to each bite.

#8 Top It Off 

Everyone has unique tastes and flavor combinations they enjoy, so when preparing chili, be sure to include an array of tasty toppings like avocado, cilantro, corn bread, crackers, fresh lime, Greek yogurt, grated cheeses, jalapeños, salsa, scallions, and sour cream. 

#9 Cook the Day Before

Chili is a labor of love, so set aside an adequate amount of time to cook it properly. This includes giving it an extra day to set in the fridge so all of the fresh flavors can meld and settle together until all of the ingredients become one harmonious whole. This also provides extra time to adjust any levels of spiciness and thickness to the sauce.

#10 Store Leftovers

Chili is one of those dishes that fares well in the freezer, so you can make a big batch and freeze the leftovers in a freezer safe storage container so you can enjoy this hearty comfort food all year long. An easy trick to have individual portions available is to freeze in a gently greased muffin tin and then put the muffin-sized portions into a freezer safe bag for individual reheating.


After all of your hard work, take the time to enjoy your culinary creation. With every batch of chili you make, you will learn which flavors work together and what ingredients you should change next time. Think about what stands out from the first bite to the last bite and create your own unique recipe. Most importantly, savor each and every bite and enjoy.

The Team Rumi Chili Cook-Off

The Rumi Team is full of foodies, just like you. We decided to exercise our skills in the kitchen and all try to come up with a knock-out chili recipe for the Rumi community.

Thus, The Team Rumi Chili Cook-Off was born.

Four of our very own team members were randomly assigned a spice blend from our new Black Cumin line:


Imelda L. (our Marketing Coordinator) was assigned the Persian Gulf Baharat and cooked a Dark Chorizo Baharat Chili.

Ryan W. (our Director of Sales) was assigned the Ethiopian Berbere Spice Blend and made a spicy chili highlighting the 3 B’s-- Berbere, Bacon, & Beans.

All of the chilis judged in this cook-off were unique and packed with flavor, but there could only be one chili that could take home the prize.

The WINNER of this cook-off was none other than Patti D. (our new CEO!). She was assigned the Southwest Chili Spice Blend and crafted a White Bean Chicken Chili Verde inspired by the cuisine of the American Southwest. The use of chicken was a welcomed twist to the usual chili recipe and worked extraordinarily well with the peppery flavor of our Southwest Chili Spice Blend.

Sound delicious? The judges sure thought so! Try the winning recipe here and don’t forget to show us your favorite chili recipes at @Rumi_Spice.