Mouth-Watering Midwest Chili Recipe to Try Today!

I am not one to shy away from a hearty, filling meal. Especially when it comes to chili. Growing up in the Midwest, I was exposed to various chili recipes, but nothing quite compares to Midwestern-style chili. The chili’s smoky beef flavor, combined with beans, tomatoes, and a plethora of spices, is simply unbeatable.

In this recipe article, I will show you how to make the best Midwestern-style chili you’ve ever had. This recipe has been perfected through years of trial and error and is sure to hit the spot on any cold evening.

By using spice blends like chili powder and black pepper mixed with tomato paste and whole tomatoes, the dish brings together flavors that are both bold and harmonious. Don’t forget about the kidney beans and chili beans for that signature chunky texture that creates a flavor explosion in every bite.

If you’re looking for a classic yet bold chili experience with an enticing aroma that screams comfort food on a cold day, this recipe will do wonders for you. So let’s dive right into my Midwest Chili Recipe!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Midwest Chili
Midwest Chili

Picture this: you’re sitting in front of a steaming bowl of chili that’s overflowing with rich, smoky beef, plump beans, and perfectly balanced spices. The aroma is tantalizing, and with every spoonful, your taste buds are hit with a flavor explosion that’s both comforting and exciting.

Welcome to the Midwest Chili Recipe. A dish so packed with flavor and texture that it’s been a favorite among midwesterners for decades. But why should you try it? Let me give you some compelling reasons.

Firstly, this chili is versatile like no other. You can serve it over elbow macaroni, or even use it as a base for a delicious Cincinnati chili spaghetti. It’s also perfect on its own or as a dip for tortilla chips. With all these possibilities, it’s hard to run out of ways to enjoy it.

Secondly, the Midwest Chili Recipe boasts of an impressive list of ingredients that give it its signature taste. From the sweetness of sugar to the heat of chili powder, nothing is left to chance. The holy trinity of onion, celery, and green bell pepper adds depth and aroma while kidney beans and chili beans add texture and nutrition.

All these carefully chosen ingredients synergize into a dish that has the perfect balance of flavors – not too spicy, not too sweet – just right!

Finally, let’s talk about how simple this recipe really is. Yes, you heard right! For a dish with such an amazing taste profile, getting it on your table doesn’t have to be grueling or time-consuming.

All you need is a large pot and six simple steps to create a luscious meal that’s perfect for any day of the week. The Midwest Chili Recipe can even be made ahead or reheated without losing any flavor or texture.

So what are you waiting for? Spice up your dinner menu today by adding the Midwest Chili Recipe to your list of favorites!

Ingredient List

Necessary ingredients

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this midwest chili recipe:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced (2 if small)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, minced
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (16 ounce)
  • 1 can chili beans, undrained (15 ounce)
  • 1 can whole tomatoes (28 ounce)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt

You can find all these ingredients in your local grocery stores. Most of them are pantry staples that you might already have in your kitchen!

The Recipe How-To

Now that we have covered the introduction and the ingredients for this Midwest Chili recipe, it’s time to dive into the fun part: how to make it! This recipe is fairly easy to make and requires only one large pot, so cleaning up will be a breeze. Let’s get started!


  • Begin by browning 1 pound of ground beef in a large pot with 1 diced yellow onion and 2 diced celery stalks.
  • Once the meat is cooked through, remove any excess grease and transfer the mixture to a separate bowl.

Main Recipe

  • Return the same pot to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
  • Add 2 diced bell peppers (one green, one red) and 1 diced yellow onion. Cook until they soften and become fragrant.
  • Add 3 minced garlic cloves, stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  • Add 1 can of whole tomatoes (16 ounces) and use a wooden spoon to chop them roughly.
  • Then add the reserved meat mixture, 1 can each of kidney beans (16 ounces), chili beans (16 ounces), and 1 can of corn(15 ounces); stir well.
  • Finally, add in 2 teaspoons of chili powder, 1 tablespoon of Spice Islands Beef seasoning, ½ teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of black pepper, and sprinkle some sugar.

Boiling Point

  • Pour in just enough water until everything is fully submerged. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce the heat to keep everything at a low simmer for about 20 minutes. At this point, you can taste test and adjust seasonings as needed.


  • If you’re looking for something different that still tastes great, try adding some pasta! Cook 8 ounces of elbow macaroni according to package instructions then add it in before serving your chili.


This Midwest Chili recipe is delicious all on its own, but you can elevate it even more with some toppings like shredded cheese, sour cream or tortilla chips on top. As far as pairings go, this chili goes great with cornbread or rice.

Make-ahead, Storing & Reheating

To make this ahead of time; cook everything except for the pasta then store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer up to two months. When reheating simply pop it back on medium-low heat adding water if necessary then bring it back up to temperature before serving.

With these simple steps, you’ll be enjoying this Midwest Chili recipe midwestern style in no time!

Substitutions and Variations

As a culinary explorer, one of the joys of cooking is the creativity that comes with customizing a recipe to your liking. I understand that some of you may not have all the ingredients at hand or simply prefer certain flavors over others. Fear not, as I’ve got you covered with some substitutions and variations to make this Midwest Chili Recipe your own.

Firstly, for those who are vegetarian or looking for a healthier option, you can substitute beef for plant-based alternatives like tofu or textured vegetable protein (TVP). You can also swap the beef with shredded chicken or turkey for a leaner protein source, or use ground pork for a richer flavor.

If you prefer a milder taste, you can reduce the chili powder and black pepper measurements by half. Conversely, if you like it hot and spicy, add some cayenne pepper or hot sauce to turn up the heat. For those who have a sweet tooth, increase the sugar measurement by 1-2 tablespoons to balance out the spiciness.

For a heartier meal, add elbow macaroni to the chili and let it cook through in the last 10 minutes of simmering time. Alternatively, serve the chili over a bed of rice or with crunchy corn chips on top.

Want to switch things up from the traditional chili? Try adding corn or diced potatoes for extra texture and flavor. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to give it an exotic twist, try adding spices like cumin or coriander.

The possibilities are endless with this Midwest Chili Recipe – whether you’re making it traditional midwestern style or experimenting with new flavors. Don’t be afraid to get creative and make it your own!

Serving and Pairing

When it comes to Midwest chili, there are a few classic sides that would pair perfectly with this hearty comfort food. Cornbread is the ultimate partner for chili of all types, and midwest style chili is no exception. The sweet and savory flavors of cornbread act like a dance partner to the spices and ground beef in this chili recipe.

If you want to incorporate some vegetables into your meal, try serving your chili with a simple green salad drizzled with a vinaigrette dressing. A crisp, fresh salad will complement the spicy richness of the chili and help cut through any heat on your palate.

For those who like their food on the spicier side, go for some jalapeno poppers or hot wings for a fiery feast. The heat of the poppers or wings will contrast nicely with the heartiness of the chili and create an explosion of flavor in your mouth.

If you want to ramp up even further, serve your Midwest Chili over elbow macaroni or Cincinnati-style spaghetti – a midwestern classic – for an authentic experience that truly speaks to your senses. This dish will warm you up from head to toe, making it perfect for cold weather nights and hearty family meals.

No matter how you choose to serve it, Midwest Chili is the perfect comfort food option that’s sure to satisfy even the most insatiable cravings for something hearty and satisfying.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

Once you’ve prepped and cooked a perfect batch of Midwest chili, you may find yourself with leftovers that you don’t want to go to waste. Fortunately, this type of chili is an excellent make-ahead dish and can be stored in the fridge or freezer for later consumption.

If you need to store your Midwest chili in the fridge for a few days, be sure to let it cool down first before transferring it into an airtight container. This will help prevent any bacteria growth during storage. You can store it for up to four days in the fridge.

If there are no plans of finishing the leftover chili within three days or less, storing it in the freezer is an ideal option. You can put it in a container with a tightly fitted lid and freeze for up to two months. To thaw frozen chili, leave it in your fridge overnight, and reheat according to your preference.

When reheating your chili, depending on how much you’re planning on reheating at a time, the microwave might be a quick solution. The preferred method would be heating the stove or using a slow cooker as it allows for proper re-heating of all ingredients and brings back smoldering flavors.

Also, if you’re serving your Midwest chili with pasta like elbow macaroni or Cincinnati chili spaghetti, don’t leave them sitting with the sauce overnight; store them separately. This prevents the pasta from becoming mushy when reheated, giving us that much-needed texture in our food.

By following these recommendations, you can ensure that your Midwest-style chili tastes amazing even after it’s been stored away for a bit. Whether you stored it safely in your fridge or freezer, these tips will prevent spoilage and keep the flavors intact.

Tips for Perfect Results

Now that you’ve gone through the ingredient list and recipe instructions, let me share with you some of my personal tips and tricks for achieving the perfect Midwest Chili every time.

1. Let it Simmer

Chili is not a dish that can be rushed. The longer it simmers, the better it will taste. Allow the flavors to meld together and add more spices if necessary. Don’t be afraid to let it cook for a few hours.

2. Use Quality Meat

The quality of your meat will make all the difference in your chili. I personally recommend using lean ground beef or shredded beef for a smoky flavor, as they complement the spices better than fattier alternatives.

3. Experiment with Spices

While this recipe includes chili powder, black pepper, sugar, and salt, don’t be afraid to experiment with different spice blends from different regions, such as cumin, coriander, and cinnamon!

4. Preheat Your Pot

Preheating your pot before cooking can help prevent sticking and ensure even heat distribution. Add the oil and allow it to heat up for a few minutes before adding any ingredients.

5. Season in Stages

Be sure to season your chili in stages – this means adding some spices at the beginning of cooking and then taste testing after adding additional spices further on in the recipe. This way, you get a perfectly balanced flavor instead of an overpowering one!

6. Don’t Overdo It on the Beans

While beans are a must-have ingredient in traditional Midwest Chili recipes, don’t overdo it! Too many beans will make your chili thick – turn into bean soup! Stick with 1-2 types (such as kidney beans and chili beans) in moderate quantities.

7. Serve with Cornbread or Crackers

In my humble opinion, serving Midwest Chili without bread or crackers is like going to a baseball game without peanuts! Serve your piping hot homemade chili with some crunchy cornbread or crackers to complete that perfect comforting meal.

Follow these tips and I guarantee you will have one amazing Midwest style chili recipe every time you prepare it!


We’re nearing the end of this recipe article, but before we wrap things up, let’s take a moment to address some frequently asked questions about our midwest chili recipe. As with any recipe, there may be a few common queries from beginner or experienced cooks alike. Therefore, I have put together this FAQ section to help you troubleshoot and successfully create a delicious pot of midwest-style chili. So, let’s dive into the most commonly asked questions and my expert answers to help you make this chili recipe with ease!

What is the difference between Texas chili and regular chili?

When it comes to chili, Texas is as famous for its spice as its reputation. The Lone Star State’s take of the classic dish stands out from the rest because of its distinct lack of beans or tomato sauce. Instead, Texas chili is made with an emphasis on meat and a hearty chili paste created from a blend of robust dried peppers.

What is the trick to good chili?

In the realm of cooking, some unexpected ingredients can harmonize perfectly with traditional recipes. When you think of adding spices to chili, cocoa powder and cinnamon may not come to mind. Surprisingly, these ingredients blend impeccably with the spices in a chili recipe. Similarly, substituting beer for water or broth as a liquid in a dish can intensify the flavor profile. Lastly, as a versatile ingredient, coffee can add a depth of flavor to a variety of dishes. These ingredients may seem unconventional, but they are worth trying.

Why do Texans not put beans in chili?

Texans have a strong dislike for beans in their chili as they consider it to be an inappropriate addition. They strongly believe that beans do not belong in the dish and deem it to be a deviation from the traditional recipe. The residents of Texas are very passionate about their chili and are very particular about the ingredients used in it.

What state is best known for chili?

According to Doug Koegeboehn, Wienerschnitzel’s chief marketing officer, although chili may be recognized as the official dish of Texas, it has become a widely popular meal all across America.

Bottom Line


In conclusion, this Midwest Chili Recipe is an absolute must-try for any true culinary explorer. Not only is it a classic and beloved regional dish, but it’s also incredibly versatile and customizable depending on your preferences. Whether you’re craving something spicy, sweet, smoky or savory, this recipe has got you covered.

By following the detailed instructions, pro tips and substitution suggestions I’ve provided in this article, you’ll be able to create a delicious and authentic Midwest-style chili that will impress your friends and family.

So why not give it a try? Let yourself indulge in the rich flavors of slow-cooked beef, spicy chili powder and tangy tomatoes. I guarantee you won’t regret it!

And remember, cooking is all about experimentation and personalization. Don’t be afraid to get creative with the ingredients and make this recipe your own. Who knows, you might even come up with a new favorite variation of this classic dish.

So go forth and conquer the kitchen! And don’t forget to share pictures of your homemade Midwest Chili Recipe on social media using the hashtag #MidwestChiliLove. Happy cooking!

Midwest Chili

Midwest Chili Recipe

This is the recipe for chili that I grew up with. A great fall & winter recipe!
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 368.9 kcal


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 (6 ounce) tomato paste
  • 1 (16 ounce) kidney beans (do not rinse or drain) or (16 ounce) chili beans (do not rinse or drain)
  • 12 ounces V8 vegetable juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 (32 ounce) can whole tomatoes (cut into chunks)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni, raw


  • In a dutch oven, brown the ground beef with onion and celery and drain any excess fat from the meat.
  • Add remaining ingredients (tomato paste through 4 cups of water) EXCEPT macaroni.
  • Simmer for at least 3 hours.
  • Prepare the macaroni according to package directions (cook in additional salted water).
  • Drain macaroni and add to chili.
  • Simmer this mixture for an additional 15 to 30 minutes.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 610gCalories: 368.9kcalCarbohydrates: 42.1gProtein: 23.7gFat: 12.7gSaturated Fat: 4.7gCholesterol: 51.4mgSodium: 1263.9mgFiber: 8.2gSugar: 13.5g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Beans, Easy, Healthy, Inexpensive, Low Cholesterol, Meat
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