One of the few things that gets better as it ages.

There may be no better party dish than chili. Like any stew, it’s easy to scale a recipe up to feed a crowd. There’s no canonical list of required ingredients, so it can be tailored to fit guests’ tastes. And though it’s often made with meat, it’s naturally so full of flavor—and, because of the beans, protein—that it’s easily made vegetarian. 

In short, chili is the life of the party, the guest everyone’s happy to see and no one can get enough of.

The dish has the added advantage of being able to be made well ahead of time, freeing you up to concentrate on your guests the day of the party. In fact, chili is one of those rare dishes that may be better the second day. Somehow those flavors deepen and meld together in the refrigerator overnight, creating something greater than the sum of its parts.

What recipe should you make, then? You can’t go wrong with any of the recipes below, but consider your guests and their preferences. Do you think they like their chili meaty and rich? Try classic Smoky Beef-and-Bacon chili. Are they looking to maximize their bean experience? Black and White chili has two kinds. Then again, Ranch Chili has none. Whiskey and Triple Pork Black Bean Chili really does have three different meat sources in it. Black Bean Chili, on the other hand, can be made vegan simply by skipping the recommended sour cream topping. They say there’s no accounting for taste, but the rich, umami-filled flavors of chili are something that all your party guests will be able to get behind.

Favorite Chili Recipes


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