Close up of a bowl of Homemade Chili topped with a blog of sour cream and sprinkled with shredded cheddar cheese.


Mom’s Homemade Chili is my comfort food! After the excess of the holiday season I start to think of slow food. Things like soups, stews and homemade chili simmering on the stove and the aroma wafting through the air. Even though I changed my mom’s recipe over time the first bite takes me right back to my teenage years. I remember sneaking little tasting bowls of chili from the pot on the stove after school, sometimes a few too many little bowls.

If your mom didn’t make homemade chili then try my recipe. Although it’s a casual everyday meal you can make a party out of it. Chili Cook-Offs are held all over North America every year and you could host your own gluten free Chili Cook-Off just for fun.

Chili is super easy to make and once you’ve made it a few times you don’t really need a recipe. My mom never had a written recipe but our chili always had ground beef, canned tomatoes and two kinds of beans. Use this recipe as a guide and adjust it to create your own favourite chili.

Hidden Gluten in Chili

Chili should be naturally gluten free but about ten minutes after you start a gluten free diet you know many foods that ‘should be gluten free’ aren’t. I don’t use Worcestershire sauce in my chili but some recipes do and it might contain gluten as well as other secret ingredients or sauces in secret family recipes. Even canned beans can contain gluten, especially ingredients with added flavouring. Gluten free cooks know to stick to the basic ingredients as much as possible (tomatoes, beans etc) and add your own seasoning.

The Versatility of Homemade Chili

Another reason I love chili is that it freezes well and I can serve it in so many different ways. When I serve chili right off the stove I typically serve it with my homemade cornbread. When I serve it the second time around I wrap it in a corn tortilla like a fajita. If I don’t feel like making salad I can top it with salad-type fixins’ like lettuce and chopped tomato. When I’m tired of green salad I can serve it on top of a baked potato or with a Southwestern Quinoa Salad on the side. Making it different is the secret to not getting bored with your meals.

A Baked Potato topped with Chili, sour cream, cheddar cheese and chives.
Baked Potato with Chili -photo credit Jim Little

Another favourite is making it into a quesadilla. Sandwich some chili between two corn tortillas with grated cheese and fry it until golden on both sides. Cut it into wedges, add a dollop of thick, plain yogurt and top it with salsa and a sprinkling of cilantro. I don’t think you could categorize chili as gourmet but I know this presentation is why my friends tease me about serving ‘gourmet leftovers’.

In warmer weather I make a Nacho Salad and rather than meat with taco seasoning I use my homemade chili. I still add my favourite toppings: lettuce, chopped avocado and tomato, sliced black olives, green onions, cilantro, plain yogurt and even a drizzle of chipotle mayo.

Let me know in the comments below how you like to serve your chili.

More Recipes – Comfort Food

Homemade Chili

January brings a shift toward healthier food after the excess of the holiday season. Slow food like soups, stews and homemade chili.
Author: Cinde Little
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: homemade chili


  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 green or red pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 8 large mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can kidney beans 19 oz
  • 1 can beans in tomato sauce (or pork and beans) 14 oz
  • 1 can diced tomatoes 28 oz
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp curry powder (optional)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper


  • Chop all the vegetables.
  • Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.
  • Saute onion, celery and pepper to soften, about 10 minutes.
  • Push vegetables to the side making a space in the center of the pot. Add ground beef and cook while stirring and breaking up the meat until it is browned completely.
  • Add all remaining ingredients and stir. Bring to a boil then decrease heat and simmer, covered, for one hour stirring occasionally.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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