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Chili is warm, hearty, and one of the comfiest comfort foods out there. Although there’s nothing quite like slow-simmering a fresh pot of chili on the stove, sometimes you just want to fill your belly with something delicious without a lot of work. That’s where canned chili comes in. While canned foods often get a bad rap, the best canned chili options are delicious, savory with a little spice, made with only natural ingredients, and minimally processed. Since it can be hard to weed through all of the canned foods out there, we narrowed it down to this list, offering the top choices for a variety of chilis, including spicy, bean-free, and chicken.
Here are the best canned chilis you can buy.
Best Overall: Kettle & Fire Grass-Fed Beef Chili with Beans
While the Kettle & Fire Beef Chili with Beans is technically “boxed” and not “canned,” we would be doing you a huge disservice if we omitted it from the list based on that criterion alone. Not only is this chili delicious, hearty, and loaded with protein from grass-fed beef, it’s also made with high-quality ingredients, like bone broth and organic tomatoes, kidney beans, and jalapeño peppers.
It’s also sweetened only with organic honey, rather than the refined sugar you’ll find in other canned chilis.
Best Organic: Amy’s Organic Medium Chili
Amy’s made a name for itself by being one of the first (and still one of the only) food manufacturers to offer high-quality frozen, canned, and convenience foods—and its Organic Medium Chili stays true to its mission. Made with a combination of organic red beans and tofu, this vegetarian chili offers almost as much protein as its meaty counterparts.
It has a fully organic ingredient list, with no added sugar in any form, it’s hearty and delicious, and it’s perfectly balanced—not too hot and not too sweet.
Best with Beans: Wolf Brand Homestyle Chili with Beans
They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that’s true of this Wolf Brand Homestyle Chili with Beans—a thick chili made with large pinto beans, a beef and pork meat mixture, green bell peppers, chili peppers, and rolled oats. Made from an authentic Texas recipe that was developed in 1895, this bold, hearty chili has a homemade taste and an impressive ingredient list that closely resembles how the very first batch was made.
If you’re not a fan of the chunky Texas homestyle, Wolf Brand also makes an equally delicious regular chili with beans that has a smoother texture and doesn’t include the green bell peppers.
Best without Beans: True Primal Beef Chili
If you’re on Team Chili Is Better Without Beans—or you’re looking for a canned chili that fits into a low carb or paleo lifestyle—the True Primal Beef Chili is the choice for you. Another option that’s not technically canned (it comes in a shelf-stable pouch instead), this True Primal combines all-natural ingredients like grass-fed beef, tomatoes, garlic, chili powder, and allspice to make a satiating protein-packed, meaty chili.
There’s no added sugar or artificial ingredients, and you can microwave it right in the pouch—it doesn’t get much better, or more convenient, than that.
Best Spicy: Campbell's Chunky Hot & Spicy Beef & Bean Firehouse Chili
If you like your chili hot, then the Cambell’s Chunky Hot & Spicy Firehouse Chili is the one for you. Often called “the best canned chili,” this hearty beef and bean chili is the closest you’ll get to the taste of homemade chili without any of the work. While the exact spice blend used is proprietary, Campbell's combines paprika and various chipotle pepper seasonings to create a mouth-watering, smoky chili that fills you up while leaving that welcome chili sting on your tongue.
For a real comfort food treat, Campbell's recommends pouring this chili right over some homemade cornbread for the perfect balance of spicy and sweet.
Best for Hot Dogs: Hormel Chili with No Beans
There’s a reason Hormel is the top-selling canned chili in the United States. All of its chilis are tasty with just the right amount of bite, but the Hormel Chili with No Beans is the ideal meaty companion for a big, juicy hot dog. The ingredients, which include water, beef, pork, chili powder, and tomato paste (but nothing artificial), are slow-simmered for several hours to develop the spices and make it reminiscent of the chili your grandmother used to make.
The meat is also finely minced, and because it doesn’t have any beans, it can get into each nook and cranny of your dog, covering each bite with just the right amount of chili.
Best for Baked Potatoes: Stagg Classic Chili with Beans
Called “The Chili Lovers Chili”, the Stagg Classic Chili with Beans combines two different types of beans—kidney beans and pink beans—with beef, pork, tomatoes, jalapenos, and dehydrated chile de arbol peppers for a thick, filling chili that makes the perfect topping for baked potatoes. The combination of chili peppers gives this canned chili a unique taste and just the right amount of kick without making it overly spicy. It’s also thick enough to stand up to the heartiness of a potato, so the two perfectly complement each other without one ingredient overtaking the other.
Unlike other canned chilis, it’s also 100 percent natural, free of artificial ingredients, and minimally processed.
Best Vegetarian: Amy’s Organic Black Bean Chili
All of Amy’s canned chilis are vegetarian and vegan-friendly, but there’s just something about the Organic Black Bean Chili that stands out from the rest. Unlike the other chilis on this list that use kidney beans or pink beans, this version combines organic black beans with other vegetarian ingredients like organic bell peppers, green chiles, and tomato puree, plus a hint of lime to make a hearty chili with a slightly Mexican-inspired vibe.
You can heat it up and eat right from the can or add a dollop or two of sour cream and turn it into a black bean dip.
Best Chicken: Campbell's Slow Kettle Style White Chicken Chili
Another option that’s not technically canned (but close enough), the Campbell's Slow Kettle Style White Chicken Chili will transport you to Sunday at your grandmother’s house. It combines white meat chicken, pea beans, roasted poblano peppers, garlic, and herbs (and nothing artificial) for a slightly smoky, homestyle taste with a natural sweetness and just a hint of heat.
As an added bonus, the chicken chili comes pre-portioned in an easy-to-open, microwave-safe tub that makes it simple to take lunch with you on the go. Just open, heat for 90 seconds to two minutes, and you have a satiating, comforting meal that’s loaded with protein and nothing artificial.
What to Look for When Buying Canned Chili
Canned foods have come a long way, and canned chili is no exception. The best-tasting canned chilis will be void of artificial ingredients and colors and made with natural foods and flavorings. They should also be minimally processed, which means during production, the chili is not fundamentally altered. The most important ingredients to look for are meat, beans, and tomato.
The one disadvantage to buying premade chili is that you can't control the heat. Make sure you are aware of the spice level when choosing a can of chili. You can always add more spiciness, but you can't remove it. If the can doesn't specify the level of spice, look at the ingredients—chile peppers such as chipotle, jalapeño, and arbol chiles will add a kick, while chili powder and paprika will lend to a milder chili.
For traditionalists, chili made with beef may be the only way to go. But for those interested in healthier choices, canned chili including turkey and chicken are available. Keep in mind that the type of meat will affect the taste. And when it comes to texture, you will have a choice of ground or cubed meat (often referred to as "chunks"), so make sure to read the label carefully.
How can I make canned chili taste better?
If the canned chili you've purchased just isn't satisfying, there are several ways you can doctor it up. The most minimal effort is to add toppings, such as shredded flavorful cheese, cubed avocado, sour cream, chopped chives, pico de gallo, and a squeeze of fresh lime. If you have the time and desire, you can sauté aromatics like onion and garlic and add to the chili, or stir in some jarred salsa. If the canned chili doesn't have enough spice, toss in sliced jalapeños or other spicy peppers, or a generous pinch of cayenne.
Is there a way to lower the amount of sodium in canned chili?
One caveat to packaged foods is that they are often high in sodium. If the chili you've purchased has more sodium than you feel comfortable eating, there is a way to lessen the amount per serving. Simply increase the volume of the chili by stirring in additional ingredients such as beans, corn, diced tomatoes, and chopped vegetables like bell peppers.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Lindsay Boyers is a certified holistic nutritionist with extensive nutrition knowledge and food- and beverage-testing experience. She’s also developed over 1,000 original recipes and is constantly on a mission to find the healthiest, best-tasting options and ingredients across all food and drink categories.