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Is This the Internet's Best (Damn) Chili?

September 28, 2016

According to the internet, this is the best chili recipe—excuse me, the best damn chili. The recipe, by Danny Jaye on All Recipes, is the top result when you search “best chili recipe” on Google. And a lot of you searched that last year: It was one of 2015's top ten most-searched recipes.

It seems in order to have the greatest chili ever, you need to procure 28 ingredients, three of which are used for the sour cream topping. Compare that to best ever turkey chili for 16 ingredients, just good chili for 19 ingredients, and this pumpkin chili that, say some of our commenters, has too many—24—ingredients.

Kenji López-Alt's best chili ever surpasses with 27 ingredients (not including the optional garnishes), but he admits that his rendition is not traditional, but rather the tinkered, perfected, Best World Order version. It sounds exceptional (you blend toasted chiles with Marmite, anchovy, and chocolate; you rip browned meat off short ribs), but it isn't necessarily what people might be looking for when they type, hungrily, "best chili recipe."

The internet's top chili is more straightforward in technique, but the ingredients list is hardly consolidated: You will need both light beer (such as Coors, says the recipe) and white wine. You will need three types of peppers in addition to chipotle pepper sauce and smoked paprika. And you will need tomato in three mediums: crushed, fire-roasted and diced, and paste.

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The question we wondered, going into testing the recipe was, then: Do you need so many ingredients to make the best chili ever?

Most of the negative comments on the recipe was about the chili being too tomatoey (what with three cans of tomato products). One person on our team of recipe testers, Emily, agreed with that sentiment, but still loved it.

“It kind of had everything you wanted in a chili, including the sour cream topping.”
Emily, Food52 Recipe Tester

The second recipe tester who made it had a similar reaction:

“I really enjoyed this recipe. It was straightforward and pretty much the textbook definition of what a tasty chili should be. Beef, beans, and a nice blend of spices led to a delicious meal.”

The directions weren't surprising or deceiving, nothing out of the ordinary for a chili—though it does require one pot for simmering and one pan for browning meat instead of the usual one-pot scenario. Our testers would make it again, adjusting the spices and tomato as they wished. So Internet, you almost, sort-of win this one: dishing out a recipe that might have too many ingredients, but is feasible and adjustable enough to each cook’s likes and pantries.

Photo by Tim McSweeney

Check back tomorrow to see how the internet's best fried chicken recipe (!) fared.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Chris Williams
    Chris Williams
  • jph
  • beejay45
  • Crystal Gardener
    Crystal Gardener
  • sarahjc78
Editor/writer/stylist. Author of I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To). Last name rhymes with bagel.


Chris W. October 8, 2016
This one got knocked off my list as soon as I saw it called for ground beef. Hamburger in chili? Not in my house. And tomato paste? Beans? Dis-qualified! Some of the other ingredients (basil, brown sugar) are plausible, but doubtful. Beer has no real positive effect, either, other than psychological. Why use Anaheims when Hatches have much better flavor? (You do have to learn how to preserve them.)
Come on over to my place for some real eatin'. Maybe I'll smoke the meat first, maybe I won't. Maybe I'll pull it, maybe I'll chop it. But a few things are for sure: the chili will be much simpler than this, it won't need sour cream (though you're welcome to add it); you can top it with shredded sharp cheddar, slices of fresh serranos, and chopped green onions; and it'll knock your socks off.
Kt4 August 29, 2017
So post your recipe and let us give it a go :) Your teaser sounds good.
Mary M. April 27, 2019
Please send me your recipe😍😀
jph October 3, 2016
It's all regional. For the history of chili, check out
History of Chili
History and Legends of Chili
A Brief History of Chili Con Carne

beejay45 October 1, 2016
Oh, man! That recipe on the video is so wrong in so many ways. Now, I grew up in California, and my chili recipe originally came from either Sunset magazine or a Starving Students/Poor Poets-type cookbook, and it had tomato sauce and beans - anathema to any Texan. But really, basil??? And not cooking the seasonings in with the meat and veggies, where the heat and fat can really intensify the flavor? And chili powder AND cumin??? The cumin's already in the chili powder. If, on the other hand, they meant powdered chilis...

Yeah, I can be just as hidebound as those Texans who rage at the rest of us about how our bowl of red just is not chili. But, in the end, if it tastes good...but "the best"? Isn't that in the mouth of the eater???
Crystal G. September 30, 2016
I made the 27 ingredient chili from Serious Eats (The Best Chili Ever Recipe referenced above) last fall, omitted beans, added ground chuck (in addition to the short ribs) and replaced marmite with soy sauce. I can tell you all my hard work paid off. Seriously best chili ever. Making this chili made me appreciate freshly toasted and ground spices more. More often than not I buy whole spices and make my own mixes now.
sarahjc78 September 30, 2016
I found my families favorite chili recipe by accident when I had to use up some bacon and sirloin steak at the same time. It's Cowboy Steak Chili in a Crockpot and only rates a 4 out of 5 stars on food.com; but we love it. It has 22 ingredients. I've managed to get it down to 21 by eliminating the chorizo and upping the bacon. LOL
[email protected] September 28, 2016
Food 52, doesn't anyone on your staff proof what you write? "Does our testers."??? Don't you want to say, "do our testers" and add a question mark on the end? Jeesh, have some respect for the English language.