If I'm being totally honest, my favorite part of the Super Bowl is the table full of game-day food. Like onion dip with potato chips, nachos of any kind, chicken wings, and, of course, chili.
My spirit chili—what, like that's weird?!—is a big bowl of tomatoey, stew-like chili con carne, preferably with braised-'til-tender beef (rather than ground) and a smattering of beans. I like to ladle it over fluffy white rice, and garnish like crazy.
But I also like to mix it up. Other favorite chili contenders include white chicken chili (aka, the best-ever use for boneless, skinless chicken breasts), chili verde, and turkey chili. That's the great thing about chili, as a dish: there are endless permutations. (Check out this Serious Eats guide for a regional breakdown.) Thankfully, here on Food52, we have no shortage.
So if you're seeking your own spirit chili, you're in luck: Behold, bowls upon bowls of the stuff—including the one that's just right for you:
This white chicken chili is everything heavier, beefier versions are not: perfectly brothy, subtly nuanced, and delicately creamy (thanks, butter!). But like with meatier chilis, this white chicken rendition will make you want to go wild with toppings and eat bowl after bowl.
Chili con carne, meet achiote paste: a spice mix from the Yucatán region in Mexico, made from ground chilis, annatto seeds, cumin seeds, garlic, and other spices. No, it's not classic Texas red (we snuck a few beans in, after all...), but yes, it's efficient (Instant Pot, fewer ingredients), and so darn delicious.
The name of this dish—especially the "best-ever" part—should tell you everything you need to know. But we'll elaborate, anyway: ground meat, kidney beans, tomato, and dark beer team up here for an A++ bowl of classic turkey chili.
Total cook-time on this beefy, hearty dreamboat is one hour—but it doesn't skimp on flavor. Plus, it's even better the next day, so go ahead and bring it for a not-sad-desk-lunch.
A tender, smoky pork chili you'll want to eat straight from the pot, using a soft tortilla as a makeshift spoon.
You're only five ingredients away from a dreamy bowl of (vegetarian!) chili. Save us some of the crispy bean pieces, please.
Sweet potatoes and black beans join forces, and call in a handful of smoky spices, for this satisfying, vegetable-forward number. Don't forget to top with sliced avocado!
A community favorite recipe for bean-free chili that starts with a shot of tequila and a toast to Carroll Shelby, who founded the International Chili Society.
If you're looking for a hearty, short-rib chili chock-full of flavorful surprises—coffee, beer, chocolate, and gochujang, to name a few—you're in the correct place!
What's your favorite go-to chili? Let us know in the comments!
Ella Quittner is a contributing writer and the Absolute Best Tests
columnist at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.
See what other Food52 readers are saying.