I looked at five types of canned chili from the grocery store to find the best convenient option.
The meat-free version of Amy’s was quite tasty, but the? Campbell’s Chunky chili mac was my favorite.
Still, none of these canned versions held a candle to homemade chili.
Hormel’s take had what I would consider a classic canned chili flavor.
When I think of canned chili, I think of Hormel’s, so I tried it first as a kind of check.
I followed the instructions on the can and warmed the chili in a microwave-safe bowl for two to three minutes, stirring halfway through.
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Chile from Hormel was the most bean forward.
Pretty much every bite was beans. In addition, the taste was very mild and I couldn’t pick up many spices.
Wolf Brand’s chili had a softer consistency and a lot more spice.
I had to take out my can opener for this chili as it was the only one without a handy pull tab.
When I took it out of the microwave after two minutes, I noticed a skin had formed on the chili. Fortunately, when I mixed it in, it didn’t seem to affect the texture or taste.
This option was also much smoother than Hormel’s. I saw this pair well with cheese for a delicious chili dip.
I didn’t even notice that the Amy’s chili was meat free.
This one meat-free take on chili contains bits of tofu, but it’s so compelling I didn’t realize it was vegetarian until I read the can afterward.
It was the best looking chili of the bunch, with a thin, pourable consistency. I heated it in the microwave for two minutes.
I could smell and taste the peppers, which gave the chili a nice, crisp profile. There was a lightness to the taste and texture which I also enjoyed.
The Amy’s take had a more home made taste. It’s labeled as a medium chili, but I didn’t find it too spicy, despite a low tolerance.
The Campbell’s chunky chili mac was surprisingly good.
Faced with limited options at the grocery store, I decided to throw this chili mac into the mix.
Like Amy’s chili, this Campbell’s Chunky meal had a pourable consistency and was easy to transfer to a microwave safe bowl. I heated it up for 2 1/2 minutes.
This chili tasted better than it looked.
The macaroni offered a surprisingly nice texture. Unlike some of the other options, which had a bean-forward flavor, the soft one was pasta made for a lighter bite that requires less chewing.
It was also the first chili I tasted that had a distinct tomato flavor.
It definitely wasn’t gourmet, but for canned chili, it was pretty decent and had a nice, mellow flavor.
The Campbell’s Well Yes veggie chili would be a solid on-the-go option.
This soup comes in a microwave-safe bowl, which is convenient for on the go.
I heated it for a minute and 15 seconds and stirred it before digging into it. The plastic lid was a bit tricky to remove without touching the hot metal rim or spilling the chili.
It was the spiciest of the ones I tried, but not overwhelming.
None of these canned options compared to the rich flavor of homemade chili, but some were quite tasty.
If you are a passionate chili fan, chances are the canned variety will not impress you† As found in this taste test, these options generally sacrifice flavor and texture for convenience.
I know pasta is not a traditional ingredient in chile, but let’s face it: none of these canned versions held a candle to the homemade stuff.
For a microwave meal, the chili mac was quite tasty. It’s the one I’d actually like to eat again.
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