I’ve tried 5 different canned chilies, and there’s only one I’d eat again

Cans of chili lined up in front of gray background

I’ve tried chili from Hormel, Wolf Brand, Amy’s and Campbell’s brands.Abigail Abesamis Demarest

  • 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.

White bowl of Chili with spoon in it

I tried chilis with beans.Abigail Abesamis Demarest

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Hormel’s take had what I would consider a classic canned chili flavor.

Can of Homel chili next to a white bowl of chili

Hormel’s chili had a lot of beans.Abigail Abesamis Demarest

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.

Related Video: How Ben’s Chili Bowl’s Chili Half-Smoke Became a DC Staple

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.

Red can of wolf brand chili next to a white bowl of it?

Wolf Brand’s chili would work great with cheese to make a dip.Abigail Abesamis Demarest

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.

I have much more spice from wolf brand‘s take but no heat. The spices were the predominant flavor, with the chili and beans adding a bit of texture, but not much flavor.

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.

green can of amy's chili next to a white bowl of it

The Amy’s chili contains tofu bits instead of meat.Abigail Abesamis Demarest

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.

Red can of Campbells chunky chili mac next to a white bowl of it?

The Campbell’s chili mac had a distinct tomato flavor.Abigail Abesamis Demarest

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.

Campbell's well yes chili in original, microwave-safe container

This Campbell’s chili comes in a microwave-safe container.Abigail Abesamis Demarest

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.

This one Vegetarian chili was the thinnest of the bunch, reminded me more of a Minestrone soup† I liked that I could see the veggies, but it just didn’t scream chili at me.

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.

Spoon of chili mac with gray background

For great chili, you’re better off making a batch at home.Abigail Abesamis Demarest

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.

Although the Amy’s Organic Chili had a nice clear taste and was the prettiest of the bunch, I kept going back to the ? Campbell’s Chunky chili mac

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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