How Does Your State Make Chili? Meet Our Most Popular Regional Chili Recipes

Chili is a quintessential American dish, in that (nearly) every state claims to do it best. From debates over beans vs. no beans, picking between beef, pork, turkey, or no meat at all, all the way to surprising seasonings ranging from cinnamon to vegetable juice, there are many regional variations on chili. We practically live in the United States of Chili. But which recipe is best? That's for you to decide, but luckily we've compiled 20 recipes from across the U.S. that embody all the varieties of the classic comfort food. How does your state do chili?

mid angle looking at a bowl of creamy white chili
Photo: dotdash meredith food studios
01 of 21

Alabama: Frank's Spicy Alabama Onion Beer Chili

According to recipe author EVILCHEF, this chili recipe hails straight from Alabama. While there are no hard and fast rules to Alabama-style chili, this recipe calls on hot sauce, spicy chili beans, and jalapeños to add some kick.

02 of 21

Arizona: Arizona Roadhouse Chili

This fiery chili is full of Southwestern flavor thanks to four(!) different kinds of peppers, plus some smoky guajillo chile powder. Masa harina flour is optional but will thicken the chili and give it more body. If you don't have it or can't find it at your local store, cornmeal is a good 1-1 swap.

03 of 21

Arkansas: Creamy White Chili

mid angle looking at a bowl of creamy white chili
dotdash meredith food studios

According to research from Google and Sam's Club, Arkansas' favorite tailgating food is White Chicken Chili. This creamy, dreamy recipe will be the main event at any football feast.

04 of 21

California: Tommy's Chili

If you're not familiar, Tommy's is a popular fast-food chain that started in Los Angeles and expanded around Southern California. The chain specializes in chili dogs and chili cheeseburgers because its all-beef, no-beans chili is the star of the show. This copycat recipe packs all the same delicious punch, so feel free to enjoy it on its own or as a burger or hot dog topping.

05 of 21

Colorado: Colorado Green Chili (Chile Verde)

Green chili is considered one of Colorado's state dishes, so if you were going to give a new recipe a try, this would be the one! Taking inspiration from its neighbor, New Mexico, this green chili features green chiles and tomatillos for its signature verdant color. Though pork is typical, we also have vegetarian recipes on site that will satisfy meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.

06 of 21

Colorado: Colorado Buffalo Chili

close up view of Colorado Buffalo Chili in a blue pot, on a red tablecloth

Clearly Colorado is serious about chili, so we felt the need to include one more regional variation from the state. This one uses a local protein, buffalo or bison, to make a hearty, spicy chili. And, according to its author, Cornpop, "This gets even better if you let it sit overnight."

07 of 21

Hawaii: Hawaiian-Style Chili

People love to debate whether pineapple belongs on pizza, but Hawaiians contend it's got a place in chili. In this recipe, pineapple chunks add a sweet and tangy flavor to an otherwise pretty classic beef-and-bean chili.

08 of 21

Illinois: Pub-Style Vegetarian Chili

Tavern or pub-style chili is the name of the game in Illinois. This vegetarian version swaps out the traditional beef for veggies, but promises you won't miss the meat. Intended to pair with a good beer, you can also throw some beer right into the mix when cooking. For a more traditional tavern-style chili, try this Beef, Bean, and Beer Chili recipe.

09 of 21

Indiana: Justin's Hoosier Chili

In our guide to regional chilis, there's much discussion about Indiana's Hoosier Chili, which is differentiated by its inclusion of V-8, tomato juice, or tomato soup. While it also sometimes contains spaghetti or elbow macaroni, this cook-off prize-winning recipe forgoes them, instead garnishing with oyster crackers. Recipe author BOOMAN101 advises, "Your friends will never guess that the secret ingredient is Campbell's tomato soup. Don't substitute other brands as they don't give the same results."

10 of 21

Indiana: Boilermaker Tailgate Chili

While Hoosier chili may be the state-wide staple, we're partial to this recipe that hails from the tailgates for the Purdue Boilermakers. It also happens to be one of our most popular and well-rated chili recipes on Allrecipes, with over 7,000 5-star rave reviews.

11 of 21

Kansas and Missouri: Sweet BBQ Pork Chili

That same guide discusses how Kansas City—which straddles the Kansas-Missouri border—is known for its BBQ, which influences the chili. Pulled pork, burnt ends, and barbecue sauce often end up in the mix. And, according to that article, "Ketchup, pepper-infused vinegar, and spicy mustard are toppings as acceptable as shredded cheese."

12 of 21

New Mexico: Pork Chili Verde (Green Pork Chili)

New Mexico is known for a similar style of chili as Colorado. Though it typically utilizes the locally-grown Hatch chiles, this recipe from Chef John calls on a mix of more easily accessible poblano and jalapeño peppers. Chunks of tender pork shoulder, tomatillos, and a blend of spices inspired by nearby Mexico make this chili verde absolutely packed with flavor.

13 of 21

Louisiana: Spicy Creole Chili

Gumbo meets chili is this spicy, New Orleans Creole-style chili. Ground chicken, spicy Andouille sausage, and the "holy trinity" of green bell pepper, onion, and garlic build layers of flavor into this hearty chili.

14 of 21

New York: Grandpa's Classic Coney Sauce

New York's favorite way to do chili is on the famous Coney Island-style chili dog. This chili recipe, also known as Coney Sauce, is a pretty typically beef chili with a few ingredients that differentiate it from the rest: yellow mustard, white vinegar, and celery seed are what make it the real deal Coney Island chili. And, if chili without the chili powder is an outrageous thought to you, try Chef John's Coney Island Hot Dog recipe on for size.

15 of 21

Ohio: Cincinnati Chili

close up view of Cincinnati Chili over pasta in a bowl, on hot dogs and in a pot

Perhaps one of, if not the most famous style of regional chili, Cincinnati chili stands in a class of its own. Why? For one, it's got a sweeter flavor profile thanks to cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and (in some recipes) cocoa powder. But Cincinnati chili is best known for being served over spaghetti and is often topped with cheddar cheese, raw chopped onions, and oyster crackers.

16 of 21

Oklahoma: Cha Cha's White Chicken Chili

close up view of White Chicken Chili garnished with sour cream and fresh herbs in a bowl
Marisa R.

Going back to that same tailgating poll, it turns out Oklahoma has quite the infatuation with White Chicken Chili, too. This version is another one of our top-rated chili recipes on Allrecipes, with nearly 1,800 5-star ratings. One reviewer writes, "We love this Chili! I have made it many times for several get-togethers, it is always a hit! Garnish with sour cream and cheese for a creamy finish."

17 of 21

Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Greek Sauce

Jeff's Hot Dog Chili

While it's called, "Greek Sauce," this mix of ground beef, tomato sauce, and spices is interchangeable with chili. This regional variation is super popular with fierce loyalty in Northwest Pennsylvania, especially in the Erie area. It's typically used to top burgers, hot dogs, and cheese fries to make the signature, "Greek Fries."

18 of 21

Texas: Real Texas Chili

Chili elicits strong opinions from Texans, and this "real" Texas-style recipe is true to the Lone Star state requirements. Texas chili, or chili con carne, is all beef and no beans, with simple seasonings to make for a hearty, meat-lover's dream.

19 of 21

Washington: Wazzu Tailgate Chili

Straight from the tailgates of Washington State University, this beef-and-pork chili is thickened with cornmeal. Author, GStorment adds, "It's best when refrigerated overnight and reheated before the game."

20 of 21

Wisconsin: Wisconsin Blue Ribbon Chili

Get the blue ribbon at your game day gathering with this chili that includes macaroni noodles in the classic Wisconsin style. According to its author, this recipe took first place at chili cook-offs three years in a row, so you know it's good!

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