When it comes to making a pot of chili, there are so many delicious spices, herbs, and seasonings that you can add to make it your own.
But with so many options, it can be hard to decide which ones to use.
So if you are wondering what spices go in chilli, whether you are making beef chili, turkey chili, or vegetarian chili, then you are in the right place.
I’m sharing 21 of the best spices, herbs, and seasonings for chili that will take your recipe from good to great!
Read Also: The 7 Best Cheeses For Chili (+10 Alternatives)
What Spices, Herbs, and Seasonings Go in Chili?
There are a wide variety of spices, herbs, and seasonings that can be used in chili. Some of the most popular include cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, and salt. You can also add in other spices and herbs to taste, such as oregano, basil, and black pepper. If you want a bit of sweetness in your chili, you can also add in some honey or brown sugar.
Still looking for ideas?
Then simply keep scrolling!
Rich and hearty, earthy and warm, with an edge of citrusy heat.
That’s how I like my chili, and cumin is the perfect spice to give it that flavor.
I like to add a tablespoon of cumin to my chili, along with some smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
And if you really want to turn up the heat, you can add in some cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes.
But trust me, even without the extra heat, this chili is going to be delicious.
2. Chili Powder
Some people just prefer things on the spicy side.
And if that’s you, then you’re going to want to load up on the chili powder when making your chili.
I like to add in at least a tablespoon, but feel free to add more if you can handle the heat.
3. Garlic Powder
Garlicky, but vastly different than fresh-chopped garlic, garlic powder is one of my favorite spices to add to chili.
I usually add about a tablespoon (give or take, depending on how garlicky I’m feeling), but you can start with less and add more to taste.
The flavor of paprika can vary from mild, sweet, and fruity to smoky and bitter.
It’s made from dried red peppers, and it’s a common ingredient in many cuisines, including Hungarian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Turkish.
Paprika is often used as a garnish, but it can also be used to add flavor to dishes like chili.
I like to use smoked paprika in my chili for a little extra depth of flavor.
Start with a teaspoon and adjust from there depending on how much heat you want.
Other great ingredients to add to your chili when using paprika include onions, garlic, ground beef, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, corn, and green chilies.
Ah, salt, let’s not forget about the most important ingredient in any dish.
Chili is no different.
A little bit of salt goes a long way in bringing out all the flavors of the other ingredients.
And trust me, you don’t want to skimp on the salt when it comes to chili.
But how much should you add?
Well, it really depends on your personal preference.
I would start with 1 teaspoon and then add more to taste.
Oregano is known for being the go-to pizza spice, but it’s so much more versatile than that.
It’s got a warm, slightly bitter flavor that goes great in chili.
I like to add about 1 teaspoon per pound of meat.
As for other ingredients, I like to keep things pretty simple.
I’ll add in some onions, tomatoes, and beans (usually black or pinto).
But feel free to get creative and add in whatever you like.
The taste of basil is a balance between sweet and savory, with a slight peppery kick.
It’s one of my favorite spices to use in chili recipes because it really rounds out the flavor.
I usually add about 1 teaspoon of basil for every 2 cups of chili.
Other great ingredients to add to your chili when using basil are diced tomatoes, garlic, and black pepper.
8. Black Pepper
I have to say, be a bit careful when adding black pepper to your chili.
A little goes a long way and you don’t want it to be too overpowering.
I usually start with about 1/2 teaspoon per pound of meat.
And then I add more to taste after the chili has simmered for a while.
Other ingredients that go well with black pepper in chili are: onions, garlic, tomatoes, and beans.
Yes, even though it’s technically a sugar, honey is one of my favorite things to add to my chili recipes.
It might seem like an odd ingredient, but trust me, it works.
Just a tablespoon or two of honey will balance out the spice and acidity in the chili and give it a slight sweetness that takes it over the top.
I also like to add in some chopped dark chocolate, which gives the chili a rich depth of flavor.
And if you really want to go all out, top your chili with some crumbled bacon and shredded cheddar cheese.
10. Brown Sugar
Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.
I know, I know.
You’re thinking, “Sugar in chili? That’s just weird.”
But trust me, it works.
Just a little bit of brown sugar helps to round out the flavors and give the chili a slight sweetness.
And if you’re worried about it being too sweet, don’t be.
The other spices in the chili will balance things out nicely.
11. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is great for adding a kick of heat to a dish without making it too spicy.
I like to use it in my chili recipes because it gives the perfect amount of heat.
If you’re using cayenne pepper in your chili, I would start with 1/2 teaspoon and then add more to taste.
Other great ingredients to add to your chili when using cayenne pepper are: diced tomatoes, ground beef, kidney beans, and black beans.
12. Onion Powder
Onion powder is way more onion-y than actual onions (if that makes any sense).
So, if you want a really strong onion flavor in your chili, this is the way to go.
I like to use about 1 tablespoon of onion powder per pound of meat.
And I always make sure to add in some garlic powder (about 1 teaspoon per pound of meat), cumin (1 teaspoon), and smoked paprika (1/2 teaspoon).
If you want your chili to be on the spicier side, add in some cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes.
And don’t forget the salt and pepper!
Cilantro is said to have a fresh, citrusy flavor with a hint of mint.
I love using it in my chili recipes because it really brightens up the dish.
Plus, it’s a great way to add some extra flavor without having to use a lot of other spices.
I usually add cilantro at the very end, right before I serve the chili.
That way, the flavor stays nice and fresh.
If you want to try using cilantro in your chili recipe, start with about 1/4 cup chopped and see how you like it.
You can always add more if you want more flavor.
14. Red Pepper Flakes
Red jalapeño flakes may have a slight sweetness to them, but don’t let that fool you.
A little goes a LONG way when it comes to this spice.
I like to use about 1/4 teaspoon per tablespoon of chili powder that I use in a recipe.
So, if you’re making a big batch of chili, you’ll want to use around 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
Any more than that and your chili is going to be too spicy for most people.
But if you like things on the spicier side, feel free to add a little extra.
15. Ground Coriander
Floral and citrusy with a hint of sweetness, ground coriander is one of my favorite spices to use in chili.
I usually start with about 1 teaspoon per pound of meat.
So, if I’m making a batch of chili that has 2 pounds of ground beef, I’ll use 2 teaspoons of ground coriander.
Of course, you can always adjust this to taste.
If you want a little more flavor, add in another teaspoon or two.
And if you find that it’s too strong for your liking, cut back on the amount next time.
16. Ground Cloves
This intensely aromatic spice has a subtly sweet flavor that can really elevate a dish.
I like to use ground cloves in my chili recipes because it adds a depth of flavor that you just can’t get from other spices.
And a little goes a long way.
I would start with using 1/4 teaspoon per pound of meat.
You can always add more if you want, but it’s better to err on the side of caution because too much cloves can make your chili taste bitter.
17. Ground Cinnamon
A sweet and woody flavor, ground cinnamon is a must in my chili recipes.
I usually add in about 1-2 teaspoons per pound of meat.
But if you want a stronger flavor, you can add up to a tablespoon.
Just be careful not to add too much, because it can easily become overpowering.
Nutmeg tastes nutty, warm, and a little sweet.
It’s often used in baking, but I love using it in chili.
A little goes a long way with this spice, so start with just ¼ teaspoon and add more to taste.
I like to add nutmeg to my chili because it gives it a depth of flavor that you don’t usually find in chili recipes.
It’s also a great way to add a little warmth on a cold day.
Allspice tastes like all of those warm spices you love combined into one.
It’s got a little bit of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg all rolled into one.
I like to use it in my chili recipes because it adds a depth of flavor that you just can’t get from any other spice.
And a little goes a long way.
I would start with using 1/2 teaspoon per pound of meat.
You can always add more if you want, but it’s better to start small and build up the flavor than to go overboard and end up with a chili that’s too spicy.
Cardamom is piney and fruity with a hint of lemon.
It’s one of my favorite spices to use in chili recipes because it really brightens up the flavor.
I usually add about 1/2 teaspoon per pound of meat, but you can adjust that amount to your taste.
Just be careful not to go overboard.
A little cardamom goes a long way.
Turmeric is overwhelmingly earthy and bitter, but it also has a faint citrusy flavor that really brightens up a dish.
It’s one of my favorite spices to use in chili recipes because it gives the dish an extra depth of flavor.
I usually add about 1 teaspoon of turmeric for every 2 cups of chili.
But, if you’re new to cooking with turmeric, start with less and add more to taste.
21 Spices, Herbs, & Seasonings That Go in Chili
- Chili Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Black Pepper
- Brown Sugar
- Cayenne Pepper
- Onion Powder
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Ground Coriander
- Ground Cloves
- Ground Cinnamon
- Pick any of the herbs, spices, or seasonings from this list to add to your chili recipe.
- Prepare the rest of your delicious meal.
- Enjoy in no time!