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I have tried 5 different types of canned chili and there is only one that I would eat again

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

  • I checked five types of canned chili from the grocery store to find the most convenient option.

  • Amy’s meat-free version was pretty tasty, but Campbell’s Chunky Chili Mac was my favorite.

  • Still, none of these canned versions could hold a candle to homemade chili.

Chili is a classic and hearty meal, and the canned versions can be super convenient.

White bowl of chili with spoon in it

I tried chilies with beans.Abigail Abesamis Demarest

Chili is warm, comforting, and filling, but it takes a lot of chopping and simmering to build up the complex flavors. So, canned options offer a cheap and convenient way to enjoy the classic meal.

I tried five brands of canned chili—Hormel, Wolf Brand, Amy’s, Campbell’s Chunky, and Campbell’s Well Yes brand—to find the best option.

I decided to compare versions with beans for consistency, and I microwaved each chili, following the directions on each can.

Read on to see how these canned chilies stacked up.

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

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 control.

Following the directions on the can, I heated the chili in a microwave-safe bowl for 2-3 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Hormel’s Chili was the most down to earth.

Pretty much every bite was beans. Also, the flavor was very bland and I couldn’t absorb much seasoning.

Wolf Brand’s chili had a smoother texture and a lot more spice.

Red can of Wolf brand chili next to a white bowl of it

The chili from Wolf Brand goes well with cheese as 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 that a skin had formed on the chili. Luckily it didn’t seem to affect the texture or flavor when I mixed it in.

I got a lot more flavor from Wolf Brands 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 could imagine this combination with cheese for a delicious chili dip.

I didn’t even realize Amy’s Chili was meatless.

green can of Amy's Chili next to a white bowl of it

The Amy’s Chili contains pieces of tofu instead of meat.Abigail Abesamis Demarest

This meat-free version of chili has chunks of tofu in it, but it’s so compelling that I didn’t realize it was vegetarian until I read the can afterwards.

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 light profile. There was a lightness in flavor and texture that I also enjoyed.

Amy’s recording had a more home-made flavor. It’s labeled as a medium chili, but I didn’t find it too hot despite being mildly tolerable.

Campbell’s Chunky Chili Mac was surprisingly good.

Red can of Campbell's Chunky Chili Mac next to a white bowl of it

Campbell’s Chili Mac had a noticeable tomato flavor.Abigail Abesamis Demarest

Given the limited choices 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 for 2 1/2 minutes.

This chili tasted better than it looked.

The macaroni offered a surprisingly nice texture. Unlike some other options that had a bean flavor, the soft noodles provided a lighter bite that required less chewing.

It was also the first chili I tasted that had a noticeable tomato flavor.

It wasn’t gourmet by any means, but for canned chili it was pretty decent and had a nice smooth taste.

Campbell’s Well Yes Vegetarian Chili would be a solid on-the-go option.

Campbell's Well Yes Chili in its original microwave-safe packaging

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

This soup comes in a microwave-safe bowl, convenient for on-the-go.

I heated it for a minute and 15 seconds, stirring before digging in. The plastic lid was a bit difficult to remove without touching the hot metal rim or spilling the chili.

This veggie chili was the thinnest of them all and reminded me more of minestrone soup. I liked that I could see the veg, but it just didn’t scream chili.

It was the spiciest of the ones I tried but not overwhelming.

None of these canned options compare to the rich flavor of homemade chili, but some were decently tasty.

Spoon of Chili Mac with gray background

For great chili, it’s better to make a batch at home.Abigail Abesamis Demarest

If you’re an avid chili fan, the canned version probably won’t impress you. As noted in this taste test, these options generally sacrifice flavor and texture for convenience.

Although Amy’s Organic Chili had a nice, light flavor and looked the best, I kept going back to Campbell’s Chunky Chili Mac.

I know pasta isn’t a traditional ingredient in chili, but let’s face it: none of these canned versions came close to the homemade stuff.

For a microwaveable meal, the Chili Mac was pretty tasty. It’s what I actually want to eat again.

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