How Do I Choose the Best Chili Beans?

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  • Written By: Misty Amber Brighton
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 31 March 2020
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Choosing the right chili beans allows you to modify recipes or create new ones. While kidney beans are often used, other varieties might be better when omitting beef. Some types of beans are easier to prepare than others are, so the method of cooking may play a role in your choice. You might want to consider organic beans if you are concerned about the use of pesticides. The type of spices the beans contain can be important because some people have trouble eating very hot foods.

Kidney beans are an oblong red type often used in making chili. These chili beans are normally ideal when using ground beef because they complement the taste of this meat. Kidney beans are available with or without a chili sauce, and the right type is largely a matter of personal preference. You may want plain kidney beans for adding texture, but ones with a sauce might be better if you like a softer finished product.

White or pinto beans are sometimes preferred when making a chicken or vegetarian chili. These varieties are normally very soft, so they offset the somewhat crunchy texture of vegetarian or chicken chili. They are very light in color, so you may want to mix them with a kidney bean to create a unique blend of chili beans that provides visual interest. You can buy white or pinto beans in packages or cans.


Fresh or packaged chili beans often take some time to prepare, but beans from a can are typically ready-to-use. If you would like to make chili quickly, canned beans could be a better option because they are already tender. This is not normally a concern if you are preparing this food in a slow cooker because the beans will have more time to cook. Packaged beans are normally cheaper than canned beans are, but could need to have spices added for additional flavor. When choosing canned beans, ones that have habanero or jalapeno pepper sauce are often too hot for children or those with stomach problems to consume.

You might find organic chili beans in a can, at a farmer's market, or in packages. These are sometimes more expensive than other types of beans, but are thought to be a healthier alternative. You could find organic white, pinto, or kidney beans, making it possible to choose a natural product no matter what type of beans you prefer.


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