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Oct 21, 2008 10:21 AM

Chili recipe that isn't spicy at all?

I love making chili and am looking for a recipe that is not at all spicy (I have a few spice-sensitive friends). I know that some people even find chili powder to be spicy. Is it possible to make a good chili that isn't spicy? Is there such a thing as sweet chili powder?

Any recipes out there?!

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  1. If it's not at least a little spicy, I don't think it can be called chili any more. Coq au Vin sans wine is simply chicken, likewise chili without chiles is... sloppy joes?

    The least spicy you're going to get is, I think, Paprika and pureed red bell peppers.

    1. Have you seen the 5 alarm chili mix in the grocery? That, if I recall correctly, packages the spices separately. There is a large packet of mild ground chiles, and a separate one of the hot. I'd suggest making that without any of the hot, and see if that is what you want.

      The mildest chile is sweet hungarian paprika, but that would give you more of goulash than a chili. Though if you use enough cumin and Mexican oregano, you might move it into chili territory. Unsmoke Spanish paprika is mild, though it is used more for color than flavor.

      Another option is to buy several of the ground chiles that you find in the Mexican spice track (cello packages for less than a dollar each). Test these, and see if one is mild enough.

      Another option is to make 'chile verde' with chicken or pork, and use fresh or canned mild Anaheims.

      Another option is a Cincinnati style, which takes chili in a Greek direction, with sweet spices like cinnamon. It also puts more emphasis on the 'accessories' - spaghetti, cheese, onion.

      1 Reply
      1. re: paulj

        Oldie but goodie question......

        "The mildest chile is sweet hungarian paprika, but that would give you more of goulash than a chili. Though if you use enough cumin and Mexican oregano, you might move it into chili territory."

        ++1 !!! Paprika will make it goulash. Period. Cumin is what gives that taste that people recognize to be "real" chili. A small amount of Oregano boosts the flavor.

        The chili pepper adds a flavor, but only if you can *taste* it over the heat factor. You might try the Ancho (dried poblano (think chili relleno)) which is very mild. You may be able to find the powder and if not, rehydrate a couple of the dried peppers for a couple of hours in hot water. Reserve the peppers. Use the water for cooking the chili. After it's cooked down, taste and if more heat is desired, add some of the chopped peppers.

      2. I make this recipe from epicurious frequently - it is very good - slightly sweet and you could certainly cut back on the chili powder - you probably could substitute some paprika.

        1. Try this.

          Take the chili recipe you are currrently using. Take some bananas, roast them with skin on, cool, peel and them puree the bananas. Then mix into the chili. Takes the bite out of it and adds a nice new flavor layer as well.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            brilliant! subtle and sweet, and also thickens without turning to paste!!! i was thinking maybe applesauce, but just couldn't bring myself to adulterate chili that way...

            1. re: ipsedixit

              I put a can or two of pumpkin in mine and it not only tastes great, it gives the chili a nice, thick consistency.

            2. I make this Chunky Turkey Chili all the time and my 2 and 4 year olds both love it (scroll down on page). It is not spicy at all. Obviously you could use ground beef instead of ground turkey.


              5 Replies
              1. re: valerie

                Valerie, I printed out that turkey chili recipe and I am going to try it next week. My 10-year-old doesn't like her food too spicy and that might be right up her alley.

                1. re: valerie

                  Valerie, I wanted to thank you for that turkey chili recipe. Chili purists would shudder but it was a hit with my daughter and her friend who was visiting yesterday. I'm sure I'll make it again. I made it with turkey.

                  1. re: NYCkaren

                    I'm glad they liked it. I serve it to my kids over rice and I have even been known to put it over a small shaped pasta. Maybe not authentic, but they certainly don't know or care.

                    I actually just went back to that site and there is a very similar recipe now for another turkey chili. This new one has a few more ingredients -- beef stock, tortillas, carrots. Maybe I will try this one next time.

                    Also, this is another one that I make for my kids -- Multi-bean chili -- and I use very little cayenne.


                  2. re: valerie

                    What is the recipe? This is an old blog, but it sounds good.

                    1. re: achilles

                      If you scroll down on this page, the one that I make repeatedly is "Chunky Turkey Chili". I make it and freeze it in smaller portionss In fact, my kids just had it for dinner last night.