Gluten-Free Chili – Spicy Goodness for You

Gluten-Free Chili

I do not think I have ever met anybody who does not like chili.

There just seems to be something about the mixture of beef, sauce and spiciness that appeals to to everyone!

As a little kid, one of the first spicy foods I liked was chili, because it was like soup, except meatier and spicier.

However, when you go on the gluten-free diet, there is something to consider with chili, as with all other foods: is it gluten-free?

Chili does not seem to be the type of food that would contain gluten in it, but how can you be sure?

In nine cases out of ten, chili is gluten-free. Since it is so spicy, chili does not usually require a wheat flavor enhancer. It also does not really need a thickener since the broth is supposed to be thin anyway because of the chunks of beef that are added. Obviously, gluten has practically no place within this food dish.

Unfortunately, sometimes wheat is added in the form of wheat flour, barley or malt. Occasionally, the broth that the chili is made with contains gluten in its ingredients. But, as I said before, this rarely happens. So, if you are lightly or moderately gluten sensitive, you should be fine with eating any kind of chili…even Wendy’s chili.

However, if you have Celiac or you are highly sensitive to gluten, then, you might be better off avoiding manufactured store and restaurant chilies. Homemade chili is usually much safer for highly gluten-sensitive people because there is a much lower risk of wheat ingredients being added. You also won’t have to worry about gluten cross-contamination if you or your friends make their chili from scratch.

It is not at all hard to make chili from scratch. Most people cook it at home all the time. Here are a couple of recipes to get you started. Notice that these are labeled “gluten-free chili” recipes because they carefully avoid wheat ingredients and cross-contaminated food items.

Easy Gluten-Free Chili

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes.
Cooking Time: 3-4 hours.
Yields: 2-4 servings.


  • 1-2 lbs of grass-fed ground beef
  • 2 cans or the equivalent of fresh kidney beans
  • 2 cans of gluten-free fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can of gluten-free tomato sauce
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 gluten free chili sauce packet like Hol Grain Gluten-Free Seasoning


  • Brown the beef in a pan and then transfer to a large soup pot or crock pot.
  • Cut up the pepper and onion to the size you like.
  • Combine the beef, kidney beans, pepper, onion, tomatoes, tomato sauce and seasoning together in the pot.
  • Cook for 3-4 hours on low heat. Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy “Pretty Little Celiac”

Favorite Gluten-Free Chili

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: Depends on your crock pot
Yields: 4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium red or sweet onion, diced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded, stemmed and diced
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded, cored and diced
  • 1 medium green or red bell pepper, seeded, cored and sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced into coins
  • 2 cups of butternut or banana squash, diced
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups of gluten-free broth
  • 1 28-oz can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can of pinto, black or white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin or to taste
  • 1-2 lbs of ground beef, turkey or sausage browned, if desired
  • 1 teaspoon of gluten-free curry or chili powder, or to taste
  • Sea salt and ground fresh pepper to taste
  • Lime juice to taste


  • Pour the olive oil into a slow cooker or Crock Pot.
  • Add the garlic and onion and stir to coat.
  • Add in the remaining ingredients.
  • Break apart the tomatoes a bit.
  • Cook on low or high according to the manufacturer’s instruction for your particular make and model.
  • Before serving, taste for seasoning adjustments- add a bit of raw organic agave nectar to tone down the heat.
  • Add lime juice to brighten the flavors.
  • Serve with wedges of  cornbread.

Recipe courtesy Gluten-Free Goddess

Now, you can go to you kitchen, break out the slow cooker and start making your own spicy, delicious chili in a completely gluten-free way! Happily, as with many other foods, your friends and family will never suspect that this one is gluten-free. Enjoy a traditional chili dinner on a cold winter day without worrying about gluten-related allergies!

Image courtesy serenejournal

Tricia Fecteau

I have tried to share what I have learned years in my book called "Gluten-Free with Love" available on Amazon and on my website. I want to help you in your journey to good health.