Indiana Style Chili – Enjoy a delicious midwest chili recipe

Enjoy Indiana Style Chili, this is a quick and easy chili recipe that you can make in just 30 minutes. Perfect for folks that don’t want a chili that is super spicy!
a pot of hoosier chili

You don’t have to be a Hoosier to love this mild, easy chili recipe. Indiana Chili is the perfect weeknight dinner when you want something warm and satisfying for your family but don’t have a ton of time to bring it to the table. Prepare this delicious recipe in around 30 minutes with just a pound of ground beef and a few shelf-stable ingredients you can keep on hand. It’s perfect for any time you need to make a satisfying dinner in a hurry.

ground beef, cheese, RO TEL and more to make chili

What Are Chili Beans?

This recipe calls for a can of chili beans, but don’t mistakenly think that chili beans are the same as any old can of beans you usually dump in your chili pot. They are two very different animals. Chili beans are beans, usually pinto or red beans, which come in a rich chili pepper-infused sauce. Don’t be tempted to try to substitute regular canned beans, or your Hoosier Chili will lack flavor. Chili beans come in several levels of spiciness from mild to hot to suit your taste, and you can usually find them in the bean aisle. Some popular brands include Bush’s. Joan of Arc, and S&W.

If you can’t locate chili beans in the supermarket where you live, it is easy to order them online or you might try making your own chili beans if you have the time to spare.

Does it Have to be RO-TEL Brand Tomatoes and Green Chillies?

I’m not going to tell you that you can’t use a different brand of tomatoes and green chilies in your chili, but if you want the authentic taste of Hoosier Chili, then you owe it to yourself go for RO-TEL. Since the 1940s, RO-TEL has been the must-have secret ingredient for generations of chili cooks. Its unique seasonings and a little touch of cilantro make all the difference.

Extra Tips for Cooking and Serving Indiana Chili

  • Don’t cook the chili for too long, or it may dry out. The best Indiana Chili is loose. So, once you add the tomato juice to the pot, cook just until the liquid begins to thicken slightly. Remember, the chili will tighten up further as it cools to serving temperature.
  • Where are you going to put those corn chips? Corn chips can play two different, but equally delicious, roles in your chili. One option is placing a handful on the bottom of each serving bowl and spooning the chili on top. The corn chips will soak up extra liquid and soften. The alternative is to place them on top where they will remain crunchy and work as a nice contrast in textures.
  • You can’t have too many toppings. Besides corn chips, shredded Cheddar cheese, and sour cream, there other fabulous toppings. Try diced avocado, diced raw onions, or salsa.


Love Indiana Style Chili? Check out our other chili recipes:

New Mexico Chili Verde
Best Ever Instant Pot Wendy’s Chili Copycat Recipe
Quick chili – a tried and true family recipe
Zero WW Point White Bean Chicken Chili
Chili Seasoning Recipe

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a pot of hoosier chili

Indiana Style Chili

Make this midwest classic chili. 
4.34 from 3 votes
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Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chili Recipe, Indiana Chili
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 680kcal


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons chili
  • 20 ounces Rotel tomatoes and green chili's
  • 16 ounces chili beans
  • 16 ounces Campbell's tomato juice
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 ounces Frito chips
  • 1/2 cup sour cream optional


  • Brown ground beef in large pot. drain. Return to pot. Add chili beans, rotel tomatoes and chili's, and chili powder to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes.  Add tomato juice to desired consistency. Simmer for approximately 15 minutes.


Calories: 680kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 103mg | Sodium: 1071mg | Potassium: 1026mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1005IU | Vitamin C: 31.3mg | Calcium: 429mg | Iron: 5mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Marvin K

    I have never had chili in Indiana that didn’t have macaroni in it. I do not put macaroni in mine but all my family and neighbors do. If you go to a chili dinner in town sponsored by Lions Club, American Legion or any organization they add macaroni to it.

  2. Charlie

    4 stars
    I have lived in Indiana all my life and I am now 80. I have never heard of Indiana chili, nor have I ever seen “Indiana Chili” featured on any restaurant menu in any restaurant that I have eaten in. Indiana chili is whatever you make it, it is up to the person cooking it, as chili is all over the country. Some foods named have a special definition, i.e. Chicago Dogs ( I have eaten many of these ),
    As far as chili over spaghetti is a Cincinnati invention, I think that is a myth. It is true that Cincinnati chili is often served over spaghetti and many believe that it was a Cincinnati restaurant invention I doubt. Who knows what cooks in Oklahoma or Montana were doing? My mother often cooked chili over spaghetti. She learned to cook from her grandmother who was deaf, and from West Virginia. I doubt my mother knew anything about Cincinnati chili.
    Anyway, no big deal. You have a nice youtube channel. Good Luck.

  3. Vickie Perrine

    Not much different than ‘Ohio’ chili! We just use kidney beans, no chili seasoning added. One thing I learned a couple of years ago – add a big can of pumpkin (just pumpkin, not mix for pies) So I guess that makes it a ‘NW Ohio’ recipe

  4. Ross

    The recipe calls for “chili beans”. Is that canned beans in a chili sauce like “Mrs. Grimes Chili Beans” or beans in no sauce that are usually used in the making of chili like red kidney beans?

  5. Christina T.

    4 stars
    I was born and raised in Indianapolis – your recipe is pretty close to my Mom’s which is the one I still use. Never tried it with Rotel tomatoes though as my hubby WILL NOT do spicy. My recipe is 1# ground beef, 1 onion chopped, 2 cloves garlic minced, 3 tablespoons chili powder, 1 can kidney beans, 1 can of another bean – usually black beans, but you could use another can of kidney beans or pintos, 1 can diced tomatoes and 1 can tomato sauce (all 15 ounce cans), pinch of sugar, oregano, salt, and pepper to taste – then let it simmer 1 hour. I actually have some in the fridge right now, leftovers from Wednesday night dinner. Now also being from the Midwest, we eat our chili Cincinnati style – over spaghetti. Skyline Chili is probably the most well known of Cincinnati style chili. My closest Walmart here in NC carries frozen Skyline Chili. Never tried it though, so I make no judgment of it being good or bad.

  6. Pamela Shaw

    So I have always wondered, when a recipe says “chili powder” what does it mean ? We travel a lot in MX and New Mexico and the chili powders are so different. Thanks for the help !

      • Christina T.

        Agreed Stephanie. “Chili powder” is kind of a generic name, something like “curry powder”. I would suggest try a few of the main stream brands – McCormick or Spice Island, which are made to please as many palates as possible – if they don’t meet your expectations, there are plenty of spice sources online to try. Even make your own – maybe you like hot and spicy, so try basic chili powder then add some ground chipotle or other variety of dried pepper that you can grind up and combine with the basic stuff. To quote the great chef Jacques Pepin, “Happy Cooking!”

4.34 from 3 votes

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