My Secret to Making Amazing Chili? Adding Oatmeal


Chili is one of my favorite foods. Being from the Midwest (where there are many versions of chili), we had it all the time during the long Winter months. My mom's secret ingredient is canned green chiles. But as I've gotten older and started cooking it myself, I've experimented with perfecting my own recipe. And one thing I heard to add to chili is — wait for it — oatmeal.

I know what you're probably thinking — the breakfast staple in a dinner dish? Yes! It actually tastes amazing and gives chili even more texture. It also packs tons of extra nutritional benefits since it's a great source of fiber and is a much healthier option than adding things like flour or cornmeal for thickness. And if you want to make vegetarian chili, oatmeal is the perfect add in.

I've seen different recipes with different amounts of oatmeal, but most call for half a cup per six servings. I tend to use between half a cup to one full cup of old-fashioned oats, and I just put it into the Crockpot with all of my other ingredients. The oatmeal definitely sucks up moisture in the chili, so sometimes I add in a little extra water.

While I like using old-fashioned oats, you can use any type of oat. "For steel cut oats, you'll want to cook them until most of the liquid is absorbed, then add in the remaining chili ingredients and proceed as usual," Adena Neglia, MS, RDN, CDN, of Brown and Medina Nutrition, told POPSUGAR. "For quick oats, you can add them right with the rest of the ingredients, but you'll want to start small as the oatmeal absorbs a lot of liquid."

If you're worried that it will taste like, well, oatmeal, I swear it doesn't. It's actually the opposite since the oats soak up the chili's flavor. I always feel like it leaves me with more servings of chili, along with leaving me more satiated than I would without the added oatmeal. Oatmeal in chili is the way to go. Case closed.