Make Chili Quicker Than Ever With One Simple Swap

Whether you're recovering from a long day out in the cold or ready to spend a summer night watching the big game with your buddies, few dishes hit the spot quite like a warm bowl of chili. This spicy, flavorful meal was first popularized in South Texas during the late 19th century, and since then, it has gone on to be a dinnertime staple across the United States. One of the glorious things about chili is its versatility; it's not only easy to customize the flavors of the dish, but also how you prepare it. For example, even though most basic recipes are simple, usually only containing tomatoes, onion, ground meat, beans, and various spices, it's possible to shrink down that ingredient list even more without sacrificing flavor. The next time you're running low on supplies or time, you can swap out the tomatoes, onions, and other components for a couple of jars of salsa.


It might sound a bit radical at first, but the logic is sound. Premade salsa typically contains plenty of tomatoes (with a super concentrated flavor), onion, peppers, and spices. So, the next time you make something like slow cooker beef chili, you can skip those ingredients for two jars of your preferred salsa. Along with making cooking easier, this hack will also make your grocery run much faster.

Customize your chili with salsa

Salsa can be used to upgrade chili made on the stove or in a slow cooker. You can even upgrade your salsa before you use it to upgrade your chili! And since there are many, many varieties of salsa out there, the ways in which you can use a jar to perfectly tailor a pot of chili to your tastes is endless. You could opt for a mild salsa with more focus on savory notes like garlic and onion, or try a chipotle salsa to add a bit of smoke to the dish, or really go crazy with a habanero-infused salsa that will bring some serious spice. Just make sure to choose a salsa that's packed with red tomatoes — some green salsas may be too watery for this hack.


Of course, even though it's a simple swap, salsa doesn't have to act as a complete replacement in your chili recipe. It can also be a great addition for an overall more flavorful dish. Even if you've gotten your hands on the most delicious jar of salsa for your chili, you can always up the ante by adding more chopped onion, extra peppers, a few dashes of garlic powder or cayenne pepper, or really any other secret ingredients that you typically use to improve your chili. At the end of the day, salsa is another tool that will help you achieve the best flavors for this ultimate stewed comfort food.