Last Updated on May 7, 2023 by Shari Mason
When making chili, there are endless variations and debates over what ingredients should be included. One of the most controversial topics is whether or not to add corn to chili.
Some people swear by adding sweet corn to their chili, while others believe it has no place in the dish.
Corn in chili: yes or no? Let’s find out the answer.
What Are The Benefits Of Adding Corn To Chili?
- Sweetness: Corn adds a subtle sweetness to the chili that can balance out the spiciness of the dish.
- Texture: Corn adds a crunchy and chewy texture to the chili that can enhance the overall mouthfeel of the dish.
- Nutrients: Corn  is a good source of fiber and vitamins, making it a healthy addition to the dish.
- Versatility: Corn pairs well with various other ingredients in chili, such as black beans, bell peppers, and tomatoes, allowing you to customize the flavor and texture of the dish to your liking.
- Budget-friendly: Corn is an affordable ingredient that can stretch the servings of chili and make it more budget-friendly.
What Are The Cons Of Adding It?
- Altering the traditional flavor: Some people argue that corn has no place in chili and that it can alter the traditional flavor and texture of the dish.
- Increased sweetness: Adding corn can increase the overall sweetness of the chili, which may not be desirable for those who prefer a more savory flavor.
- Overcooking: Corn can become overcooked and mushy if added to the chili too early or cooked too long, negatively affecting the dish’s texture.
- Health concerns: Some people may be concerned about using genetically modified corn or canned corn that may contain high sodium levels or preservatives.
- Personal preference: Ultimately, the decision to add corn to chili is a matter of personal preference, and some people may prefer the taste and texture of chili without corn.
How To Incorporate Corn Into Chili
- Whole kernels: Add whole kernels of corn to the chili during the cooking process. This method adds a sweet and crunchy texture to the dish.
- Pureed corn: Puree corn in a food processor or blender and add it to the chili. This method creates a smooth, creamy texture, enhancing the dish’s sweetness.
- Cornmeal: Use cornmeal as a thickener for the chili. This method adds a subtle corn flavor and gives the chili a thicker and heartier texture.
- Sautéed corn: Sauté fresh or frozen corn in a pan with olive oil and seasoning before adding it to the chili. This method adds a deeper and richer corn flavor and a crispy texture.
What Are Some Other Ingredients That Go Well With Corn In Chili?
- Black beans: Adding black beans to chili with corn creates a satisfying and protein-packed meal.
- Bell peppers: Bell peppers add a sweet and slightly smoky flavor to the chili that complements the sweetness of the corn.
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes add acidity and depth of flavor to the chili and pair well with the sweetness of the corn.
- Jalapenos: Jalapenos add a spicy kick to the chili that contrasts the sweetness of the corn and adds complexity to the flavor.
- Cumin: Cumin  is a spice that pairs well with corn and adds a warm and earthy flavor to the chili.
Is It Okay To Use Canned Corn In Chili?
Using canned corn in chili is a perfectly acceptable and convenient option. Canned corn is already cooked and ready to use, which saves time and effort in the cooking process.
However, it is essential to drain and rinse the canned corn before adding it to the chili to remove any excess sodium or preservatives.
“As a chef and father, it kills me that children are fed processed foods, fast food clones, foods loaded with preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup.”– Jose Andres, Spanish Chef
Some people prefer fresh or frozen corn for a more authentic flavor and texture, but canned corn is a great option when fresh corn is not in season or unavailable.
How do you make chili more flavorful?
You can make chili more flavorful by adding more spices and herbs, such as cumin, chili powder, garlic, and oregano. You can also add onion, bell pepper, and tomato to enhance the dish’s flavor.
Using a combination of meat, such as ground beef, pork, or chicken, can also add depth of flavor. Additionally, adding a touch of acidity, such as vinegar or lime juice, can help balance the flavors in the dish.
Do beans belong in chili?
Yes, beans are a common ingredient in chili and are often used to add flavor, texture, and nutrition to the dish.
The decision to add corn to chili ultimately comes down to personal preference.
While some argue that corn has no place in chili and can alter the traditional flavor and texture of the dish, others appreciate the sweet and crunchy texture that corn adds to the dish.
Incorporating corn into chili is easy and can be done through various methods, including adding whole kernels, pureeing corn, or using cornmeal as a thickener.
Additionally, corn pairs well with other ingredients in chili, such as black beans, bell peppers, and tomatoes, and can enhance the overall flavor and texture of the dish.
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