“Chili means Halloween to me,” says Grant Achatz.

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Beef Chili with Beans

As a kid, the future mega-chef behind Chicago's Alinea and Next would always get a hearty bowl before trick-or-treating, and the Achatzes weren't alone with this tradition. Not only is chili a hearty base to blunt the sugar overload to come, it’s also a great way to feed a crowd or any ghoulish drop-ins. Here, Achatz’s recipe for smoky, spicy chili, plus seven more.

1. Beef Chili with Beans (above)
This is a slightly modified version of Achatz’s mother’s chili, made with ancho, pasilla and chipotle powders, plus a homemade blend of seasonings and fresh herbs.

2. Swamp Chili (Poblano-and-Spinach Posole)
Spinach and pureed poblano chiles give this chili a swamp-like look that’s fun on Halloween.

Swamp Chili (Poblano-and-Spinach Posole). Photo © David Malosh
Credit: © David Malosh

3. Cumin Chili
You’ll get a clear taste of cumin in this great cold-weather chili made with ground beef, beans and green pepper.

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4. Three-Chile Beef Chili
With coffee, dark beer, smoky bacon and three kinds of chiles, this is one deep, rich, spicy pot of beef chili.

Three-Chile Beef Chili
Credit: Fredrika Stjärne

5. Fire-and-Ice Ohio Chili
Ice cream maven Jeni Britton Bauer adds richness to this wonderful chili with a surprise ingredient: dark chocolate ice cream.

Fire-and-Ice Ohio Chili

6. Goat Chili with Eye of the Goat Beans
Spiced with árbol and guajillo chiles, this mellow, satisfying chili contains both braised goat shoulder and Rancho Gordo's Ojo de Cabra (Eye of the Goat) beans.

Goat Chili with Eye of the Goat Beans

7. Turkey-and-Pinto-Bean Chili
This spicy chili is a big favorite of Oprah’s, according to chef Art Smith.

Turkey-and-Pinto-Bean Chili

8. Winter Vegetable Chili
Thick with kidney beans and hominy, this vegetable chili is deliciously smoky and spicy.

Winter Vegetable Chili