Taylor Swift Super Bowl chili recipes

March 20, 2024

If you’re trying to win your Super Bowl chili cook-off on Sunday, consider one of these Taylor Swift-inspired offerings.

If you’re like me, you’re gearing up not just for the Super Bowl this weekend but also for your ultra-competitive big game chili cook-off. Not to brag, but what is to music right now and what the Kansas City Chiefs are to football is basically what I am to my annual chili cook-off, having won three times in the last five years.

And I’ve won with a different chili ever year, mind you, oftentimes thematically linked to something going on with the teams on the field. This year, though, I’m turning my attention up toward the private box suites, because there was no bigger story in football this season than Taylor Swift.

For that reason, a chili recipe inspired by the pop goddess seems in order this year. The problem? There are far too many to choose from. So, like a bead bracelet at an Eras concert, I’m sharing my collection of Taylor Swift-inspired Super Bowl chili recipes with all of you.

All I ask is that when you inevitably win your chili cook-off you acknowledge this gesture and not leave me, a larger-than-life chili icon, just standing there as you celebrate, like I’m Celine Dion at the Grammys (too soon, Swifties?).

Without further adieu, here are you-can-probably-guess-how-many chili choices for you. Let’s get through this list swiftly…

1) Clove story

This is a bit of a risk to put at number one on the list, but I wanted to start with a play on one of Taylor Swift’s earliest hits, and I couldn’t think of any chilis to rhyme with “Tim McGraw”. Cloves — in either ground or whole form — are a flavorful spice addition to any number of recipes, though they’re not often associated with chili.

I think this is quite an oversight. Everyone knows to use chili powder for seasoning in chili, but if you’re in a chili cook-off you need something a little extra to stand out from the crowd. That’s where the cloves come in. Use sparingly, with numerous taste tests along the way — but doled out in the right ratio cloves could be the difference between winning that fourth Album of the Year or still being tied with whoever the Frank Sinatra of your chili cook-off is (that’s right I don’t just mix chili powder with ground cloves, I mix metaphors too!)

2) Shake (and Bake) It Off Chili

Most chilis are best done on the stove, simmering in a large pot for hours on end. But if you don’t want to be constantly stirring all Super Bowl morning, another option is to oven bake your chili. One benefit of this method is the chance to top your chili with something shiny and special, and give it a Taylor-esque sparkle (*NOTE: Be sure to make your chili shine and sparkle metaphorically, not literally — do NOT add glitter or sequins to your chili, save that for your Eras concert outfit).

Think along the lines of what bread crumbs add to mac ‘n cheese. Or it’s a great use for the tortilla chip crumbs at the bottom of the bag!

3) Taylor’s Soyfriend

Far too many chilis rely on a meat base. What makes chili delicious is everything that surrounds the protein you’re building around. You know all too well that there are infinite meat-substitutes these days, so consider making a soy-based version of any of these other chilis with a nice little nod to our favorite nickname for in the process.

4) You Belong With Meat Chili

I know this runs counter to everything I just said but unfortunately, for better or worse, we still live in a meat-centric society and I’ve found that if you want to win your chili cook-off, a meat base is probably the easiest path to victory. That doesn’t mean it has to be red meat — I usually go with ground turkey or chicken in my meat chilis, but listen to your own palette and just be sure to practice mindful eating like Taylor.

5) Look What You Made Me Stew

I’m a big believer in putting beans in all my chilis, though in this divisive age we live in, even some chili fanatics find fault with this. I don’t know what keeps chili from being all soupy if you don’t put beans in it, but one option is to fill it out with some staples of stew – like chunks of carrot and potatoes (chili is technically a stew, after all).

Still, I would only make this one if you really have some anti-bean weirdos at your chili cook-off that could stand between you and victory. And you should shame them for making you cook a second tier, bean-less chili by singing “Look What You Made Me Stew” right in their faces all night.

6) Matty Cheali (Healy + Chili)

I’m warning you right now, don’t make this one. It’s too spicy and volatile and it just doesn’t work with our nice wholesome Swifty chili base. You might think for a hot second it’s a good idea to make this one, but it is NOT. It uses ghost pepper and it is bound to leave everyone crying. I have no idea why I even put it on here — this was a shameless, not even very good pun that required a parenthetical explanation and I’m not proud of it. Stay away from Matty Cheali.

7) through 12) All of the chilis mentioned above but adding… (Taylor’s Version)

Give me a break, I just gave you six worthy Taylor Swift-inspired Super Bowl chili options. I know I promised 13 but I’m getting a bit tapped out. So let’s just pretend I wrongfully commandeered the rights to all of the chilis above from you, and then you can make them again, a little older and wiser and taking what you learned the first time around to make something even deeper and richer in flavor.

So just go ahead and add (Taylor’s Version) onto all of the chilis above to bring us up to 12 chilis total.

Finally, last but certainly not least…

13) 13 Bean Chili

The link to Taylor Swift here is obvious, the tricky part is finding 13 varieties of beans at your local grocery store. You might want to try Whole Foods for this one, but rest assured it can be done. My personal bean recommendations would be to go with black, pinto, lentil, kidney, lima, white, navy, cannellini, Great Northern, Anasazi, garbanzo, gigante and black-eyed pea (called a pea, but actually a bean — !)

The only issue with this chili is, with so many beans going through your digestive tract, you’re going to want to make sure you’re watching the game in a well-ventilated area with a lot of windows cracked or it could be not just a cruel summer but an awfully cruel winter as well.

And hey, if you decide making chili is just too much work on game day, you can always just crack open a can of Campbell’s Chunky Soup — it’s good enough for Donna, Jason and Travis Kelce. For the rest of you, I truly hope these -inspired recipes work wonders for your chili-making reputation!

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