Hillybilly Chili with Cinnamon Rolls. Is there anything more delicious than an easy homemade chili when the snow is blowing and sub zero temps set in?? If you’re from the Midwest, you already know that every classic chili in the land is served with a cinnamon roll – all you need is one bite of the combination and you’ll be hooked.
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Howdy. Chef Alli here! Let’s Get You Cookin’….Shall We? 🙂
So, you may be asking yourself this question: Are cinnamon rolls and chili a MIDWEST thing or are cinnamon rolls and chili a KANSAS thing? I’m not sure, but I do know it’s a WONDERFUL thing!
I’m not sure how the tradition of chili and cinnamon rolls got started. Everyone here in my neck of the woods (NE Kansas) thinks it’s a crime if you eat chili and without a side of cinnamon roll. Totally not kidding, either.
Things to Love About this Recipe:
- This is a tried-and-true recipe (many times over!) that your family will ask for again and again.
- It’s quick and easy.
- You can use any type of ground meat to make this chili.
- The addition of spaghetti makes this a fun version of chili.
- It goes perfectly with cinnamon rolls! (Does one need anything else??)
My whole family loves chili, especially this Hillbilly Chili that includes spaghetti. At first I thought this an odd ingredient for chili, but we have absolutely fallen in love with it. (Be warned – many people have said they think the addition of spaghetti is just WRONG.)
When you make this chili, you will notice that it has the consistency of soup rather than a thick chili. This is a good thing because of the spaghetti. Pasta has a tendency to really soak up the broth, so this chili lends itself well to the spaghetti.
We eat a lot of soups, chili, and chowders during the Fall and Winter months. I love making soup and chili in my 6-quart Instant Pot (or even my 8-quart Instant Pot for really big batches of soup) to get dinner on the table a whole lot quicker. We especially enjoy Instant Pot Sausage, Bacon and Potato Soup, Instant Pot Chicken and Orzo Soup and Vegetables, and Tex Mex Corn Chowder, just to name a few.
Easy and Helpful Recipes Tips for Making Hillbilly Chili and Cinnamon Rolls
If I make this chili on the stove top instead of in an Instant Pot, will it still be as flavorful?
- I’ll admit that I do think that nearly everything made in the Instant Pot is more flavorful. I believe it’s due to being cooked under pressure – how can whatever you cook NOT be more flavorful when all the ingredients are force-ably infused into every part of what you are cooking? Before I got my Instant Pot, though, I made this chili on my stove top all the time and it is still a delicious experience – not to worry.
My kids are weenies and don’t care for beans in chili, but I do. Got any suggestions?
- My boys are weenies too! They prefer Hillbilly Chili without the addition of chili beans…totally ridiculous. What to do? Well, I make a big batch of chili without the beans, then I serve the weenies first. Next I add warm chili beans to the chili bowls for me and Pa…delicious! This keeps everybody happy and it’s an easy fix.
If I don’t have chili beans on hand, can I substitute other canned beans from my pantry?
- Yes and I’ve had to do this a number of times when I’ve gone to the pantry and found I was out of chili beans. I’ve substituted plain pinto beans and also black beans for the chili beans and it works fine. (Just keep in mind that you may need to use a bit more chili seasoning since canned chili beans typically come packed in a chili sauce.)
Can I use any kind of ground beef in this recipe? I don’t always have ground sirloin on hand.
You can use any type of ground beef that you have on hand. You’ll just want to be sure that you drain the fats from the ground chuck once it’s been cooked as there could be quite a bit that accumulates. Otherwise, ground chuck works perfectly for this chili.
Can I make this chili using ground venison instead of ground beef?
I’m so glad you asked this question. My sons are hunters, so we often have ground venison in the freezer. I’ve used it in this chili recipe as well as these Meat Burritos with Cheese and Tex Mex Cauliflower Rice with Ground Beef just recently. I like to use ground venison in my recipes that use Mexican ingredients, such as chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, chili powder, etc. Here is a favorite appetizer recipe that uses vension, too: Venison Bacon Poppers.
Can other pastas be substituted for the spaghetti in this chili?
Great question, and YES. For whatever reason, my boys prefer spaghetti or angel hair pasta in this chili, but you could definitely substitute macaroni, small shell, or penne pasta very successfully.
Why does this chili recipe call for sugar as one of the ingredients? That seems kind of weird.
Actually, it’s not! Tomato products, such as diced or crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, or even tomato juice, are acidic in nature and a pinch of sugar (or a tablespoon as in this recipe) cuts that acidity quite nicely, rounding out all of the flavors in the process. Try it!
Other Recipes to Enjoy –
- NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE BUTTERFINGER PIE
- TASTY TEX MEX CHICKEN CORNBREAD CASSEROLE
- CHEESY HASH BROWN MEATLOAF PIE
- INSTANT POT BROCCOLI CHEESE NOODLE SOUP
- ARTICHOKE OLIVE CHEESE BREAD
- HOT AND CREAMY PIZZA DIP
- BEEF AND CHEESE SANCHILADAS
- CRUMBLED BUTTER BRICKLE ICE CREAM DESSERT
Printable Directions for Making Hillbilly Chili
- 1-2 Tbs. mild chili powder
- 2 lbs. ground beef, I typically use ground round or ground sirloin
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 inch cylinder of spaghetti or angel hair pasta, broken into fourths
- 1-2 15 oz. can chili beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 46 oz. can tomato juice
- 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. each kosher salt and pepper
- shredded cheddar, corn chips, and sour cream, for garnishing the chili as desired
Instant Pot Directions
- Using the saute setting on the Instant Pot (or any brand of electric pressure cooker), heat the chili powder, stirring to keep it from scorching, 20-30 seconds, until very fragrant. (This technique is called "blooming" and the heat really brings out the essence of the chili powder.)
- Add the ground beef and the diced onions to the Instant Pot, continuing to cook until the beef is nicely browned and cooked throughout, and no pink remains. Drain the fats well from the beef mixture, then stir in the broken spaghetti pieces to coat them in the juices and spices that surround the crumbled cooked beef.
- Stir in the chili beans, tomato juice, sugar, salt, and pepper, then give the chili a quick stir. Lock the Instant Pot securely lid into place. Choose the high pressure setting for 3 minutes, bringing the Instant Pot to full pressure. When the timer sounds, perform a quick release to remove all pressure from the pot.
- Carefully unlock the IP lid and remove it; give the chili a quick stir. Serve the chili in deep bowls, garnished with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and sour cream as desired, alongside warm cinnamon rolls.
Stove Top Directions
- In a Dutch oven over medium high heat, heat the chili powder, stirring to keep it from scorching, 20-30 seconds, until very fragrant. (This technique is called "blooming" and the heat really brings out the essence of the chili powder.)
- Add the ground beef and diced onion to the Dutch oven and sauté until the ground beef is nicely browned and cooked through, and no pink remains. Drain the fats well from the beef mixture, then stir in the broken spaghetti pieces to coat them in the juices and spices that surround the crumbled cooked beef.
- Add the tomato juice, sugar, salt, and pepper to the Dutch oven, giving it a stir. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cooking the chili for 30-35 minutes. Serve the chili in deep bowls, garnished with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and sour cream, as desired, alongside warm cinnamon rolls.
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