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Food prep is all the rage these days, and the trend isn’t necessarily just for health nuts. You can whip up treats days ahead of a big game so that you’re packed and ready to go. Chili and cornbread in a jar is a fresh twist on a classic game-day dish that’s easy, convenient, and most importantly, tasty.

For an easy recipe that will keep your tailgating guests well-fed, try preparing chili and cornbread in a to-go jar before the day of the big game. A container full of homemade chili and cornbread makes the perfect pick-me-up during any game and also pairs perfectly with beer. Here are some of our favorite go-to recipes that you can prepare ahead of game day to really “wow” your friends.

Vegetarian Chili and Cornbread in a Jar

At a large tailgating event, the chances are that at least one or two people are going to be vegetarians. It’s always a good idea to bring some specially prepared dishes for those with a meat-free lifestyle. For a vegetarian chili and cornbread recipe that’s full of flavor, try this recipe from


  • One tablespoon canola oil
  • One diced onion
  • Two diced and seeded bell peppers
  • Three cloves minced garlic
  • One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
  • Two tablespoons tomato paste
  • One tablespoon ground cumin
  • One teaspoon dried oregano
  • One teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • One 15-ounce can of rinsed kidney beans
  • Crumbled cornbread
  • Sour cream and sliced scallions, for garnishing


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low. Once hot, add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and stir until the veggies begin to soften.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, and spices. Bring back up to temperature and then reduce to a simmer, partially cover your saucepan, and cook for about ten minutes.
  3. Add the beans to the mix, partially cover once again, and continue to simmer your chili for about five minutes, or until the mixture has thickened.
  4. Allow the chili mixture to cool before spooning into six medium mason jars. Layer the chili with crumbled cornbread and top the mix with sour cream and scallions for a tasty finish.

Super Simple Chili in a Jar

This foolproof recipe courtesy of is quick, easy, and makes a delicious and hearty meal that will keep you going strong through any tailgating event. Cocoa powder adds a unique twist to the dish, and your friends will be hard-pressed to guess your secret ingredient.


  • One tablespoon of olive oil
  • One large diced onion
  • 1 pound of ground beef or turkey
  • Three 16-ounce cans of chili beans
  • 2 cups of mild chunky garden salsa
  • 2 cups of V8 tomato juice
  • One tablespoon of cumin
  • One teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cocoa powder
  • salt and pepper
  • Cheese, sour cream, or other condiments
  • Cooked cornbread


  1. In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add onions and cook for about five minutes or until translucent, stirring occasionally.
  2. Once the onions are cooked, add the ground meat and brown it. The juices should begin to run clear after a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and bring the saucepan to a slow boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the chili has thickened.
  4. Spoon the chili into wide-mouthed 16-ounce jars. Top with your favorite condiments, then add crumbled cornbread before sealing the jar.

Gourmet Chili and Cornbread in a Jar

Sometimes, it’s nice to treat yourself to a meal with a little bit more flare. This gourmet recipe from offers the perfect blend of sweet, savory, and spicy to suit even your friends with more sophisticated palettes.


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Two pounds lean ground beef
  • One large chopped onion
  • Two large cloves minced garlic
  • One chopped bell pepper
  • One can of stewed tomatoes
  • One can of kidney beans or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • Between 2/3 and 1 cup of ketchup, depending on taste
  • Between 1/2 and 2/3 cups chili sauce, depending on taste
  • Two tablespoons chili powder
  • Two teaspoons ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of taco seasoning
  • Prepared cornbread mix


  1. For more flavor and softer veggies, you can throw all of the chili ingredients in your slow cooker for 8 hours or overnight on low. If you’re strapped for time, however, you can also make chili on the stovetop.
  2. To cook on the stove, heat some oil in a saucepan over medium-low and add the fresh veggies, sautéing until tender. Then add the meat and brown, cooking until the juices run clear. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until thick.
  3. After the chili has been prepared and cooled, spoon it into nine pint-sized mason jars, leaving about an inch or two of room at the top. Add a dollop of cornbread mix, then bake the jars at 375℉ for about 20 minutes, or until the cornbread topping is golden brown.

Spicing Up Your Game-Day Menu with Chili and Cornbread To-Go

Cooking or grilling when you’re trying to tailgate can be a hassle, not to mention downright dangerous after a couple of beers. Instead, why not try prepping your game-day meals ahead of time?

Chili and cornbread makes an ideal to-go meal that fits perfectly into a portable mason jar. Both prep and cleanup is easy even for the inexperienced chef. Whether you prefer the sweet, the savory, or the spicy, there’s bound to be a chili recipe that will tickle your taste buds.

Feature image via Pinterest

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