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Midwest School Lunch Style Chili

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Midwest School Lunch Chili in a scoop with Dan-O's Seasoning shirt logo


If you’re from Indiana, Ohio, or even Kentuckiana, you might have had this chili at school! Or, you might even still eat it as an adult in this region. This chili is also super easy to make, inexpensive, and definitely delivers that classic, simple chili flavor. It’s Dan-Good, too! This chili might just give you some nostalgia of grabbing a bowl in the lunch line as a lass or lad. 

So, there isn’t a standard style for “midwest chili,” just like the chili from all other regions. Every family has its own recipes and each state does theirs a little differently. HOWEVER, this chili has features of Cincinnati chili, Indiana chili, and Illinois chili, giving you a soupy, tomato-based chili with beans, beef, a few veggies, and the always controversial noodles. So, it indeed is a product of the Midwest, and many families make something close to this recipe every year! 

And while this chili is simple, spicy Dan-O’s takes it to the next level. It delivers the perfect amount of garlic, herbs, real sea salt, and cayenne pepper to kick everything up a notch! Combine that with Bloemer’s chili powder, another Louisville KY staple, and you’re going to have some Dan-Good chili. 

Serve your Midwest School Lunch Style Chili in a styrofoam bowl with a peanut butter sandwich. P.S. Noodles go in chili if you want them to…


  • 1 lb 80/20 ground beef
  • (1) 32 oz can or bottle of tomato juice
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cans red chili beans
  • ½ onion (diced)
  • 1 green bell pepper (seeded and diced)
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • Spaghetti noodles
  • 2 tbsp spicy Dan-O’s Seasoning
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Toppings of choice

Prep Time

20 Mins

Cook Time

1 Hr


  1. Start your chili base by adding your beans, tomato juice, 1 cup of water, tomatoes, chili powder, and Dan-O’s to a large soup pot. Place on the stove to warm up. 
  2. While your base warms, dice up your onions and pepper. Dice up your garlic. Add pepper and onion to the pot. Cover pot and cook on medium-low heat for about 45 minutes.
  3. Brown your beef in a large skillet over medium heat. During the last few minutes, add in your garlic. Carefully remove from the heat and drain over a plate using a stainer. Add beef to the pot along with another cup of water. 
  4. Continue cooking for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Grab a handful of spaghetti noodles and break them in half, adding to the pot. Cover the pot again, and cook for another 30 minutes. 
  5. Once noodles are mostly cooked, remove the lid from the pot and stir your chili. Salt, chili powder, hot sauce, and Dan-O’s to taste. Allow chili to cook on low uncovered for another 20-30 minutes to thicken up. 
  6. Serve in individual bowls and allow 5-10 minutes to cool down before serving. Enjoy!

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