This Easy Winter Chili in a Jar recipe is the perfect easy gift to give someone on your list. Whether it’s the holidays or someone is feeling under the weather, this soup will make them feel special!


I was at Chloe’s school for lunch last week and her teachers asked me about the recipe for the “bean stew” they noticed in Chloe’s lunch box. They said it looked incredibly tasty, especially on such a cold day. That was all the prompting I needed to share with them my uber-excitement over this DIY Easy Winter Chili in a jar. 


As you can see from the picture, you can layer all of the ingredients in a mason jar (add a pretty label with the recipe and a note and it’s a perfect holiday gift, by the way!) and just tuck it away until you are ready to make it. I explained to Chloe’s teachers that all you had to do was dump the contents of the jar into a pot along with a can of chopped tomatoes and water and…voila! In just an hour you have chili!


No soaking the beans, they asked? Nope. No other ingredients? You got it, everything you need for this dish is in the jar (except for the can of tomatoes). I then surprised them by mentioning how it cooks in only one hour. How could that be, they asked when beans supposedly take so long to cook. Well, one of the random pieces of knowledge you acquire attending culinary school is the difference between a bean and a legume (also known as a pulse). This chili is made with lentils which are considered a pulse (at this point in the conversation even the kids were listening in to understand more).


Some of the major beauty of using lentils in a recipe like this is that they’re inexpensive, high in vegetarian protein, and — as I just described — cook in a fraction of the time as beans. This mild chili is one of my new favorite recipes. And if you have friends who may despise cooking but still love to eat good wholesome food, this recipe in a jar is a culinary gift you can give them that will keep on giving!


Let me know if you make this and what you think by tagging me on social media!


Easy Winter Chili In A Jar

This Easy Winter Chili in a Jar recipe is the perfect simple gift to give someone on your list. Whether it's the holidays or someone is feeling under the weather, this soup will make them feel special!
4.50 from 4 votes
Servings: 1 jar
Author: Catherine McCord
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes



  • In a quart-sized mason jar, layer 1/2 of the lentils, 1/2 of the yellow split peas, 1/2 of the green split peas, the barley, 1/2 of the green split peas, 1/2 of the yellow split peas, 1/2 of the lentils. Top with the spices and bouillon cubes.
  • To make the soup: combine contents of jar with the tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, until the lentils and barley are soft.


Note: each jar makes 8-10 servings of chili


Calories: 230kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 170mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 5g
Did you make this recipe?Mention @Weelicious or tag #weelicious!

About the Author

Catherine is a mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.


  1. 5 stars
    My friend (and neighbor) dropped off a jar of this chili mix and a can of tomatoes. I made it the same night and it served my family of four numerous times over the rainy weekend. I’d happily make this again and I plan to give some away.

  2. why do you use only half of the dried peas and barley and do you also half the spices or why not just write recipe 1/3 of peas and 1/2 cup barley???

  3. Hello! We are so excited to make these as a volunteer project to donate to families moving from shelters to permanent housing.

    Is there a measurement for the amount of bouillion? Since we are making many, I think it might be more cost effective to get boullion powder and measure it out instead of the cubes.

  4. I have the same question as Jenny. I’ve always used the smal bouillon cubes – 1 cube per cup of water. The only ones that I was able to find for this project were larger cubes (they’re not actually ‘cubes,’ they’re more like rectangular boxes), and the directions say to use 1 cube per 2 cups of water. I’m making holiday gifts for my colleagues, and would LOVE to know how much bouillon to use! Thank you so much!

  5. are the cubes this calls for about 4g each? i’m finding they come in different sizes. thanks! 🙂

  6. I went to two different stores and couldn’t find yellow split peas, would I just double the green ones or do you have another suggestion?

  7. This sounds delicious. I want to make it with fresh ingredients, what would be the equivalent of a teaspoon of garlic and onion powder? Thx.

  8. Had this chil and it was delicious. My daughter made up some jars and gave them as prices for a bridal shower. The idea was loved.

  9. […] 4. Easy Winter Chili by Weelicious […]

  10. How much water is needed to make this chili I see 10 cups for the soup but nothing for the chili

  11. Hi Catherine,
    I just wanted to let you know that a parent (and child) from the Purple Twig gave me this chili for a holiday present and my kids love it. We all love it. What a fantastic idea and gift. Thank you!!1

    1. I don’t understand why only half of ingredients are layered in the jar?? I really want to make this😟. Help please!💛

      1. Hi Jan! You end up using all of the ingredients. I just wrote it out so that there are more layers of the lentils, yellow split peas and green split peas. So you’ll have two layers of each of those ingredients for presentation sake. Sorry for the confusion!

  12. […] gift ideas: easy winter chili in a jar (Weelicious), coconut macaroon mix in a jar (Vegan Richa), candy cane carob bark (Out to Lunch […]

  13. I have made this for my 2yr old with great success (the whole family liked it) and also made it as gifts in a jar. I washed and reused 1L pickle jar and it worked great!

  14. I just made this today. It turned out great! After tasting it at 1 hour I decided to add 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp cumin. I let it simmer for a total of 2 hours, which I think it needed. A little drizzle of good olive oil on top of the bowl added a little richness and helped bring out the flavors. I think I might try adding cooked ground beef, ground turkey, or chicken sausage next time.

  15. I wonder if you could put the dry powders in a small plastic baggie (maybe the craft size ones) and then include instructions to rinse the lentils, peas and barley before putting in pot.

  16. I woke up this morning, and tried putting everything on the slow cooker for lunch. I put it on high for around 2-3 hours. I guess you could say it was doneish,, but could go a little longer.. I was hungry and wanted lunch, so I transferred to a pot simmer for 30ish more minutes.

    I couldn’t find veg bouillon, so I used beef buillon. I was also out of cumin, so I had to use 2 Tbs of taco seasoning.

    I enjoyed it, but more importantly my picky 2yr old ate it. I call that success 🙂 I went ahead and prepped 2 more jars for gifting. I made the whole recipe for our family, but halved the recipe for gifting.

  17. Oh, and also it’ll allow you to add finely diced veggies like carrots or gourds which soften during pressure cooking so you can’t make them out separately – so you can, theoretically, do without the bouillon cubes.

  18. Pulses of all kinds take too long to cook – using up so much energy. I suggest you use a pressure cooker to make this instead. Slow cooked ‘dal’ does taste better but it is so much easier to first fry up the masala well, then add the mixed lentils and cook it, and for everyday use, the difference in taste is acceptable!

  19. We added some ground beef and a little extra spice. It tasted great except some of the peas weren’t quite cooked. Next time I’ll just cook it longer. But my non veggie eating family loved it.

  20. Can this be cooked in a slow cooker instead of the stove top? Is so, for how long? Thanks for a cute and useful gift.

  21. Hi,
    Do I need to rinse and pick through the peas and lentils first (& then dry them on a towel overnight)? I normally do this per the bag’s instructions. Thanks.

  22. The tomatoes add flavor! You can definitely leave them out and just use about an extra cup or 2 of water!

  23. We have a tomato allergy in our family. If I omitted the tomatoes would this ruin the recipe? Can you suggest anything as a substitute? Thanks!!!

  24. Hi,
    This looks great! I always rinse my lentils really well before using but not sure how that could be done in this recipe. Do you rinse your lentils?

  25. Yum, this looks amazing! I can’t wait to make this, nutritious, easy and quick to make and prepare is just what busy mums need.

  26. I pick over them to make sure there are no rocks or sediment. You can rinse and allow to dry if you want!

  27. Thought I would try this before I gave these as Christmas presents. It was a big hit and is joining our dinner rotation.
    I do have one question – the peas, lentils and barley all said to rinse before using. Do I need to rinse the above wait for them to “dry” and then combine ingredients or can I just skip the rinsing part and make up my jars?

  28. This goes all the way to the top of the 1 quart jar (see the photos in this post) so a 24 ounce jar would be a tad too small!

  29. What a fantastic gift idea!! I love it, and I love the sound of the chili too…I’ve been living off soups & chili since the baby’s been born for easy quick meals.

  30. Just cut everything in half! 1/3 cup of each split pea and lentil, 1/2 cup barley, 1 bouillon cube, etc… Cook in 5 cups of water plus a 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes (I know the tomatoes aren’t exactly halved, but those are the typical can sizes)

  31. Can anyone figure out the measurements if you wanted to halve the recipe to do 1/2 pint jars? I have many single friends who wouldn’t want that many servings.

  32. This looks great but im just wondering how long do you think they would stay fresh when they are jarred.

  33. Do you add the spices right on top of the beans? Don’t you need to wash them before cooking?

  34. If you’re going to leave them out then definitely cook in broth! Replace at least half the water with broth!

  35. Do you have a substitute for the bouillon cubes as we don’t use those? Would it be the same if we left them out but cooked in broth? Thanks

  36. All of the ingredients listed here go into 1 quart sized mason jar! So the 1 can of tomatoes gets mixed with the 1 jar of soup mix (which is the full recipe you see listed)! Hope this helps!

  37. Would the 28 oz jar of tomatoes be for one jar (one half) of this recipe or enough for the entire recipe? If it’s only for one mason jar’s worth, shouldn’t the ingredient list include a quantity of 2?

  38. Quinoa cooks much quicker than everything else in this recipe. So I would sub something heartier like Amaranth, Buckwheat or Millet. Just make sure to check the cooking times and use something that will cook in the same time frame as the lentils and split peas!

  39. Would quinoa be a good gluten free substitute for the barley or is there a better grain to use? This recipe looks amazing!

  40. Make sure to check your bouillon cubes, too, if you’re making it gluten-free. Some contain gluten!

  41. Looks wonderful. But could you suggest a good substitute for the barley? I’d like to make these as gluten-free gifts. Thank you!

  42. Love it. I’m a big fan of edible gifts, especially if I can whip them up from the pantry!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating