Made in Illinois: Ray's Brand Chilli Made in Illinois: Ray's Brand Chilli

Made in Illinois: Ray’s Brand Chilli

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Ray's Brand Chilli

Meaty, spicy and delicious, Ray’s Brand Chilli has been enjoyed by Illinoisans for more than 90 years.

The business started in Springfield where it’s still headquartered today after Ray DeFrates began making and selling the “chilli” from a recipe his brother brought back from Texas. They decided to spell it with two L’s as a nod to Illinois.

Today, the canned comfort food can be found in select grocery stores across Illinois and 20 other states as well as online. It still uses the original recipe as well as a low-fat version and Coney Hot Dog Sauce. The company even developed a Ray’s Original Chilli seasoning for home cooks to make their own batch.

Learn more at


  1. Kathryn l spence says:

    I just opened my favorite, Ray’s chili. It was not filled to the top and shocked and was missing the orange flavoring that should be in it. Kinda scares me now to eat it. I’m not sure i should eat it now. There are no dents in can or anything. Any ideas why? Thank you

    • Rachel Bertone says:

      Hi Kathryn,

      Thanks for your comment. We did a short article about Ray’s Chili but we are not affiliated with the company in any way. Please contact them directly at (217) 422-6153. Hope this helps!

      Rachel Bertone
      editor, Illinois Partners

    • Michael De Frates II says:

      This is because it’s not the same as the Original Ray’s Chilli, made by my Grand Father Walter “Port” De Frates.

      • Carolyn Sue Hall says:

        Is it still made in Illinois?
        I just ordered a case as I live in Colorado and can’t buy it here.
        Got hungry for Ray’s Chilli.
        Raised in Tallula, Illinois and had thus chilli often growing up.

  2. uncle_buckofama says:

    Yeah, in the original cans we bought, back in the late ’40s-early ’50s, there was a big chunk of bright orange stuff in the top of the can… congealed fat, I assumed, so we learned–because doctors were screaming about how dangerous fat and cholesterol are–to open the cans from the bottom, and leave the orange chunk in the can when we put the can in the trash. But, wanting to get all the Ray’s Chilli we were paying for, we reached into the can to scrape up the last bits of chilli that were in the orange stuff; in the process, we got some of the orange stuff. Over the years, as I have read what Cholesterol is, what it’s for, where it comes from (we produce most of it in our Liver), and watched as the various medical predictions panned out, I began to think perhaps somebody over-reacted to cholesterol as dangerous. You will recall that as a result of the Cholesterol mania, they substituted Margarine and took away our Butter–too much fat/Cholesterol–but, now it turns out that the Margarine and its artificially-created saturated fats (a.k.a. Trans Fats) are the Real Bad Guys. And real Butter turns out to be not so bad as originally thought and better for you than Margarine. I’ve adopted a more relaxed attitude toward Cholesterol. And at the same time a more vigilant attitude about the phony things–such as dangerous artificially-created Trans Fats that they are adding to our foods. Another food product they’re currently Bad Mouthing is Coconut Oil; the claim is that it has high amounts of saturated fats, which are dangerous. I have done a good deal of studying on this and I think it’s a lie. I have read extensively on this subject and found no evidence that naturally-occurring saturatrd fats cause disease; it is the artificially-created saturated fats (e.g. Trans Fats, Hydrogenated Oils) that are dangerous. And when they talk about Coconut Oil, they leave out the fact that it is loaded with MTC ‘Medium Chain Triglycerides’, which are very good for us. There is a lot more to say about the benefits of Coconut Oil, but this is not the place; you may contact me directly for that.

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