Texas Chili

Texas Chili is a classic spicy bean-free chili known as “Bowl o’ Red” that’s smoky, beefy and full of flavor. Perfect for game day, cookouts and crockpots!

If you’ve made some of my Classic Beef Chili before or my super popular Slow Cooker Beef Chili then this recipe is for you! 

Texas Chili

TEXAS CHILI

Texas Chili is the perfect dinner time recipe now that the nights are longer and colder. It’s time to break out some hearty, filling recipes to keep everyone toasty. Make it the perfect meal and serve it up with a chunk of homemade Ultimate Cornbread.

There’s just something about a large pot of Texas Chili simmering on the stove that reminds me of the fall and winter months, and it tastes even better as leftovers. You can make it at the beginning of the week and enjoy it as leftovers and lunches the rest of the week.

What is Texas Chili?

So, what makes chili Texas Chili? Texas-style chili is a little bit different from your average chili recipe, in that it has no beans and is technically a kind of chili con carne.

The majority of the savory, smoky flavor comes from the ground chuck and flavorful chili mixture. In some cases, Texas Chili doesn’t even use tomato sauce of any kind. What makes true Texas Chili changes depending on who you ask, but what most people agree on is that there are no beans in it.

Texas Chili chefs take their craft very seriously, and there are a bunch of different chili cook offs around the country, and even the world, to determine which is the best Texas Chili recipe. In my opinion, the best chili is the kind that can feed the most people the easiest and the flavors are the most approachable.

To keep the flavors of this chili the most well rounded I add tomatoes and tomato paste but if you prefer to go tomato free I suggest using chunks of beef rather than ground beef for a better texture.

OTHER TASTY CHILI RECIPES

HOW TO MAKE TEXAS CHILI

  • Add vegetable oil and onions to a large dutch oven on medium heat.
  • Cook until the onions are translucent, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute stirring well.
  • Add the ground beef, breaking apart as you cook it for 6-8 minutes.
  • but leave the chunks a bit larger, and allow the beef to sear well.
  • Add in the salt, ancho chile powder, cumin, paprika and brown sugar and stir well, cooking for 1 minute.
  • Add in the diced tomatoes, and tomato paste and whisk well until the tomato paste is well mixed in.
  • Add in the beef broth and bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 1 hour, stirring every fifteen minutes.
  • Chili is done when the beef broth is reduced to the right consistency where the ground beef is not lost in the gravy.

Texas Chili in bowl with sour cream and cheese

VARIATIONS ON TEXAS CHILI

  • Toppings: You can add just about anything to your chili. Try chopping up some jalapenos, or adding a dollop of sour cream, cheddar cheese, or tortilla strips.  
  • Spices: To play with the flavors without having to start from scratch, you can mix in my Chili Seasoning Mix with an additional 3 tablespoons of chili powder.
  • Chili peppers: Since chili is in the name of Texas Chili, you absolutely can make it spicy. Chop up some pasilla peppers, serrano peppers, or chipotle peppers to get a sweet, smoky, or strong spicy taste. For those who don’t like spice, there’s still a pepper you can add: bell pepper. It’s sweet, it has no heat, and it goes really well with Texas Chili flavor. 
  • Meat: I recommend using ground beef, but you can also use a chuck roast that’s been chopped down to stew meat size. 

TEXAS CHILI FAQS

  • Why does Texas Chili have no beans? It’s really just a tradition. Texans pride themselves on bean free chili.
  • What makes chili chili? Chili is almost always a mixture of ground beef, hot peppers, chili powder, and sometimes beans, just not in Texas. 
  • Why is Chili better the next day? The meat in chili has a chance to break down a little more and release more flavor into the stew. 

EVEN MORE CHILI RECIPES!

 

HOW LONG IS TEXAS CHILI GOOD?

  • Serve: As with most non-shelf stable products, don’t leave this Texas Chili out for longer than 2 hours.
  • Store: In the fridge, Texas Chili will stay good for up to 3 days before you should throw it out. Make sure that you properly seal it up in an airtight container or a sealable bag. Also, you need to let it cool completely down to room temperature before you put it away. 
  • Freeze: You can freeze Texas Chili for up to 4 months in a sealable container. Make sure you let it cool first, and that you keep it securely sealed. 
    • When reheating it is best to let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before microwaving or reheating on your stovetop. If you are going to heat from frozen and you know this ahead of time it is best to freeze in a shallow container or re-heat on half power.

WHEN IS TEXAS CHILI SAFE TO EAT?

Ground beef chuck is considered safe to eat when the temperature reaches 160 degrees F (71.1 degrees C), according to the USDA’s Official Website

Scoop of Texas Chili

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Texas Chili Recipe

Texas Chili is a classic spicy bean-free chili known as "Bowl o' Red" that's smoky, beefy and full of flavor. Perfect for game day, cookouts and crockpots!
Yield 8 Servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 yellow onions , diced
  • 3 garlic cloves , finely minced
  • 2 pounds ground beef , (85/15)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup ancho chile powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 29 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 4 cups beef broth

Instructions

  • Add vegetable oil and onions to a large dutch oven on medium heat and cook until the onions are translucent, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute stirring well.
  • Add the ground beef, breaking apart as you cook it for 6-8 minutes but leave the chunks a bit larger, and allow the beef to sear well.
  • Add in the salt, ancho chile powder, cumin, paprika and brown sugar and stir well, cooking for 1 minute.
  • Add in the diced tomatoes, and tomato paste and whisk well until the tomato paste is well mixed in.
  • Add in the beef broth and bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 1 hour, stirring every fifteen minutes.
  • Chili is done when the beef broth is reduced to the right consistency where the ground beef is not lost in the gravy.

Nutrition

Calories: 294kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 995mg | Potassium: 929mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 895IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 6mg
Keyword: Texas Chili

Collage of Texas Chili photos

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. What is the need for adding brown sugar? I never add sweetener of any kind to my chili and my whole family loves it.

  2. Your recipe may be very good, but I grew so frustrated with the excessive pop-up ads, that I simply gave up and am moving on.

  3. In order to enjoy the freshness and flavor of canned chili, you will need to make your own. Although this can take a bit of work, I can assure you that the time you spend in making your own will pay off in the end when you have a perfect meal that’s as delicious as any canned product out there. The great thing about homemade canned food is that you can use whatever type of peppers you like.

  4. This is the best chili! Aside from sprinkling masa harina over the ground beef after browning to thicken it a bit, I did not change any of the ingredients. And all 4 of us Chili Lovers ate every bit of it. We will definitely be making this again! Thanks for such a delicious recipe!

  5. I am a chili aficionado. Love it and cooking the stuff.
    Now for this recipe.
    Cooked it exactly as listed. Sorry, it had a bland taste and absolutely no chili flavor.
    May have tasted better if chicken broth be used instead of beef. I tried using beef broth in some of my chili recipes expecting them to taste better — not so. Chicken broth works best.

  6. This was okay, but it’s not Texas Chili by a long shot. It tastes more like spaghetti sauce-it’s too sweet and has a strong tomato flavor.

  7. Very easy to make. Great thing with chili is that you can add or change ingredients to your taste. If you can find chili grind meat to use, the feel compared to regular grind hamburger is better.

  8. I made this 2 nights ago. I must say this is a great Chili recipe. My husband amd son loves Chili and this passed their taste buds which says so much about the flavor. The flavor is rich, bold and spicy but still perfect for me. I will definitely be making this Chili again and again!

  9. Chili recipes vary but there are common ingredients and approaches. I have made modifications to my baseline recipe over the years, some work and some don’t. Cumin is a deal maker or deal breaker. My tule of thumb is 1 tbs per pound of meat. Smoked Paprika is a good touch, again tread lightly. I have substituted fire roasted diced tomatoes for some of the tomato sauce (25% rate). My last ingredient is masa corn flour. For a 2 lb of meat base, I take 2 tbs and add some water, enough to make it flowing but not too watery. Add it in and stir it. This really adds a nice texture and almost acts as a “traffic cop” of flavors, pulling them all together. In contests, I have been told my recipe is very unique, and it really isn’t ,,, it just has a different taste and feel that sets it apart from most recipes. And ,,, NO BEANS.

  10. Loved this recipe. I used the impossible plant based grounds instead of meat and it was great. The only substitutions were vegetable broth and crushed tomatoes and purée instead of diced tomatoes. I made it for a friend who is vegetarian and she loved it. I kept some to eat as well and it was very good. Thanks for the recipe!

      1. As someone who doesn’t like beans, I’m always looking for a good chili recipe that’s bean free but still hearty and filling; this hit the spot perfectly. I used ground chicken, added a few peppers, and used a mixture of a couple different chili powders because I didn’t have enough ancho on hand. I plan on making this one again.

  11. Really easy and tasty. I used a can of Rotel instead of crushed tomatoes and substituted Elk meat for beef. Very good v

  12. I haven’t eaten red meat in years, and was really craving Chili. I hate tomatoes though, so I did make a few alterations. I used crushed tomatoes rather than diced, and I used vegetable broth instead of beef. I also opted for Impossible brand ‘beef’ rather than real ground beef, and it turned out fantastic! The flavor was incredible, and even my family loved it saying it’s the best chili they’ve ever had. I highly recommend this chili for anyone looking for a Texas style chili. My next batch I intend on adding a few jalapenos in with the onions for some extra kick!

  13. Made this today. Halved the recipe since I’m clocking for oneAdded chopped green bell pepper. Sautéed half a jalapeño with o Jin and bell pepper and added the other half once broth was added. Used two fresh tomatoes instead of canned. Awesome stuff.

  14. I live in Texas and I, occasionally, make authentic “Texas Red” (chuck, no tomatoes and a variety of chilis) and it is delicious but fairly labor intensive.

    However, this is an awesome alternative and the best chili I’ve had or made. The only change I make it to add crushed tomatoes instead of tomatoes. Depending on my audience, I might add cayenne. Otherwise, I make as written.

    All in all, outstanding! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Hi if I was going to use your chili seasoning mix, how much would I use for this recipe and also I cant seem to find ancho chili powder, what is a good substitute? Thanks!

    1. If you want to use my chili seasoning mix, I’d suggest using about 3 tablespoons. for the ancho chili powder substitute, I’d recommend using chili powder with a little bit of crushed red pepper since it’s not really spicy but doesn’t add a little bit of heat. Enjoy!

  16. I used this recipe today to win a chili cook off. It is amazing!!!! I did add some red pepper flakes to spice it up just a bit, I also grilled some T-bone steaks and cut into bite size chunks and added when I added spices and liquids. It was sooooo good.

  17. The best chili I have ever had! I tweeted mine a little cause we like beans and the full chili flavor but I follow everything and just added 2 cans of drained pinto beans, and 2 cans of drained kidney beans and 1 pk of McCormick Mild Chili seasoning packet and it was delicious! I’ll never make another chili!

  18. I couldn’t find the Chile Ancho Powder in my area, but we did find Chile Ancho. We boiled it in a half cup of water. Removed all the seeds, and stem, put it in the food processor, and… BAM! We added the entire paste to the pot. Gave it a small taste test after a little cooking time. And again…. BAM! It worked for us. We’re making it the night before Game Day. Can’t wait for your recipe tomorrow. Thank you for sharing.

    1. I didn’t need to but I was using 85/15 ground beef which isn’t very fatty. If you’re using one that produces more, you can drain it.

  19. This is delicious chili, I’ve made it several times but I add cayenne and a packet of hot chili seasoning because its easier! I like it spicy. Hands down favorite chili recipe

  20. Excellent photo…that’s what chili looks like. No extraneous crud floating around in it like kidney beans, bell pepper chunks or tomato globs. This is what a Texan wants to see in his pot. Made my mother water and my nostrils flair a bit.

  21. I’ve made many, many chili’s over the years and have had some really great recipes. My favorites are Guy Fieri’s dragon breath chili and Mudd’s BBQ chili. I tried this one for the first time last night using the Ancho chile powder you suggested. This recipe will be added to my chili favorites. It was a massive hit. My kids devoured it. Thank you again for another winner.

  22. Wanting to this for a company christmas dinner#!question is want to do ic crock pot what do I need to change? Thank you!!?

    1. Such a great idea! I would follow the instructions up to step 6. Once you add the beef broth and bring it to a simmer, transfer all of it into a slow cooker and cook on low for 7 hours. Enjoy!

  23. Yes! I grew up in Texas and you nailed it. Everyone puts beans in their chili and I miss this meat-only style! So yummy.

  24. I”m a no beans kind of chili-loving gal, and this recipe was right up my alley! It was hearty, full of flavor, and just the right amount of kick. It was better leftover the nxt day, too!

  25. I made this yesterday afternoon, it was a 12 degree day outside here in Michigan..brrrrr
    Perfect weather for a hot bowl of chili. This turned out FABULOUS and sooooo deep with flavor. Didn’t miss the traditional beans of other chili’s at all!! Sent some home with my daughter for her family,and she texted me later saying she’s ruined now lol
    Thank you Sabrina for your recipes that are easy to prepare and always are a hit.
    This one is definitely in the “save” box 🙂
    Terry O’Connor

  26. This sounds delicious but I beg to differ with you about it being an authentic bowl of red. I was taught that “real” chili is red in color due to the various pure chili powders that are used, not because of tomato. There is no tomato in the recipe I made in a cooking class in Albuquerque. Now, in all fairness, perhaps that’s a New Mexican bowl of red; Texas may still cling to the tomatoes but the original chili makers (trail cooks on cattle drives) probably had no access to tomatoes but did have dried chile peppers that they could grind up. Just sayin’

    1. Totally agree with you, I mention the tomatoes in the post. I keep the tomatoes in because in cooking both ways for clients over the years when I go for multi-chili, no tomato it causes many people to have stomach issues. The tomatoes, while not being 100% traditional are used in many restaurants I’ve enjoyed throughout Texas and it makes the flavors more approachable.

      Personally, I like cutting back on the diced tomatoes, upping the paste and the chili powder but I have a bit of an iron stomach. I also have had several issues with clients having problems sourcing the various types of chili.

      I feel like this recipe makes for a delicious yet attainable bowl of red. I will, however, completely agree with you, I would personally love to add a couple more varieties of chili powder. It would just make this more of a “coffee table” recipe which I try to avoid on the site.

      1. I’ve had excellent luck ordering my chili spices from Mild Bill’s Spices out of Corsicana, Tx. They have many blends and some tips on-line.