Texas Chili

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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

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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

5 from 5 votes
  • 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

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!

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

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Add vegetable oil and onions to a large dutch oven on medium heat and cook until the onions are translucent, about 6-8 minutes.

  2. Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute stirring well.

  3. 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.

  4. Add in the salt, ancho chile powder, cumin, paprika and brown sugar and stir well, cooking for 1 minute.

  5. Add in the diced tomatoes, and tomato paste and whisk well until the tomato paste is well mixed in.

  6. 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.

  7. Chili is done when the beef broth is reduced to the right consistency where the ground beef is not lost in the gravy.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 8 Servings, Amount per serving: 294 calories, Calories: 294g, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 74mg, Sodium: 995mg, Potassium: 929mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 895g, Vitamin C: 17g, Calcium: 85g, Iron: 6g

All images and text Ā© for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: Texas Chili
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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.

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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. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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 šŸ™‚
    Terry O’Connor

  4. 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.