It’s time for the one, the only: the Pioneer Woman chili recipe! This chili recipe is the one I recommend to home cooks who are new to the wonders of the chili bean recipe. It’s simple but flavorful, hearty but zesty, and combines all the parts of chili that everyone loves most in a truly satisfying beef chili recipe.
Plus, who do you trust more to make a delicious meal than the ‘ol PW herself?
Get out your aprons — we’ve got a Pioneer Woman chili recipe to tackle! Gotta add this to your chili recipes!
Chili cooking is an art — which is why I love this very accessible Pioneer Woman chili recipe! Before we get into the more extreme chili cooking, this is a great reminder of the basics, plus:
- One-pot wonder
- Rich, down-home flavor
- Customization friendly
- Easy clean-up!
Though this Pioneer Woman chili recipe is on the easier end of chili dishes, I’ve still got some notes for you! Fear not, First Time Chili friends — I’m here to guide you.
Ground Beef: I recommend using 80/20 ground beef for this recipe. Why? That number notes the fat to meat content and will affect the flavor and cooking of your dish. Want a leaner chili? You can use 90/10 ground beef, but make sure you educate yourself about the differences first!
Tomatoes: This Pioneer Woman chili recipe calls for tomato sauce as part of its base — not tomato puree! I can’t tell you how many times I grab the wrong can at the store, come home, and go “Oh well, I’ll use it anyway.” Wrong!
Tomato puree is a much more condensed tomato product and will greatly affect your finished dish. Go for the sauce!
Chili Powder: Bet you didn’t know that chili powder isn’t actually a spice — it’s a combination of spices! So while this recipe also has you add cumin, oregano, and cayenne separately, adding chili powder will punch up all those spices, because it contains them plus other goodies. Don’t skimp on the chili powder!
Masa Harina: Masa Harina is corn flour! And for this recipe, it adds a delicious depth of flavor while thickening your chili, reminiscent of the lovely profile you get when you crumble up cornbread into your bowl. Oh, am I the only one who does that?
Every good chili recipe makes an insane amount of leftovers — this Pioneer Woman chili recipe is no exception! Get out your airtight containers and your cooling racks, I’ve got all your storage tips right here.
Can You Freeze This?
Yes! Chili is very freezer-friendly. But, like with any warm dish, be sure to thoroughly cool your chili before you freeze it — residual heat will lead to condensation, which is the enemy of all freezer foods. Plus, if you store your warm chili in the freezer, it will raise the temp for your other frozen foods, leading to dangerous situations for your raw meats!
If safely done, your Pioneer Woman chili recipe will be good to go in your freezer for up to six months.
Make Ahead Tips
Part of what makes this recipe so tasty is the hour of simmering. But if you know you won’t have that kind of time, you can always follow the recipe through Step 2, and store in the fridge (for up to four days) or the freezer (for up to six months). Then thaw it when you’re ready to use, heat it on the stove, and finish it up!
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
Chili makes great lunch leftovers! Portion out your Pioneer Woman chili recipe into individual-sized airtight containers and store in the fridge for up to four days. I love shaking up the toppings day to day — it’s like a whole new meal each time!
Can I Omit The Beans?
Yes! There are so many different types of chili — one big section of the Chili Universe is without beans. Steak chili is a popular alternative, as is the ever-popular Texas Road House chili (yes, the restaurant version straight to your kitchen!). Or, if you want to try one of my personal favorites, chili cornbread casserole brings the ooey-gooey deliciousness of casseroles with the heartiness of chili.
Can I Make This Recipe More Mexican?
Want to head South of the Border? Mexican chili brings even more of those zesty spices and Mexican ingredients to your bowl. Or try taco chili for a fun twist on a classic! Kids love this taco-in-a-bowl dinner.
Can I Use Chicken Instead?
White chicken chili is iconic! There’s something so much fresher about chicken in chili, trading the heartiness for bright flavors. Green chicken chili brings in scrumptious green chilis while white bean chicken chili lets you try a new type of bean you might otherwise have missed. Yum!
How Do Other Famous Personalities Make Their Chili Dishes?
Every chef has their own version of chili! Paula Deen chili recipe slow cooker takes all the familiar ingredients and puts them in an easy-to-make Crock Pot recipe. Alton Brown chili is true to its namesake chef and honors the rich, historic flavors of chili.
Rachael Ray baked pasta is a celebration in every bite — chili! Meat! CHEESE! There’s nothing I don’t love about this dish!
What Other Chili Recipes Can I Make With Beef?
Oh, the world opens up to you, fellow chili lover! Chili Colorado is a delicious favorite — named for the “colored red” sauce, not the state! I’ve already sung the praises of Chili cornbread casserole, but its yumminess begs to repeat.
Want fast food without the guilt? Wendy’s Chili recipe is so simple to make, you may never do drive through again! And finally, another PW fave: Pioneer Woman chili Frito Pie! Yes, PIE!
Pioneer Woman Chili
- 2 pounds ground beef, 80/20
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups water, plus more if needed
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1/4 cup masa harina
- 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans drained and rinsed
- cheddar cheese, shredded
- red onion, diced
- jalapeno, sliced
- lime wedges
- In a large pot, brown the ground beef over medium heat. Add the garlic and continue to cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Drain off excess fat.
- Stir in the tomato sauce, salt, water, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne powder until well combined. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Add more water if chili begins to dry out.
- Whisk together the masa harina and 1/2 cup water in a small mixing bowl. Pour into chili. Add both beans and simmer another 10 minutes. If chili is too thick, add more water. Adjust seasoning. Ladle into individual bowls and serve with toppings as desired.
There’s enough chili recipes out there that you could have a different one for every dinner during the winter months! This Pioneer Woman chili recipe was only the beginning.
- Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas – Fusion goodness!
- Chili Cheese Fries – A classic brought to life.
- Chili Soup – Chili + soup = perfect crusty bread dipping
- Boilermaker Chili – Go big or go home!
- Skyline Chili Recipe – Drive-through’s got nothing on you!
That wasn’t too intense, was it? I hope this Pioneer Woman chili recipe soothed your worries about the extravagance of making chili! There are so many fun dishes to be had and customizations to make. Get cooking, friends!
What toppings do you love most? Let me know in the comments!