My Texas chili recipe is the tried-and-true beef chili recipe of your dreams! Thick, spicy, and smoky as all chili recipes should be, this “Bowl o’ Red” covers the flavor bases with homemade goodness your family will love.
Chili is the state dish of Texas, so you know this Texas chili recipe isn’t messing around! It’s also a no bean chili — part of what makes Texas chili, well, Texas chili is the absence of beans and the punch of other flavors and texture.
Simmer up a pot of full-flavored Texas chili today! Let’s get cooking!
There is nothing better than settling down with a big steaming bowl of chili on a chilly day! Get it? Chili, chilly. Wordplay is part of the fun!
- Thick, meaty texture
- Easy to add variation
- Belly-filling goodness
- Cook-all-day taste in less than two hours!
How To Make Texas Chili Recipe
Texas Chili is made by simmering beef with beer and a variety of spices and seasonings. Follow these four easy steps to rustle up your own award-winning Texas Chili recipe.
First, brown your beef. Next, cook the onions with garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and oregano. Third, add salt, pepper, bay leaves, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, Better than Bouillon, amber ale beer, and water, and add the beef back in.
Finally, supplement the mixture with additional beer and water as needed. Dinner is served!
The Houston Press describes chili con carne as a uniquely Texan invention from the 1800’s, popularized by working-class “chili queens.” Some stories trace this popular dish back to a 1600s Spanish nun whose spirit traveled across the ocean to preach Christianity to the Native Americans, according to National Chili Day.
Whatever you believe about the mythic origins of chili, today’s Texas chili is best known for tender beef, seasoned onions, and ground chilies. My Texas chili recipe plays with some other yummy ingredients. Let me walk you through the flavors!
Beef: You will need a cut that has sufficient fat to hold up to the simmering process and deliver a texture that isn’t dry. Hand-cut cubes from a chuck roast work beautifully.
I prefer a coarsely ground 80/20 (also called a “chili grind”) that I can pick up from my local butcher. You might also use a standard grind 80/20, but it will have a smoother, less chunky texture.
Chili Powder: Chili powder is no trivial matter for true chili aficionados. My family prefers meals on the milder side, so I usually go for a good commercial blend.
The result gives you a sturdy chili flavor with deep tones and detectable smokiness without burning your tastebuds!
Tomatoes: This is the most controversial ingredient in an authentic Texas chili! Some chefs swear by tomatoes; others refuse to even entertain the idea. If you scoff at tomatoes in your chili, give this recipe a try — I’ll make a tomato convert out of you yet!
Masa: Masa is flour made from corn. It’s most often used to make tortillas and other baked goods in Mexican cuisine. But for this recipe, you’ll use it the same way you use corn starch — as a thickener!
Better than Bouillon: I love adding Better than Bouillon to my soups and stews to give dishes an extra punch of beef flavor! This is one of the secret ingredients to make your chili taste like it’s been simmering all day. Better Than Bouillon is available at most supermarkets.
The best part of my Texas chili recipe is the leftovers! Chili tastes even better the next day, once the spices and flavors have a chance to really settle in. To make sure you get the best leftovers you can out of your chili, read on!
Can You Freeze This?
Yes! My Texas chili recipe will last you up to six months in the freezer. Just make sure you thoroughly cool your chili before you freeze it — residual heat will create steam during the freezing process, which will lead to freezer burn. And no one likes freezer burn!
Make Ahead Tips
The best way to make this Texas chili recipe ahead is to follow the steps through Step Five, stopping just before you simmer. Since your meat is fully cooked, you can store the chili base as you would normal chili, in the fridge — where it will last for up to four days — or in the freezer — for up to six months.
Simmering is what gets all the flavors condensed, so once you’re ready to finish the chili, don’t skip the simmering! You’ll definitely want to get all those yummy flavors married together properly.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
This Texas chili recipe will store in your fridge for up to four days. I think it always tastes better the next day, once the ingredients have had time to settle, so this makes a great next-day lunch leftover meal!
You can shake up the flavor combination day to day by using different toppings. One day, go for cheese; the next, do avocado and salsa for a Mexican splurge. The possibilities are endless!
Every chef has their own version of chili! What are some variations you can try?
Can I Bake This Instead?
I love the deep, rich flavor that oven baking gives to dishes! Chili cheese dog bake is a great way to have the State Fair favorite in your home. For a complete meal, try chili cornbread casserole — all the luscious chili flavors in one scoop!
Can I Add Pasta?
Chili spaghetti is a surefire winner! If the idea of noodles and chili doesn’t get your kids excited, try chili mac — mac and cheese and chili? Yum!
Or go for a Cincinnati classic, my Skyline chili recipe! This meat sauce is typically served over spaghetti noodles with lots of yummy cheese on top!
Can I Add Some Beans?
Texas chili with beans?? Blasphemous!
Kidding, kidding. Well, sort of. There are certain Texas chefs who would never add beans to their chili, but I love dishes like Mexican chili and taco chili. And one of my favorite chili shake-ups is Frito chili pie. Yes, pie! Everything is better in pie form!
What Other Famous Chili Recipes Can I Make?
There is an infinite number of chili recipes to try! Pioneer Woman chili is rich and delicious while Wendy’s chili recipe brings the fast-food favorite within your grasp. And Alton Brown chili is always a crowd pleaser!
What Other Beef Chili Recipes Can I Make?
Chili colorado earned its name from the red color (“colored red”), not the state! The red chilis give it a delicious pepper bite. Steak chili is extra yummy for the chunks of hearty steak in the rich sauce — perfect for a winter date night. And of course, let’s not forget the classic chili burger! Make sure to have fries handy too!
Texas Chili Recipe
- 2 pounds coarse ground beef, 80/20 or chuck also called chili grind
- vegetable oil as needed
- 2 cups yellow onions chopped
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 (28-ounce) Can crushed tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 heaping tablespoon Better than Bouillon - beef flavor
- 1 (12-ounce) bottles amber ale beer
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons masa
- cheddar cheese shredded
- sour cream
- red onions chopped
- jalapeno sliced
- In a 6-quart saucepan, over medium-high heat, brown the beef crumbling as it browns, in batches so as not to crowd the pan. Remove the browned meat to a paper towel lined plate.
- Remove all but 1/4 cup of the fat in the pan, if there's not 1/4 cup fat, add vegetable oil, as needed. Add the onion and cook, on medium, stirring occasionally, until browned and soft, about 10-12 minutes.
- Stir in garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and oregano and cook, stirring constantly so as not to burn the spices, until the spices are fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
- Return the browned beef to the saucepan and add the salt, pepper, bay leaves, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, Better than Bouillon, 3/4 cup of the amber ale beer and 1/3 a cup of water and simmer 20 minutes.
- Add the remaining 3/4 cup of beer, another 2/3 cup of water, and masa and simmer 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chili is thick.
- Serve with any toppings you like.
Want to explore more hearty chili recipes? I’ve gathered my best dishes for you:
- Chili Dog – Chili is a great condiment!
- Sweet And Spicy Cashews – Follow that spice to your snacks.
- Stuffed Chillies – Love chilis? This is for you!
- Pork Chili Verde – Mexican chili goodness!
My Texas chili recipe may cause some commotion (tomatoes!!), but I think we can all put aside our differences and agree that chili is delicious.
Now, for another divisive question: do you eat cornbread or biscuits with your chili? Let me know in the comments!