Texas Chili

Mike tried this recipe on January 16, 2022

There are three dishes every native-born Texan is expected to know how to cook – Brisket, Chicken Fried Steak, and Chili. Of these, chili is the most contentious. Let me explain…

The story of chili traces back many generations, and there are several “origin stories” surrounding it. The most commonly mentioned is that of the “Chili Queens” of San Antonio, who would use their secret recipes of meat, chili peppers, and spices (allegedly formulated by ancestors living as far away as the Canary Islands) to make the dish to sell from stands scattered around Military Plaza in the 1860s. But whatever the true origin may be, the fact that chili is synonymous with Texas cuisine is never in dispute. Chili was named the state dish of Texas in 1977.

What makes it contentious (aside from the mystery around its origin) is what “real” Texas chili has in it that makes it unique. Well, it might be better to say what it *doesn’t* have in it. Texas chili aficionados will tell you that a genuine “Bowl of Red” (one of the local names for chili) will never, ever contain beans, tomatoes, or ground beef.

You read that right – Texas chili has no beans, no tomatoes, and no ground beef in it. To hear them describe it, all three were added by commercial producers to reduce costs: beans and tomatoes were added as “filler” to stretch out the number of servings and to add carbs and fiber, while ground beef is simply a cheaper alternative to using diced beef. (So how does a “Bowl of Red” get its distinctive color if there are no tomatoes? It comes from the combination of chili peppers and spices.)

This is one of many Texas chili recipes that can be found; each varies in the combination of peppers and spices. This combination results in a hearty dish that is somewhere between mild and moderate on the heat scale, so if your goal is to be able to enjoy the flavor it should work for you.

Adapted from Our Sweet Adventures

Texas Chili

Difficulty: Intermediate Prep Time 30 mins Cook Time 2 hrs Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 8
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


A classic dish, made "the Texas way" - no beans, no tomatoes, and no ground beef.

Adapted from Our Sweet Adventures



  1. Remove the stems and seeds from the Ancho and Guajillo chilies, then place in a blender and cover with 1 cup of warm beef broth. Steep for 30 minutes.

  2. Trim excess fat from the chuck roast and cut into 1/2 inch cubes, and dice the onions and jalapenos (for a milder taste, remove the jalapeno seeds before dicing).

  3. In a bowl combine chili powder, paprika, cumin, cocoa powder, flour, garlic powder, oregano, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

  4. Puree the chilies and beef broth to make a chili paste. Set aside.

  5. In a medium Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add beef and brown on all sides. Remove browned meat from pan and set aside. Do not drain remaining liquid.

  6. Add onion to the pan and sauté until translucent. Add jalapenos and stir to combine, cooking an additional 2-3 minutes. Deglaze the pan by adding the remaining beef broth, beer, and vinegar. Scrape up any brown bits off the bottom of the pan.

  7. Add the beef and any juices back into the pan. Add the chili paste, seasoning mixture, and brown sugar, and mix thoroughly.

  8. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until the beef is tender, stirring occasionally.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories 431kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17g27%
Saturated Fat 4g20%
Cholesterol 114mg38%
Sodium 1313mg55%
Potassium 1064mg31%
Total Carbohydrate 17.4g6%
Dietary Fiber 4g16%
Sugars 6g
Protein 50g100%

Calcium 5 mg
Iron 50 mg

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


  • Serving suggestions:
    • Toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese
    • Sides: crackers, tortilla chips, corn chips (a la Frito chili pie)
  • Ancho chilies are mildly spicy, and Guajillo chilies and Jalapeno peppers are medium spicy. To increase the heat, substitute hotter chilies of your choice.
Keywords: Texas, chili, Ancho, Guajillo, jalapeno, no beans, no tomatoes, chuck roast
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