An authentic Texas chili recipe is something any chili lover dreams of when the weather begins to change in the fall. Texas chili is famous for its smoky flavor, which can be achieved with the right combination of fresh and dried chiles and peppers.
When it comes to the unique depth of flavor of Texas chili, few places in the world can rival Texas. The Lone Star state is the home to the world's best Texas chili recipes.
A few years ago, we were honored with the "Texas Style Chili People's Choice Award" at an annual cookoff in Austin, Texas.
⬇️ Table of Contents
🥘 What Is Texas Chili?
Texas chili is a type of chili con carne that is popular in the U.S. state of Texas. Texas style chili, known as "Texas Red Chili," is a delicious stew made from fresh chiles and dried peppers.
The word "Red" means a meat stew spiced with fresh chile and dried peppers. You'll find meats like Texas beef and pork in traditional Texas recipes, though meats like lamb can work well for added flavor.
Best Texas Chili Recipe
Our recipe is a combination of working with top Texas chefs and a lot of time experimenting. The flavor is balanced with spicy, yet you can control the spice by removing seeds and stem from the chiles and peppers.
- Beef Chuck Roast Cut into ¼-inch or ½-inch cubes
- Ground Beef or Veal
- Ground Pork
Stock / Broth (use what you like best)
- Beef Broth
- Beef Stock
- Chicken Stock
- Vegetable Broth
Peppers and Chiles
- Ancho Chiles
- Guajillo Chiles
- Poblano Pepper
- Anaheim Peppers
- Fresno Peppers
- Red Bell Pepper
Herb and Spices
- Ancho Chile Powder
- Smoked Paprika
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Vidalia Onion
- Sea Salt
- Black Pepper
🌶️ Types of Peppers for Texas Chili
Any great Texas style chili recipe will focus on the types of peppers used, like chipotle, jalapeños, pasilla peppers, and more. The true depth of flavor comes from high-quality chile peppers.
To make texas chili even better, ingredients like chili powder and cayenne pepper help define the flavor profile.
The Guajillo chile is characterized by its thin, deep red flesh. It has a mild green tea flavor, berry overtones, and only a slight heat. They are sometimes used to make salsa with a surprisingly spicy finish.
- heat index 2,500-5,000 Scoville units
- used in pastes, butter, or rubs to flavor all kinds of meats, especially chicken
The Poblano pepper is a type of pepper that's been cultivated for centuries. It has an earthy yet sweet flavor with a heat level capped at medium levels by green varieties but high when red ones are mature and ready to harvest.
- heat index 1,000-2,000 Scoville units
- commonly used in mole sauces
Ancho Chile Peppers
Ancho chiles are the dried form of poblano peppers. They can vary substantially from one variety to another, but some varieties, such as those in grocery stores, might be less spicy than others grown at local farms.
- Heat index of 1,000-2,000 Scoville units
- Ancho, Pasilla, and Guajillo make up the "holy pepper trinity."
The Anaheim pepper is a mild variety found in California, New Mexico, and even Arizona. These chiles have been known by many different names over time, including “New Mexican” when sold near their border with Texas to distinguish them from other types of spicy red jalapenos grown elsewhere around America!
- heat index 500-2,500 Scoville units
- commonly used in salsas and can be roasted and stuffed to make Rellenos
One of the most common, if not the most common, peppers used in the United States.
- Heat index 2,500–10,000 Scoville Units
- The most widely used chile pepper Jalapeno is a medium-sized chile pepper, mature; it is 2–3½ inches long and is commonly picked and consumed while still green; occasionally, it is allowed to ripen and turn a beautiful crimson red.
They have a spicy kick that's perfect for adding depth and character to your chili dish. Plus, they're easy to find in most grocery stores. With the perfect combination of sweetness and heat
Habanero peppers are the perfect way to bring a fiery kick to your Texas chili dish! With their sweet and smoky flavor, they can add a unique depth of flavor and heat that you won't find with other types of pepper. Plus, they're easy to find in most grocery stores.
Red Bell Peppers
The bell pepper is not spicy, yet offers a nice balancing effect to the chili recipes out there. Using a selection of different colors is suggested.
- Heat index 0-100 Scoville Unit
- Red bell peppers are the mature form of green bell peppers.
- Paprika is sometimes made from sweet peppers.
- Bell peppers are fruits. The reason is that they are produced by a flowering plant and contain seeds.
Fresno Chile Peppers
Fresno peppers are like red bell peppers' little brothers. Fruit flavors can bring a varying amount of heat to a dish without being crazy spicy.
The exciting truth about chile peppers is they can vary in spiciness from chile to chile.
- Heat index of 2,500 to 10,000 Scoville units.
- Not to be confused with the Fresno Bell Pepper.
- Fresno chiles, growing, are green, then change to orange; once red, they are fully ripened and ready to be picked.
The sky is the limit when making Chili. This article is undoubtedly about Traditional Texas Chili, but one of the best parts of cooking is you're the Chef and can do whatever you like.
The chipotle pepper, a Mexican-born chili pepper renowned for its smoky spiciness, has flourished in Texan soil and found an exquisite marriage with classic Texas-style beef and bean chili.
- Chipotle in adobo sauce works excellent in chili.
- A unique combination of flavors amplifies the taste.
- The smokiness of the peppers complements that signature kick from within this beloved dish.
- Together they bring out delightful notes that are hard to resist.
🌶️ Chili Powder For Chili
There are many types of high-quality chile powders on the market. This one ingredient alone can make or break your Texas chili recipes.
We are fortunate to get some of the best chili powders at the grocery store here in Texas. If your area grocery stores aren't supplied with these chile powders, below are some I would suggest considering purchasing.
- New Mexico Chile Powder
- New Mexico Hatch Chile Powder
- San Antonio Chile Powder
- Ancho Chile Powder
🛒 Shopping For Chili Peppers
Before making Texas chili, we must go shopping for chiles and fresh peppers. There is a trick to picking peppers at the grocery store. It allows you to control how hot/spicy the pepper is by looking at it. Here's the trick.
- Curved stems are hotter than straight stem peppers.
- Pepper with heat marks stress on the pepper skin is the hottest.
Love Hot Peppers? 2022 Hottest Peppers In The World
Types of Meat for Chili
Experimenting with different meat combinations can become your signature. Have you ever thought about using these cuts of meat for your Texas Chili Recipe?
- Deer Meat
- Elk Meat
- Pork, all cuts
- Chicken/Beef Liver is the secret ingredient that adds a flavor profile that keeps your guest wondering what you did to make it so good.
Chili Meats: Low and Slow Cooking
- Chuck Beef Roast
- Beef Shank (comes from the leg)
- Top Sirlion
- Sirlion Flap, aka Bavette
Chili Meats: Quick Cooking
- Beef Tenderloin
- Hanger Steak
How To Cook Texas Chili
The good news is that there are many ways to make chili. The traditional way is to cook it low and slow on a stove or over a wood fire. Over time, there have become more choices.
Here's a short list of choices:
- Pressure Cooker
- Instant Pot
- Slow Cooker
- Sous Vide
- Oven Bake
- Dutch Oven
How To Make Texas Chili Very Spicy
How Long Does Texas Chili Last In The Refrigerator?
The average time in the refrigerator is 4 to 5 days. After the 5th day, the texture and flavor changed to the point where most would not enjoy it.
Can I Freeze Texas Chili?
Yes, that is one of the best parts of making chili. It stores well in the freezer for around 3 months. Yes, you can go longer.
Watch How To Make
What To Serve With Texas Chili?
One popular way to serve Texas chili is with a side of crispy, salty tortilla chips. It can also be served with various toppings, such as shredded cheese, diced onions, and sour cream.
- Jalapeno Poppers
- Fried Okra
- Potato Salad
- Mexican Street Corn
- Collard Greens
- Mexican Cornbread
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📖 Recipe Card
Texas Chili Recipe Award-Winning
Texas Chili Meats
- 1 pound Beef Chuck Roast Cut into ¼-inch or ½-inch cubes (Brisket Works Well)
- 1 pound Ground Beef Veal works great if you can find it.
- ½ pound Ground Pork
Peppers and Chilies
- 2 dried Ancho Chiles Remove seeds
- 2 dried Guajillo Chiles Remove seeds
- 1 large Poblano Pepper Remove stem & seeds
- 2 medium Chipotle Pepper
- 1 medium Serrano Pepper
- 1 small Habanero Pepper
- 1 large Anaheim Peppers Remove stem & seeds
- 2 peppers Jalapeno Remove stem & seeds
- 2 peppers Fresno Peppers Remove stem & seeds
- 1 large Red Bell Pepper Remove stem & seeds
- 1 large Green Bell Pepper
Herbs and Spices
- 1 large Vidalia Onion Diced
- 6 cloves Garlic Minced
- 1 stalk Corn Cut off the Cob
- 1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
- 1 tablespoon Ancho Chili Powder
- 1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
- ¾ tablespoon Oregano - Dried
- 1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
- 1 tablespoon Onion Powder
- ½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon Not traditional, yet suggested
- 1 tablespoon Sea Salt / kosher salt Taste, season & adjust/add more salt if needed
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
Beef Stock or Beef Broth
- 32 oz Beef Stock 1 Liter, use judgement with the amount. Add more if needed or add less. The amount of liquid will reduce over the cooking duration.
Optional Ingredient Enhancements
- 1 ½ oz Ibarra Mexican Chocolate Add near the end of the cooking process ½ tablet Mexican chocolate (about 1 ½ ounce)
- 1 tablespoon Cocoa Powder If you cannot find Mexican Chocolate this is a second best option.
- 2 tablespoon Tomato Paste Add to give a small taste of tomato (not traditional)
- 1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper Optional
- 12 oz Beer Shiner Bock
- Cheddar Cheese Classic Cheese
- ¼ cup Green Onion - Sliced Thin
- Sour Cream
- Making the Texas Style Chili Base: In a food processor, add half of the onion, half of the Anaheim pepper, one whole Fresno chile, half of one red bell pepper, half of one poblano pepper, serrano, habanero, 4-8 cloves of Garlic, half or one whole jalapeno, plus the corn. Combine ingredients, and pulse together.
- Preparing The Dried Chiles: Toast the dried chiles in a dry pan on medium heat. Toast until the chiles become fragrant. It happens quickly; make sure to stand there and watch.Placing the toasted guajillo chiles and ancho chiles into hot water to soften. Heat water in the microwave for 4 minutes, then add chiles. Soak for 4 minutes, add chiles to the food processor and combine.
- Making The Chili Flavor Base: Add oil & butter to a large pot (2 tablespoons oil (canola/or peanut oil) plus 1 tablespoon butter) and add the other half of the large onion /chopped and all the peppers.Sweat for 3 minutes. Next, add the prepared Base from the food processor and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. (Releasing the peppers/chile natural water & oils). Add the cubed beef to the pot and saute together. Sprinkle a small amount of sea salt all over the beef. (Browning the cubed beef first brings more flavor) Cook for 3 minutes, then add the remaining ground beef and pork.Add all the dry herbs & spices, plus the salt. Not traditional, but some people enjoy adding tomato paste to deepen the color; another option is adding diced tomatoes(not traditional). The last thing, add the beef stock. You can use chicken stock if desired. The recipe for the beef stock is in the post above.
- Cooking The Chili:Using a large pot, a large dutch oven, or a crockpot is best for this recipe.If using beef chuck, allow the chili to cook / simmer for at least 30 minutes up to a few hours or longer with medium to medium-high heat. If the chili thickens by reducing too much, add more stock, broth, or water. While cooking the chili, partly cover the top so it will not reduce too quickly. Occasionally, stirring is needed to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of your pot or dutch oven.If using Briske beef, the Brisket will require longer cooking times until tender.Cook time a minimum of 2 hours.
- Thickening The Chili:A classic method is to use masa harina. This is a south American milled corn meal often used to make tamales.