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.
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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.
I saw your comment about adding your adobo sauce to the base. Would this be "in addition to" the rest of the recipe, or would it substitute any of the current recipe's ingredients?
One more question - beef liver - would this be a small amount, or more? Say, 1/2 lb beef liver for 3 lbs beef cuts?
The addition of adobo would be a personal decision. I would add it close to the end. Take a small part of the chill into a side bowl, add a small amount and taste. Each adobo is slightly different, so the flavor profile will change for this one reason. Adding the adobo early in the cooking process could mute some of the fresh flavor notes. Adding liver is an adventure for those wanting to taste something new in their chili. This chili is so flavorful I do not see the need. I enjoy giving people culinary ideas to expand the cook's creative mind.
I am going to try your recipe with some modifications... been making my own chili powder for decades, but am up for trying your method. I always do my chili in my smokers, so yours will get a little bump in flavor from the smoke (good or bad, time will tell, eh?). I pickle my own jalapenos with smoked eggs, vidalias, & garlic, so often serve a bowl of them for those who are brave. I also char poblanos over pecan wood, just until the skin can be removed, then I seed them and slice up 1" lengths as garnish. I really like your idea of fresh corn and Mexican chocolate. I'm not a be4an guy, but my bride of 49 years loves black beans in her chili, so I make up a separate batch for her. Being a Midwesterner, tomatoes and chili are like chicken & dumplings, but I like the notion of omitting them. We have a small brewery nearby that puts out a pretty nice product called Wee Heavenly aged in Scotch barrels, that I use in my chili, so will likely try it in yours. Thank you
This chili has been a staple for me the past two years. It’s been requested at almost every family gathering since I started making it. Thanks so much for sharing we love it I do have one question I was hoping you could answer. What other peppers or chili’s would you recommend adding to kick up the heat or just to add a different flavor profile?
Glad you and your family have been enjoying it. What I have been doing lately is adding my adobo sauce to the base. So freaking good. It goes great on anything. Try it on some chicken as a marinate some time then grill it
Peppers to use, habanero, Thai chiles,
Using green bell peppers does bring a different flavor. I've been doing it lately as well and liking.
I suggest visiting a local grocery store like Central Market/Whole Foods and look over the selection and try a few combinations. If you want the flavor and not all the spicy heat, remove the white rib and seeds.
Hope that helps!
So, if I want to triple the recipe, how many 12 oz beers and how many oz of fire roasted tomatoes would I use? I need to make about 180 oz for a company chili cook-off.....and for the samples, it's roughly a 2 oz cup, going to put about 1 oz of chili, some grated cheddar cheese, 1 Frito Chip (standing up), and then use the sample plastic spoon to put a little sour cream on top....your thoughts on my idea please Chef, for sampling your chili?
Dennis, I missed this comment from you. Would love to hear how things went. What changes did you make? I bet everything worked out great!
Steven, do you drain the meat grease? I was thinking of searing the meat off first, drain off 99% of the grease, use that 1% left to sweat the veggie mixture in......then, add the beer and maybe a small can of tomato sauce....what do you think?
That would work and be nice chili. I would suggest being careful with how much you sear the beef. Think of the beef as cooking in liquid for a while and letting the fats from the meat come out more naturally. Fat is not our enemy any longer. Fat brings flavor and can be skimmed off during the cook if desired. Start with the veg and peppers. The thought of fat being evil is flat questionable and highly researched at this point. It's the kind of fats, when we eat them, how much we eat, and with "What Foods", timing matters as well. #healthscience
Dennis, I do like fire-roasted tomatoes with chili often. Brings a good bit of flavor to the table.
I hope you really enjoy.
You don’t technically sear the chuck in the video, it’s just thrown in raw with the other ingredients. Is that how it should be done? Or is it best with an actual sear in the pot and then add ingredients to cook with the fond?
If you go with larger cuts of beef, then searing is a good idea. With ground beef it's not required. Hope you enjoy!!!
I wanted to get your thought on using my Slow Cooker for this. I want to make sure the Meat is really tender. Will the Chili turn out be be as fantastic if I use my slow cooker? Do I need to Alter any ingredients if I use Slow Cooker?
Hello Shelly. The slow cooker is chili's best friend. I would be thinking about using a little bit larger chunks of beef due to the longer cook times which really helps make everything turn out so yummy and tender. Use two cuts of beef, one could be only ground beef or better yet get the butcher to prepare you "chili cut/grind" for the chile. They'll know exactly what you're requesting. Call ahead to make sure its ready for you. Cheers Shelly
Going to make this for the weekend. Three questions...
1. I want leftovers. Thinking about enough to fill a 6 quart crop pot. Would you double, triple etc??
2. Would you double / triple all ingredients or cut back on some if all being made in one pot?
3. Heat: 1-5 how hot is this? I'm looking for medium heat. Any changes recommended?
Sounds awesome....cant wait!
The key thing to think about is the salt level when increasing recipes. Add small amounts of salt when cooking the meat and vegetables/peppers. The Beef stock will have some sodium/salt as well. I would add the main salt close to the end and allow the salt to infuse and flavor the chili. The taste test and add more if you think it needs it. To make 1 1/2 gallons would be in the area of tripling or more of the recipe. The "Heat" components need to most care. If you tripled the recipe I would only double the heat conponts. That should be in the area of medium heat I feel. You could always add more Serrano or Jalapenos afterwards to up the heat level. The dried peppers are more of a deeper level of favor and not so much a heat component. Overall this recipe should work great with doubling and tripling with the above suggestions in mind. I would also be very careful with the mexican chocolate if you choose to add it. Just add the amount in the orignial recipe plus a little bit more. Hope you enjoy very much.
Hope you stick around and start following me. Here's the links. Please Enjoy!
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Have you tried this in a pressure cooker which would be a big help if using brisket, chuck or bottom round? I see no reason it wouldn't work except to maybe reduce the amount of liquid, though your recipe really doesn't have a lot of liquid to begin with so it my not need adjusting. I assume when you say a can of beef stock that would be 14~16 oz leaving just under a quart of total liquid?
I really like the pressure cooker idea. I've been making chili in the Instapot over the last few months. I'm a big fan of the Instapot. I'm going to do a post on the Instapot chili soon. I'm actually making Instapot chili for our family Christmas party this year.
The amount of liquid? I would say less is more with chili. Too much liquid and we have soup. I would follow the recipe and add a little water if you think the chili is on the dry side. I love the chili with croissant rolls...Hope this helps Dave.
When do I add the beer, when I add the stock?
Hello. After you sear the meat and vegetables. Hope you enjoy. It's so good. I think I'm going to make it now this weekend. Thanks for the idea ?
Are traditional tacos made with a soft corn tortilla? If so do you have a recipe for them. I love your recipes. Thank you for sharing. Do you have a cookbook?
You are correct. You can take a corn tortilla and fry them into whichever shape you like, or serve them slightly warm. Helps them to not break and crack. I do have plans for a cookbook. Check out our newsletter signup. I'll be sure to tell everyone once it's complete. And thank you very much, Amy 🙂
You mentioned white sweet corn, but that's not in the recipe. Do you have a quantity please?
Mike, sorry about that. Gotta say good catch. Actually surprised no one had brought that up until now. Thank you, sir. I've made the correction to the recipe card. Hope you stick around and start following our social media and our youtube channel. Take Care Mike
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Many thanks, Steven! One more question: regarding the chocolate, about what quantity might one use? I bought some Ibarra Mexican Chocolate (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003T0ICCG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1) but not sure how much (or when to add). Thanks again!
Sure thing. I added the additional information to the recipe card within the ingredients list. Hope everything turns out great. If you could, come post a photo of your finished Chili on our Facebook page, we'd love to see it. Thanks... https://www.facebook.com/butternthyme
I made this over the weekend (beginning Friday) for my "Dinner & Conversation" friend. We switch cooking for each other every 2-3 weeks. I made it EXACTLY the way the recipe is written. We ate it ALL weekend, and for the last meal on Sunday, we added the tomatoes & beans as suggested just to try it that way. There wasn't that much left but it was gone after that. We found that we preferred the REAL thing without the tomatoes & beans but the basis was there with the chilis & peppers that made it a culinary experience. I was raised without the beans in the chili, but the tomatoes were there. I like the way a good piece of meat hangs out with the chilis & peppers and takes on a special flavor all its own. THIS CHILI ROCKS!!!! (Where have you been all of my life?)
Jilly, that is wonderful y'all enjoyed the Chili recipe. Took a number of years to finish that recipe. Gotta say, It's an pleasure to share the recipe with the everyone. Hope you're able to stick around and enjoy more of Butter-n-Thyme...Thanks for the comment.