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The Best Texas Chili – Authentic Recipe from a Born and Raised Texan

Chili is one of America’s best comfort foods, but there is only ONE chili that really counts and that is Texas Chili. In fact, Texas Chili is the official dish of Texas! Can I get a yeehaw?

Like Texas barbecue, everyone has their claim on the best Texas Chili. Some spend years perfecting their Texas Chili for the ultimate chili cook-off. With that said, some chilis stay authentic, while others veer off ever so slightly. However, one thing is for certain – “if you know beans about chili, you know chili ain’t got no beans.”

Texas Chili is perfect during the fall and winter seasons, but no one will fault you if you enjoy it during hot summer Texas days too. Serve it with warm cornbread, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and jalapeños – and you will have yourself the perfect Texas comfort dish.

I like to stay true to the traditional ways, but I do have a few tricks up my sleeves. So please enjoy my authentic Texas Chili recipe.

A bowl of Texas Chili with chunks of beef chuck, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and sliced jalapeños.



What is a Texas Chili?

There are several types of chilis in the United States, but as you may have gathered, the only chili that matters is Texas Chili. Chili is not only the state dish of Texas but it also originated in Texas in the 1860s. Texas Chili was first introduced to America in San Antonio by the “Chili Queens,” women who served food in San Antonio’s Military Plaza. What they served was called, “chili con carne”.

Over the years, we shortened chili con carne to just “chili”. Moreover, the true translation of chili con carne is “chili with meat”, which is why the main ingredients are meat and chilies.

In Texas, chili is also known as a “Bowl o’ Red” and as I said before, “if you know beans about chili, you know chili ain’t got no beans.” Needless to say, there should NEVER be beans in an authentic bowl of Texas Chili.

A "Bowl o' Red" Texas Chili with a slice of cornbread dipping in it.

Additionally, an authentic Texas Chili should never have tomatoes. The intense flavors come from the dried chilies which are turned into a homemade chili paste.

The other main ingredient is beef and traditionally, it should be chunks of beef chuck – not ground. However, if you do want to stray slightly from the authenticity of a “Bowl o’ Red”, ground chuck beef would suffice.

Just remember, no beans or tomatoes!



Chili at the State Fair of Texas

Chili is typically a dish that is enjoyed in the comfort of your home and is made with recipes passed down through the family. This is why some of the best Texas Chili is from home cooks, not chefs. Moreover, the best chilis are always found at Chili Cook-Offs.

Chili cook-offs are a lot of fun to attend. You can find a chili cook-off throughout the Lone Star State, but the best one to attend is at the State Fair of Texas. Every year on the weekend before Opening Day of the State Fair of Texas, there is a chili cook-off. There are two categories, fun for all with no rules and the more official competition to qualify for the Terlingua’s International Chili Championship.

I know everyone visit’s the State Fair of Texas to try all the fried food and crazy culinary creations, but you still need to enjoy a BIG “Bowl o’ Red” at the State Fair of Texas. So if you miss the State Fair of Texas’ Chili Cook-Off, don’t worry, you can still enjoy the Texas State dish at the Chili Parlor.

This is where I remember one of my favorite bowls of Texas Chili. One day, I will make sure Adam gets his taste because a bowl of Texas Chili at the State Fair of Texas is almost like a rite of passage!



List of Ingredients in Texas Chili

My list of ingredients for Texas Chili stays true to its authenticity while also adding some Texas beer and “Mexican chocolate” – incorporating cocoa powder and ground cinnamon.

The thickness of the chili comes from the masa flour. It acts as a thickening agent and is an important ingredient that is traditionally in a “Bowl o’ Red”.

A bowl of Texas Chili with a spoon in it.
  • Dried ancho chili peppers
  • Dried guajillo Chile peppers
  • Chili powder
  • Paprika
  • Ground cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Dried oregano
  • Masa flour
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Cocoa powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Beef chuck roast
  • Onion
  • Jalapeño
  • Shiner Black Lager or Shiner Bock
  • Beef Stock
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Brown sugar



How to Make Texas Chili

A good chili boils down (no pun intended) to being patient by cooking with a slow simmer, making a homemade chili paste, and flavorful spices.

A ladle of Texas Chili with homemade chili paste and chunks of beef chuck roast.


Homemade Chili Paste

The first step begins with preparing a homemade chili paste. Cut the stems off the dried chilies and remove all of the seeds.

Bring one cup of beef stock to a low boil and add it into a blender. Place the dried chilies into the blender, cover with the lid, and let them soak in the beef stock for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, puree the chilies and beef stock together to create a chili paste. Set aside.


Dry Ingredient Mix

In a bowl, mix together the chili powder, paprika, ground cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, masa flour, ground cinnamon, cocoa powder, salt, and pepper. Set aside.


Cooking the Texas Chili

Cut the beef chuck roast into 1/2 inch thick cubes. Then dice the onion and jalapeños.

Heat the olive oil in a medium cast-iron Dutch oven, then brown the beef chuck cubes on all sides. If there is not enough room in the Dutch oven, brown the beef chuck cubes in batches.

Remove the browned beef chuck and set aside. Do not remove the brown buts or liquid from the Dutch oven – this has all the flavor.

Using the remaining liquid in the saucepan, sauté the onions till translucent. Then add the diced jalapeños.

Deglaze the Dutch oven by adding the Shiner beer, beef stock, and apple cider vinegar. Using a spatula, scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the bits of flavor incorporated.

Add the beef chuck back into the Dutch oven along with the homemade chili paste, dry ingredient mix, and brown sugar. Mix all of the ingredients together and bring to a boil.

Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat, slightly cover the Dutch oven, and simmer for 2 – 2.5 hours or until the beef chuck is tender. Make sure you stir the chili occasionally.

Serve the Texas Chili with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced jalapeños, and a side of cornbread.

A bowl of authentic Texas Chili with a slice of cornbread, dollop of sour cream, sliced jalapeños, and shredded cheddar cheese.



Tips & Tricks

How to work with peppers is my biggest and only tip for this recipe, but it’s a VERY important one.


Working with Peppers

When working the dried chilies, it is important to wear gloves. Otherwise, when you wipe your eyes or even put contact lenses in, you will BURN your eyes! If you do not have gloves, you can still minimize the burn by avoiding the cut surfaces of the pepper (the pepper skin is relatively tame) or try using a paper towel to hold the pepper.



More Texas Recipes

The Best Authentic Texas Chili Recipe

The Best Authentic Texas Chili Recipe

Yield: 6 - 8 servings
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes

An authentic Texas Chili with a homemade chili paste, chunks of beef chuck, a mix of dry spices, chocolate, and Texas beer for the ultimate "Bowl o' Red".

Ingredients

  • 2 dried Ancho chilies
  • 2 dried Guajillo chilies
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika 
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder 
  • 3 tablespoons masa flour
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus more for seasoning if needed 
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning if needed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 1/2 in. cubes
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 2 jalapeños 
  • 3 cups beef stock (divided 1 cup and 2 cups)
  • 1 bottle (12 fl oz) Shiner Black Lager or Shiner Bock 
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Cut the stems off the dried chilies and remove all of the seeds. Place them in a blender with 1 cup of warm beef stock. Cover the blender and let them soak in the beef stock for 30 minutes.
  2. While the dried chilies are soaking, cut the beef chuck roast into 1/2 inch cubes and dice the white onion and jalapeños.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the chili powder, paprika, ground cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, masa flour, ground cinnamon, cocoa powder, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  4. After 30 minutes, puree the chilies and beef stock together to create a homemade chili paste. Set aside.
  5. Heat olive oil in a medium cast-iron Dutch oven. Brown the beef chuck cubes on all sides. If there is not enough room in the Dutch oven, brown the beef chuck cubes in batches. Do not remove the brown buts or liquid from the Dutch oven - this has all the flavor and will be used for the Texas Chili. Remove the browned beef chuck and set aside.
  6. Using the remaining liquid in the saucepan, sauté the onions till translucent. Then add the diced jalapeños.
  7. Deglaze the Dutch oven by adding the Shiner beer, remaining 2 cups of beef stock, and apple cider vinegar. Then scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to get all the bits of flavor incorporated.
  8. Add the beef chuck back into the Dutch oven along with the homemade chili paste, dry ingredient mix, and brown sugar. Mix all of the ingredients together and bring to a boil.
  9. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat, slightly cover the Dutch oven, and simmer for 2 - 2.5 hours or until the beef chuck is tender. Make sure you stir the Texas Chili occasionally.
  10. Once the beef chuck is tender, serve the Texas Chili with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced jalapeños, and a side of cornbread.

Notes

When working the dried chilies, it is important to wear gloves. If you do not have gloves, you can still minimize the burn by avoiding the cut surfaces of the pepper or try using a paper towel to hold the pepper.

If you prefer, you can substitute the beef chuck for ground chuck.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, when you click on the link you will have the option to purchase a product at no extra cost to you, but I would receive a small commission. I want to thank everyone for following and supporting us on all of “Our Sweet Adventures” and for cooking with my recipes on "Christina's Culinary Creations".

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7 COMMENTS

  • Dan Tice

    How much Cinnamon?

    • oursweetadventures
      AUTHOR

      Oops! Thank you so much for catching that! 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon!

  • john

    There are 3 cups of beef stock in the ingredients list but I only see 1 cup being used in the recipe, did I miss something?

    • oursweetadventures
      AUTHOR

      Hi John. Yes, one cup of beef stock is used for the chili paste. The remaining two cups is used for the chili along with the beer. Step 7. Sorry if the directions were confusing.

  • Catherine

    Wow, made this for the first time today in the slow cooker, it’s certainly got a mighty kick to it! Could only manage three tablespoons of the sauce over a serving of rice, as I’m not used to that much heat.
    Because I’m vegan, I had to adapt it a little bit (I know, a vegan Texan chilli, please don’t yell at me! Ha ha!), swapping the beef stock for veg stock, and using some vegan “meatballs” from one of the UK’s more upmarket supermarkets and it was delicious!
    Halved the recipe and I still have plenty leftovers which I’ve separated into small portions for later. Thank you for this. 🙂

    • oursweetadventures
      AUTHOR

      Aww I am delighted to hear you enjoyed the recipe. And I LOVE that you were able to make it vegan – I think that is awesome!

      Sorry it was a lot of heat. I will say, I can’t handle spice, but it’s okay for my taste buds. So I’m stunned it was too hot for you, but we all handle heat differently!

      I hope you are able to make more of my recipe and replace the meats for vegan substitutes.

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