Rancher's Texas Chili Recipe (Chili con Carne) - Little Spice Jar (2024)

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Learn how to make real Texas chili! Hearty and warm bowls of Texas-style chili loaded with spices and made with chunks of beef! This chili recipe will warm you from your fingers to your toes!

Rancher's Texas Chili Recipe (Chili con Carne) - Little Spice Jar (1)

It’s chili season!

And Texans love their chili!

Today, I’m bringing you a Texas Chili recipe that’s loaded with all the seasonings, onion, fresh garlic, and jalapeños pepper! Texas-style chili has the most amazing deep and rich flavor. A bowl of this stuff will stick to your ribs and keep you warm on the chilliest nights. And seeing as how I’ve lived in Texas for most of my life, I like to think that I’m a bit of a Texas chili authority!

Texas-style chili. It’s the kind of thing you look forward to at the end of the day when it’s still slightly warm in the afternoons, but that crisp autumn air starts to creep in during the evening time. When you casually reach for a cozy throw, you can feel the nip in the air, and you know that fall is right around the corner. The air just smells like fall. September reminds me of the brisk morning air, warm days, and breezy evenings.

Of course, none of that happens in Houston until about November, but still, a girl can wish. It also happens to football season, and it’s the perfect thing to toss together on Sunday morning. By the afternoon, you’ve got a slow-simmered Texas Chili that’s just waiting to be topped with all your faves and served straight from a large Dutch oven.

Rancher's Texas Chili Recipe (Chili con Carne) - Little Spice Jar (2)

Chili is nothing new around here. I’ve shared aninstant pot version, apumpkin chili, one that comes with acornbread crust, achili dip, and a vegetarianbutternut squash chili. This goes without saying, but clearly, comfort food is my spirit animal.

Most of the recipes I’ve shared in the past start with ground beef, chicken, or turkey. Today’s Texas chili, or chili con carne as it’s called down here, is made with chunks of beef rather than ground meat.

Does Texas Chili have beans?

If you ask a Texan, they’ll tell you it’s a hardNO. But over the years, I’ve come to find that when I’m making chili, I need a little more than just the meat, so totally going against the grain here, but I do make the deliberate choice to add a couple of cans of pinto beans into the mix. I know, I know, am I serious right now? Yes, I need beans in my chili, and I’m not ashamed to say it.

Now before I start getting hate mail, please note, you don’t have to do this. I’m just letting you know it’s an option if you’re not on board with a 99% meat-filled chili recipe. For 2 lbs. of meat, I’m using one can of beans. To me, that’s still a lot more meat-to-beans ratio. Most of the time, when I’m making chili, I do a 2:1 ratio. That’s two cans of beans to one pound of meat.

Rancher's Texas Chili Recipe (Chili con Carne) - Little Spice Jar (3)

The Chili Paste Starter for our Texas Chili Recipe:

Texas-style chili is thickened in two ways:cornmeal or pieces of corn tortilla. I usually opt for option #1 and make a chili paste starter. Cornmeal is also called masa harina; it’s just milled a little differently. To make the chili paste starter, we’ll mix all the dry ingredients in the recipe, like cornmeal, chipotle chili powder, ground cumin, coriander, Mexican oregano, smoked paprika, kosher salt, and a few others mixed with a bit of water to form a thick paste. This is the stuff that containers the flavor bomb.

Choosing the beef for your Texas Red chili recipe:

Texas chili is all about that meat. You want to use something that’s well-marbled and can withstand a longer cooking time. Chuck roast or stew meat are both good options. I slightly prefer chuck roast over stew meat because it usually has better marbling (the fat that runs through the meat.)

If you decide to use a beef chuck roast, just be sure to trim as much of the fat as you can. You don’t need that. The natural marbling is more than enough. If you leave on the extra fat, the chili will end up being really oily at the end, and you’ll need to skim most of it off.

But know that stew beef can also work here. Just be sure to take your time in selecting the package. If you see nice chunks with a generous amount of fat running through it, it’ll do the job!

Be sure to make or have your butcher make even chunks. You want them to be in the 1–1½ inch cubes so that all the meat cooks up evenly.

Rancher's Texas Chili Recipe (Chili con Carne) - Little Spice Jar (4)
Rancher's Texas Chili Recipe (Chili con Carne) - Little Spice Jar (5)

Making Texas Chili:

  1. Sear the meat.Once the paste is ready, I like to take a couple of minutes to sear off the meat in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. The brown bits that are left behind in the pot are because of a Maillard reaction that occurs when you sear the meat. That’s free flavor that only costs about 5 minutes of your time.
  2. Proceed as usual!After that, it’s basic chili protocol. Remove the meat, cook the onions, green bell peppers, and scrape down the pot to get all those brown-bit flavors. Then come the garlic; right after that, we’ll add our cooking liquids.
  3. The liquid part is something to play with!Most Texas chili recipes call for a bottle of beer, beef stock, and some form of tomato. I use all beef broth and a bit of water. and tomato sauce. Diced tomatoes aren’t something you commonly find in Texas chili. You want to use passata or low or no sodium tomato sauce. I’ve even used brewed coffee in my chili recipe after I read about it somewhere. I don’t think I’ve ever had chili like that before. It had the most amazingly smoky, rich flavor.
  4. Let chili con carne simmer.Here’s the deal, let this hang out and simmer on low and slow. Trust me; it will be extra rewarding. All you need to do is walk by every ½ hour or so, give it a stir so that the cornmeal doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot, and make sure there’s enough cooking liquid in there for the meat. That’s it! If you generally prefer a thicker chili, just let it simmer for a bit uncovered at the end so that some of that liquid evaporates; that’s about it!
Rancher's Texas Chili Recipe (Chili con Carne) - Little Spice Jar (6)

How to serve Texas Chili:

I keep this pretty simple. A handful of Fritos, because tortilla chips don’t do it for me, a dollop of sour cream, chopped sweet onions, shredded cheddar cheese, and a sprinkle of cilantro. Sometimes a hint of lime just to brighten it all up. Okay, I know, it’s not really that simple. But you know what I mean, right? No fancy cornbread, none of that. Just a girl, her bowl, and a few simple toppings.

I need to reiterate this. Texas chili demands corn chips. They’re thicker than tortilla chips, so they hold up better. Plus, you can make Frito pies with the leftovers!

Texas chili freezes incredibly well, so it’s easy to understand why I made such a large batch here! You can halve the recipe if you’re cooking for just a couple of people, but when you can make a big pot and freeze half for later, why wouldn’t you?

Rancher's Texas Chili Recipe (Chili con Carne) - Little Spice Jar (7)

Leftover chili can also be shredded up and served over pasta. It’s Texas meets Cincinnati. Can you imagine anything served over pasta tasting bad? We loved it this way. You can also store leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer for 1-2 months!

I know it’s way too early to talk about the Super Bowl menu (or is it?), but Texas Chili is a dish that would surely please any chili fan!

Enjoy guys! This one’s a home run or err… I mean a touchdown for us!

If you like this recipe, you might also like:

  • Taco Chili
  • Skillet Chili with Jalapeño Cornbread
  • Chipotle Butternut Squash Chili
  • Hatch Chile Cornbread
  • Instant Pot Mexican Chili with Black Beans
Rancher's Texas Chili Recipe (Chili con Carne) - Little Spice Jar (8)

Yield: 6-10 servings

Rancher's Texas Chili Recipe (Chili con Carne)

Prep Time20 minutes

Cook Time3 hours

Total Time3 hours 20 minutes

Learn how to make real Texas chili! Hearty and warm bowls of Texas-style chili loaded with spices and made with chunks of beef! This chili recipe will warm you from your fingers to your toes!

Rancher's Texas Chili Recipe (Chili con Carne) - Little Spice Jar (9)


Chili Paste Starter:

  • 3 tablespoons EACH: ancho chili powder AND cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon EACH: chipotle chili powder, ground cumin, cocoa powder AND smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoon EACH: ground coriander AND Mexican oregano

Texas Chili:

  • 3 ½ -4 pounds stew meat (or chuck roast cut into 1 - 1¼ inch chunks)
  • 2 tablespoons EACH: oil AND Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 poblano peppers, diced (or bell peppers)
  • 1-5 jalapeños, minced
  • 8-12 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 cups beef broth*
  • 1 (14-ounce can) tomato sauce
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans rinsed/drained pinto beans (OPTIONAL)


  1. PASTE: Combine the ingredients for the paste in a small bowl and slowly stir in 1/2 cup of hot water. Mix and set this aside for now.
  2. SEAR THE MEAT: Season the meat with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Heat a large chili pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pot and add a few pieces of meat at a time. Sear the meat on all sides, about 2-3 minutes and remove it to a plate. Repeat the process until all the meat is seared. You may need a little more oil than what's listed just depends on how well marbled the meat is.
  3. CHILI: If you need it, add another drizzle of oil to the pan along with the chopped onions and the poblanos. Use a wooden spoon to help scrape any brown bits left behind by the meat and cook for 5 minutes. Then, add the garlic and jalapeños and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the prepared chili paste to the pot and stir it in so that it coats everything nicely. Allow the paste to cook for 1 minute before adding the brown sugar, Worcestershire, beef broth, tomato sauce, 1 cup water and ½ teaspoon salt. Use the wooden spoon to scrape the bottom so that none of the chili paste is sticking.
  4. COOK:Add the seared meat and allow the chili to come to a boil before lowering the heat to low and allowing it to cook for 2 ½ - 3 ½ hours. Set aside 1 cup of water and add in a¼cup every time you stir the chili if it's thickened. Stir the chili every 30-45 minutes to make sure it's not sticking. You may not need all of the water if you're going bean-free, with beans you generally need a little more. I like to add the beans around the 2-hour mark so that they have a chance to cook for at least half an hour before serving. Serve topped with all your favorite chili toppings!


  • If you decide to use a chuck roast, just be sure to trim as much of the fat as you can. You don't need that. The natural marbling is more than enough. If you leave on the extra fat, the chili will end up being really oily at the end and you'll need to skim most of it off.
  • You can also replace some of the water/beef broth with a bottle of beer or brewed coffee. It just comes down to preference.

Have you made this recipe?

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below. You can also share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #LITTLESPICEJAR, I'd love to see what you made!

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Rancher's Texas Chili Recipe (Chili con Carne) - Little Spice Jar (2024)


What is the difference between chili con carne and Texas chili? ›

Chili con carne is the original chili. Call it Texas red, traditional red, or bowl of red, but don't even think about adding beans if you want to cook chili like a true Texan. Historians generally consider San Antonio, Texas, chili's birthplace but can only speculate about how exactly the stew-like dish developed.

Should chili be thick or soupy? ›

Traditionally, we expect a robust, spicy base, meat and/or beans, perhaps some bonus veggies, and a thick, rich consistency. Unlike soups, which are brothy, or even bisques, which are creamy yet thinner, chili is meant to be more stew-like; it's a definite stick-to-your-ribs creation.

What is the secret to amazing chili? ›

Elevate your chili recipe by adding an extra layer of flavor. Cocoa powder, bacon, cinnamon, ground coffee and tomato paste will all add a rich sweet & salty flavors that are sure to surprise and delight.

Do people in Texas put beans in their chili? ›

That eternal query about this dish of meat, sauce and peppers is the subject of Austin Answered this week. Not universally, but many Texans today tend to eschew beans and even tomatoes in their chili con carne.

Do Texans put meat in their chili? ›

The only two absolutely necessary ingredients in Texas Red chili are beef and dried chiles.

Do Mexicans eat chilli con carne? ›

Chilli con carne is a stew with beef, beans and chilli. The name is Spanish and literally means "chilli peppers with meat", but it was originally an American Tex-Mex dish, not a Mexican dish as is often thought.

What liquid to add to chili? ›

Chili cooks low and slow, so you need enough liquid to tenderize the meat and keep everything from drying out. That liquid should also add flavor to the chili, so use chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or beer.

What adds depth of flavor to chili? ›

Is it lacking in savory depth? Add a hit of soy sauce, Worcestershire, or tamari. These salty, savory powerhouses won't dominate or change the flavor of your chili so much as amplify what's there. Start with one tablespoon, stir, and taste before you add another.

What is a good thickener for chili? ›

The good news is there are lots of easy ways to thicken up your chili with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry— flour, cornmeal, pureed beans, cornstarch, or even crushed tortilla chips will help do the job, along with some good old extra simmering time.

What not to put in chili? ›

Beans and non-vegetable fillers such as rice and pasta are not allowed." If that sounds a bit uptight, the ICS's Homestyle Chili competition defines chili as: "any kind of meat, or combination of meats, and/or vegetables cooked with beans, chili peppers, various spices, and other ingredients.

What is the most important spice in chili? ›

Most Common Chili Spices. Cumin, Chile Powders, and Paprika are the most common spices in chili followed by garlic, onion, coriander, Mexican oregano, and bay leaves. These ingredients can be combined to create a savory and well-balanced pot of top notch comfort food.

What adds the most flavor to chili? ›

If you want more of a smoky flavor, add cumin, Spanish paprika, ancho chili powder, or a combination. If you are looking for more heat, add cayenne, crushed red pepper, or Hungarian paprika. If it's too spicy add a little brown sugar and some sweet paprika.

What did cowboys eat chili? ›

Suppression only fueled this fire and in the 1800's chili was a staple food for cowboys, ruffians, and Adventurers on the Western Frontier. It was even served up in jails. Originally made of dried beef, fat and spices carried in saddlebags, then reconstituted over campfires. It was cheap and hearty and filling.

What is chili called without beans? ›

Commercial chili prepared without beans is usually called "chili no beans" in the United States.

Why do Texans say no beans in chili? ›

If you go pretty much anywhere in Texas you will find chili ingredients simple and rarely differing: meat, sauce, peppers and spices. Carol Hanco*ck, President and CEO of the International Chili Society, told Texas Living there is a specific reason why Texas chili contains no beans: it's tradition.

What makes Texas chili different? ›

What Makes Texas Chili Different from Other Chilis? Texas chili is unique from other chilis in that it does not contain beans or tomato sauce, or any tomato product. It is made primarily of meat and a thick and flavor chili paste made from dried peppers.

What is real Texas chili made of? ›

The traditionalist/purist school of thought is that True Texas Chili ™ It's seasoned beef, and spicy red chili sauce. Ideally seasoned with real dried or fresh local chilis. But no beans.

Is Chilli con Carne Texan or Mexican? ›

Speaking of hot things, at San Antonio they have a dish called chili con carne. It is of Mexican origin, and is composed of beef, peas, gravy and red pepper.

Why is it called Texas chili? ›

In 1977, chili manufacturers and members of the Chili Appreciation Society International successfully lobbied the Texas state legislature to have chili proclaimed the official "state dish" of Texas “; in recognition of the fact that "the only real 'bowl of red' is that prepared by Texans.” Chili became the official ...


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