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This flavorful, thick Texas chili recipe is an easy dinner that’s packed with hearty chunks of meat and bold, zesty seasoning. Simmer a big pot to serve a crowd, or freeze extra chili for another day. A cozy bowl is delicious with a side of jalapeño cheddar cornbread or crunchy corn chips, and piled high with all of your favorite toppings!

Overhead shot of hands eating a bowl of the best texas chili recipe

Texas Style Chili

The perfect cool-weather comfort meal! This easy Texas chili recipe stands out from the rest, thanks to tender chunks of beef, plenty of spicy seasoning, and no beans! Let it simmer on the stovetop for a few hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The sauce thickens, the flavors come together, and you’ll have a hearty pot of goodness to enjoy with your loved ones. It’s perfect for entertaining, for Game Day tailgates, or for cozy evenings in front of the fire.

What makes Texas chili different?

Sometimes called “Texas Chili con Carne,” which translates to Texas chili with meat, or just “chili con carne,” the main distinction that sets this chili apart from other forms of American chili is the fact that an authentic Texas chili recipe contains no beans. You’ll typically find chunks of beef rather than ground beef in these recipes, and no diced tomatoes.

In addition to the meat, this classic spicy stew often includes chilies or chili powder, as well as additional seasonings such as onion, garlic, and cumin. Spice it up with jalapeño peppers, cayenne pepper, chipotle peppers, pasilla peppers, or other hot chili peppers of your choice!

Close up side shot of a bowl of texas chili

The Best Tip for a Thick Texas Chili Recipe

While you can certainly make Texas chili in a slow cooker, simmering an uncovered pot on the stovetop is the best way to achieve the thick, rich texture of true Texas chili recipe. As the chili bubbles, it releases steam and liquid, thickening the stew, and condensing the seasoning into a rich, flavorful broth. The Crock Pot may be convenient, but it also adds a lot of liquid to the chili as the condensation falls back into the pot. This thins the broth and waters down the flavors.

I recommend a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot for this recipe. I love my Le Creuset 7.25-quart Dutch oven, as well as my Smithey Dutch oven.

Which Beef to Use

Unlike other American chili recipes, Texas Chili typically includes chunks of beef, rather than ground beef, ground turkey or chicken. I recommend using boneless chuck roast, which is a nicely marbled cut that breaks down and becomes very tender when it’s cooked slowly over low heat. You can also use “beef stew meat,” which is a convenient shortcut because it comes already cubed. Stew meat can be a mix of different cuts of beef, and may not cook quite as evenly as the chuck roast. It’s still a great option for this recipe, though!

Adding beef stewing meat to a pot

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a big pot of Texas red chili. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Beef: here you’ll need chunks of beef, rather than ground beef. Look for boneless beef chuck roast or beef stew meat.
  • Oil: to sear the meat and saute the vegetables.
  • Onion and garlic: for savory flavor.
  • Jalapeño pepper or other spicy pepper (optional): this adds heat to the chili, so feel free to omit the chili peppers for a mild pot.
  • Chili powder, cumin, oregano: classic spices to flavor the chili. You can also add some paprika, coriander, or cocoa powder for even more rich flavor.
  • Beef broth: the liquid base of the chili. Start with reduced-sodium or low-sodium broth if you’re watching your salt intake.
  • Crushed tomatoes: a big can of crushed tomatoes contributes to the liquid base of the thick chili sauce.
  • Tomato paste: thickens the broth and adds rich tomato flavor.
  • Sugar: just enough to balance the acidity in the tomatoes. You can use brown sugar if you prefer.
  • Lime juice: a touch of acidity brightens up the dish and cuts through the richness of the meat.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to enhance the other flavors in the dish.
Pouring beef broth into a Dutch oven

How to Make Texas Chili Recipe

This easy Texas chili comes together in one pot on the stovetop. There’s nothing difficult about the process, but you’ll need to be patient. The beef requires a longer cooking time to break down and become tender, while the sauce reduces and thickens.

  1. Brown Beef. Working in batches, brown the chunks of beef in oil. Remove the beef to a plate and set aside.
  2. Sauté Onion and Jalapeño. Cook the onion and pepper in oil until they’re soft — about 5 minutes.
  3. Add Seasoning. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and oregano to the pot. Cook and stir the seasonings to toast a bit, just until they’re fragrant — about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in Remaining Ingredients. Add the broth to the pot, deglazing the bottom of the pan by scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. These bits add so much flavor to the dish! Then return the browned beef to the pot, along with the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and sugar.
  5. Simmer. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 3 – 3½ hours, or until the beef is fall-apart tender and the chili is nice and thick.
  6. Add Lime Juice. Just a squeeze of fresh lime juice at the end adds a bright touch to the rich chili. Then ladle into bowls and serve!
Square overhead image of texas chili on a wooden table

Serving Suggestions

Create a “chili bar” by setting out a variety of toppings and sides, and then let your family members or guests design their own bowls.

Toppings for a Texas Chili Bowl

  • Grated cheddar cheese, pepper Jack cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, or Colby Jack cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Sliced green onion, minced red onion, minced white onion, or quick pickled red onions
  • Sliced fresh jalapeño pepper
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips
  • Diced avocado or guacamole
  • Hot sauce
  • Lime wedges
Texas style chili in a bowl with toppings

Sides to Serve with Texas Red Chili

Close overhead image of a bowl of texas style chili with a side of cornbread

Storage

Leftover chili will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

How to Freeze

Allow the chili to cool to room temperature. Package in airtight containers or Ziploc freezer bags and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

How to Reheat

Thaw frozen chili in the refrigerator overnight. Place chili in a saucepan. Cover and warm over low heat, just until heated through. If it seems too thick, thin the chili with a splash of broth or water.

Front shot of a bowl of texas chili with a side of cornbread

Tips for the Best Texas Chili Recipe

  • Use diced boneless chuck roast or beef stew meat for this recipe. Either option will work well!
  • Brown the meat first for more flavor. You’ll need to do this in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pan and end up steaming the meat. The caramelized surface of the beef lends a rich flavor to the finished chili.
  • Add jalapeño to the stew for extra spice. I typically leave it out when I know that my kids will eat the chili, because the dish is already quite zesty on its own. You can use other hot chili peppers if you prefer.
  • Don’t omit the sugar. It might seem odd, but the sugar helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes in the chili, creating a richer, multi-dimensional tomato flavor. It doesn’t make the chili taste sweet.
  • Stir the pot occasionally as the chili simmers to prevent the bottom from scorching. Add extra broth or water, if necessary, to thin the chili to your desired consistency. You can also cover the pot during the final hour to trap some of the liquid if it looks like the chili is getting too thick.
Overhead shot of texas red chili on a wooden table with toppings

More Chili Recipes To Try

Square overhead image of texas chili on a wooden table

Easy Texas Chili

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 3 hours 30 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings 10 cups
Calories 418 kcal
This thick and rich Texas chili recipe is an easy dinner that's packed with hearty chunks of meat and bold, zesty seasoning.

Ingredients
  

  • 4 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cubed (or use beef stew meat)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 cups beef broth (plus more to thin if necessary)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional garnish: fresh cilantro; sour cream; grated cheese; sliced green onions; diced avocado; sliced jalapeño

Instructions

  • Season the beef with plenty of salt and pepper.
  • In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Brown half of the beef (about 10 minutes); remove to a plate or large rimmed tray. Repeat with the remaining beef; remove to the plate or tray. Drain off the excess liquid and fat from the pot, but leave the browned bits in the bottom of the Dutch oven.
  • Add 1 more tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pot and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Stir in the onion and jalapeño pepper (if using), cooking until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin and oregano; cook and stir until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Stir in the broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Return the browned beef to the pot, along with any accumulated juices from the plate. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and sugar.
  • Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer over very low heat for a total of about 3-3 ½ hours (or until beef is fall-apart tender). I prefer to simmer the chili uncovered for the first two hours so that it’s nice and thick, and then put the cover on the pot for the last hour or so. Stir the pot occasionally as it simmers, and add more broth to thin to desired consistency (if necessary).
  • Stir in lime juice just before serving and garnish with optional toppings.

Notes

  • Use diced boneless chuck roast or beef stew meat for this recipe. Either option will work well!
  • Brown the meat first for more flavor. You’ll need to do this in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pan and end up steaming the meat. The caramelized surface of the beef lends a rich flavor to the finished chili.
  • Add jalapeño to the stew for extra spice. I typically leave it out when I know that my kids will eat the chili, because the dish is already quite zesty on its own. You can use other hot chili peppers if you prefer.
  • Don’t omit the sugar. It might seem odd, but the sugar helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes in the chili, creating a richer, multi-dimensional tomato flavor. It doesn’t make the chili taste sweet.
  • Stir the pot occasionally as the chili simmers to prevent the bottom from scorching. Add extra broth or water, if necessary, to thin the chili to your desired consistency. You can also cover the pot during the final hour to trap some of the liquid if it looks like the chili is getting too thick.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 418kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 38gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 125mgSodium: 676mgPotassium: 1004mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 970IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 91mgIron: 6mg
Keyword: easy texas chili, Texas Chili, texas chili recipe, texas red chili, texas style chili
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in September, 2020. The photos were updated in October, 2022.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was AMAZING! I saw the recipe first thing this morning as part of the weekly email and immediately planned to make it. I deglazed the pan with some beer after browning the beef, but changed nothing else. This was perfect for our cold fall day while we watched football!

  2. This looks yummy, Blair! I did get a cast iron dutch oven but haven’t used it yet. I may need to christen it with this one! I don’t know if they sell the Wick Fowler Chili seasoning packets where you are We started using it when we moved to Texas in 1971. The seasonings come in tiny bags and you add the stew meat and tomato sauce. The seasonings are similar to what you make.

    1. The seasoning packets sound great. I haven’t heard of that brand, but I’ll have to keep my eye out. Not sure if it’s here in VA or not. 🙂 Yay for a new Dutch oven!