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The Best Chili Recipe Ever

Thomas is an award-winning chef known for his barbecue and chili. In 1998, he was named 3rd best chef in Florida.

My award-winning chili recipe.

My award-winning chili recipe.

Beans or No Beans?

Here is the recipe for the best chili you will ever eat. Yes, I know about all of the debates about whether chili should have beans or not. But you know what I say: What does it matter?

This recipe, which I've won $500 for, does contain beans—and I myself think that chili should have beans. Chili without beans should go on hot dogs. Though people in some parts of Texas would shoot you for trying to put beans in chili.

Chili with beans should be eaten with squares of good homemade cornbread and side dishes of sliced jalapeños, diced-up green onions, and plenty of your favorite cold beer to drink with it. Below is my recipe for the world's number-one chili, hands down. Make it and let me know what you think. Is it or is it not the best?



  • 2 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes (do not trim away the fat)
  • 1 pound ground chuck (make sure it's ground chuck, not ground beef)
  • 1 pound boneless pork chops, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large purple sweet onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large green bell peppers, cleaned and finely chopped
  • 6 jalapeños, finely diced
  • 1 (4-oz.) can chopped green chilies
  • 1 (16-oz.) can red kidney beans
  • 1 (16-oz.) can white kidney beans
  • 2 (16-oz.) cans whole tomatoes
  • 2 (16-oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 4 (13-oz.) cans regular beef broth
  • 1 cup chili sauce
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic (pre-minced garlic from a jar works great)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 4 bottles of Budweiser beer
  • 1 large can tomato paste


  1. In a large skillet, brown and drain your beef and pork.
  2. Add your onions, jalapeños, peppers, and chiles. Cook until your onions and peppers are done and tender.
  3. Transfer the mixture from the skillet to a large stockpot and add in all your other ingredients except for the beans and tomato paste. Cook over low to medium heat, keeping the chili just below a boil for 6-8 hours. In the last hour, you want to add in your beans and your tomato paste.
  4. Serve your chili with squares of Mexican cornbread. Have bowls of chopped green onions (including the tops), jalapeños, sour cream, and Mexican cheese on the side, so people can add what they want to their bowls.

Enjoy. There is no better chili than this, especially if you take the time to make it right. Don't take shortcuts and don't add in anything else.


How to Adjust the Spiciness

If you want a chili with less fire, then leave out half of the cayenne pepper or remove the seeds and membranes from the jalapeños. I don't think the original recipe has too much fire, but some people like even less fire, and that's how to do it.


Cooking Tips for Best Results

  • Length of cooking time: You will want to add all of your ingredients and cook your chili down for the best results. It really does need to cook just below a boil for 6-8 hours to produce the best chili. You can't cook this chili in a Crock-Pot or slow cooker and hope to get perfect chili.
  • Consistency: While you're cooking your chili, if you think it is getting too thick, taste it. If you like what you have, then remove it from the heat. If you actually think it's too thick, add beef broth a cup or so at a time. And, of course, if it's not yet thick enough, keep cooking.

And you have now made the best-tasting chili that you will ever eat. In fact, this is the recipe I have won multiple first-place cash prizes for, including the $1,000 prize in the Green Cove Springs Chili Cook-Off. Many other people have won cook-offs with this recipe, as well. When you make it, please let me know what you think by posting a comment below. Hope you have fun eating it. Also, if you wish, tell us your tips, hints, or questions below.

I guarantee you that this is the best Mexican cornbread you will ever eat.

I guarantee you that this is the best Mexican cornbread you will ever eat.

Mexican Cornbread


  • 1 cup margarine, melted
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 (15-oz.) can cream-style corn
  • 1 (4-oz.) can green chile peppers, very well-drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup all-purpose plain flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Mexican cornbread ingredients

Mexican cornbread ingredients


  1. Preheat your oven to 300°F and spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking oil.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together all of your ingredients together very well.
  3. Pour your mixed ingredients into the baking dish and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick pushed into the center comes out clean.

This Mexican cornbread will be absolutely wonderful with the chili above. You will not find a better combination anywhere.

Tell Me What You Think

Larry on January 17, 2020:

Well i made this chili and got to say im not crazy about it i think if i make it again little less heat leave out the chili sause and tomato paste and cut it in halve

scott on November 06, 2019:

Best chili recipe ever! Period!! I have won 2 chili cookoffs and 100's of hearts with this recipe. Follow the recipe exactly. It may seem like a lot of liquid but it cooks down perfectly. I have been using this recipe for at least 8 years. The only thing I change from time to time is substituting venison for the beef. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!!

mike on September 15, 2019:

I'm always looking for the next 'best' chili and this one did not disappoint. I have an award winning chili of my own and what intrigued me about this one was the massive amounts of liquid you use. As the recipe says - follow it EXACTLY. I thought the jalapenos with seeds and all the cayenne would make it very spicy, but it did not. Sweet on the front, pleasant kick on the back. Definitely worth the effort. Thanks for sharing!!!

Jeff on May 26, 2019:

I don't understand the 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. You're not using it to brown the meat or soften the vegetables. According to the recipe, you just add it in with the other ingredients. I don't see why.

Chris on February 03, 2019:

I’ve made this dozens of times and it IS the best. Very spicy with 3 tablespoons of cayenne so keep that in mind. I recommend 1. After years of making it, however, I did make a change which I believe is an improvement. Because the recipe calls for a lot of tomato, I substituted one of the 28oz cans (I use 2 28 oz cans usually) of of tomatoes for a 2 cup slurry of water, Better than Bouillon (that’s the brand) beef bouillon, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and a few dashes of Worcestershire. It yielded a more savory and,obviously, a less tomatoey chili. Absolutely killer!

Marvin on February 01, 2019:

Do you have to use a Budweiser or can you use another beer.

EGail Harrison on January 22, 2019:

I can’t wait to make your chili!

Damian Sazama on January 18, 2019:

Where do you find 15 oz cans. Every thing f is like 28 oz or 14.5oz. I think that’s close enough. Will let you know how it turns out

Inspired Canuck on December 23, 2018:

I just won a Chili Cook Off at work. This is THE BEST Chili I have ever tasted. So smooth. As recommended, I left out some of the heat by removing some of the seeds from the jalepenos.

Thank you for sharing : ).

Anne Marie on December 16, 2018:

I first made this chili in 2012. It is the best in the world.

DonnaJ on November 15, 2018:

Snow day today - so I spent the day making this chili. Didn't have the green chilis, and the store did not have ground chuck (used ground sirloin). Cut the # of jalapenos in half. Otherwise, followed the recipe as written. And this is DAMNED good chili. HOT, really hot (going to take some to my trainer tomorrow. He loves hot spicy food and will love it). Also, learned something new, really important when making chili. Chili IS better if it's made on the stove all day long rather than a crock pot. Will make this again. Thanks!

Brandon on October 30, 2018:

If you don’t want to use alcohol in the chili is there a substitute you can use? Add more beef broth?

Jody johnson on October 23, 2018:

This will be my 30th chili cook off that i host once a year have won a few times cant wait to see how this one does my chili sauce was chipotle in adobe sauce in blender husband says very good so far cooking down now

Linda on October 19, 2018:

I made this chili for my husband, who doesn't like chili, and he loved it! Made the cornbread as well. I usually don't care for cornbread but this was amazing! So moist and flavorful!! Thank you for sharing your recipes!

Lisa on October 19, 2018:

How many servings does your recipe yield?

Jay on October 13, 2018:

How big is the large can of tomato paste? The large can that I saw at the store was still only 12oz. I have the chili on the stove, looks like it’s going to be good!

I added diced bacon, and did one jalapeño but added Anaheim, Serano, and Pablono peppers. Also cutting the beans down a bit.

Lauryssa on October 12, 2018:

How large is large for the tomato paste?

Lorna on March 05, 2018:

I made this chili, but was way too spicy so I added about 1 cup of sugar tamed it just enough to eat it. My husband said it was the BEST DAMN chili he ever ate.....

Dweidt14@gmail.com on January 07, 2018:

How much doe his recipe yield? I have to make 12 quarts.


Raime on December 31, 2017:

Can’t wait to make this tonight what’s the cooking time you recommend if I use pressure cooker ?

Bethany on December 03, 2017:

Do you recommend cooking it covered or uncovered? Making it now for my chili Cookoff tomorrow at work!!!

Jim Mollohan on October 29, 2017:

I followed the recipe but I messed up and put the tomato paste in at the start. Will that affect the outcome? it’s cooking

C Wall on July 20, 2017:

Love this recipe! It's perfect. Did I miss how many suggested servings are in this recipe? Do any of you know? Thx

Jack Lillywhite on June 05, 2017:

I made this recipe exactly as instructed and won our school's PTO chili-cook off. Then I did again for my son's soccer team party. Everyone asked for the recipe. I have had friends who are chefs and 5-star restaurant owners say its the best they have ever had.

My only change was I used Duvel, the beer from Antwerp.

Maika on March 05, 2017:

Just got 2nd place on a competition for chili, first place on cornbread for the second time entering the contest. So delicious! I learned I shouldn't use a crockpot to make chili. Thank goodness for pressure cookers and extra time to simmer. Saved the day. Thank you so much for the great recipe!

Stacie Henry on February 02, 2017:

Can I cook the chili a day before my event and then just reheat it and have it taste good?

mcwilliams on October 24, 2016:

I cooked this all day yesterday for an extended family dinner and everyone LOVED it - it is truly THE BEST chili recipe! Because some are sensitive to heat I used only the flesh of the jalapeños, left out the cayenne, and passed Cholula hot sauce at the table. After cooking down, it had a nice but not biting heat (the jalapeños were large). As a bonus I'm freezing several servings for hubby and I to enjoy later.

Terry B on October 20, 2016:

Simply the best Chili ever!!

Great for deer camp and tailgates! Makes a killer Chili Dog too.

I have revised your recipe slightly....I have added 2 extra cans of budweiser...4 for the pot and 2 for the cook.

Thanks brother.

Les on September 19, 2016:

It is without a doubt the best in the world. I have a problem on the Chili Sauce since I am in Asia what do I use hot,mild or sweet.

Steve on July 27, 2016:

I don't even need to make this to know it's darn good. For the one reason I tell everyone who asks me about my chili; you have to use Budweiser. No substitutes allowed. I like that you use beef and pork but I'd skip the white kidney beans and replace with canned pinto beans.

Brien on July 26, 2016:

Looks good... but Beans...?

Shawn on February 06, 2016:

Crazyhorse I just want to let you know I made your chili tonight with the Mexican Corn Bread . The corn bread I baked in my cast iron frying pans and all I can say is wow ! The combinations of the hot and spicey chili with the sweetness of your cornbread is phenomenal! This is my goto for life !

Ocean on February 05, 2016:

Do you think it will make a big difference if I use chili beans vs kidney beans?

James on January 17, 2016:

Hello, I have made this recipe twice. The first time my family liked the flavor but could not eat it because it was way too spicy for them (wife, in-laws, and 3 young sons). The second time I experimented with the peppers and amount of cayenne to tone it down, but it was still too spicy for them. We all agreed the flavor was terrific, so I'd like to modify it for the family. Do you have any ideas?

Stephanie on January 12, 2016:

Making this for the second time around for another chili cook off. :) Im secretly confident... I won first place 5 years ago with this recipe.. if I win, I get to pie a co-worker in the face... #so worth it

Dubu on January 08, 2016:

How many will this recipe feed?

duck on October 28, 2015:

SO Im goofed and didnt see that i need the lid off of partly on, its been cooking slowly for hours and runy! Is there something i can do to thicken it?

Tim Murphy on October 23, 2015:

i have one second place three years in a row with this recipe. we only have 3 hours to cook though so i cut back on the liquids. What can do differently to get the coveted 1st Place Blue Ribbon?

Richard on February 17, 2015:

Just to be sure...am I to use sweet chili sauce from the Asian section? Or a chili starter sauce in the Mexican section?

Howard on January 14, 2015:

What's the serving size for this recipe? I would like to make this but there's no way I need that much. I need a recipe for more like 4 people

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on November 18, 2014:

http://bit.ly/1Hg6Hni If you want a less spicy chili try the recipe that I have there for everyone. It is called Double Cheese Chili and it is a wonderful chili recipe that you should try.

Adam on November 18, 2014:

I used your recipe for a friendly chili cook off and we found it to be too hot, even after I cut out 1 jalapeño, all of the seeds and used less cayenne pepper.

I guess we can't handle our chili like they do in Texas! Other than that I thought it was delicious. If I made this again, I would use half the hot peppers and cayenne, and add more meat. 4 lbs seemed like a lot, but when I dug in, I felt it needed more!

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on November 14, 2014:

Your very welcome. Thanks for the report and comment. It is appreciated.

Bromide on November 14, 2014:

I have just won second place at a chili cookoff with this recipe ( I lost due to bacon bits and better marketing ;) Thank you crazyhorseghost!

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on November 12, 2014:

Bud Light will work fine.

Annie on November 12, 2014:

I have made this chili several times and it is the best I've ever tasted. One question though....we now live in a dry county and have to drive 50 miles one way for beer. My husband has beer he bought for bread, but it is Bud Light. Can I use this instead of regular beer. I also have two bottles of Guinness beer so could I use half and half. If this is not recommended, we'll just have to drive to Tupelo, MS for regular beer. Thank you so much for sharing this fantastic best ever chili recipe.

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on October 28, 2014:

Yes you can freeze it and it is wonderful when thawed.

k80 on October 28, 2014:

Can you freeze this and it be just as good when reheated?

Nicole on April 06, 2014:

I am very interested in using this chili recipe in an upcoming chili cook off however we are only given 4 hours to have it completed... how important is it to have it simmering for 6-8 hours?

shelly tabor on December 26, 2013:

I used this recipe last year and all my family loved it cooking it again today it is the best chili ever .

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on December 12, 2013:

The beer once cooked will have no effect at all. Look in the Asian Section of the Supermarket for Chili Sauce. Or ask at the service desk of the supermarket. They most likely have it. Heinz sells it in most supermarkets and grocery stores in a 12 oz bottle.

Katie on December 11, 2013:

Hello! I can't wait to make this chili tomorrow for some friends and a night of football! However, 2 of my friends are pregnant and I'm concerned whether the beer will have some sort of effector it will be ok for them to eat the chili. I want to use the beer just becauseni think it will bring great flavor but am not sure. Also, I couldn't find chili sauce, what can I use as a substitute?

Donna on December 07, 2013:

Have the chili cooking on the stove. We are iced in and I was out of cayenne pepper so I had to use crushed red pepper and only had ground sirloin and chili meat. Keeping my fingers crossed that it tastes as good as it smells! When we thaw out I plan a trip to the store to buy the correct ingredients and cook up another pot of chili!! Thank you for posting your recipe!

Meat Murderer on November 03, 2013:

I added some Venison from my last deer hunt, but to kept the original recipe....OUTSTANDING!

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on October 29, 2013:

Thanks very much for your comment. It is truly the best chili I have ever made. I have won many prizes with this chili. It is so delicious.

CMcDaniel on October 29, 2013:

I made this for a company chili cook off and won 1st place! I made my chili late in the evening and let it cook overnight...the whole house smelled great. We prefer a less spicy chili so I cut the jalapeños to 3 and cut the cayenne in half. I did not have quite enough ground chuck so I added 1lb of homemade sausage. It worked out great. This is not an inexpensive dish, but it is absolutely worth it. Quality ingredients result in an incredible chili. Only chili I will make.

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on September 03, 2013:

Yes butter will work fine.

Parker1 on September 03, 2013:

Can I substitute butter for the margarine in the cornbread recipe?

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on August 04, 2013:

Hope it turns out great for you.

Frank Driggers on August 04, 2013:

This recipe seems amazingly good. I'm cooking it right now for a chili cook-off tomorrow. I had to substitute a couple of things which I really didn't want to but I'm already into this chili for $40.00...I am glad to have found this recipe and hoping it is a hit a the chili cook-off. It smells delicious right now. So it is 2:00 a.m. and I have found the just below boiling point. Going to sleep on the couch and stir it throughtout the night.

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on August 01, 2013:

Thanks for the report. It is wonderful.


Did you see the one above. Its wonderful.

Phil on July 31, 2013:

This is by far the best chili I have ever had and I love my chili!!!! Thank you so much for the recipe. I made it for a work contest last year and won 1st place! I am making it again for a group of people this weekend. I am going to try it with Guinness to see how the taste is. Hopefully it's spetacular. Thanks again!

pt3 on June 20, 2013:

I'm making the chili now. It's been cooking for 3 hours & smells delicious. I followed the recipe exactly, although I was tempted to substitute tri tip for chuck roast. Can't wait to eat this with cornbread tomorrow.

Anica on May 26, 2013:

I made this for my in-laws this weekend and they raved about it. My FiL is a very picky eater and he praised the loudest. Thanks so much for posting this recipe.

RB on March 03, 2013:

I won 6th place out of 32 chilis!!! The ones that beat me had a sweet, spiced flavor. I'm not a fan. Great recipe thanks !!!

jho82 on March 03, 2013:

I just wanted to say Thank you so much for the wonderful chili recipe.... This story begins 1 year ago when I entered this chili into a contest and won 2nd place out of 13.... It was very very very spicy! This year, in the same contest I cut the recipe in half and used 1 jal and 1 tbsp cayenne and won 1st place beating 11 other chillies!!!! I was freaking out!!!! It was just a local chili contest but I did bring home a nice new crockpot!! I liked the idea of Keilbasa added so I fried some up the next morning, after letting my chili cook all night, and threw it in - it was perfect!! I will be using this recipe again for sure!! Thanks again! :)

RB on March 02, 2013:

Chili tastes great! I'm wondering if I cook more meat and add it will it be a different taste since it didn't cook with the sauces and beer for as long as the other meat?

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on March 01, 2013:

Taste it and see if you have what you want. Let me hear how it turns out. Thanks.

RB on March 01, 2013:

I've been cooking my chili for 4 hours, and it has reduced by almost half. Is this normal? Should I still cook it 2-3 more hours?

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on March 01, 2013:

Use half the amount of apple juice if you don't like the taste of beer. There is a little taste of beer left for some people.

Stephanie on March 01, 2013:

quick question.. can you taste the beer? because I hate beer. I'm really excited to try this recipe :)

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on February 22, 2013:

The lid over the top of the pot about 2/3 covered while the chili is cooking.

JediJosh on February 22, 2013:

So by slightly covered you mean 3/4? Or a specified amount of time? Or leave it uncovered the entire time. Just want to perfect it....

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on February 20, 2013:

You can keep it slightly covered while cooking. This chili needs to cook down. Its for that reason I would not cook it in a crock pot. You'll never get it to cook down in a crock pot or slow cooker. You can keep it warm in a crock pot or slow cooker after cooking it.

JediJosh on February 20, 2013:

Hi. I'm excited to try this recipe for a chili cook-off at work on 2/25. Would like to do a trial run this weekend. A few questions....

1) Should I keep the stockpot covered the entire time while cooking?

2) Is there any way to adapt this for a slow cooker?

-And if not, when it is complete, can I keep it in a slow cooker

through the day to keep it warn?

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on February 03, 2013:

It is truly one of the best chili recipes ever.

Jodi on February 03, 2013:

I love this recipe! I have it on the stove now! Thanks for sharing!

MicheleC on January 28, 2013:

Hi there! First off, I've already snuck a little taste and YUM!!! I'm practicing now for a chili cook off for Super Bowl this coming Sunday! I don't eat pork, so I left out the chops. I followed most everything else on the recipe, used less jalapeño and less broth due to not using the pork. I've got about 2 more hours of stove top cast iron cooking to go. I'm worried that it's too liquidy. I have yet to add the final ingredients, beans and paste. Should I be worried at this point that I've messed something up?? Like I said, it tastes AMAZING, but I was hoping for a thicker consistency! Please let me know asap!! Love the recipe!

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on January 24, 2013:

Yes you can.

daddy likey on January 24, 2013:

One more question I want to do a trail run can I cut recipe in half?

dadddddy on January 23, 2013:

K im in chili cook off saturday feb 9th

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on January 22, 2013:

Either way will work fine. Let me know how it turns out for you. Thanks.

daddy on January 22, 2013:

Can u use dry beand if u soak overnight? Or is canned better?

Denise Cook on January 12, 2013:

Thank you for the recipe!

It was the best chile I ever had!

Thank you very much!

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on January 09, 2013:

Always rinse any canned beans well before adding them to a recipe

Mommy Likey on January 09, 2013:

do u drain or rinse ure beans?

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on January 06, 2013:

You could use ground pork or well browned and drained pork breakfast sausage.

Carrie on January 06, 2013:

What can I use to substitute the boneless pork chops?

hdcld on January 05, 2013:

Wow! This is the best chile ever! I will be entering it into our local fest in a couple weeks. Thanks for the great recipe!

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on December 30, 2012:

Your very welcome. This has always been one of my favorite chili recipes. I appreciate your comment.

Tim on December 30, 2012:

Great chili I also won a chili cook off at my local bar in town thanks for the great recipe!!!!

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on December 29, 2012:

I would start with 6 ounces and if it was not thick enough for you add 6 more.

Leslie I. on December 29, 2012:

Made the mexican cornbread the other week - RAVE reviews - and I mean RAVE!!! Looking forward to making the chili... I've read ALL of the comments and saw two different answers to the tomato paste - 6 and 12 ounces. How much do you use for a single batch?

Jason A. on December 22, 2012:

I doubt you'll get this in time, but how would you feel about adding a little bit of unsweetened cocoa to this recipe? I've done that with several of mine before and I think I am going to make this with about 1 tbls of cocoa and maybe some shavings of mexican semi sweet chocolate (they have cinimmon and sugar in it).

emmy20 on December 19, 2012:

I just got this all assembled and I'm cooking it!! It smells delicious, wasn't too pricey to make. I saw this on pinterest and 516 people liked it,so I figured it must be good. Thanks for posting this recipe, ill update on how it turns out tonight!

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on October 22, 2012:

Drain and rinse your beans always for the best results

Kim Burak on October 22, 2012:

Do you drain and rinse the beans or put them in straight from the can?

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on October 13, 2012:

Thanks for your kind words. I appreciate them. It is a great recipe and every time I make it I end up with a great pot of chili. Thanks for your comment

Christine on October 13, 2012:

Hello! This is our favorite chili and truly the BEST chili I have ever eaten!

I won a chili contest 2 years ago but lost a contest yesterday at work (I think they cheated) :)

I really appreciate that you are so considerate in sharing your recipe with the world. Thank You!

P.S. the cornbread is awesome...we are having the chili and cornbread for dinner shortly.

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on October 08, 2012:

Yes it works very well with apple cider.

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