If your chili has beans, I’m simply not interested. Why take up the space in a perfectly spiced homemade chili with beans? In my opinion, that’s the difference between a good chili and a great recipe. The best Texas chili recipes say “No, thank you!” to the pinto beans and “Yes, please!” to lots of brown, seared beef and spicy chiles swimming in spicy sauce.
Yes, red chili is where it’s at, and there are a ton of recipes out there. We scoured the internet to find the best of the best Texas chili recipes (and automatically disqualified any recipe that added beans). So pull out your Dutch oven or slow cooker, bake up a side of cornbread, and get ready with your sour cream, green onion, and cheddar cheese toppings. It’s time for a chili cook-off!
1. West Texas Chili
What makes this chili qualify? No beans (of course), huge chunks of tomato, and tons of ground venison (or, ground beef if you prefer). Spiced up with lightly-spicy ancho chili powder, smoky ground cumin, and mild paprika, there’s no lack of flavor in this recipe.
This chili turns out so thick (thanks to the addition of masa harina corn flour), it’s perfect for making Frito pie or making up chili cheese fries. Get the recipe here.
2. Hot Rod Texas Chili
We all know it’s about the awards – and keeping your recipe a secret is a part of winning in those chili cook-offs. The winner of the Terlingua International Chili Championship isn’t hiding behind any secret recipe.
Debbie Ashman shares her secrets (including the spice “dumps” that she adds at three different times) for this incredibly flavorful, award-winning chili. Get the recipe here.
3. Chili Con Carne
The secret to this incredibly flavorful chili? Huge chunks of beef. Well, that and a bunch of bacon! Beef chuck roast is a great choice for this chili, with its marbled fat and inexpensive price tag.
Stay away from anything labeled “stew meat” – you don’t really know what you’re getting there. Better to buy the roast and chop it up yourself. Get the recipe here.
4. True Texas Chili
This chili recipe goes one step further in its pursuit of the beefiest-possible bowl. They skip the tomatoes altogether – no chunky tomatoes, no tomato paste, no tomato sauce – and simmer beef directly in chili paste.
Serve it up with a side of sour cream and lime juice to add a little tang to the bowl, and you have yourself a seriously hearty bowl ‘o red! Get the recipe here.
5. Real Texas Chili Con Carne
Everyone loves labeling their chili “real” or “true” Texas chili, but I think this one definitely hits the mark. This recipe uses a blend of dried chilies to create a spicy, earthy, and smoky flavor in the broth.
If you want to amp up the spice, you can add a can of chipotles in adobo sauce. Be sure you have a glass of milk on the side, though, because that spice won’t mess around!
6. The Only Texas Chili Recipe You’ll Ever Need
That’s a bold statement! But if anyone could make such a bold claim, it’s the editors of Texas Monthly. These guys report on the best barbecue in the state, so I believe them when they say this recipe is iconic!
They freshly toast (before grinding) their cumin and coriander seeds, and this recipe has a ton of black pepper. The secret ingredient? A few teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa to add a depth of flavor.
7. Tyler’s Texas Chili
Tyler Florence might not be from Texas, but his southern roots run deep. This guy knows how to make a great bowl of red! He toasts a bunch of spices before caramelizing his onions and browning the beef for this incredible bowl.
In the end, he has a few secret ingredients, too – Mexican chocolate and a cinnamon stick. Top it off with queso fresco and you can’t go wrong with this bowl. Get the recipe here.
8. Slow Cooker Texas Chili
This skinny Texas chili certainly doesn’t taste healthy! It has all the flavor of a classic chili but uses fat-free Greek yogurt as the topper. Throw all the ingredients into the slow cooker and let it cook for a total time of 7-8 hours.
That lean beef chuck will break down and become super shreddable. Get the recipe here.
9. Instant Pot Chili (Texas-Style)
I love, love, love my Instant Pot! There’s almost nothing I can’t do in that thing. Making Texas-true chili is no exception. What will take hours on the stovetop and 8 hours in the slow cooker only takes one hour in the electric pressure cooker.
The result is the same fall-apart-tender beef swimming in a spicy sauce. Get the recipe here.
10. Texas Turkey Chili
Who says Texas chili has to be about the beef? Okay, a lot of people have said that, but this turkey chili recipe is the perfect way to use up leftovers. You could use any shredded meat – turkey, chicken, or pork – and the chili broth will breath new life into it.
This sauce has a few special ingredients to add depth. It not only uses spices and cocoa powder, but there’s some brewed coffee in there, too. Get the recipe here.