Best Texas Chili from Scratch

Best Texas Chili from Scratch
Best Texas Chili from Scratch

This is our take on the classic (modern) Texas Chili. This recipe is a nod to the authentic version of this fantastic Texas dish and is made completely from scratch, including the chile powders! If you are looking for the real deal without any shortcuts, then you will love our version of Texas chili for the Best Texas Chili from Scratch!

Origins of Texas Chili

Put the word “Texas” in front of chili and you should be sure of two things: it tastes great, and there aren’t things like beans, rice, or pasta in it! The Texan version of chili likely originated somewhere between Northern Mexico and Southern Texas. San Antonio claims invention, but we are not trying to figure out exactly who and where true Texas chili came from, or do we really care as long as we keep it close to its roots.

Chili is a true Texas classic, and honestly we love all the variations, but there can only be one best chili recipe! And we feel like we have hit the nail on the head with this Best Texas Chili from Scratch. It may even be worthy enough to enter into a chili cook-off in the near future! We will keep you updated!

What Makes Texas Chili Different from Other Chili Recipes

There are thousands upon thousands recipes out there for chili of all varieties, but an authentic Texas chili recipe has some specific guidelines. Chili has been the official state dish of Texas since 1977, and Texans are very particular about this sacred Lonestar dish.

Texas Chili
Best Texas Chili from Scratch

The key ingredients to making a good Texas chili are tender beef and good chile powders. The vegetables play an important role in the overall flavor, but with inferior chile powder and tough, gristly meat, nobody will care.

And, of course, there are NO BEANS in a real Texas Chili recipe! We do love a good chili with beans as well, so check out our Chili with Kidney Beans for a quick and easy recipe for chili that is good for any night of the week. It uses ground beef and kidney beans. But authentic Texas chili recipes will not have beans in them.

What Type of Beef is Best in Texas-Style Chili

Top round is our choice for this recipe, although not by such a wide margin that you couldn’t use something else. Just make sure you aren’t including any tough connective tissue or excessive amounts of fat and you’ll be fine.

Chile Powders

For the chile powder, we are lucky enough to find nearly anything we want here in the Houston area. But, if you aren’t so lucky, we highly recommend blending the dried chiles from scratch to really make this chili shine!

Specifically, we use a combination of ancho chile powder, chile de arbol chile powder, New Mexico chile powder, and pasilla chile powder. If you can’t easily find these as powders, simply buy the dried chiles and you will be amazed at the enhanced flavor you get in the finished chili! 

For best results using dried chiles, place the chiles on a sheet tray and in the oven at 225°F for 30-60 minutes to dry them out a bit more. Then grind them up yourself using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. We keep jars of these in our cupboard for other recipes as well. 

If you can’t find or prefer a different chili powder, go for it. The flavor profile will, of course, change depending on the type of chiles you use, but if you like it, go for it! In our opinion, a homemade chili powder will make everything a bit better though!

Southwestern Seasoning Blend

Additionally, we use a homemade Southwestern Seasoning blend that is spectacular. The individual spices are broken down in the recipe below, but we also love having extra of this blend around for other recipes. You can double or triple the Southwestern Seasoning and use it on chicken, pork, vegetables, or anything you like in other recipes. Check out our Southwestern Shrimp and Jalapeño Risotto recipe if you love this flavor profile!

Best Texas Chili from Scratch
Garnish Game Strong! Texas Chili from Scratch

Garnishes for Texas Chili

Classic garnishes include a sliced or diced jalapeno pepper or serrano peppers, shredded cheddar, and sliced green onions. Feel free to do whatever you like here and add your favorite toppings, but sour cream doesn’t belong in a classic Texas-Style Chili according to Texas Chili purists. So if you want to be authentic, skip the dollop of sour cream. 

Leftover Chili

Yes, this is a big batch of chili that serves 12! So what do we do with all that chili when we want to make it just for the two of us?? Well, we make a big batch and keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or we store it in freezer safe containers to have in a pinch when we crave it! This chili can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.


We hope that you enjoy this recipe for the Best Texas Chili from Scratch! If you give it a try and like it, leave us a 5 star rating and comment below, or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!

Texas Chili from Scratch
Best Texas Chili from Scratch

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Best Texas Chili from Scratch

Course: DinnerCuisine: American, SouthernDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




Total time






  • Southwestern Seasoning (½ cup, divided)
  • 5 tsp 5 Ancho chile powder

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Paprika (sweet)

  • 1.5 tsp 1.5 Cumin

  • 1.5 tsp 1.5 Coriander

  • 1.5 tsp 1.5 Black pepper

  • 1.5 tsp 1.5 Granulated onion

  • 1.5 tsp 1.5 Granulated garlic

  • 1.5 tsp 1.5 Kosher salt

  • 1 tsp 1 Oregano

  • 1 tsp 1 Cayenne pepper

  • ½ tsp Mustard powder

  • For the Chili
  • 5 lbs 5 top round, trimmed of excess fat

  • ¼ cup ancho chile powder

  • 1 tsp 1 chile de arbol chile powder or cayenne pepper

  • 1 Tbsp 1 New Mexico chile powder

  • 1 Tbsp 1 pasilla chile powder

  • 1 tsp 1 cinnamon

  • 1 tsp 1 nutmeg

  • 1 tsp 1 cloves

  • 2 Tbsp 2 kosher salt

  • 2 2 bay leaves

  • 4 cloves 4 garlic, minced

  • 12 ounces 12 bacon, finely diced

  • 4 ounces 4 salt pork (rinsed and patted dry) or pancetta, finely diced

  • 6 cups 6 small-diced onion

  • 6 cups 6 small-diced bell pepper

  • 3 cups 3 small-diced celery

  • 6 cups 6 beef stock

  • 10 10 Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (see note)

  • 1/3 cup 1/3 toasted cornmeal

  • Jalapeños, green onion, cheddar cheese for garnish


  • Prepare the Beef & Vegetables
  • Cut the beef into ½” cubes and place in a bowl. Using ¼ cup of the Southwestern Seasoning, rub the seasoning into the cubed meat and set aside.
  • Mix the remaining ¼ cup of Southwestern Seasoning with the ancho chile powder, chile de arbol, New Mexico chile powder, pasilla chile powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, kosher salt, bay leaves, and minced garlic and set aside in a bowl.
  • In a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat, add the bacon and salt pork (or pancetta), and cook until it starts to brown, and all the fat has been rendered. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and pork to a small bowl. In the same pan, start browning the chunks of beef. This should be done in several batches, adding small amounts of vegetable oil as needed if the pan gets dry. Once all the beef is done, add the beef, bacon and pork to a big pot in which you will finish cooking the chili.
  • Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery to the skillet that you browned the beef in and cook, stirring often, until they soften. Once softened, add the vegetables to the large pot along with any juices and browned bits in the skillet.
  • Prepare the Chili
  • Add the beef stock, tomatoes, and the remaining chile powder mixture to the large pot with the beef and vegetables and turn to medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally so the mixture doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • After an hour, add the cornmeal and stir to incorporate. Continue to cook until the meat is tender. Adjust seasoning if necessary at the end if necessary.
  • Serve each bowl of chili garnished with jalapeños, green onion, and/or grated cheddar cheese.


  • To easily peel whole tomatoes, cut an X on the bottom (score) of each tomato and remove the core. Then add to a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds until the skin starts to peel. Remove from the boiling water to an ice bath, and allow to cool slightly before easily removing the outer peel.

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