Chilis Original Chili Recipe

Did you know Chili’s chili recipe was the foundation for this famous restaurant chain a time ago? Their recipe changed, but this was the recipe they used to pass out as their original recipe.

A spoon of homemade Chilis original chili over a bowl of it.

Chili’s Chili

I was recently researching recipes for my column at Parade Community Table, when I came across for a couple of blog posts about someone who loved Chili’s original chili, and he was upset that they changed their recipe.

I know that Chili’s used to make most everything in the restaurant, and now it is made in a central location and sent out to restaurants. Yes, they still cook some things there like hamburgers, steaks, and other items. Many restaurants follow this practice, so you always get food that is consistent across their restaurants.

I remember going to Chili’s many years ago and getting a hearty thick bowl of chili that tastes amazing. I don’t go there as much any longer, but I know that while I loved their endless soup and salad lunch combo, it wasn’t quite the same as it used to be. Drewcipher knew why and received a copy of their old recipe.

For my fellow Texans’, you will love this chili, it has no beans. Chili’s chili is a thick, rich chili that is very hearty. If you wanted to thin this chili out, I would add more water. This chili may be too thick and too spicy for some. I think it is perfect, and wouldn’t touch a thing.

A bowl of homemade Chilis Original style chili.

I love that this recipe has you cook the onions in a different pan than the chili. I think this adds a nice layer of flavor to the onions. It also keeps their texture much more defined. I am a fan of cooking the onions separately, and I will do this going forward now.

Now this recipe isn’t to copycat their current version, but an older one. And one that I think is much more flavorful than their current version. I hope you enjoy it.


Here’s a list of what you need:

  • Chili powder
  • Salt
  • Ground cumin
  • Paprika
  • Ground black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ground chuck
  • Water
  • Tomato sauce
  • Yellow onions
  • Cooking oil
  • Masa harina
Chili's original chili ingredients

How to Make Chili’s Chili

  1. In a small bowl, combine chili powder, salt, cumin, paprika, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
  2. Heat a 6-quart stockpot over medium heat.
  3. Place ground beef into the stockpot and cook until the meat is browned. Drain if desired.
  4. While the meat is browning, combine chili spice mix, water, and tomato sauce in a bowl. Stir until well blended.
  5. Add chili seasoning liquid to the browned meat. Stir well and bring to a boil.
  6. Sauté onions in cooking oil over medium heat in a skillet until the onions are translucent.
  7. Add the onions to the chili.
  8. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for one hour stirring every 15 minutes.
  9. In a separate bowl, mix water with masa harina.
  10. Add the masa harina mixture to the chili stockpot and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
A bowl of homemade Chili's original chili next to a plate of cornbread slices.

Do you love Chili’s food and drinks? Check out my copycat recipes!

Be sure to check out more of my easy chili recipes and the best Chili’s copycat recipes.

A spoon of copycat Chilis Original style chili over a bowl of it.

Chilis Original Chili Recipe

Here is the chili recipe that Chilis started serving in their restaurants.  This is the no bean chili recipe that put them on the map. 
4.93 from 28 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chilis Recipes, Keto, Low Carb
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 626kcal


Chili Spice Blend

  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 1/8 cup salt you can use less if desired
  • 1/8 cup ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper add more if desired

Chili ingredients

  • 4 pounds ground chuck – ground for chili
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon masa harina


  • In a small bowl combine the chili spice ingredients, mix thoroughly. Heat
  •  a 6-quart stock pot over medium heat. Place meat into the stock pot and cook until the meat is browned. Drain if desired. While meat is browning combine chili spice mix, 3 1/4 cups of water, and tomato sauce in the bowl. Stir until well blended. 
  • Add chili seasoning liquid to the browned meat. Stir well, and bring to a boil. Saute onions in 1 tablespoon of cooking oil over medium heat in a skillet until the onions are translucent. Add the onions to the chili. Reduce the chili to low and simmer for one hour stirring every 15 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix 1 cup water with masa harina. Mix well. Add to chili stock pot, and cook for an additional 10 minutes.



Calories: 626kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 161mg | Sodium: 2226mg | Potassium: 873mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 780IU | Vitamin C: 6.4mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 5.3mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. FEK

    4 stars
    So, I didn’t want to make the large amount so i adjusted. But – it didn’t take the adjustment very well. So, I ended up adding some more paprika, chili powder and cayenne pepper. I also added additional tomato sauce and a bit of water. I don’t eat many carbs so used Xythum Gum for thickening. I used 2 lbs of meat. All in all I think it was pretty good. I saw a question about Shelby Carrol’s chili mix – which I use often. The problem is trying to adjust. but you may need 2 boxes if you were doing the 4 meat version. 🙂 Not sure I made it as well as Chili’s – but certainly worked on it. – careful of the salt – it was kind of salty until I made the adjustments. Also – be careful of too much tomato sauce – as it can be kind of sweet.

  2. Lys

    WOW, this is a great recipe, Easy enough and my family loved it. I did add a can of pinto beans because my husband loves them. We ate what we could and I froze the rest Yummy

  3. Greg Zoller

    5 stars
    This was spot on the flavor of Chili’s chili. I didn’t want to risk this not working, so I halved everything. That was a mistake. Next time I will do the full 4 lbs of meat. Delicious.

  4. Tim

    5 stars
    This recipe is the exact replica of what I used to eat with my dad back in the day after Soccer Practice. Gonna figure out the thickness next time, substituted corn starch for mass harina, was a little thin. Try this!

  5. Chris

    This looks like a pretty much standard chili recipe. I’d like to know how it changed, because I had chili just the other day because the calorie count seemed manageable compared to some of their other menu items.
    The chili tasted just terrible. There was an overpowering taste that was just too much. It wasn’t all that spicy.. but man. What have they done??

    • Stephanie Manley

      They now cook their soups in a large industrial kitchen, and then the restaurant warms the soup there. My personal opinion is that you likely had cooks fine-tuning the chili when it is made in the restaurant, that doesn’t happen now.

  6. Richard

    Do you know how close it is to the chili from Carroll Shelby Texas Chili Mix that comes pre-mixed? (Not the current one, but the one that came in the little brown bags?)
    I didn’t know about the connection between him and Chili’s, so I’m wondering if the recipe was borrowed from him as well.

  7. Jack

    Thanks for posting this. I used to go to the original (and only one at the time) Chili’s on Greenville Ave. in Dallas. They served chili, Tacos and burgers and not much else and it was fantastic.
    So once again thanks for the recipe.

  8. Ceil

    Can fine cornmeal be used in place of the Masa Harina?? that only comes in 5 pound bags, no use for it unless I make tamales~

4.93 from 28 votes (18 ratings without comment)

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