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.

REVEALED: Copycat Secrets for 2023

free email bonus

Yes, you CAN make it at home! I'll show you how.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Reader Interactions


  1. Jamel Billiter

    5 stars
    Made half recipe of te Chili ad is has a really good flavor.

    Please let me know the calories stated in nutritional facts if per serving or total recipe. Also if the calories are per serving I wold like to know if it is per cup or number of ounces.

  2. Kermit Woodall

    5 stars
    Chili’s chili definitely has chopped Green Bell Pepper – about 3/4 cup would do in this receipe or less.

  3. Don

    I prefer Gold Star Chili over Skyline Chili for my 5-way chili or cheese coneys, My favorite chili is Frisch’s Big Boy. Or Steak N Shakes chili is good as well.

    • Baltisraul

      Wow, Frisch’s Big Boy! Have not heard that name since my teenage years. April, you must be from the mid-west? Will disagree with you over Gold Star is better than Skyline.

  4. Kent Joseph

    Thank you for this. I used to take girls on dates to Chilis in high school and we’d split a bowl of this and an order of quesadillas. Seems like everything I love that they make they get rid of. I loved their potato pancakes and they’re gone too. Regardless, thanks for this. You’re wonderful.

  5. James

    I’m assuming that, like most chili, this tastes better the next day. But how far in advance could I cook it before it starts tasting funky? Could it be frozen and saved for later?

  6. Carmin

    When you say that this is an old recipe, about how old?? I’m thinking about the old days of Chili’s (back in the 80’s) when I used to get their Chili’s Special Soft Tacos. My absolute favorite way to eat chili-wrapped in a tortilla and topped with cheese! (Hold the lettuce…) Would this be like that chili??

  7. Kathleen

    I would like to have the recipe for the Chilis Chili, and the picture you put up is nice, and the story about it is great, but where the hell is the recipe, I do not see it or any links to it, if you want people to come to your site, then don’t make it impossible to actually get the recipe!

  8. Sushi Cue

    Sounds delicious! I must have their newer version of chile recipe. It’s tasty so anxious to try this one you’ve posted! I also have their chicken enchilada soup that is soooo good! Thanks for the older chili version post!

  9. Au Naturel Mel

    Although I love beans in general (yum!), I do NOT like them in my chilli, because to me, “real” chilli doesn’t have beans. I am going to give this recipe a try, looks amazing. Mel at mothersheeporganics

    • bastisraul

      Skyline is my all time fav chili for franchised stores. They have been, on and off, selling their chili in Publix Supermarket in the frozen food section. So, if you don’t have 2 days to make Cincinnati chili, you can still get your fix.

    • Jerl J May Jr.

      I haven’t tried this original recipe (Bowl O Red), but I absolutely love their current chili. Its just spicy enough without making me sweat, no beans, and the meat has more of a stewed meat texture rather than ground beef. It is my favorite chili. I’ve scoured the web but I can’t find a recipe for the copy cat Terlingua Chili! I do add one thing to my chili that gets strange looks: a dollop of sour cream! Especially really spicy chili. The sour cream adds just a bit of coolness that is perfect with the spice of good chili. Grated cheese and chopped onions too. lol…just had dinner and I’m making myself hungry again!

      • Lisa L

        We just went to Chili’s tonite & I, too, would like a Copycat version of their CURRENT Chili, which seems to have Shredded Beef, rather than Ground Beef. It’s also quite Spicy & Bold!! I assumed I’d find a recipe for it online, but NO! Go figure, google usually doesn’t let me down, darn!

4.93 from 28 votes (18 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

homemade Olive Garden Asiago Torgelloni Alfredo with chicken on a plate

Copycat Recipe Secrets for 2024


Yes, you CAN make it at home! 
I'll show you how.