Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili

Growing up, homemade chili at my house was made from Wick Fowler Chili packages. You can easily make this chili at home without the package. All you need are some simple ingredients that may already be in your pantry.

bowls of homemade Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili topped with cheese

If you have never tried one of the Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili packages sold in most spice sections of the grocery stores you are missing out on some easy to make chili. They have an optional red chili packet inside of there so you can dial up the heat to the chili if you desire. We always went all in, living in Texas I think our levels of heat are different than in some parts of the country.

Chili is one of those things that is always going to divide people. Some like mild chili, while others can only enjoy a bowl if it’s spicy enough to make their noses run. Then there is the whole bean dilemma. With or without? And don’t even bring up the subject of whether adding corn is ever culinarily acceptable.

Whatever your personal preferences are, having a good middle-of-the-road recipe like the one below in your back pocket is great if you ever need to whip up a crowd-pleasing meal in a hurry. And talk about easy.

This recipe is almost as simple to prepare as ripping open a store-bought 2 alarm chili kit and a whole lot cheaper. Make a homemade chili mix kit or two and bring it along to your next tailgate or on that weekend camping trip. You won’t be sorry!

What is Masa Harina?

You know you are in the presence of a real chili master whenever you walk into the kitchen and see a bag of masa harina on the counter. Masa harina is a flour made from corn; however, it’s not the same as ordinary cornmeal. Masa harina is more closely related to hominy grits as both are made from corn kernels that have been cooked and then soaked in an alkaline solution.

Masa harina is widely used in Mexican and Southwestern cooking to make doughs for corn tortillas and tamales and thicken stews, much like cornstarch. In fact, if you can’t get your hands on masa harina where you live, you can use an equal amount of cornstarch instead (dissolve the cornstarch in the water or tomato sauce before adding to the chili). Other alternatives are using a few crushed corn chips, finely chopped corn tortilla, or even hominy grits.

Let’s Talk About Beans

I am not going to choose a side when it comes to the great debate of whether beans have a place in chili, but if you fall on the pro-bean side of the divide, you might as well do it right. That means skip soaking dried beans overnight and then cooking them low and slow for hours.

Yep, canned beans are the best for chili, and they are so much more convenient. As for which variety of beans to use, there are a lot of opinions out there. In the country’s southwest region, pinto beans are preferred but order a bowl in any diner in the Northeast, and you will get chili with red kidney beans. Of course, you can consider using black beans or even pink beans, but you probably want to stay away from cannellini, chickpeas, and fava beans.

Tips for Making, Serving, and Storing Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili

  • Make a few extra chili kits and stash them in the pantry. Measuring out the spices takes the most time, so plan ahead for those nights when you don’t have enough prep time.
  • Serve with lots of topping. Provide shredded cheese, chopped onions, sour cream, sliced avocado, crushed corn chips, and hot sauce on the side. Let your guest customize their chili according to their taste.
  • Chili freezes beautifully. Cool the chili to room temperature before filling freezer bags halfway. Let chili defrost overnight in the fridge before reheating on the stovetop or in the microwave.

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Ingredients

Here’s a list of what you need:

  • Ground beef
  • Paprika
  • Dehydrated onion
  • Dehydrated garlic
  • Salt
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Dried oregano
  • Tomato sauce
  • Water
  • Masa, optional
Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili ingredients

Ingredient Notes

In the box of 2 Alarm chili spices, you will find a packet labeled “red pepper”. We are substituting cayenne for the red pepper. Cayenne is a type of red pepper.

Masa will thicken the chili if desired. You could leave it out as well. It depends on how thick you like your chili.

While it is controversial for some, I always add beans to my chili. I know many fine people who are against adding beans to chili, and that’s ok. Red kidney beans, pinto beans, or even canned chili beans all work well.

What makes this recipe unique is that you control the heat with the cayenne pepper. If you don’t like your chili too spicy, don’t add the cayenne pepper at all. If you like it a little spicy, add half of the cayenne pepper, and if you want it spicier add all of the cayenne pepper.

How to Make 2 Alarm Chili

  1. Brown the beef in a large pot or Dutch oven.
  2. Drain the beef and return it to the pot.
  3. Add the spices and stir in thoroughly.
    browned ground beef with 2 alarm chili seasonings in a skillet
  4. Add tomato sauce and water.
  5. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer.
  6. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
    homemade Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili in a pan
  7. To thicken the chili, combine masa and hot water and stir until smooth.
  8. Pour the masa mixture into the chili.
  9. Cook until the chili thickens and serve.

Recipe Variations

Here are a few ideas on how to change this recipe:

  • Instead of adding water, add tomato juice. The tomato juice can really intensify the flavor of the chili.
  • Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Chipotle powder. Chipotle powder is made from smoked jalapenos. The chipotle powder adds lots of smoke without adding a lot of heat.
  • Swap the paprika for smoked paprika to add a nice bit of smoke to the chili.
  • Use a coarse grind of beef, ground brisket is amazing.
  • Create a topping bar for your chili containing Fritos, shredded Cheddar cheese, sour cream, and sliced green onion tops.
bowls of homemade Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili with shredded cheese on top

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bowls of homemade Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili topped with cheese

Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili

You can make Wick Fowler 2 Alarm chili without the package of spices.
4.84 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chili Recipe, Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 312kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef

Spice Mix

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons masa
  • 2 teaspoons dehydrated onion (1/2 cup chopped fresh onion)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dehydrated garlic (1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 16 ounces water

Instructions

  • Brown the beef in a large pot or dutch oven. Drain beef.
  • Add the spices (with the exception of the masa) and stir in thoroughly. Add tomato sauce and water. If desired add 1 (14 ounce) can of beans. Reduce temperature to simmer.
  • SSimmer for about 30 minutes. If you want to thicken the chili, mix the masa in a 1/4 cup of hot water. Stir the masa until smooth. Pour the masa mixture into the chili. Cook until the chili thickens and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 312kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 664mg | Potassium: 441mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 360IU | Vitamin C: 2.9mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 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 CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. James

    I like to add ½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder. Which I know sounds odd but it gives a bit of complexity to the flavor. Its not enough you would taste cocoa.

  2. Mrs Rosaleen Kirk

    Hi I’m writing from Ireland.The recipe says tomato sauce is that ketchup or would passata be OK .Thankful for any advice.

    • Stephanie

      Tomato sauce is like pureed tomatoes. So it’s not ketchup, and it is not a seasoned pasta sauce. It would be what pasta sauce would made out of.

  3. Susan

    4 stars
    It was close to the real recipe but I think 1/4 cup chili powder was too much. I mostly tasted the chili powder. Next time I’m going to reduce the chili powder. I think the rest of the measurements are right.

  4. Robert DeCuir

    5 stars
    Thank you for a solid recipe. I took your suggestion and added 1/4 cup of Chipotle pepper along with other recommendations of 1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes and one bottle of mexican beer ( the only brand I could come across was Sol bottled beer) plus I did add 1 cup of chicken stock. Never made it to the crock pot and ended up in a large cast iron skillet for approx. 5-6 hours on low. The amount of Cayenne gives it a nice burn without being overpowering. I look forward to trying my crock pot next time. I will promote your recipe, Bobby

  5. GARY F MCMAHAN

    I like that you broke down the recipe packets, but you still haven’t come up with the right dried chili variety or varieties to use for the main chili powder. I know that this award winning chili kit is as perfect as you can get to the perfect bowl of red, but what makes it that way is the chili powder used in the “2-Alarm” kit. I have tried many dried chili powders and have even ground my own, but I have not figured out the secret. Any suggestions?

    • Carol

      I believe that chili powder is Ancho chili powder. Sometimes I ad a little Chipotle and or Gephardt’s chili powder, but that Ancho seems to be THE right flavored one.

  6. Susie LeBoeuf

    5 stars
    I just love the Wick Fowler’s 2 alarm chili kit. I have been using it for many years and my family loves it. I starting adding a few things to the chili. I use a sirloin or a rib eye steak cut into bite sized pieces and braised. I also use coarse ground chili meat. Because I am from south Louisiana I had to add the trinity. I use small can tomato sauce, 1 can Rotel Original, 1 can stewed tomatoes. I don’t add water. I add chicken broth to desired consistency. I also add I can pinto beans because my husband likes them. I cook this for about 1&1/2 hours on low. It is delicious.

  7. Glenda Askins

    5 stars
    I’ve been making Wick Fowler’s for years and my family think it’s wonderful and that I made it from scratch, so I did try it from scratch with the same spices but added Rotel tomatoes from a can, Mexican Diced Jalepeno tomatoes, and chili and kidney beans from a can. We loved it!

  8. Chris Grimmer

    I’m in a quandary in that the recipe calls for “chili powder” and, in my experience there are considerable differences (in my opinion) between brands of chili powders. Do you have any particular brands that are preferred?

      • Chris Grimmer

        Thanks for the information…… I use some Penzey’s spices but have never used their chili powder.

      • Gary Burcalow

        Hi, Chris. Just thought I’d chime in. I agree with Stephanie on the McCormick chili powder. It is an excellent product as are all of their spices, and I always keep a restaurant size container in my kitchen. My personal favorite and what I consider one of the greatest chili powders is Mexene. It has become somewhat difficult to find in my area though, even though it was created in Texas. My grandmother always used Mexene. It’s been used in a lot of award winning chili recipes.

        http://www.mexene.com

    • Carol

      I believe that chili powder is Ancho chili powder. Sometimes I ad a little Chipotle and or Gephardt’s chili powder, but that Ancho seems to be THE right flavored one.

  9. Mary Anne L.

    The chili powder listed in recipe is labeled as chili pepper in Wick Fowlers 2 Alarm chili kit just purchased, as chili powder contains other spices such as cumin and oregano. Also salt packet has been left out of kit
    What chili peppers are used? (

  10. Gerald Whitworth

    5 stars
    I always add 1 can of RoTel diced tomatoes with chiles to the pot along with the 8 oz can of tomato sauce. This replaces some of the water used and gives it some extra flavor. I also dice a medium onion and cook it with the ground beef for extra flavor.
    Chili is something that you can improvise on until the cow come home and it always tastes good.

  11. termed

    5 stars
    Made this chili for my Mom. She got gas while we were at the movies. She is lucky to have silent by deadly farts.

  12. Joe Shelby

    My add-ons for Fowlers is to drop the salt considerably (no-salt tomato sauce, and cut the salt packet in half), but some of that comes back because i add Worcestershire sauce to the beef as i’m cooking it, then more in the mix itself, along with extra garlic.

    oh, and half a bottle of beer (I drink the other half).

    I add beans too, just to help make it last.

  13. Jerry L.

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thank you for the great chili recipe. I used Wick Fowler’s for a long time. Then I decided, why not use ingredients I have, just as you said.

    I would like to mention a few alterations I made for your viewers.

    I like my chili thick, but also full of flavor so I build it from the start with that in mind. First, I don’t drain the fat, I’ll go on a diet tomorrow. Next I add the spices using minced garlic and fresh onion instead of powdered and dried. Next I use one can of Rotel ‘HOT’, undrained, one 8 oz can tomato sauce and simmer on low, cooking down the moisture until thick. Then, and here’s the big difference, instead of using water I use 8 oz of a good mexican beer such as Corona. Then cover and simmer until thick as long as it takes.

    The flavor is incredible.

    Thank you for allowing me to share and as always I love your recipes.

    • Jerry L.

      Also, I don’t use the masa as it tends to diminish the flavor. Making thick from the start negates the need.

      I also use beans, canned chili beans but I drain and rinse them before adding them as the last ingredient.

  14. Gale

    I skip the water and add 2 cans of dark red kidney beans, a can of diced tomatoes, and a can of Manwich sauce (it adds a richness and smokey flavor I love.)

    • Stephanie

      I have swapped one of the cans of water for another can of tomato paste. I love your idea of using Manwich sauce. I will have to try that sometime when make chili again.

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