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

What Makes The Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili Kit So Good?

If you have never tried one of the Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili mixes 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, so you can dial up the heat to the chili if you desire. We always went all in. Living in Texas, I think our heat levels are different than in some parts of the country. If you want a well-balanced chili, these chili seasoning packs are the way to go. 

What Makes This The Recipe You Want To Try

This recipe gives you what the individual seasoning packets do, but here you will turn to your pantry to provide the seasonings from your spice cabinets. This recipe is almost as simple to prepare as ripping open a store-bought Wick Fowler’s 2-alarm chili kit and a whole lot less expensive. Make a homemade chili mix kit and bring it 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 an absolute chili master whenever you walk into the kitchen and see a bag of masa harina also known as corn masa flour 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.

If you can’t get your hands on masa harina where you live, use an equal amount of cornstarch instead (dissolve the cornstarch in the water or tomato sauce before adding it to the chili). Other alternatives include a few crushed corn chips, a 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 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 skipping soaking dried beans overnight and then simmering them for hours. 

Yep, canned beans are the best for chili and are 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 or even pink beans, but you probably want to avoid cannellini, chickpeas, and fava beans.

Wick Fowler Chili Recipe 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 okay. Red kidney beans, pinto beans, or canned chili beans all work well.

This recipe is unique because 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

Here are the simple steps for making this delicious beef chili recipe:

  1. Brown the beef in a large pot or Dutch oven.
  2. Drain the meat 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
  1. Add tomato sauce and water.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
  3. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
homemade Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili in a pan
  1. Combine masa and hot water to thicken the chili and stir until smooth.
  2. Pour the masa mixture into the chili.
  3. Cook until the chili thickens, and serve.
bowls of homemade Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili with shredded cheese on top

Recipe Variations

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

  • Instead of adding water, add tomato juice. The tomato juice can 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 some smoke to the chili.
  • Use a coarse grind of beef. Ground brisket is fantastic.
  • Create a topping bar for your chili containing Fritos, shredded Cheddar cheese, sour cream, and sliced green onion tops.

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 leftovers 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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overhead view of two bowls of homemade Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili

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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.
4.87 from 23 votes
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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


  • 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


  • 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.
  • Simmer 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.



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


  1. John K.

    4 stars
    The one commercial product for which a copycat recipe is absolutely useless, as all the ingredients of the product are packaged separately. Anyone with a sensitive kitchen scale knows the measurements.
    The best thing is the tweaks offered at the end of the article and in the comments.

  2. Susan Seals

    5 stars
    Awesome recipe! I’ve been buying Wick Fowler for years, will use this recipe . I did, of course, make a few changes. Used Hatch hot pepper instead of cayenne, one can rotel, used a bit more oregano and cumin. It’s so good. Just did a test taste, just need to add a bit more hot pepper.

    • Chris

      5 stars
      Use Spicy V8 instead of water and tomato sauce (Add to your desired consistency)
      Add Rotel tomatoes and chillies at the end
      Add smoke flavor and use smoked paprika if ypu like it smokey
      Can sub corn starch to thicken if don’t have masa.

      I have also subbed grpund lamb and/or sausage at times for the meat.

  3. green purl

    5 stars
    I’ve been making Wick Fowler’s chili for 40 years. Here’s my version:

    1/2 lb ground turkey breast
    1 can red beans
    1 can black beans
    1 can Rotel
    1/2 bottle of beer
    no masa
    1/2 the red pepper packet

    I keep this in my freezer to enjoy year-round.

      • gregor

        Historically, folks here in Texas ate a bowl of beans regularly. The meat gravy was made with bean likker to top the beans as one could afford, with varying amounts or cuts used, Similar treatment is found with US-Italian Sunday Gravy, among many other examples, The facts about Texas Chili are plain, long before Texas became a State when the Spanish introduced it to San Antonio in the 17th century. It was a working-class meal.

  4. Jack

    4 stars
    I won’t get into the bean debate other than to say: In Terlingua, Texas where the World Chili Cook-off was born, they have a saying and song they sing.
    “If you know beans about chili, you know chili ain’t got no beans.”
    Thanks for the great recipes!

4.87 from 23 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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