Daddy’s Chili

I made a batch of daddy’s chili last night. I hadn’t made it in years, but it was every bit as good as I remembered. I ate a lot of his chili when I was growing up. It was one of the few dinners he cooked – and definitely the most requested.

Unlike Mamaw, daddy didn’t have recipes. He winged everything. Nothing he ever made tasted the same twice. Every once in a while, he threw in random ingredients like corn or sausage. He couldn’t stand for things to be the same all the time. Daddy was chaotic – change was his comfort zone.

Like daddy, his chili was both fiery and comforting. By the time I was 16, I had memorized the basics of his chili recipe. You’ll find it below. I hope y’all enjoy it as much as I have over the years!

Daddy’s Chili Recipe


  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion – diced
  • 1 red bell pepper – diced
  • 1 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 1 ib. of ground beef
  • 2 McCormick Chili Seasoning packets
  • 2 T. Italian seasoning
  • 1 T. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 T. Texas Pete
  • 1 tsp. Better Than Bouillon – Beef
  • 1 can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of chili beans
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 16 oz. water


  1. Add the olive oil, onion, crushed garlic, and bell pepper to a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add ground beef to the pot. Break it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook for 6-7 minutes, until done, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add McCormick seasoning packets and other dry ingredients. Stir until well combined.
  4. Add the Texas Pete, Better than Bouillon, tomatoes (with their juice), drained beans, tomato paste, and water. Stir well.
  5. Bring the chili to a low boil. Then, reduce the heat (low to medium-low) to gently simmer the chili, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat. Let the chili rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.


  • I don’t like super thick chili – so you may want to play with the amount of water in the recipe to reach the consistency you prefer.
  • Don’t be scared to throw in some sausage, corn, or mushrooms. Sometimes change is nice. 😉
  • You can make a mild version by leaving out the Texas Pete, red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper.
  • Try various toppings. Onions, green onions, oyster crackers, sour cream, croutons, Fritos, and shredded cheese are all great options.
  • Chili goes great with cornbread!

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