Ultimate Homemade Chili Recipe – High Protein, Healthy & Easy to Make

Ultimate Homemade Chili Recipe - High Protein, Healthy & Easy to Make

Discover the secrets to making the most flavorful, hearty Texas-style beef chili you’ve ever tasted. This recipe combines tender chunks of beef, a blend of aromatic chiles, and a perfect balance of spices for a truly unforgettable chili experience.

While we can’t claim this is the absolute best chili in the world (there’s always room for improvement!), we’re confident it’ll become your new go-to recipe. Let’s dive into the art of crafting exceptional chili, from selecting the perfect chiles to achieving that rich, complex flavor profile.

What Makes the Ultimate Chili?

The perfect bowl of chili should have:

  • A rich, complex chile flavor balancing sweet, bitter, hot, fresh, and fruity notes
  • A robust, meaty beef flavor
  • Tender, creamy beans (if you’re not making Texas-style)
  • A thick, deep-red sauce binding it all together

Mastering the Art of Chili-Making

Choosing Your Chiles

Forget the powdered spices and pre-mixed chili powders. We’re going straight to the source with real dried chiles. Here’s a quick guide to chile flavors:

  • Sweet and fresh: Costeño, New Mexico, choricero
  • Hot: Cascabel, árbol, pequin
  • Smoky: Chipotle, ñora, guajillo
  • Rich and fruity: Ancho, mulato, pasilla

Pro tip: Combine chiles from different categories for a well-rounded flavor profile.

Perfecting the Meat

We’re using bone-in short ribs for maximum flavor. The secret? Brown the meat before chopping for the best of both worlds – chunky texture and deep, browned flavor.

Beans or No Beans?

While traditional Texas chili skips the beans, we believe they add great texture and flavor. If you’re using dried beans, always salt the soaking water for tender, intact beans.

Spice it Up

Toast whole spices before grinding for maximum aroma. Our blend includes cumin, coriander, cloves, and star anise for depth and complexity.

Boosting Flavor

Unexpected ingredients like chocolate, coffee, anchovies, and Marmite add incredible depth without overpowering. A splash of vodka or bourbon at the end enhances aroma and flavor.


For the Chili:

  • 1 pound (450g) dried dark red kidney beans
  • 6 tablespoons (54g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 3 whole ancho, pasilla, or mulato chiles
  • 2 whole New Mexico red, California, costeño, or choricero chiles
  • 1 whole cascabel, árbol, or pequin chile
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (9g) whole cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (3g) whole coriander seeds
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 5 pounds (2.3kg) bone-in beef short ribs
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 quart (900ml) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ounce (30g) unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon (5g) finely ground coffee beans
  • 2 whole anchovy fillets
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) Marmite
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 fresh Thai bird chiles or 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (3g) dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (28-ounce; 794g) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vodka or bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) Buffalo-style hot sauce

For Garnish (Optional):

  • Thinly sliced scallions
  • Grated cheddar, Jack, or Colby cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Diced jalapeño or poblano peppers
  • Diced onion
  • Diced avocado
  • Saltine crackers
  • Fritos


  1. Soak beans in salted water for 8-24 hours. Drain and rinse.
  2. Toast dried chiles and spices. Grind spices and set aside.
  3. Brown short ribs in batches. Set aside to cool, then chop into 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces.
  4. Make chile purée with toasted chiles, spices, chocolate, tomato paste, coffee, anchovies, soy sauce, and Marmite.
  5. Sauté onions, garlic, fresh chiles, and oregano in beef fat.
  6. Add chile purée and cook until it starts to fry.
  7. Add broth, chopped beef, bones, bay leaves, and beans. Simmer for 1 hour.
  8. Add tomatoes and vinegar. Cook for 2-3.5 hours until meat and beans are tender.
  9. Remove bones and bay leaves. Add vodka, brown sugar, and hot sauce.
  10. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and vinegar.

Pro Tips for Chili Success

  • Toast whole dried chiles for maximum flavor
  • Brown the beef before chopping for the best texture and taste
  • Use a blend of different chile types for a complex flavor profile
  • Don’t skip the “secret” ingredients like chocolate and coffee
  • Let the chili rest overnight for even better flavor
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
673 Calories
34g Fat
48g Carbs
48g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 673
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 34g 44%
Saturated Fat 14g 69%
Cholesterol 124mg 41%
Sodium 988mg 43%
Total Carbohydrate 48g 18%
Dietary Fiber 11g 40%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 48g
Vitamin C 15mg 73%
Calcium 130mg 10%
Iron 10mg 54%
Potassium 1479mg 31%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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