No-Bean Texas Chili With Beef

Hearty Beef Chili. Annabelle Breakey/Digital Vision/Getty Images
  • Total: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 2 hrs 10 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 8 Servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
533 Calories
26g Fat
22g Carbs
53g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8 Servings
Amount per serving
Calories 533
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g 33%
Saturated Fat 8g 39%
Cholesterol 152mg 51%
Sodium 1277mg 56%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Protein 53g
Calcium 107mg 8%
*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.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This no-bean, no-tomato chili is a Texas-style chili made with coarsely ground beef and a wide variety of spices and seasonings. The great Texas flavor comes from the chili powder, garlic, bay leaves, and cumin. Cornmeal thickens this hearty, delicious chili. If you can't find coarsely ground beef, you can either use a meat grinder and grind lean stewing beef or mince the beef into very small cubes by hand.

For additional flavor and texture, use 1 pound of ground pork shoulder with 2 pounds of ground beef. And if you like more heat, add a tablespoon or two of fresh minced jalapeno pepper or a minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce with a few teaspoons of the adobo. While the chili is a simple combination of meat, onions, and seasonings, other vegetables may be added. Small chopped bell pepper or a shredded carrot are a few possibilities for extra flavor and nutrients.

For optimal flavor, refrigerate the chili overnight and skim the fat off before reheating it. Even if you can't make the chili in advance, it will still be great. Try to skim off the excess fat before you add the cornmeal thickener.

Add a tossed salad and cornbread or crusty bread for a fabulous meal.


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds lean beef (coarsely ground)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 5 cups water (or unsalted beef stock)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 8 to 10 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves (crushed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 4 tablespoons cold water (or more as needed to make a smooth paste )

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a 6-quart saucepan or Dutch oven; sear beef with onion in vegetable oil until beef is no longer pink. Add water, bay leaves, chili powder, salt, garlic, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, black pepper, sugar, and paprika. Simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Cool completely.

  2. Refrigerate overnight so flavors will mellow. Skim off the solidified fat. Reheat over medium heat.

  3. Combine flour and cornmeal; add enough cold water to make a smooth paste-like mixture. Add the cornmeal and flour paste mixture to chili.

  4. Continue cooking, stirring, for about 6 to 8 minutes longer. Remove bay leaves and serve.

Recipe Tip

Use dried bay leaves in this recipe

  • While fresh is often better when it comes to herbs, bay leaves are one of the few exceptions
  • Dried bay leaves are usually imported, while most fresh bay leaves in the U.S. come from California, and they come from a different tree
  • Fresh bay leaves have a strong medicinal flavor which can dominate a dish, while dried bay leaves impart a mild-yet-complex flavor in long-simmered dishes.
  • If you buy bay leaves in bulk, store them in the freezer

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