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+ servings

Real Texas Chili (with slow cooker + Instant Pot options)

My family's favorite chili recipe! I prefer the stovetop method, but I've included slow cooker and Instant Pot instructions in the Notes section.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword American Chili, Easy Chili Recipe, Texas Chili
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 8 servings


  • 2 Tbsp pastured tallow (lard or heat stable oil would also work)
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 2 bell peppers any color, stem and seeds removed, chopped
  • 2 pounds pastured ground beef
  • 1 14-16 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup or organic granulated sugar use more/less to your liking
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 scant tsp black pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 can or 2 cups cooked dark red kidney beans (could also use pinto or red beans)
  • Sour cream, shredded cheddar, and sliced green onions for serving


  • Melt the tallow over medium high heat, then saute onions and bell pepper for a few minutes. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally until just browned (I don't drain the fat, but you can if you prefer)
  • Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and water, and simmer for about an hour.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer for another 30-45 minutes. (This is a great time to put a batch of homemade cornbread in the oven!)
  • To serve, top each bowl with shredded cheddar, sour cream, and sliced green onions, and add a slice of cornbread on the side.


Tips for Making Real Texas Chili

  • I don't use cornmeal or masa to thicken my chili, but you could easily add either of these or a little arrowroot powder toward the end of the cooking if you'd like.
  • If you're pressed for time, you can cut the total (stovetop) cooking time in half. It won't have the same depth of flavor, but it will still be good.
  • Leftovers can be frozen or stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

How to Make Real Texas Chili in the Slow Cooker

  • Place all ingredients (except sour cream, cheddar, and green onion for serving) in the slow cooker and cook on low setting for 6-8 hours. 
  • Top with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and green onions just before serving. 

How to Make Real Texas Chili in the Instant Pot

  • Use "High Saute" setting to melt tallow, then cook onion, bell pepper, and beef until beef is no longer pink.
  • Add remaining ingredients (except sour cream, cheddar, and green onion for serving), cover with lid, set to "Sealing," then cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.
  • When timer beeps, quick release manually per manufacturer's instructions. 
  • Top with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and green onions just before serving.