Paula Deen’s chili recipe is a hearty, flavorful dish that is perfect for feeding a crowd. With multiple layers of flavor and spice, this chili is sure to satisfy. Let’s take a closer look at how to make this delicious recipe.

The History Behind Paula Deen’s Chili Recipe

Paula Deen is the beloved queen of Southern comfort cuisine. Famous for her over-the-top recipes featuring plenty of butter, Paula Deen has published multiple cookbooks and hosted TV shows on the Food Network. Her chili recipe is a prime example of Deen’s stick-to-your-ribs style of down home cooking.

This hearty chili combines the traditional flavors of beef, beans, and chili seasonings favored in Texas and the Southwest. But Paula Deen puts her signature spin on it with a deep infusion of spices like cumin, oregano, garlic, and red pepper flakes. She emphasizes letting the chili simmer until the beef is fall-apart tender and the flavors have melded.

Paula Deen has shared this crowd-pleasing chili recipe on her shows like “Paula’s Home Cooking” and “Paula’s Party” over the years. It became a fan favorite for an easy weeknight dinner or potluck meal. The rich ingredients and hands-off simmering time makes it an ideal dish for feeding family with leftover possibilities.

This chili is a perfect representation of Deen’s cooking philosophy – take classic comfort foods and give them an over-the-top flavor punch. The familiar ingredients like ground beef, tomatoes, and beans please a crowd, while the big seasoning makes it signature Paula Deen. Chili night will never be the same after cooking up a batch of Paula’s version!

Ingredients for Paula Deen’s Chili Recipe

To make Paula Deen’s famous chili, you will need:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional for extra spice)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can beef broth
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef until browned and crumbly. Drain excess fat.

Step 2: Add the onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender.

Step 3: Stir in the crushed tomatoes, beef broth, kidney beans, and pinto beans. Bring to a boil.

Step 4: Reduce heat to low and let the chili simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

Step 5: Adjust seasoning to taste, adding more salt, pepper, or spices as desired.

Step 6: Serve warm with desired toppings such as shredded cheese, sour cream, diced onion, and/or jalapeños. Enjoy!

Tips for Best Results

  • Use 80% lean ground beef for flavorful, beefy chili.
  • Make it ahead – this chili tastes even better the next day once flavors have blended.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro or green onion for a pop of color.
  • Add extra heat with a diced jalapeño or two.
  • Top with crushed tortilla chips for fun texture and crunch.
  • Serve with warm cornbread or over fritos for a satisfying meal.

Common Questions about Paula Deen’s Chili

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about this popular recipe:

What kind of beans should I use?

The original recipe calls for kidney and pinto beans, but you can easily substitute black beans, chickpeas, or your bean of choice. Just make sure to drain and rinse them before adding.

Can I make it spicier?

Absolutely! Add an extra tablespoon of chili powder, red pepper flakes, cayenne, or hot sauce to amp up the heat level. Adjust to your taste.

Can I substitute ground turkey?

Ground turkey can be used instead of ground beef for a lighter chili. Use 85% lean ground turkey and proceed with the rest of the recipe as written.

Should I thicken the chili?

The chili will thicken up as it simmers and reduces. You can add a tablespoon of masa harina or corn starch slurry at the end if you want it thicker.

Can I freeze the leftovers?

Yes, this chili freezes very well! Let it cool completely and store in airtight containers or freezer bags. It will keep for 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

Variations for Paula Deen’s Chili

This versatile chili recipe lends itself well to improvisation. Here are some variations to try:

  • Chicken Chili – Replace the ground beef with shredded chicken or chicken breast cubes.
  • Turkey Chili – Use lean ground turkey instead of beef for a lighter version.
  • Vegetarian Chili – Skip the meat entirely and double up on beans. Add extra vegetables too.
  • White Chicken Chili – Use chicken, white beans, and skip the tomatoes for a creamy white chili.
  • Cincinnati Chili – Make it sweet and spicy by adding chocolate and cinnamon. Serve over spaghetti.
  • Green Chili – Use a can of diced green chiles instead of red tomatoes for a verde version.

The basic flavor profile of chili powder, cumin, garlic, and oregano works well with any combination of beans and protein. Feel free to get creative and make this classic recipe your own!

Top 10 Tips for Paula Deen’s Perfect Chili

Here are Paula Deen’s top tips for chili success:

  1. Brown the beef well – take time to cook until nicely browned for maximum flavor.
  2. Make it ahead – like most soups and stews, chili is even better the next day once flavors meld.
  3. Go heavy on the spices – don’t be shy with seasonings, chili should be bold.
  4. Include the spices – the chili powder, cumin, and oregano add essential flavor. Don’t skip them!
  5. Simmer low and slow – let it bubble gently on low for best results.
  6. Add some heat – spice it up to your tastes with red pepper flakes, jalapeño, etc.
  7. Think garnishes – have fun customizing each bowl with toppings like cheese, onion, cilantro.
  8. Serve with cornbread – warm buttery cornbread completes this hearty meal.
  9. Make extra – chili is perfect for leftovers and freezes wonderfully.
  10. Enjoy the flavors – take time to savor the complex blend of spices in each bite.

With these pro tips, you are sure to have success making Paula Deen’s legendary chili recipe for family and friends! The medley of spices and long, slow simmer makes for the ultimate comforting chili.

How to host a Chili Party with Paula Deen’s Recipe

A chili party is the perfect way to bring people together for food, fun, and football. Paula Deen’s chili recipe is the ideal centerpiece. Here are some tips for hosting a fantastic chili bash:

Chili Bar Toppings

Set up a DIY chili topping bar so guests can customize their bowls. Provide bowls of:

  • Shredded Cheddar
  • Diced Onion
  • Chopped Jalapenos
  • Sour Cream
  • Lime Wedges
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Crushed Tortilla Chips
  • Hot Sauce


Offer sides like cornbread, chips, and dip to complement the chili. Consider festive additions like:

  • Cornbread muffins
  • Corn chips and guacamole
  • Tortilla chips and salsa
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Coleslaw or potato salad


Decorate your space with these fun touches:

  • Checkered tablecloths
  • Bandana napkins
  • Mason jar drinks
  • Chili pepper string lights
  • Cowboy hats
  • Bandana bibs


Keep guests entertained with these ideas:

  • Chili cook-off contest
  • Cornhole or ladderball
  • Football game on TV
  • Great music playlist
  • Campfire and s’mores (if outdoors)

With Paula Deen’s famous chili recipe as the star, your chili party will be a huge hit! The endless topping options and lively activities will make it a night to remember.


Paula Deen’s chili is a crowd-pleasing recipe that comes loaded with comforting flavors. The medley of spices gives it a signature taste that keeps folks coming back for more. Easy to make and fun to customize with toppings, this chili is ideal for feeding a gathering of family or friends. Just be sure to save some for leftovers! With Paula’s tips like browning the beef and simmering low and slow, you are guaranteed lip-smacking results. The next time you host a chili cookoff or football party, make sure Paula Deen’s version is simmering on the stove. Hearty, spicy and delicious – this chili delivers on all counts!

Myra Henry created the Keto Taco Salad blog to share my favorite delicious low-carb recipes without sacrificing flavor. when i started the keto diet 2 years ago, I discovered a love for making healthy Mexican dishes like keto taco salads. My blog features easy keto taco salad recipes and tips for keto success.

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