How 9 celebrity chefs make chili

Summary List PlacementChili is the perfect comfort food to make during the winter because it requires relatively little effort while yielding generous portions.  After doing the initial prep, you can let it cook low and slow throughout the day, especially if you're working from home. Even better, the staple ingredients...

emeril lagasse

Summary List Placement

Chili is the perfect comfort food to make during the winter because it requires relatively little effort while yielding generous portions. 

After doing the initial prep, you can let it cook low and slow throughout the day, especially if you’re working from home. Even better, the staple ingredients for good chili are things almost everyone has in their pantry or freezer. 

Chili con carne is believed to hail from the Southwest, although there’s some debate over exactly when and where. According to Robb Walsh, the author of “The Chili Cookbook: A History of the One-Pot Classic,” America got to know and love the dish thanks to “chili queens” who sold it from stands in San Antonio’s Military Plaza in the 1860s. However, Walsh writes in his book, the cumin-heavy spice mix “was probably introduced by immigrants from the Canary Islands in the early 1700s.”

All of the recipes on this list are variations of this chili, although — warning — some do contain beans, a big no-no in the Lone Star State. Famous chefs like Emeril Lagasse and Martha Stewart all have their own tricks for making the perfect bowl. 

Keep reading to see how 8 celebrity chefs — plus Jimmy Fallon — make their signature chili. 

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Guy Fieri is just one celebrity chef who uses beer in his chili recipe.

A combination of six chili and sweet peppers gives Fieri’s Texas chili its bold flavor. True to Texas-style chili, Fieri uses cubed pieces of chuck in addition to the traditional ground beef to give the dish some extra protein, and he ties the mixture together with a bottle of beer (preferably an amber) and masa harina.

Fieri suggests finishing the chili off with a drizzle of beer cheese — the recipe for which is also included in the link below. 

See the recipe here »

Bobby Flay takes his chili to the next level with a cumin crema and an avocado relish.

Flay opts for cubed instead of ground beef altogether. Like many others on this list, he uses a dark beer to create his sauce, but he also uses chicken stock and sweetens it with honey.

Pair the chili with Flay’s cumin crema and avocado relish (recipes included), and it will look like it came from a professional kitchen, not your own. 

See the recipe here »

Martha Stewart uses dried beans for her slow-cooker chili.

The debate over whether chili should even contain beans has long raged on, but Martha Stewart doesn’t shy away from using them.

Her recipe instructs you to cut up your beef into small cubes and throw it into the cooker with a diced red onion, two minced cloves of garlic, a can of tomato puree, dried (and rinsed) black beans, and chili powder and let it cook for six hours on high (or eight hours on low). Serve it with some of the diced red onions and sour cream.

See the recipe here »

Anne Burrell’s vegetarian bean chili is perfect for clearing out the pantry and fridge.

Burrell intentionally made this recipe easy for pandemic at-home cooking. And once again, this one features beans.

The recipe calls for whatever beans you have tucked away in the cupboards (garbanzo, kidney, chili, you name it), along with celery, peppers, and an onion. Toss those into a pot with your canned tomatoes, frozen corn, and spices, and 45 minutes later you’ll be set.

The best part is the recipe yields a lot of chili, so it’s perfect for freezing and reheating on a cold day. 

See the recipe here »

Emeril Lagasse substitutes beef with ground turkey and hot Italian sausages in his chili.

The first step in making Emeril Lagasse’s chili is browning the turkey and sausages before adding in his onion, bell peppers, and chili peppers so they can absorb the meat’s flavor. Beer and chopped tomatoes make up the dish’s sauce while an array of spices give this chili its intense flavor.

Lagasse suggests topping the chili with shredded Monterey Jack cheese and a side of tortilla strips. 

See the recipe here »

Instead of canned tomatoes, Ree Drummond relies on tomato sauce and masa harina for her chili base.

The Pioneer Woman describes this chili as “a total cinch to make.”

After browning ground beef with minced garlic, pour in your tomato sauce, spice mixture, and beans and simmer. Drummond finishes the chili by thickening it with some water and masa harina.

See the recipe here »

Ina Garten tosses ground turkey and beef to the side in favor of chicken for her chili.

There are really only three steps to Ina Garten’s chicken chili.

First, saute your veggies with the spice mixture, then add crushed tomatoes and set to simmer. Dress a chicken with olive oil, salt, and pepper and throw it in the oven to roast. Then pull the chicken off the bone and mix it all together.

See the recipe here »

Geoffrey Zakarian uses green and red hot sauce in his chili for a flavor boost.

Geoffrey Zakarian suggests browning your ground meat of choice first then reducing the heat and adding your veggies. Then throw in your tomato paste, beer (he recommends a Dos Equis), hot sauces, and spices, and let the mixture cook until it’s thick, which takes about 1.5 hours.

The fun part is topping your chili with all sorts of goodies — Zakarian recommends scallions, creme fraiche, sliced jalapenos, fresh cilantro leaves, diced tomatoes, sliced cherry peppers, and shredded Monterey Jack and shredded cheddar cheeses. 

See the recipe here »

Back in 2009, Jimmy Fallon showed Martha Stewart his Crock-Pot chili skills.

Although it’s a Crock-Pot recipe, Fallon starts cooking the dish on the stovetop.

After browning the ground beef and sauteeing the veggies, throw them in the Crock-Pot with the required spices and beer, and let the pot do its magic for five hours. Then just add your beans and seasonings, cook for 30 more minutes, and you’ll be ready to serve. 

See the recipe here »

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