The Cozy Cook

The Pioneer Woman Chili

This hearty chili recipe from The Pioneer Woman has a perfect blend of seasonings, ground beef, and beans. It’s Stove Top, Crock Pot, and Instant Pot friendly and will quickly become your best chili recipe!

Be sure to check out my full collection of Pioneer Woman Recipes!

A wooden spoon scooping up chili from a cooking pot.

Homemade chili was always a struggle for me to make before I discovered this recipe. The truth is, people like their chili several different ways. To me, this is a quick and easy base that you can tweak according to who you are making it for.

My husband likes it “plain” like this. Just meat, beans, a little sauce, and this perfect seasoning combination.

Others like to doctor it up with bell peppers, onions, (even celery and mushrooms)!

How do you like your chili?!


Pioneer Woman Chili Ingredients

  • Ground Beef- 80% lean is good for chili
  • Garlic- Use fresh garlic cloves and mince them yourself for best flavor.
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Masa Harina- This helps to thicken the chili and adds a hint of corn flavor.
  • Kidney Beans
  • Pinto Beans

Common chili ingredients to add:

  • Diced Yellow Onion
  • Bell Peppers
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Jalapeno Peppers

For Serving:

  • Freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Lime Wedges
  • Crushed Tortilla Chips or Fritos
  • Diced Avocado

 

How to Make it (Stove Top Method)

Cook ground beef in a large pot, drain excess grease.

Add garlic, tomato sauce, and seasonings. Simmer for 1 hour stirring occasionally.

Ground beef in a dutch oven with seasonings being added to make chili.

Combine the masa harina with the water, then add it to the chili.

Add the beans. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add serving garnishes of choice and serve!

Pinto beans in a soup pot before and after bring mixed into a pot of chili.

Crock Pot

  • Cook ground beef in a large pot, (or stove top safe Crock Pot). Drain excess grease.
  • Add garlic, tomato sauce, and seasonings. Simmer for 1 hour.
  • Combine the masa harina with the water, then add it to the chili.
  • Add the beans. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add serving garnishes of choice and serve!

 

Instant Pot

  • Note: You’ll need more liquid for the Instant Pot version. Use 14.5 ounces of tomatoes for the Instant Pot Method, with the juice.
  • Set the Instant Pot to Sauté mode. Cook and crumble the ground beef until browned. Drain excess grease.
  • Add the garlic, tomato sauce, and seasonings.
  • Combine the masa harina with the water, then add it to the chili.
  • Add the beans.
  • Close lid and cook for 20 minutes on chili/beans setting.
  • Release the pressure, stir, and serve.

Burn Indicator: The more I use the Instant Pot, the more I realize that the burn indicator is easily triggered. As long as you try to scrape away anything that might be stuck to the bottom before you place the lid on, you don’t have to worry about the message as it will go away in a bit of time. I use a silicone spatula for this.

See recipe card at the bottom of this post for exact ingredient quantities and instructions as well.


👉 Tip: Add more masa and water as needed until desired consistency is obtained for any of the above cooking methods.

Masa Harina Substitute

  • Flour or cornmeal may be used to achieve a similar texture for the chili, but the flavor won’t be quite the same.
  • Cornstarch (mixed with equal parts water), can also but used to thicken the chili as well.

Can You Freeze Leftover Chili?

Yes. Chili is a great recipe to make in bulk and freeze for future meals.

You can thaw and reheat it in the microwave, or thaw it in the microwave and reheat on the stove top.

Storage

This chili should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

More Pioneer Woman Recipes

What to Serve with Chili

Close up view of a wooden spoon scooping chili out of a pot with melted cheese on top.

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The Pioneer Woman Chili

4.79 from 19 votes
This hearty chili recipe from The Pioneer Woman has a perfect blend of seasonings, ground beef, and beans. Make it on the Stove Top or in the Crock Pot, it will quickly become your best chili recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. ground beef, 80% lean
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup masa harina, white or yellow
  • 15 oz. kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz. pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Garnish Options

  • Shredded Cheddar
  • Lime Wedges
  • Sour Cream
  • Tortilla Chips or Fritos
  • Diced Green Onions

Instructions

Stove Top

  • Cook and crumble the ground beef in a large pot over medium heat until browned.
  • Drain excess grease.
  • Add the garlic and tomato sauce, cook for 1 minute.
  • Add seasonings: 2 TBS Chili Powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper.
  • Stir to combine. Decrease heat to low.
  • Cover and let simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Note: If the meat seems too dry after an hour, add water ½ cup of water.
  • Combine the masa harina with ½ cup water in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Add to the chili.
  • Add more masa and/or water until preferred consistency is obtained.
  • Add the drained and rinsed beans. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Serve with desired garnishes and enjoy!

Crock Pot

  • Cook and crumble the ground beef in a large pot (or stove-top safe crock pot) over medium heat until browned.
  • Drain excess grease.
  • Add the garlic and tomato sauce, cook for an additional minute.
  • Add seasonings: 2 TBS Chili Powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper.
  • Stir to combine. Transfer to the Crock Pot.
  • Combine the masa harina with ½ cup water in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Stir in the masa mixture into the Crock Pot. Add the beans and stir gently to combine.
  • Heat on low for 4 hours, or all day!
  • At any point you can add more masa and/or water until preferred consistency is obtained.

Instant Pot

  • Note: For the Instant Pot Method, use 14.5 ounces of diced tomatoes with the juice.
  • Set the Instant Pot to Sauté mode. Cook and crumble the ground beef until browned. Drain excess grease.
  • Add the garlic and tomato sauce, cook for an additional minute.
  • Add seasonings: 2 TBS Chili Powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper.
  • Combine the masa harina with ½ cup water in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Add the masa mixture and the kidney/pinto beans to the Crock Pot and stir gently to combine.
  • Optional: Add additional water and/or masa mixture to achieve preferred consistency.
  • Close the lid and ensure the pressure valve is shut. Set the Instant Pot to the Chili/Beans setting and heat for 20 minutes.
  • Flip the quick release valve or let the steam escape naturally. Serve with preferred garnishes!

Video

Notes

Masa Harina Substitute

  • Flour or cornmeal may be used to achieve a similar texture for the chili, but the flavor won't be quite the same.
  • Cornstarch (mixed with equal parts water), can also but used to thicken the chili as well.

Nutrition

Calories: 613kcal, Carbohydrates: 42g, Protein: 40g, Fat: 32g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 107mg, Sodium: 734mg, Potassium: 1198mg, Fiber: 14g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 999IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 110mg, Iron: 8mg

Recipe Source: The Food Network

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61 comments on “The Pioneer Woman Chili”

  1. Am I missing something? What liquid, beyond 8 oz of tomato sauce, is there for an hour’s worth of simmering?

    • Hi Julia! The Pioneer Woman doesn’t use any additional liquid before simmering, but you are welcome to add more tomato sauce. It’s also noted that you can add 1/2 cup of water to the meat after the hour is finished if additional moisture is preferred. And finally, you’ll combine masa harina with 1/2 cup of water, which adds more liquid at that point. From there, you can add more masa/water until your desired consistency is preferred. This is an easy recipe to make your own- feel free to add more sauce at any point! -Stephanie 🙂

  2. LOVED IT, I LIKE THE FACT THAT THE MASA HARINA THICKENS THE CHILI AND GIVES IT A NICE CORN FLAVOR WITHOUT THE ACTUAL CORN KERNELS. WILL DEFINATELY MAKE AGAIN.

    • Hey Jennifer! I’m so happy to hear that! We absolutely love this too, and it’s so fun to use it as a base and add things to it as you feel like! 🙂 Thank you so much for the review! -Stephanie

  3. Big fan, love, love what you do! I’ve used tortillas as a substitute – even crushed bagged chips. I’ve also borrowed from a tortilla soup recipe, where the tortillas are quickly browned in hot oil, then shredded and added to the chili.

  4. Oh man ! Way to spicy for me! Although I didn’t have the masa harina on hand. Maybe that was it ?

    • Hi Janet, there is a lot of chili powder in this recipe so that could be it, although we never find it to be spicy so I’m not quite sure! (You didn’t use cayenne instead of chili powder by any chance, did you? That would make it REALLY spicy!)

  5. This was a great recipe.  I didn’t have tomato sauce on hand so I used tomato paste and a can (tomato paste can) full of water.   I also unintentionally let it cook too quickly so I had to add some water and decided to add some Worcestershire sauce too.  We like onions in our family so I added onions (1/2 medium onion) and 5 of the little yellow & orange peppers because that’s what I had on hand.  I also goofed and forgot to add the garlic in at the right time.  I put it in after it had simmered.  It turned out great.  My husband who doesn’t usually comment unless asked, raved about it without asking.  🙂

    • Sounds like you pulled it off Lynette, great job!😀 People have such specific taste when it comes to chili. I like how you can customize it however you want. My husband usually adds his favorite hot sauce!

  6. As is (no adjustments except for adding a bit of liquid for consistency) this was a hit with my family. My son dislikes “foreign substances” in his food…onions, bell peppers, etc, so he loved it and everyone else did not mind the simplicity. The masa harina is a terrific ingredient. I’ve made it twice now, and today I am making it again but omitting the beans. (Because I am being lazy and don’t want to go to the store!) 

  7. I made this about a month or so ago and my husband loved it and said it was definitely a keeper. I currently have a pot on the stove for dinner tonight. Thanks for a great recipe!

    • I’m so glad you guys are liking the Chili! My husband is pretty picky when it comes to chili and he loves this one. He adds some hot sauce to it since he likes it a little extra hot. Thanks so much for the review!😍

  8. Hi. What would you say is a serving size? Love this meal! Thank you for the recipe! 

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