The Pioneer Woman’s Simple, Perfect Chili


We have the pleasure of sharing this perfect Pioneer Woman chili recipe with you, courtesy of Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman.

From The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl

This is my go-to chili recipe for everything from Frito pies to chili fries.  It can be left very basic or made more interesting with additions like chopped onions, kidney and pinto beans, and cans of diced tomatoes and chilies.  But whatever the eventual use, I never make chili without adding a mixture of masa (used in Mexican cooking) and water.  While acting as a thickener for the chili, masa also lends a distinctive corn flavor, which gives the chili a wonderful dimension.  Make this in huge quantities and freeze smaller portions – I love having chili in the freezer.


(209 votes, average: 3.45 out of 5)
The Pioneer Woman’s Simple, Perfect Chili


  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup masa (corn flour, found in Mexican food section of many supermarkets)
  • Optional Ingredients:
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes and chilies (I use the Rotel brand)
  • For Serving:
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Chopped onion
  • Fritos


  1. Begin by measuring the spices: chopped garlic, oregano, cumin, cayenne, and chili powder.
  2. Place the ground beef in a large pot and throw in the garlic. Cook the beef until brown
  3. And unless you want to tick off your cardiologist, drain off the excess fat.
  4. Pour in the tomato sauce. Followed by the spices and the salt
  5. Stir together well, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes overly dry, add in ½ cup water at a time as needed.
  6. After an hour, place the masa in a small bowl. Add ½ cup water and stir together with a fork.
  7. Dump the masa mixture into the chili.
  8. Stir together well. Taste, adjust the seasonings, and add more masa paste and/or water to get the chili to your preferred consistency, or to add more corn flavor. Add the beans, jalapeño, and tomatoes if desired. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  9. Serve with shredded cheddar, chopped onion, and Fritos.

Yield: 6


Helpful Hint: To freeze the Pioneer Woman chili, allow it to cool completely, then place it in 1-cup portions in freezer bags. Flatten the bags for easy storage in the freezer.

Reprinted with permission from Harper Collins.

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9 Comments on "The Pioneer Woman’s Simple, Perfect Chili"

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I make a vegetarian version of this based on this recipe. Mainly due to being on a diet and having two daughters who are vegetarians. I use four 15 oz cans of beans, one 10 oz can of a Ro-Tel type product and one 15 oz can of chopped tomatoes. Peppers, onions, grated carrots and the spices mentioned. Family loves it. Oh- I also add some dried epazote to keep the gas down.


Um…. carb count? 

Lorena Marquez



My picky kids loved it. Made it exactly how it read. 2 cans of beans each. 1 can of the Rotel. So good.I Love Pioneer Woman. Recipies are easy and down to earth. :) Great learning for beginners !


I did not have masa flour, and decided to go with what someone suggested about ground corn chips….it was absolutely delicious!!! thanks!


Made this recipe exactly as it was written and it was great


This is a great chili recipe! Perfect and simple. Just som chili, onions, cheese, SOUNDS GREAT! But I may add my own touch with some Tapatio hot sauce (the best hot sauce in the market) and maybe a few crackers or tortilla chips.

Amanda K

I just wanted to say thank you for posting this.  I’ve made it several times now and I love it because it’s easy and uses ingredients I usually have on hand and it’s also delicious!  Thank you!!!


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