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Five-Alarm Chili Recipe


This hearty Five-Alarm Chili is loaded with enough spice to call in the fire department. The spice comes from 5 different sources: jalapeno, chipotle in adobo, chili powder, cayenne, and ancho. That’s a whole lot of spice!

Five-Alarm Chili


I’ll admit I chickened out a little when making this recipe and toned down the quantities of spice some. The resulting chili had a complex spice flavor, but didn’t stimulate my tear ducts. Don’t get me wrong, I like my chili spicy. But the amount of spice seemed so excessive I felt a little moderation was called for.

Five-Alarm Chili is super spicy !

In addition to the spices, this chili is also flavored with beer. It’s best to go with just a plain ole beer here. I used Budweiser. A dark, strongly flavored beer could give the chili a bitter taste. Some crushed tortillas are added to the chili and they really help thicken it up and give it a corn flavored taste in much the way that adding masa does.

Five-Alarm Chili- this chili has a whole lot of spice!


Top with a little sour cream and avocado to tame the heat and you have a delicious cold weather meal. And don’t forget your side of cornbread!

Five-Alarm Chili is super spicy!


Spicy and thick Five-Alarm Chili

Five-Alarm Chili

This hearty Five-Alarm Chili is loaded with enough spice to call in the fire department. The spice comes from 5 different sources: jalapeno, chipotle in adobo, chili powder, cayenne, and ancho.
PREP: 25 minutes
COOK: 50 minutes
TOTAL: 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 2 ounces died ancho chiles stems and seeds removed and flesh torn into 1-inch pieces (4 to 6)
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup crushed corn tortilla chips
  • 1/4 cup canned chipotle chilis in adobo sauce plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce, I used about 4 peppers which almost filled up 1/4 cup measure cup and I added adobo sauce to fill the cup
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds 85% lean ground beef (I used 93% lean)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 pounds onion, I used 2 medium-sized onions, chopped fine
  • 2 jalapeno chilis, I just used 1, stemmed, seeds reserved, and minced
  • 6 cloves garlic (I used 4)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, I used 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1 1/2 cups beer (I used Budweiser)
  • 3 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed


  • Combine ancho chilis and 1 1/2 cup water in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until softened, about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Drain and discard liquid.
  • Place ancho chilis, tomatoes and their juice, remaining 2 cups water, tortilla chips, and chipotle in adobo sauce in a blender and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside.
  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a Dutch oven until oil starts to smoke. Add ground beef, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper and cook until well-browned, breaking into pieces with spoon, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain meat in a colander and set aside.
  • Heat remaining 4 teaspoons oil in Dutch oven and add onions and jalapenos with seeds. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, until onion is nicely browned. Stir in garlic, cumin, chili powder, oregano, coriander, sugar, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Pour in beer and bring to a simmer. Add in beans, ancho-tomato mixture, and beef and return to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 50 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Course: Chili

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Recipe Source: Cook’s Country August/September 2012


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36 thoughts on “Five-Alarm Chili Recipe”

  1. This chilli is delicious. I followed the recipe with the tweak of adding one additional can of crushed tomatoes. For those that prefer a more classic chilli I would recommend cutting back on the spice. It was good last night when I made it, but anticipate that it will be amazing later today once the flavors had a chance to meld.

  2. This was a delicious chili with a perfect consistency. I pretty much followed the recipe except for adding a teaspoon of cayenne pepper instead of 1/2 teaspoon and accidentally leaving the jalapeno seeds out (for two peppers, not one). I was worried towards the end that it might be too hot, but it wasn’t — it was spicy but not overly so. Definitely one that I’ll be making again.

  3. It’s not bad but not very flavourful. It may need some worstershire sauce and a tin of green chilies.

  4. In the ingredients list, it says died ancho chilies – is that supposed to say dried? Not familiar with that kind of pepper, so I wanted to check with you. Thank you! Can’t wait to try out this chili!

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