Savor the Flavor: Carroll Shelby’s Chili Recipe

Picture this: it’s a chilly day, your stomach is grumbling, and you’re craving something hearty and flavorful to warm you up. What comes to mind? For me, it’s chili, of course! But not just any chili – we’re talking about the legendary Carroll Shelby Chili.

Carroll Shelby may be best known for his automotive achievements, but to foodies in the know, he’s just as famous for his world-renowned chili recipe. This bold and spicy dish has been satisfying hungry crowds for decades, and today I’m going to show you how to make it yourself.

Get ready to experience the original Texas-style chili that put Carroll Shelby on the culinary map. With a blend of savory spices, tender beef, and just the right amount of heat, this recipe is sure to become a household favorite. So let’s dive in!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Carroll Shelby's Chili
Carroll Shelby’s Chili

Get ready to fall in love with the ultimate comfort food: Carroll Shelby’s Chili Recipe. This recipe has been around for over forty years, and for good reason. It’s a game-changer!

First of all, this chili mix is the brainchild of the legendary Carroll Shelby, who was known for his passion for cars and food. He wanted to create a recipe that was easy to make, but packed with flavor.

The ingredients list is simple, but the results are anything but. From tender beef chuck and round steak to aromatic onions and garlic cloves, every ingredient comes together to create a mouth-watering masterpiece.

One of the key spices in this recipe is cayenne pepper, which gives the chili just the right amount of heat without being overpowering. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, don’t worry; simply omit the cayenne to “fix mild” as recommended by Carroll Shelby himself.

To top it all off, this recipe calls for shredded Monterey Jack cheese; trust me when I say there’s nothing quite like warm melted cheese on top of a piping hot bowl of chili.

Carroll Shelby’s Chili Recipe isn’t just any old recipe; it’s an original Texas classic that has stood the test of time. So why will you love this recipe? Because it’s simple, delicious and perfect for those cool winter nights when you just want to cozy up with something hearty and comforting.

Ingredient List

 This chili is on fire! πŸ”₯🌢️
This chili is on fire! πŸ”₯🌢️

Let me take you through the Ingredient List to make Carroll Shelby’s famous chili. To make this chili recipe, you will need ingredients like ground beef, beef round steak, onion, garlic cloves, red chili peppers, beer, tomato sauce, and spices such as dried oregano, salt, ground cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper. Here’s a detailed list of each ingredient with its quantity to help you plan your grocery shopping:

  • 1 lb beef chuck
  • 2 lbs beef round steak (coarse chili grind)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 green pepper chopped
  • 1 can (15 oz) pinto beans (optional)

For the Spice Mix:

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the Meat:

  • 4 ounces suet OR 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • water as needed

The above measurements are enough to serve six people. However, if you want more servings for a larger group of people or if you want leftovers for later use, adjust the amount of ingredients accordingly.

The Recipe How-To

Here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. The Carroll Shelby’s Chili Recipe brings together a fusion of spices and meats that will leave your taste buds grateful for such a dish.

Step 1: Prep the Ingredients

To start, get your ingredients measured, chopped and prepared – trust me, it makes the process smoother. Thinly slice 1 onion and mince 2 garlic cloves. If using fresh red chili peppers, chop them finely, removing as many seeds as possible. Cut 2 lbs of beef into small bite-sized pieces of chuck and beef round steak.

Step 2: Brown and Drain the Meat

Using a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat, brown your diced meat in suet or cooking oil until the it’s well-browned all over its surface. Once the beef is fully cooked through, remove from heat to drain off any excess fat using a colander.

Step 3: Spice Things Up

Return the pot to medium-high heat and add the chopped onions and garlic cloves to it; cook until they are tender or for about 2-3 minutes. Mix in your bottles of tomato sauce and Carroll Shelby’s Chili Kit spice pack with their respective water cups; stir all together with the onions and garlic mixture so that every part gets coated with that immensely delicious sauce.

Step 4: Let it Simmer and Stir

Adjust the temperature to low heat then add the meat, green pepper, diced tomatoes with their juice, cumin powder, oregano flakes, paprika, chili powder, salt to taste, and cayenne powder at spice levels that fit your palate. You can also add some beer for extra flavor induced via sips! Gently stir everything together before covering the pot with a lid then steep for an hour or so.

Step 5: Serve with Joy

Once the hour has passed (or longer!), it’s time to joyously serve up this masterpiece by adding monterey jack cheese on top if desired – perfectoo! Voila! Your delicious Texas-style Carroll Shelby Chili is ready to devour!

Substitutions and Variations

 Can you smell what's cookin'? 🀀
Can you smell what’s cookin’? 🀀

Looking to mix things up a bit when it comes to your Shelby chili recipe? Fear not, adventurous culinary enthusiasts! There are a plethora of substitutions and variations that can help you tailor this recipe to your exact tastes.

Firstly, if you’re not a fan of cayenne pepper, feel free to omit it from the recipe entirely. This will dial back the heat factor considerably, making for a milder meal that’s perfect for those who can’t handle too much spice.

Additionally, if you’re looking to switch up the meats in this recipe, consider substituting the beef chuck and beef round steak with a chuck roast instead. This cut of meat has amazing flavor and will add a unique twist to your chili that’s sure to impress.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, why not try experimenting with different types of beans? Traditional Shelby chili recipes call for kidney beans, but feel free to sub them out for black beans or pinto beans for a tasty variation.

And lastly, when it comes to toppings, the sky is truly the limit! While traditional toppings like sour cream and shredded cheese pair perfectly with this dish, don’t be afraid to get creative. Try garnishing your chili with diced avocado, green onions, or even a dollop of guacamole for an extra kick of flavor.

Remember – cooking is all about experimenting and finding what works best for you. So don’t be afraid to take creative liberties when crafting your perfect bowl of Shelby chili.

Serving and Pairing

 Get ready to satisfy your taste buds! 🀩
Get ready to satisfy your taste buds! 🀩

The rich flavors of Carroll Shelby’s chili are perfectly complemented by a variety of toppings and sides. When serving the chili, consider topping it off with some shredded Monterey Jack cheese or a dollop of sour cream. These creamy additions balance out the spiciness of the chili and add a welcome cooling effect.

To take it further, why not try pairing this recipe with a cold beer? Carroll Shelby himself recommends drinking beer with his chili to enhance the flavors. Choose a lager or pale ale to bring out the smoky meatiness of the chili.

If you’re looking for something more substantial, serve this chili over rice, spaghetti, or even baked potatoes. The hearty consistency of the chili easily transforms into a delicious meal on its own, but when paired with one of these bases, it takes on a whole new dimension. The silky texture of spaghetti or fluffy baked potatoes create an interesting textural contrast with the robustness of this iconic dish.

No matter how you choose to serve it, Carroll Shelby’s Chili Recipe is a showstopper that will delight your taste buds every time. Grab your favorite beverage and dig in – you won’t be disappointed.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Chili is not just for winter! 🌞
Chili is not just for winter! 🌞

Listen up, amigos! I know you want to savor every last bit of that Shelby Chili goodness, so listen to my advice on how to store and reheat this masterpiece.

If you’ve got any leftovers (which, let’s be honest, is highly unlikely), allow the chili to cool completely before transferring it into an airtight container. With proper storage, your leftover Shelby Chili can stay good for up to three days in the refrigerator.

But wait, there’s more! If you’re anything like me, you want your food to be just as tasty the next time around. To reheat your hubby’s delicious chili (that is, if there’s even any left), simply ladle out the desired amount into a small pot and heat it over medium heat. You could also pop it in the microwave if you’re lacking patience or simply starving!

You may also freeze any leftovers for later use or store individual servings in freezer-safe containers for quick and easy meals. Before serving again, be sure to thaw the chili in the refrigerator overnight and then heat as directed. Trust me when I say it’ll still taste just as good as when it was newly made.

So don’t fret over too much leftover Shelby Chili- store it properly with my tips and enjoy it even better the next time around.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Here's a bowl that will warm both your heart and soul. ❀️
Here’s a bowl that will warm both your heart and soul. ❀️

Now that you are familiar with the ingredients and steps to make Carroll Shelby’s Chili Recipe, it’s time to spice things up with some tips for perfect results. Follow these recommendations to achieve a lip-smacking chili that can satisfy any cravings.

1. Don’t be scared of cumin: Cumin is the key flavor ingredient in this chili recipe, so don’t skimp on it. In fact, ground cumin can turn an average chili into an incredible one.

2. Heat balance matters: Adjust the chili’s spiciness according to your taste buds. If you like it mild, reduce cayenne pepper or omit it entirely. But if you enjoy an extra kick, add more red chili peppers and cayenne pepper.

3. Brown beef right: When browning the beef, give it enough space in the pan so that it can get nicely browned without steaming. This step will lock in all those mouthwatering beef flavors in the dish.

4. Melt cheese like a pro: Want to know how to get a luscious blanket of melted Monterey Jack cheese over your chili? Place shredded cheese on top of a bowl of hot chili and let it sit until the cheese ends up melting beautifully.

5. Seeking thickness? Simmer longer: One way to achieve a thicker chili is by letting it simmer longer than what the recipe indicates. The result will be a rich and hearty stew-like consistency.

6. Use homemade spice mix: While buying a pre-made spice packet may save you time initially, using homemade spice mix leads to better tasting chilies in most cases.

By following these tips and techniques, you can make Carroll Shelby’s Chili Recipe with minimum effort and maximum flavor. With this flavorful dish on hand for weeknight dinners or game-watching parties, you’ll never have to reach for another classic chili recipe again!


Now that we have gone through the entire recipe, you might still have some questions regarding Carroll Shelby’s Chili Recipe. Don’t worry! In this section, I will address some of the most commonly asked questions and provide you with detailed answers that will help you master this recipe like a pro. So, let’s dive into the FAQs, and hopefully, all your curiosities will be satisfied.

What’s in Carroll Shelby’s chili mix?

For this recipe, we are going to need a few essential ingredients such as corn masa flour, ground chili peppers, salt, garlic, cumin, oregano, onion, paprika and cayenne pepper. These ingredients are vital as they create the base of flavor for this recipe, hence must be used in adequate quantities.

Did Carroll Shelby make chili?

Shelby had a passion for chili that went beyond his love for cars. He was the mastermind behind the first ever chili cookoff in the abandoned town of Terlingua, Texas. His love for this spicy dish spurred him to create Carroll Shelby’s Original Texas Brand, which still sells his signature chili spice kits today.

What was in original chili?

According to Valdez, the first chili version consisted of horse or deer meat, chile peppers, and cornmeal harvested from small crops. Interestingly, he emphasized the absence of beans in the original recipe. Food historians, including renowned chili specialist Frank X, back this up.

How do you make chili chef John?

For this recipe, you will need a cup of dried kidney beans that have been soaked overnight in water. In addition, you will need four cups of water, one pound of ground beef, two merguez sausages or spicy Italian sausages, two teaspoons of salt, half a teaspoon of freshly ground pepper, two tablespoons of olive oil, and about one and a half cups of yellow onions, which should be roughly two medium-sized onions.

Bottom Line

Carroll Shelby’s chili recipe is a true masterpiece that never fails to impress anyone who tries it. The layers of flavors in this recipe are simply out of this world. The combination of spices, cumin, paprika, and dried oregano are just perfect. The heat from the red chili peppers and cayenne pepper makes this dish even more exciting.

If you are looking for a way to satisfy your cravings for a hearty, spicy meal, then look no further than Carroll Shelby’s chili recipe. It’s perfect for family dinners or potlucks, parties or tailgates – any occasion really. It’s easy to make and quite forgiving when it comes to substitutions and variations.

In conclusion, I highly recommend that you try Carroll Shelby’s chili recipe as soon as possible. It’s packed full of delicious ingredients that will have your taste buds singing with delight. Don’t wait any longer; grab your ingredients today and start making your own Shelby chili!

Carroll Shelby's Chili

Carroll Shelby’s Chili Recipe

This recipe comes from Jane Butel's Chili Madness cookbook. I tried several of her recipes, but after I tried this one, I didn't make another, because this was SO good!! The cheese is the secret ingredient--it gives it such a smooth, rich flavor.
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Tex-Mex
Calories 1122.8 kcal


  • 1/4 lb suet or 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 1 lb beef round steak, coarse chili grind
  • 1 lb beef chuck, coarse chili grind
  • 8 ounces can tomato sauce
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red chili peppers
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 lb monterey jack cheese, grated


  • Melt suet or heat the oil in a heavy 3-quart (or larger) pot over medium-high heat.
  • Remove the unrendered suet and crumble meat into the pot. Break up any lumps with a fork and cook, stirring occasionally. until meat is evenly browned.
  • Add tomato sauce, beer, crushed red chile, garlic, onion, oregano, paprika, 1 teaspoons of the cumin, and salt. Stir to blend and bring to a boil.
  • Lower heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings, adding cayenne pepper.
  • Simmer uncovered 1 hour longer.
  • Stir in the cheese and the remaining 1/2 teaspoons cumin.
  • Simmer 1/2 hour longer, stirring often to keep cheese from burning.
  • I serve the chili with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese to garnish, and warm cornbread on the side.
  • The cookbook actually called for 1/4 cup of crushed red chile pepper, but unless you have a taste for fire, use less! I use half that amount, and I really like hot food.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 267gCalories: 1122.8kcalCarbohydrates: 11.4gProtein: 68.3gFat: 85.8gSaturated Fat: 44.4gCholesterol: 242.7mgSodium: 1615.3mgFiber: 1.5gSugar: 3.9g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Meat, One-Dish Meal, Southwestern, Spicy, Tex-Mex, Very Low Carbs
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