Dad’s Spicy Chili

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I’ve shared a few of my dad’s recipes on our blog before-his Cinnamon Rolls and Frozen Cookies are two of my all-time favorite recipes. My dad can also make a mean pot of chili. When we went to Illinois, my dad taught Josh how to make his famous chili. Josh loves it and so does the rest of my family. My dad’s chili is hearty, spicy, and full of meat. My dad calls it the “all meat, all the time” chili. So meat lovers, get your chili bowls ready, you are going to love my Dad’s Spicy Chili.

My dad has been making his famous chili for as long as I can remember. When we have get togethers in the winter months, my dad’s chili is often on the menu. Everyone wants “Parry’s Chili.” He usually makes it with half Italian sausage and half hamburger meat, but since Josh isn’t a hamburger fan, he used all Italian sausage this time around. My dad says it’s good either way. The jalapeños give the chili a nice kick. If you aren’t a fan of spicy, you can leave the jalapeños out, but my dad likes spicy chili.

My dad says the key to his chili is lots of chili powder and cumin…also known as the smelly armpit stuff. My dad thinks cumin smells like smelly armpits. I don’t know where he got that comparison, but it’s become a family joke.  I don’t know why he would want to add it to his chili, but he says lots of cumin is important. I guess he likes smelly armpits:) My dad also eats his chili with lots of saltine crackers and a big pat of butter. We all make fun of him for adding butter to his chili, but he does it every time.

If you are looking for a new chili recipe to try this winter, try my Dad’s Spicy Chili recipe. Josh made it for a chili cook-off and won! Thanks Dad for sharing your famous Spicy Chili recipe. Family recipes are the best!

Dad’s Spicy Chili

My dad’s spicy chili is a family favorite! We hope you enjoy it too!
4.67 from 21 votes


  • 1 1/2 bags 24 ounces of dry small red beans
  • 2 lbs. Italian sausage or 1 lb. Italian sausage and 1 lb. ground hamburger
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 16 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/3 cup tamed jalapeño slices drained (they are in a jar)


  • Soak beans in large pot overnight. When ready to cook the chili, add the diced onion, bay leaves and salt to the beans and boil until the beans are soft. Pour out excess water until the water and bean levels are the same.
  • Brown the meat in a large skillet. In a separate large pan, make the sauce. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, sugar, black pepper, red pepper, and jalapeños. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add meat and sauce to the pot of beans and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve chili warm.
  • Note-you can adjust the seasonings to your likings. My dad likes it spicy! Also feel free to add your favorite chili toppings-cheese, crackers, green onion, sour cream, or butter-like my dad:) It is also great with cornbread.

Have you tried this recipe?

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. haha cumin does smell funny. I agree with your Dad that you have to go heavy on the chili powder and cumin to get a good chili. Yum!

  2. Even though it’s 70 degrees where I live, I seriously cannot wait to try this chili! Maybe if I make it it’ll automatically get colder like December should be..

  3. Your Dad’s Spicy Chili looks great! I don’t know what it is with men and chili, but it’s one recipe they can do right!!!

  4. Thanks for solving my “what am I going to make for dinner tonight” dilemma. It will be chili – I always top mine with sour cream, grated cheddar and green onions.

  5. Oh my goodness! I love chili! I can’t wait to try it. If you ever want to try a flavor explosion, make the Stretch (a local favorite). It’s a layer of kartoffelpuffer (German hash browns), a layer of chili, and a layer of eggs (scrambled, sunny side up, whatever!) all topped with shredded cheese and diced onions. Delicious!

  6. I actually love my dad’s recipe too, and his has won chili contests every year! Both that I have entered and that he has. I love family recipes.

  7. Looks like a great chili recipe. I love chili. Would substituting canned kidney beans be a problem? Also, TOO FUNNY about your dad putting butter in his chili, MY dad does the same thing. Never understood it… must be a guy thing. LOL

  8. This looks delicious, I’ve never seen fresh jalapenos added to chili and think it would make a nice addition to dried chili powder. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Maria – sounds like a great chili recipe! Love that you partnered for this giveaway – as a survivor, I know how important it is to know your family history / genetic factors.

  10. Ha! I never realized the cumin smells like a smelly armpit. When I get back home, I’m gonna have to sniff some and then make some of this amazing looking chili. Do you happen to have a good cornbread recipe to go along with it?

  11. I clicked HERE and it took me to the Two Peas and a Pod facebook page but I didn’t see directions there for entering the contest for the mixer. Help please:)

  12. You said meat lovers and … well… it’s like magic words! I’m here! I’ll definitely try making that chili! 🙂

  13. I love chili and just made a pot last night. I will definitely be trying your dad’s recipe soon too! And the mixer…love! need! staple!

  14. Cade loves chili, but I tend to shy away because of how spicy it is. I’ll totally make this for Cade and he will be so very surprised.

  15. I’ve never had sausage in chili, but it sounds amazing. And I am a fan of spicy so this sounds right up my alley 🙂

  16. YUM! I cannot wait to make this. Perfect for the cold weather.
    I am having trouble on the Facebook pages. I liked the pages, but cannot move to step 2. I really want to enter the contest! : ) Help!

  17. Love chili…especially when it’s spicy! I must admit that I agree with your dad about cumin….glad it’s not just me 🙂

  18. So cute to post your dads recipes- actually so cute that your dad cooks! (mine does not- well just waffles) This looks like total man chili- my husband would love it!

  19. I’m vegetarian now, but even with veggie chili the key is LOTS of chili powder and cumin. Father knows best 😉

  20. ok, fb directed me here… So… Please enter me for the Kitchenaid, with that, I could whip up my familys pudding candy! And my birthday is 19 Dec… seriously.

  21. I’m not a facebook girl. 🙁

    anyway to get around the facebook requirement?

    Love this shade of blue. I have the mixer on my Christmas list. I’ll have to make sure Santa knows it comes in this color!! 🙂

  22. It’s soo chili weather, isn’t it? I just made a bunch of Turkey Chili over the weekend and have been digging into it with abandon!

  23. I’ve got to try this recipe…huge fan of chili powder/cumin combo. I love family recipes, your dad just seems so awesome. And the pat of butter, I’ll have to try that. 😉

  24. Perfect timing with this recipe! I’ve been craving chili and this looks like a total winner… for some reason men make the BEST chili!

  25. I have been looking for a new chili recipe, and I will definitely try this one!! I just made one with cinnamon for a chili cookoff and although I didn’t lose, it wasn’t good 🙂 Too much cinnamon! I better stick to traditional- it’s what all my troops love 🙂

  26. I can’t wait to try this. I love chili and spicy too! I have not tried sausauge in it, so that will be cool. I am wondering if hot italian sausauge would be good to add as I love it……I will let you know!

  27. Whoa – the amount of cumin this called for was way over the top for our tastes. Guess you either like cumin or you don’t but if you are unsure I’d suggest cutting back so you don’t get a “this tastes nasty” comment like I did!

  28. very similar to mine(but smaller batch). I also use butternut squash or pumpkin as a natural sweetner as opposed to sugar. You can’t taste it.

  29. Making this as I type! It looks so delicious so far, but what hooked me was your dad’s description of Cumin. I thought it was hilarious because I’ve always said that Cumin smelt of bad body odor which is basically smelly armpits. I’m so glad someone agrees with me since no one else seemed to ;D I cut down on the Cumin as a result because I simply don’t like Cumin but only by a little bit. Smells sooo good right now!

  30. It was absolutely delicious! Very spicy and it had so much flavor! I use about double the spices that is called for in the recipe, I’m big into spices so I like to use a lot and more than what is called for. The only other thing I changed as well was the cooking method. Instead of making it on the stove top, I made mine in my crockpot. Which I prefer using because I just let it sit in there for hours and do all the work while it makes the house smell wonderful. It does take much longer than making it on the stove, but personally I think it tastes better in the end. I absolutely love this recipe and plan to use it again!

  31. loved this recipe, reminds me of my moms chili growing up. I thought it was the perfect thickness, and loved all the flavors with the little kick. Thank you!

  32. I plan on making this recipe this weekend. How long do you have to boil the beans? I’ve never used dried beans so wondering…

  33. Looks delicious! I’m making this today…wondering if you knew how big each serving is (at the 16 servings per recipe listed)? Usually I can eyeball a 4 serving recipe but this is huge! Just trying to watch calories so it’d be helpful. Thanks!

  34. This may have been posted two years ago, but I just came across this DELICIOUSLY SPICY recipe.

    I used canned red kidney beans (drained and washed them). Also used 2 lbs. of ground beef (80/20).


  35. I have been in search of a good chili recipe so when I saw your Dad’s Spicy Chili recipe I had to try it. I made it today and I like hot, but oh boy, is this hot! Next time I’ll know not to put jalapeno in it or at least only half. I finished my bowl and now can breathe freely 🙂

    Since it’s just my husband and I, I’m going to freeze some and I am taking the rest to our bible study tomorrow night. I’m not sure if everyone else can stand heat so I put some honey in it to cut down on the heat and perfect! Thank you for posting.

  36. Do I keep the water that I soak the beans in or dump that water and put new water when I’m ready to make the chili?

  37. I love your recipes!!! Do you use Sweet Italian Sausage or Mild Italian Sausage in “Dad’s Spicy Chili” ? Thanks so much! 

  38. One thing I value about sites like allrecipes or supercook is people actually TRY the the recipes listed and comment on the adjustments they would make, if any. Out of 100+ comments here, one said it was great, another said it was “nasty” (and no one would eat it). The rest: “Oh that looks so good!” To be fair, that’s a constant with most cooking blogs, but I can’t bring myself to invest a day into something that no one has actually tested.
    This may or may not be wonderful stuff, but I ended up going to another site for actual opinions and not *fans* trying to win a mixer.

  39. 5 stars
    Absolutely love this recipe! I keep it more on the mild side, because the kiddos aren’t fans of spicy things. With my husband deployed much of the time, this is a go-to meal that we can eat for a couple days and freeze a bunch for later. Not only that, but I think it actually tastes much better than anything I’ve let sit in a crockpot to cook all day, and the kids love it too…win!

  40. Hi Maria and Josh,

    My name is Christine and I am reaching out from Inside Fitness, Canada’s #1 Fitness Magazine. I love the recipes that you have on your blog and they are my go to when I’m cooking for myself at home. I am currently putting some content together for our women’s winter special issue that will be out on newsstands for 6 months and would love to have you write a piece for us with a few winter classic recipes with a healthy-ish twist if your interested. (Such as Spicy hot chocolate, chili, squash soup, mulled hot cider, etc)

    Please let me know if this is something you’d be interested in and we can go over a few details. We would love to work with you 🙂

  41. I was looking for a new way to do a spicy chili and came across yours. It was awesome. I made a couple changes, namely using canned black chili beans (to save time) and adding a can of a porter. The beer added a unique twist.

  42. 5 stars
    So I love this recipe!!! but my husband thinks it too tomato-y. Is there anything I can do for him to tame down the tomatoe? I considered only doing one 28 oz diced tomatoe instead of two. Any advice would be great!

  43. I have been making this “Dad’s chili recipe” a dozen times a year since I first discovered it 10 YEARS AGO. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your dad’s recipe. I have fed many mouths over the years with this recipe and it never disappoints! In fact making it today for my family and they’re so excited! Best wishes!