Do you love the hearty, warm, and bean free chili at McAlister’s? This copycat McAlister’s chili recipe is super close to the real deal and will satisfy your craving!
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I love a cup of McAlister’s chili, there’s something so comforting about it. It also goes great on one of their giant baked potatoes! It took a little research and some experimentation but I think I’ve cracked the code on this copycat recipe.
What do we know about this recipe?
It’s not spicy, but it does have a kick to it and there’s no beans in McAlister’s chili. Oh, and it’s delicious!
What ingredients are needed for this recipe?
For this recipe, you will need:
- Ground beef: I used 85/15 ground beef. You’ll want to brown it and then drain off the fat.
- Celery and white onion: The base of our chili.
- Canned stewed tomatoes: You’ll want to run these through a food processor before adding them to the mix.
- Canned diced tomatoes: Such as Rotel. I used a can of the mild spice version since this original does have a small kick to it. You will also want to run these through a food processor so your chili is very smooth like the original.
- Tomato paste: You’ll need just one tablespoon.
- Chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder: To season our chili with.
- White wine vinegar: This will help mellow the chili out. You’ll need just a teaspoon.
- Salt and pepper: I recommend salt and pepper to taste. I do think McAlister’s chili is a bit on the saltier side.
You will also need a food processor or blender for this recipe.
Tips and tricks for this recipe
- Add some more spice, if you like a spicy chili! You can add a diced jalapeño without the seeds.
- Let your chili simmer for awhile. I think around 2 hours on a very low temperature is best.
- Try using a special meat spatula like this one. This will help you get the ground beef down to very small chunks, just like the original version.
Can I use my slow cooker for this recipe?
If you want to use your slow cooker for this recipe, you absolutely can! Brown the ground beef and drain the fat, then add all the ingredients to your slow cooker, plus ⅓ cup of water. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
Other McAlister copycat recipes:
Copycat McAlister’s Chili
- Large cooking pot
- food processor
- 1 pound lean ground beef I used 85/15
- 1 stalk celery (one single stalk, not a bunch) ends removed
- 1 large white onion finely diced
- 1 can stewed tomatoes about 14 ounces
- 1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles (such as Rotel) about 10 ounces
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large skillet, brown and then drain the fat off of your ground beef. Set aside.
- Run the stewed tomatoes through a food processor and add to a large pot.
- Next, run your diced tomatoes with green chiles and add them.
- Run your celery stalk through the food processor next and add it to the chili.
- Add the ground beef and onion. Stir well.
- Add the tomato paste, vinegar, and spices. Stir well.
- Bring to a low boil and then reduce to a low heat let simmer for about two hours. Stir occasionally.
- If chili seems too thick, add ⅓ cup of water.
- If you want to use your slow cooker for this recipe, you absolutely can! Brown the ground beef and drain the fat, then add all the ingredients to your slow cooker, plus ⅓ cup of water. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
Ok thanks for the information. I’m making the chili tomorrow.
Do you cover (lid) the pot to simmer?
Hi Lori, I left mine uncovered to simmer.
This was amazing! My boyfriend says it takes just like McAlester’s. I didn’t have celery on hand and it still came out fantastic. Thank you!
I just now had the opportunity to try McAlister’s chili. You’re correct…it Great.
As I found your copycat recipe, I cant wait to try it as I live in California, a long ways from any McAlister’s.
I have two questions; Did you cook the onions with the ground beef or add them in after and let them soften as it simmers for two hours? Next, did you mean to say Mild Rotel as I dont see that they make a medium only Mild, Original and Hot. Thanks for getting this recipe out there as I will be making this often.
Hi Rusty, I did mean mild, thank you for pointing that out. I am only human and sometimes I make mistakes! You can add whatever spice level of Rotel you want but I like the mild. I added the onions after the meat since it simmers but you can cook them with the meat. I hope you enjoy the recipe if you try it.
I made this recipe last night…Great Copycat!! Thank you for sharing this recipe as otherwise I would have spent hours in the kitchen trying to figure this one out. Very simple to follow and the taste and consistency was right on target.
I am so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you so much for taking time to comment after making it.