Everyone knows that firefighters make the best chili--many using a recipe very similar to this--and the only way I know how to make that chili even better is by topping it with a cheesy cornbread crust. The cornbread crust is relatively sweet, which of course pairs perfectly with that spicy, meaty, savory chili.

Recipe Summary

prep:
15 mins
cook:
1 hr 45 mins
total:
2 hrs
Servings:
10
Yield:
10 servings
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Ingredients

10
Original recipe yields 10 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist
For the Cornbread Crust:
Garnish:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Add onion, salt, and ground beef. Cook and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until meat is browned and crumbled into small pieces, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add poblano pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, cayenne, and oregano; cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes.

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  • Stir in diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes. Measure water using the empty tomato cans and pour into the pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes before stirring in kidney beans. Continue simmering until bubbling and fragrant, about 30 minutes more. Taste for seasoning and adjust.

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

  • Place a deep 9x13-inch baking dish on a baking sheet. Transfer chili to the dish, being sure to leave at least 1 inch of space at the top. Stir to evenly distribute.

  • Whisk corn muffin mix, 1/2 of the Cheddar cheese, eggs, and milk together in a bowl until smooth. Spoon evenly over chili until the surface is covered. Sprinkle with remaining Cheddar cheese.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until cornbread crust is browned and a toothpick inserted into the crust comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

  • Spoon or ladle into a dish and garnish with sour cream and cilantro.

Chef's Notes:

Personally, I go for the 85:15 lean-to-fat ratio for ground beef, but even something a little leaner would work here.

You can use any green pepper you like. You can use fire-roasted diced tomatoes with or without diced green chiles.

This recipe may make more than what fits into your baking dish, so reserve any leftovers for another use.

Nutrition Facts

523 calories; protein 28.7g; carbohydrates 47.2g; fat 24.6g; cholesterol 114mg; sodium 1529mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (27)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
04/02/2020
Great recipe! The video is entertaining as heck for the commentary alone! I like my chili thicker, so I used less water. Other than that, it tasted too good to make any other changes! Read More
(6)
38 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 34
  • 4 star values: 4
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
04/06/2020
Yes I will make it again! My husband loved it!! Made during the Coronavirus shortage, so I used 2 cans of diced tomatoes (no crushed tomatoes in the stores); used Marie Callender cornbread mix, Jiffy all gone in stores. Spooned out a cup of chili so that the cornbread mix would fit, and that reserve came in handy to chili-fy my husband’s 2nd serving. Super yummy & easy recipe. Read More
(7)
Rating: 5 stars
04/02/2020
Great recipe! The video is entertaining as heck for the commentary alone! I like my chili thicker, so I used less water. Other than that, it tasted too good to make any other changes! Read More
(6)
Rating: 5 stars
03/05/2020
Chef John you’re a cooking legend. This recipe was fire. Read More
(4)
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Rating: 5 stars
03/27/2020
It was awesome! Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
05/01/2020
I've made this twice now, the first time I followed the recipe exactly (awesome) and the next time I used slightly different ingredients due to shortages at our local grocery store during the whole COVID-19 panic buying apocalypse. I used the Gluten Free Corn Muffin Mix from Bob's Red Mill since the regular Jiffy mix was out of stock, and used regular sharp cheddar cheese. I just followed the instructions on the package of corn muffin mix and doubled the cheese since gluten free stuff tend to be drier. Crust tuned out moist and perfect. For the chili, I could only get regular diced tomatoes so I used two cans of that. This recipe is very forgiving and hard to mess up. Thank you for sharing this recipe, Chef John! Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
03/01/2020
Looks great! Could you do this in a Dutch oven as well? Read More
(3)
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Rating: 5 stars
05/13/2020
I know if it’s Chef John’s recipe, it is good. When I made the chili, I tasted it and wasn’t loving it; however, when I baked it with the cornbread, all the flavors melded together and it was so fabulous!!! Cant wait to make again!! Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
03/05/2020
my girlfriends newest favorite. made it per the recipe and it is great. use lean (85 or 90%) or be prepared to ladle off some grease before putting it in the oven. i too used the larger 8.5 oz iffy mix and it turned out fine. another great recipe from chef john Read More
(2)
Rating: 4 stars
03/02/2020
There is a typo, I believe: I couldn't find 7.5oz Juffy corn muffin mix, only 8.5. The chili was missing...something. maybe my spices were smokey enough, or maybe next time I'll use smoked paprika.... I might also try to add some sweet corn onto the chili, but that will definitely push it away from "chili" and more into a mexican/tex-mex style dish. I think I added too much cheese for my own preference, but it was still tasty. Read More
(2)
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