Rating: 5 stars
42 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 38
  • 4 star values: 4
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0

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

15 mins
1 hr 45 mins
2 hrs
10 servings


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


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.

  • 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