5 alarm chili is a meal for anyone who enjoys flavorful spicy foods! Make this hot chili recipe for a hearty Tex Mex meal on game day!
Dave’s 5 Alarm Chili recipe is a hot one, not for the weak-hearted! Yes, this is a hot chili recipe, but it isn’t all spicy heat; there’s plenty of flavor in the pot, too.
The spicy heat comes from two types of chili powder, plus cayenne, red pepper flakes and smoked paprika. For depth of flavor, Dave adds fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, cumin and other spices.
It cooks low and slow for a thick, rich chili that’s worth the wait. 2 hours isn’t terribly long. By half time on game day, it’ll be ready to eat.
Although your mouth may feel like it’s on fire when you taste this beefy, spicy Tex Mex meal, there’s no need to call the fire department. There isn’t a 5 alarm fire roaring in there, it’s just a deliciously hot 5 alarm chili.
5 Alarm Chili Ingredient Notes + Substitutions
As you’ll notice, the chili ingredients are a great combination of smoky and spicy flavors. Dave has one secret ingredient that makes his chili stand out above others, and that ingredient is white sugar. The sweetness helps to cut the acids in the tomatoes, creating a smoother flavor.
- Ground beef– Dave uses an 80/20 blend of ground beef. You want a little bit of fat in your ground meat for the flavor it brings. Of course, you could substitute the beef for any type of ground meat.
- Fire roasted tomatoes– If you’ve never tasted fire roasted tomatoes side by side with traditional canned tomatoes, the flavor difference may surprise you. The smokiness makes the chili that much better! You can buy them canned or use my fire roasted tomatoes recipe to make them yourself. It’s really easy.
- California chile powder – Anaheim peppers are often referred to as California peppers, New Mexico peppers, or Magdalena. They’re dried and ground to create a mild chili powder with smoky flavor. If you can’t find it at the store, you can make your own California chili powder, or you can swap it out for New Mexico chile powder, which is also called Chimayo powder.
- Ancho chile powder– Ancho chiles are the dried version of poblano peppers, and ancho chile powder is the base ingredient in my homemade chili seasoning. You could use that instead if you’d like.
Hot Chili Recipe Video
This could easily be called a “dump and go” recipe because there is SO little prep involved. You don’t even have to brown the ground beef first!!
Want to see the recipe from start to finish? Just watch the video located in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
If you truly want to make 5 alarm chili even spicier, the easiest way is to add fresh chiles into the pot. For a little extra spiciness slice the chiles all the way open, then remove the seeds and membranes before adding the chiles to the pot.
If you’re going for a lot of extra spicy heat, simply remove the stems and cut a slice down one side of each chile pepper. Then, toss the whole chiles into the pot, seeds and membrane intact.
If you went overboard with the hot chili recipe and made it TOO spicy, it’s okay; it can be fixed. All you need to do is neutralize the capsaicin in the spicy peppers by adding an ingredient that has lactose in it. Sour cream, Mexican crema, and creme fraiche are great options.
What to serve with 5 Alarm Chili
Topped with some chopped fresh onions and shredded sharp cheddar cheese and this makes for a wonderful, home cooked meal on a cold night. It’s super hearty so it’s an awesome game day recipe, too. Great tailgate eats!
We like to spread it over steamed beef tamales. If you don’t have any fresh ones, either homemade or from a local Latin market, you could serve it over rice or some Mexican cornbread.
I’m not a fan of chili over spaghetti noodles or elbow macaroni, but that’s what Cincinnati chili is. If you’d like to serve this hot chili recipe with a side of pasta, I won’t judge.
This post was first published on Kevin is Cooking on October 26, 2013. The content was last updated on August 3, 2021.
5 Alarm Chili (Hot Chili Recipe) + Video
- 2 1/2 lbs ground beef (80/20)
- 1 large white onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 28 oz roasted crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup California chili powder
- 1/4 cup ancho chili powder
- 1/4 cup smoked paprika
- 1/4 cup red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- Add all ingredients to a stock pot or Dutch oven.
- Turn heat to medium and stir to break up meat with wooden spoon.
- Cover with lid and simmer for 1 hour. Remove lid and stir to mix. Season if needed (salt) and cook for another 1 hour on low, covered.
- Serve over steamed tamales topped with chopped onions and shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.