Original Tommy’s Chili No Beans (BEST Copycat recipe)

4.84 from 31 votes

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Make Instant Pot chili for dinner tonight. This Original Tommy’s chili recipe has no beans or tomatoes. As a result, it’s thick and hearty – the perfect chili for hot dogs!

close up of an Original Tommy's copycat chili on a hot dog

What is Original Tommy’s?

This Instant Pot chili is a favorite of Dave’s, as he grew up in the LA area where Original Tommy’s Hamburgers started. Los Angeles natives have been eating this up for years and if you lived there and moved away, this is one of those meals you’d miss.

Thomas James “Tommy” Koulax opened the first location in 1946, on the corner of Beverly and Rampart boulevards, and it grew from there.

Known as the best place to go for a chili dog or burger at the end a late night of festivities, it is also a great lunch spot.

Coming from San Francisco I had never heard of it until I was taken to one restaurant in San Diego. I had to have it all, too, as instructed; a hamburger with chili and a chili cheese dog with pickles.

bowl of Instant Pot chili recipe no beans or tomatoes - chili for hot dogs

I make a great Tex Mex Chili con Carne that’s chunky and delicious, but it’s a complete opposite of this chili recipe.

Tommy’s chili sauce, as it’s known, is a smooth, thick chili recipe, no beans or tomatoes. I think this copycat recipe comes pretty darn close to the original. Plus, it’s made in an Instant Pot for a quick meal in no time.

Thick, almost spreadable, my copycat Original Tommy’s Chili is made using no tomatoes, no beans, uses several chili powders and masa harina to hit the spot. Perfect to top hamburgers, hotdogs, fries and my favorite, crispy tator tots!

overhead of 4 hot dogs with Instant Pot chili, cheese, onions, and yellow mustard

Uses for Instant Pot Chili

Because it’s so thick and spreadable, I think the best use for this is chili for hot dogs.

What could be tastier than a chili dog with Original Tommy’s chili, cheese, a squirt of yellow mustard, and onions?! The kicker are dill pickles, a MUST to have on the dogs, as the brine from the pickles counters the heat and richness of the chili.

Other delicious ways to enjoy this chili include:


Another benefit of this chili recipe having no beans or tomatoes is, it’s lower in carbs than many others. This isn’t to say that it’s low carb chili, because it’s not. There is a little bit of brown sugar in it, as well as a tiny bit of carrot and masa harina (corn flour).


Instant Pot chili recipe no beans on a hot dog with cheese, onions, and yellow mustard

This recipe first appeared on Kevin Is Cooking June 2015 and has been updated with new photos and video.


Watch how to make the Instant Pot chili below!



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close up of hot dog in bun topped with the works

Original Tommy's Chili (Copycat recipe)

4.84 from 31 votes
Thick, almost spreadable, my Original Tommy's Chili (Copycat recipe) is made using no tomatoes, no beans, uses several chili powders and masa harina to hit the spot.
Servings: 8 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 50 minutes



  • Peel and cut the carrot into 2 inch pieces. Peel and quarter the onion. Cut the stem off the jalapeños and cut lengthwise. In a food processor add the carrot, onion, garlic and pepper. Pulse until almost a paste.
  • To the Instant Pot add the vegetable paste, 3 cups of water, ground beef, chili powders, cumin, paprika, salt, sugar, Mexican oregano and black pepper. Stir to mix and break up the ground beef (See Note 3).
  • Close lid and vent. Select Manual Pressure (High) and set timer for 18 minutes. Allow natural pressure release (10 minutes) not a Quick Release.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the flour, masa harina and 2 cups of water. Pour this in the chili mixture, stir to mix in and press the Saute option. This will sputter,so if your IP has the option, choose Saute Low, if not cover. Set for 10 minutes, stirring often. This will thicken considerably. Stir in the vinegar and let rest 5 minutes before serving.
  • Spoon over hamburgers, hotdogs, French fries, tator tots, or baked potatoes. I also like to have diced onions, mustard and dill pickles alongside.

Slow Cooker Method

  • Follow Steps 1 and 2 above. Add ingredients to a slow cooker EXCEPT the flour, masa harina, 2 cups of water and vinegar. Cook 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high in the slow cooker.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the flour, masa harina and remaining 2 cups of water. Pour this in the chili mixture in last 30 minutes of cooking, stir to mix thoroughly and cover. This will thicken and sputter. Stir in the vinegar and let rest 5 minutes before serving.


  1. I get a 80/20 ground beef, If you can find it at your market, or ask the butcher, use a "chili grind" ground beef, it's finer consistency than regular ground beef and perfect for this.
  2. Feel free to substitute Chimayo chile powder with any New Mexico red chile powder if you can't find it. I order online. 
  3. By adding the ground beef to the liquid and NOT browning it allows it to break down easier and the result is a smooth chili.


Calories: 257kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 1025mg | Potassium: 393mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 3660IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 4.3mg

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.

Course: Chili, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Southwest, Western
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. 5 stars
    Wow! I live in the Bay Area and I really miss Tommy’s I made this and it is the closest recipe I’ve tried. Great job! Now i did make a few mods – I cut down on the heat a bit and I’m glad I did. (I live with wimps) I added a 1/4 cup more is masa as it was a bit runny but maybe I had a juicy onion or pepper or something. Lastly, I added 15 drops of yellow mustard and it added that something “tang” you get with Tommy’s, but doesn’t taste mustard-y. Thank you again for a great recipe and for sharing it. I’m so excited!

    1. I am so glad you found this recipe Christa! Thank you for stopping by! I hope you try some more recipes!

      1. 5 stars
        So I added 9oz of chorizo and it brought it all the way up to 99% Tommy’s. I encourage you to try it!

      2. This sounds like a good suggestion. I made the chili last night. It was good but something was missing. The consistency was spot on (I let the vegetable mix settle in the bowl and then drained the liquid) and most of the flavor was right. It came out a little bit bland, and I think the chorizo might do the trick.

  2. I’m really looking forward to trying this recipe, every time I’m in LA I try to stop by Tommy’s and get a double chili cheeseburger with everything on it! I have a quick question, in the recipe you say to set it to manual pressure, is that “Low” or “High” on the Instant Pot? I’m new to pressure cooking and learning how to use the machine.

  3. Hey Buddy! Nice looking recipe. I got a quick question; I’m trying my best to lower the carbs on this recipe (make it a bit more keto friendly), so I replaced the flour with almond flour, but I can’t seem to find a substitute for the Masa Harina. Got any alternatives?

  4. 5 stars
    I grew up near In So CA, so I ate a lot of Tommys. Consistency and flavor are good. Too much heat I think. I doubled the recipe so in went 6 jalapeños. I’ll cut it back to 3 next time. But it’s very close.

  5. Hi Kevin, looking to try this recipe so I have a few questions. I cook with ground turkey not beef. Would you still recommend simmering with raw meat? I’m not familiar with all the different chili powders and Mexican oregano.

    1. You definitely could sub the turkey for the beef, no problem.As for the chili powders and Mexican oregano, they can be found now in most markets spice aisles or ethnic section. Ask your store for assistance or there is always online ordering, but these are pretty basic spices these days. Cheers!

    1. Definitely Andrew. 3-4 on low in the slow cooker and 2-3 on stove top (on simmer) covered. Be sure to stir on stove top so it doesn’t scorch.

      1. No, not at all. Placing the ground beef into the liquid allows it to break down for that perfect texture. Feel free if you like though.

      2. I’d add the four/masa in the last hour for a Slow Cooker and last 30 minutes for stovetop.

  6. Hey Kevin! Can I come over for supper? There is nothing better than a really good chili dog and these certainly are that! Yellow mustard and chopped onions are a must for me. My dad used to take me to a place in Kalamazoo called Coney Island, they served chili dogs, pop and chips. There was a crock of yellow mustard with a wooden stick in it and another crock of chopped onions. Good memories.

  7. 5 stars
    Chili dogs are without a doubt one of my weaknesses Kevin! These look simply mouthwatering!

  8. 5 stars
    I’ve never had Tommy’s before, but I would imagine this is even better…because homemade! Love the suggestion of serving over tater tots! Talk about a real treat 🙂