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
    Two suggestions to go over-the-top:

    1) Add 1 Tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened). It adds a certain something that you don’t realize was missing.
    2) Use the highest fat ratio ground beef you can find. 75/25 is ideal for that Tommy’s mouthfeel.

    Personally, I found that a bit less carrot and a bit more onion and garlic yielded a better result to my liking, but the cocoa powder really can’t be omitted.