Granny’s Award Winning Homemade Chili Recipe 

 Originally Written: July 29, 2017

By  Hanna Trafford

I swear to you – Granny Schmidt makes the best chilli in the world! She finally sent me the recipe and was surprised when I told her that I wanted to share with the world,

She just won second place at a Chili Cookout in Seaforth, Ontario, Canada – and I am sure it had to be a very, very close and the judges had a difficult decision to make!

Well – here it is – enjoy and “Thanks Granny”!

Granny Schmidt’s Award Winning Chili:


  • 2 teaspoons of cooking oil
  • 3 lbs. of lean ground beef
  • 1-1/2 lb. of mild Italian sausage (casing removed)
  • 2 stalks of celery – chopped fine
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 small Jalapeno pepper (seeds removed and chopped fine)
  • 2 large garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • 2-8 oz. cans of tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons of chicken bouillon granules


  • ½ cup of honey
  • 2 large cans (15 oz each) of red kidney beans
  • 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • ¼ cup of white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder
  • 1 can of dark beer


Cooking Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. In a large deep frying pan or Dutch oven pot, heat oil, add celery, peppers, onions and sauté for 8 minutes on medium high heat. Brown the ground beef and sausage in a separate pan (as you are frying the sausage, get the meat to come apart to have the consistency of ground pork) and when done, move all into a large oval roasting pan.
  3. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and kidney beans.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together honey, cayenne pepper, chilli powder, oregano, black pepper, salt, brown sugar and white sugar, cumin, cocoa powder and mix until well blended. Add to the ingredients in the roasting pan.
  5. Pour the can of dark beer over everything in the roasting pan and mix well. Put the lid on and bake in the 325F oven for 2-1/2 – 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
  6. Serve with garlic toast or crusty buns.

This recipe will make about 40 cups of chilli – enough to feed at least 20 people!

And just a little note: If you have any leftovers (it usually doesn’t happen – but just in case) you can package them in smaller servings as you choose and freeze them with no problem!

Enjoy and send in your comments and experiences – they are always welcomed!


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Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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    • I have been making this chili for 10 years now. There is really no right or wrong I find. I use 28fl ounce can of diced tomatoes. But this recipe is so forgiving I add and take away as I please depending. I now have 2 small children so I dial back the cayenne. Cut out the white sugar. I add hungarian paprika because it’s in my blood to do so and the recipe is still always amazing. The base recipe of this chili is just so good.

  • For those wondering about the paste or sauce question (it looks the author never answered it)- I made it with half paste and half sauce just to veer on the side of caution bit. I would say tomato sauce is likely what she meant, not paste. Further more, she mentions 2 ‘8 oz cans of tomato paste’. Paste usually comes in 6oz cans, sauce usually 8oz, so that is another clue 🙂 Hope this helps! Recipe was great- I left out the honey, used all brown sugar asked for, and halved the white sugar amount. It was great!!! Moving forward, I will like play more with the flavors by using a jalapeno and maybe an Anaheim or Poblano pepper for my two heat peppers.

  • Hi there! I made this for the first time yesterday and it turned out very good! Because we don’t like a lot of sweet and it seemed heavy on the sugars, I completely omitted the 1/4c. white sugar. For us, it was a good call and next time I’ll probably even reduce the honey to 1/3c. instead of the 1/2c. making it lean even more on the savory side. One question though… the ingredient list calls for 2-8oz. cans of tomato “paste” but when adding the tomatoes, the instructions say to add tomato “sauce”. I used tomato paste but wondering if it should actually be tomato sauce…?? Please advise and thank you for the great recipe!

  • Hi Hanna! I chose this recipe for an upcoming chili cook-off (by all of the great reviews!), and have all of the ingredients. I was reading the recipe, and wondered if you could tell me when the garlic goes in?

  • I had high hopes for this chili. It was good, but for my taste it was way too sweet. I thought the spice would balance the sweet out. When I first tried it the spicy and sweet did seem to compliment one another really well, but then it seemed to just get sweeter as I let it simmer in my crockpot. I entered this recipe in to a chili cook-off at work and we will see what others think. I just prefer a savory chili.

  • Help!!! Making this now…ingredient list says tomato paste. Directions say tomato sauce. Big difference! Company will be here in 3 hours. HELP!!!!

  • Love this recipe. You mention tomato sauce in the directions but it’s not on the list of ingredients. How much sauce should we use?

  • Can I make this in a slow cooker? Looking to try my first ever chili recipe and would like to throw everything in the slow cooker to make things easier for a larger crowd. Thanks

  • I am getting the ingredients together for the chili and noticed in the list of ingredients it states tomato paste, but in the directions it states tomato sauce. Which do you use? Can’t wait to try it! Thanks

  • Just made this for a chili competition!!! Thanks for sharing! Only thing I did differently was I used ground sirloin vs ground beef! :).

  • Wow, the best chilli ever. I decided to cut out the white sugar and decrease the amount of other sweet ingredients since my family prefers savoury foods and I couldn’t get the pot to the table fast enough. Fabulous recipe! Thanks for sharing it.

  • Great recipe!!! I won 1st place at a chill cook-off held by our local pub and got rave reviews! Thanks so much for sharing!!!


  • What a great recipe. I have made chile for years, and have had people loving the way I prepare and care for my chile. But this, I can tell you that I will continue to use this recipe until I find another to top it. Highly doubtful, but I enjoyed making this and having my family and friends rave about it. I do add a few of my secret ingredients for name recoginition only.
    Thanks for the great recipe.

  • hi, thanks for the recipe,i need to know a couple things, what kind of dark beer did you use, an how many ounces is the large can of diced tomatoes, thank you for your time

    • Hi! I do apologize for the very late rely – hope the information will still be helpful to you. I use whatever dark beer I have on hand – we have a local brewery that makes great dark beer – the brewery is Brick Brewing Company and the beer is Waterloo Dark. If you want to find out more about this brand, check out their official Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/#!/waterloo.dark.beer. As far as the can of tomatoes goes,the one I used is 16 oz. Let me know how your chili turned out and thank so much for your comments!

  • while using this recipe for the first time I’ve noticed the list of ingrediants calls for cinnamon and chicken and chicken bouillon granules but in the directions I do not see eaither cinnamon or chicken bouillon granules, So I figured they went in and added them anyway, hopefully it turns out as good as it looks!

    • Hi! Thanks so much for your comment – you were correct in adding the cinnamon and chicken buillon granules in – they go in at the same time the rest of spices do and I didn’t realize that the recipe didn’t list them separately. I would love to know how your chili truned out – it has been one of my most popular recipes and everyone reported success,m including couple of people who won chili cook-outs! Let me know and thanks again!

  • Thanks! It turned out great and won the cookoff at a friends place. First choice from both the kids and adults. I found it a little sweet to what i am used to but hey, i have the trophy! Cheers.

    • Thanks so much for letting me know – love receiving feedback like yours! And big congratulations to you – hope you keep visiting my website often and sending in more comments. If you have picutre from your fabulous win and would like me to feature it on this site, I would be very happy to do that!

  • Just made this chili today for a minor hockey team that I coach. It was for a coasting party. It was gone in 20 minutes. even the 10 year old kids ate it! Amazing! We loved it! Thank you so much for sharing. I wish more people would share there family secrets. Great job!

    • Excellent! And thank you so so very much for letting me know – I love reading messages like yours – it just makes my day. If you have pictures that could be added to my site, I would love to do that – please let me know and I hope you stay in touch!

  • 10 out of 10 — 2 thumbs up!!!!

    My dad found your recipe and made it a few weeks ago…I’m not a huge fan of chili, but this recipe was fantastic, I couldn’t get enough of it. The flavour was great!

    Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • I made it and it’s great. One thing I noticed was the chili powder is missing from the list of ingredients. I winged it by using three tablespoons but am curious what the actual measure should be. Thx!

    • Thanks for pointing that out Dan – I double checked with granny Schmidt and she told me she usually puts in about 4 tablespoons of chili powder – so your guess was pretty much right on!

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