Recipe Review

Guy Fieri’s Spicy Chili Recipe Packs a Serious Punch

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(Image credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Design: Kitchn; Headshot: MediaPunch / Shutterstock)

Regardless of whether or not you want to visit Flavortown, just about everyone knows who Guy Fieri is. But what you might not know is that beyond the frosted tips and bowling shirts, Fieri is a pretty serious cook, too. Along with showing the nation some of the best under-the-radar restaurants on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Fieri has authored multiple best-selling cookbooks, owned restaurants, and cooked alongside some of the best chefs in the business. In short? His fiery persona is not just for show.

So when hunting for a chili recipe that wouldn’t hold back, I knew Fieri would deliver. I figured his all-or-nothing approach to cooking would be perfect for chili, and who better to amp up the spice than the mayor of Flavortown himself? His recipe — dubbed dragon’s breath chili — uses a slew of zesty ingredients from roasted peppers to spicy Italian sausage, so I knew it would pack a punch.

(Image credit: Photos: Joe Lingeman; Design: Kitchn; Headshot: MediaPunch / Shutterstock)

How to Make Guy Fieri’s “Dragon’s Breath Chili”

Guy starts by cooking diced Anaheim and poblano chilis along with jalapeños, bell peppers, and onions until caramelized. To that, he adds garlic and cubes of chuck roast.

Once browned, Guy adds even more meat (ground beef and bulk Italian sausage) and a slew of spices — including chili powder, cayenne, coriander, and cumin — and cooks them until fragrant. Then he adds tomato sauce, tomato paste, beer, stock, and two types of beans (whew) and lets everything simmer for two hours.

Here’s where the true Fieri-ness kicks in. While the chili is simmering, Fieri makes a batch of homemade french fries to serve with the chili. (Because really, what better garnish is there?) His process is pretty typical and involves soaking the potatoes, par-cooking them, and finishing them in hot oil. He serves the chili with the fries and garnishes everything with crackers, green onions, and shredded cheese.

(Image credit: The Kitchn)

What I Thought of the Results

When Guy named his chili “dragon’s breath,” he wasn’t kidding. This chili is seriously hot and not for the faint of heart. The heat creeps up on you as you eat, and slowly hits you in the back of the throat. Between the jalapeños and the cayenne, this chili is very spicy.

But it’s not heat without flavor — and Guy’s chili is actually very tasty. It has a generous amount of seasoning and doesn’t skimp on flavor. While other chili recipes are pretty mild (I’m looking at you, Ina), Guy’s is the complete opposite. It’s intense, fiery, and doesn’t hold back — just like Fieri himself. The generous amount of garlic, onions, and roasted peppers adds a depth of flavor that makes it taste almost like a mole sauce, and the complexity made me want to keep eating.

So if you love spicy foods, this chili is absolutely perfect — but if you can’t handle the heat, definitely do not make this recipe. I thought it was pleasantly spicy, but others who tried it found it way too spicy to enjoy.

If You Make Guy Fieri’s Chili …

1. Scale back on the cayenne and jalapeños if heat isn’t your thing: Feel free to reduce the amount of cayenne and jalapeños you throw in to tone down the heat a bit.

2. Roast your peppers the day before to get a head start: Roasting and peeling the peppers was one of the most time-consuming parts about making this chili. (And Guy doesn’t even tell you how to do it!) They need time to steam so their skins peel off, and I was tempted to rush so I could actually start cooking the chili. To make things easier, roast them the day before so you can hit the ground running when you make this chili.

3. When caramelizing the vegetables, ditch Guy’s recommended cook time: He instructs you to caramelize the vegetable mixture for five minutes, but this isn’t nearly enough time to actually develop any color. It took me about 20 minutes to fully caramelize the veggies, so go by sight rather than time.

4. Feel free to ditch the homemade fries: Sure, the fries tasted pretty great with the chili, but they’re not a make-or-break component. The were kind of a pain to make (and take 24 hours of soaking time before you can even start to cook them), so feel free to use frozen or store-bought fries or simply omit them.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 10

Guy’s chili is loaded with exciting ingredients and intense flavors, but it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s hot, smoky, and the spices hit you in the back of the throat. If you love spicy foods, Fieri’s chili is just for you — but if spicy food isn’t your thing, don’t bother.

(Image credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Design: Kitchn; Headshots, from left to right: MediaPunch/Shutterstock, Noam Galai/Getty Images, Bobby Bank/Getty Images, Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock)

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