Adam Ragusea Chili Recipe

Adam Ragusea doesn’t have a specific “chili recipe” that he regularly features. However, he has discussed chili preparation in a few different videos on his YouTube channel. Here’s a breakdown of his general approach to making chili, based on his videos:

For chili enthusiasts venturing beyond the realm of canned concoctions, Adam Ragusea, a popular YouTube culinary personality, offers a refreshing and straightforward approach. His chili recipe, a testament to his “less is more” philosophy, deconstructs the traditional chili narrative, prioritizing simplicity and showcasing the inherent potential of individual ingredients.

Breaking Down the Basics: The Core Principles of Adam Ragusea’s Chili

Ragusea’s chili recipe revolves around a few key principles:

  • Quality ingredients: He emphasizes the importance of using high-quality ingredients, believing that they contribute significantly to the overall flavor profile.
  • Simplicity over complexity: The recipe avoids unnecessary additions, focusing on allowing the natural flavors of the ingredients to shine through.
  • Customization encouraged: While offering a base recipe, Ragusea welcomes experimentation and encourages individuals to personalize the chili to their specific preferences.

A Unique Approach: Differentiating Factors in Ragusea’s Chili

Several aspects set Ragusea’s chili recipe apart from traditional versions:

  • Beans take center stage: Unlike some recipes that treat beans as an afterthought, Ragusea highlights their importance, emphasizing the use of three to four cans of beans for a substantial protein and fiber content.
  • Spices are a matter of personal preference: Instead of a pre-made chili spice mix, Ragusea encourages the use of individual spices, allowing for customized flavor profiles and control over heat levels.
  • Chocolate adds a surprising twist: He introduces a touch of dark chocolate, highlighting its ability to enhance depth of flavor without being overtly sweet.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Ragusea’s Recipe

Ready to try your hand at Ragusea’s chili recipe? Here’s what you’ll need:


  • Beans: He emphasizes using plenty of beans, considering them a defining ingredient in chili. Kidney beans are a common choice, but other varieties like black beans or pinto beans can work too.
  • Meat: While not essential, Ragusea sometimes uses various types of meat in his chili, such as ground beef, oxtail, or even chorizo. You can choose to include meat or make a vegetarian version.
  • Vegetables: Diced onions, bell peppers, and even carrots are often used to add flavor and texture.
  • Spices: Chili powder, cumin, paprika, and smoked paprika are common spices used for a classic chili flavor. He also encourages experimenting with other spices like mustard powder or even a touch of chocolate for a deeper complexity.
  • Tomatoes: Canned diced tomatoes or fire-roasted crushed tomatoes are convenient options. You can also use fresh tomatoes if desired.
  • Other Ingredients: Garlic, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and various liquid ingredients like water or broth can be added for additional flavor and texture.

Ingredients Measurements:

  • 1 pound dried kidney beans, soaked and drained (or 3-4 cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 pound ground beef (or a vegetarian substitute)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (optional)
  • 2-3 chipotles in adobo sauce, minced (adjust to your desired spice level)
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from the can of chipotles
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Salt and pepper to taste (optional)
  • Optional toppings: shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions, avocado, etc.


  1. Sauté the Vegetables: Start by sautéing onions and other vegetables in oil until softened.
  2. Brown the Meat (Optional): If using meat, brown it in the pan after removing the vegetables.
  3. Add Spices and Cook: Add the spices to the pan with the meat or vegetables and cook for a few minutes to release their fragrance.
  4. Incorporate Beans and Tomatoes: Stir in the cooked or drained beans and your chosen tomato base.
  5. Simmer and Adjust: Bring the chili to a simmer and cook for at least 30 minutes, or longer for richer flavor, allowing the flavors to meld. Add water or broth if needed to adjust the consistency.
  6. Seasoning and Finishing Touches: Taste the chili and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and any additional spices as desired. You can also add chopped fresh herbs like cilantro or green onions for a final touch.

Tips and Customization Options:

  • Experiment with spices: Feel free to adjust the amount of chili powder, cumin, and paprika to create your preferred heat level and flavor profile.
  • Embrace the smoky touch: Consider adding a smoked paprika or chipotle powder for an additional layer of smoky flavor.
  • Go beyond the base: Explore adding other vegetables like corn, carrots, or chopped zucchini for additional textures and flavors.
  • Vegetarian twist: Substitute the ground beef with a plant-based protein source like lentils, textured vegetable protein (TVP), or crumbled tofu.

Key Takeaways from Ragusea’s Approach:

  • Beans are essential: He emphasizes the importance of using enough beans and considers them a core ingredient in true chili.
  • Embrace customization: Ragusea encourages experimenting with different ingredients, spices, and techniques to personalize your chili according to your preferences.
  • Focus on flavor development: Simmering for an extended time allows the flavors to meld and develop a richer and more complex taste.

The Final Word

Adam Ragusea’s chili recipe offers a refreshing perspective for home cooks seeking to create a flavorful and satisfying chili without the complexity of traditional recipes. It serves as a reminder that maximizing flavor doesn’t require an extensive list of ingredients or intricate techniques. By prioritizing quality ingredients and allowing their natural flavors to shine through, you can create a delicious and customizable chili experience.

So, gather your ingredients, unleash your inner chili chef, and embark on your own culinary journey. Explore the possibilities of this versatile dish, embrace the freedom of customization, and discover the joy of creating a chili that reflects your unique preferences and culinary creativity. Remember, the beauty of this recipe lies in its simplicity, offering a foundation for endless exploration and personalized chili perfection.

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