Skillet Chili with Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Crust

An easy skillet chili recipe where the jalapeño cheddar cornbread bakes up right on top! Not only is it less dishes to clean, it’s also a warm and cozy dinner dinner served from one pot!

Skillet Chili with Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Crust - A simple chili and cornbread recipe that takes about an hour to make and had the cornbread baked right on top! #cornbread #chili #skilletchili #comfortfood | Littlespicejar.com

SWEET! SKILLET CHILI!

Here’s the thing. All this time we’ve been making chili the wrong way.

Chili needs to be made in a skillet topped with a jalapeño cheddar cornbread crust. It’s seriously addicting because that cornbread is a tad on the sweet side to help balance out the heat from the chili. Not only is it hearty, it’s also zippy quick to pull together. I wouldn’t be doing TEXAS right if I didn’t do a southwestern take on the classic chili recipe. You can make it your own with all your favorite toppings too. My personal favorite at the moment? Just some guacamole on top. And we know by ‘some’ I mean just as much guacamole in my bowl as i’ve got chili. SO GOOD. Don’t knock it till you try it. And don’t be surprised if you never wanna eat chili without it.

There are a few things I refuse to do in life, like ?? making butter chicken in a slow cooker. Not that i’m judging if you do. This is just one of those things that do not work for me. Shamelessly, i’ll tell you that if we were talking two years ago (not only would I be back in my twenties – YAS), I would turn my nose up at chili made in a skillet. Here come the excuses: it needs to be slow simmered! With a lot more liquid! And cornbread? On top? Why not make muffins? It only takes a few minutes! Take it from someone who knows, understands, appreciates easier meals and less dishes these days – this skillet chili recipe is GOLD.

You are so, so good to me. I heart you to the max.

Skillet Chili with Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Crust - A simple chili and cornbread recipe that takes about an hour to make and had the cornbread baked right on top! #cornbread #chili #skilletchili #comfortfood | Littlespicejar.com

A couple weeks ago Fariha, aka bestie, shared some homemade spoon bread with us. WHAT? What is this magical concoction? That was literally my reaction. Friends, i’m here to tell you that it is seriously the most amazing cornbread pudding of all time. She swapped out corn kernels and used green beans instead and wow! I’ve been missing out. It goes without saying, the wheels in my head started churning and I longed for the perfect opportunity to put my own spin on it and turn it into a meal for us.

So last weekend for two whole days, Houston had a REAL winter. I, being the person that literally waits around all year for that little window of opportunity, dusted off my cast iron skillet and set off to work. Chili is the epitome of cozy food and those smells! Those glorious smells that make your whole house smell all warm and sunny.

The spoon bread idea was molded into more of a crust and skillet chili with built in cornbread was born.

Skillet Chili with Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Crust - A simple chili and cornbread recipe that takes about an hour to make and had the cornbread baked right on top! #cornbread #chili #skilletchili #comfortfood | Littlespicejar.com

Skillet Chili with Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Crust - A simple chili and cornbread recipe that takes about an hour to make and had the cornbread baked right on top! #cornbread #chili #skilletchili #comfortfood | Littlespicejar.com

This skillet chili recipe starts with ground beef but you can certainly use ground turkey or chicken here as well. We’ll brown that up, nice and simple. And once that’s done, we’ll add tons of veggies. I had both a red and yellow pepper lying around so I went for it with ½ of each. You can use a single color too, it’s a totally forgiving sort of recipe. Also, lots of jalapeños that were deseeded and diced, along with chopped onions, and minced garlic. Get that all going in a skillet and really allow the veggies to cook down a bit. This is where all that flavor-magic happens. Next comes a can of fire roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, and dustings of chili powder, paprika, chipotle powder, brown sugar, and a splash of Worcestershire sauce.

Friends, i’m gonna say it, this is an all MEAT chili. There are exactly zero cans of beans in this skillet chili recipe. Remember, we’re working with a medium sized skillet here so we really need to pick and choose what goes into the little space that we have and the beans just didn’t make the cut for me. If you’d like to add beans, cut back on the ground beef to about ¾ pounds and add 1 (15 ounce) can of your favorite beans. Might I suggest black beans?

They are life.

Skillet Chili with Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Crust - A simple chili and cornbread recipe that takes about an hour to make and had the cornbread baked right on top! #cornbread #chili #skilletchili #comfortfood | Littlespicejar.com

While the chili is simmering and hanging out all together, we’ll prep the cornbread topping.

We’re about to make FOOD HISTORY happen. This is the best cornbread topping ever – jalapeño + cheddar cheese + garlic. This food combination is normally only found in heaven. It all starts with a box of cornbread mix. You can certainly make your own cornbread mix at home too, there are tons of recipes out there to choose from. Next comes a little sour cream, cheddar cheese, diced jalapeños, garlic powder, melted butter, and a little water. Mix it all together in a bowl and just have it ready to go.

When the chili is done simmering, gently spread the cornbread mixture on top of the chili. And then into the oven it goes for around 30 minutes until the cornbread gets all nice and golden brown on top.

Skillet Chili with Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Crust - A simple chili and cornbread recipe that takes about an hour to make and had the cornbread baked right on top! #cornbread #chili #skilletchili #comfortfood | Littlespicejar.com

You guys, Anees RAVED about this. He absolutely loved how hearty and filling this chili was. We had a consensus that skillet chili was made to be served with guacamole on the side. But for the purists, a little sour cream works wonders too.

It’s some serious GUY food, so i’m pretty sure you’ll get a similar reaction.

Plus it’s easy to pull together and perfect for weeknight or weekend dinners!

YES TO ALL OF THAT!

Skillet Chili with Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Crust - A simple chili and cornbread recipe that takes about an hour to make and had the cornbread baked right on top! #cornbread #chili #skilletchili #comfortfood | Littlespicejar.com

Skillet Chili with Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Crust

An easy skillet chili recipe where the jalapeño cheddar cornbread bakes up right on top! Not only is it less dishes to clean, it’s also a warm and cozy dinner dinner served from one pot!

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Ingredients:

skillet chili

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (or chicken or turkey)*
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, deseeded and diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons EACH ground cumin AND chili powder (or more to taste!)
  • 1 teaspoon EACH smoked paprika AND chipotle or ancho chili powder (or more to taste!)
  • 1 tablespoon EACH brown sugar AND Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (15 ounce) can EACH fire roasted diced tomatoes AND tomato sauce

cornbread crust

  • 1 (8.5 ounce) box cornbread mix
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup cheddar shredded cheese
  • 1 jalapeño, deseeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions:

Skillet chili

  1. Heat the oil in a large oven-proof skillet, such as a cast iron skillet, over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and crumble as needed, allow to cook for 5-7 minutes or until the beef browns. Feel free to drain any excess grease. Add the onions, bell peppers, and jalapeños and continue to sauté for 5-6 minutes or until the veggies cook down a bit.
  2. Add the garlic and all the remaining ingredients for the chili, stir to combine. Let it come to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and allow it to cook for 20-25 minutes. If the chili starts drying out too much, add a few tablespoons of water and allow it to continue simmering.
  3. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF. While the chili is simmering, prepare the cornbread mix.

cornbread crust

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the cornbread in a large bowl.
  2. When the chili is done simmering, remove from heat. Gently spread the prepared cornbread mix over the chili. You want it to be even distributed across the whole skillet.
  3. Place the skillet on a large baking sheet so if the juices overflow they don’t ruin the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Notes:

  1. If you would like to use beans in your chili recipe, reduce the ground beef to ¾ pound and use 1 (15 ounce) can of beans that are drained and rinsed. I highly suggest using black beans!
  2. To make this even quicker on a weeknight. Prepare the chili mixture over the weekend and refrigerate until ready to use (chili mixture can be made up to two days in advance).

cornbread crust inspired by Fariha.

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Skillet Chili with Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Crust - A simple chili and cornbread recipe that takes about an hour to make and had the cornbread baked right on top! #cornbread #chili #skilletchili #comfortfood | Littlespicejar.com

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Skillet Chili with Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Crust - A simple chili and cornbread recipe that takes about an hour to make and had the cornbread baked right on top! #cornbread #chili #skilletchili #comfortfood | Littlespicejar.com

Nutritional content based on 8 servings.

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