Walt’s Chili

Another super chilly day arrived in CO when it is supposed to be Spring! Naturally that means I’m getting back on the soup wagon and making something to warm us up. I originally wanted to make what is considered to be an accurate recipe for Walt’s Chili and Beans. This recipe has been passed around through various D23 and other promotional materials as boiled pinto beans with onion, ground beef, and a few spices. However, I was not convinced that I was going to like it after learning about the time commitment involved with the bean and onion business. 

I kept hunting to see if I could find a handwritten version of the recipe. None was found. Instead I ran across a Disney Family recipe for Walt’s Chili which had the old instructions for “Chili and Beans” but a completely different ingredient list. I was in love with the ingredients from this mismatched recipe and decided to freestyle the cooking instructions from the ingredient list alone to see what I could achieve. 

Original menu recommendations from Walt Disney

Walt’s New Chili is a double beef chili with stew meat and ground beef. I seared the stew meat in a little bit of oil to get a brown crust. After browning the ground beef I added the peppers, onions, and minced garlic to cook in the juices from the ground beef and stew meat. To deglaze the bottom of the pain I used large teaspoons of beef bullion mixed with water to make beef stock. This was a great way to get salt into the dish with no adjustment at the end! 

Meat, veggies, tomatoes, and beans simmered for 1.5 hours to reduce and let all those delicious flavors get to know each other. Long story short it is still a very mild chili but full of flavor and complexity. The spice mix for this chili is somewhat unique as there is not chili powder (which is already a mix of spices). It gets it’s flavor from a combination of cumin, onion, garlic, cinnamon, coriander, and turmeric!

If you want to add some heat to this chili here are some options: add 1-3 minced Jalapeños (mild-hot) with the bell pepper/onion, add more smoked chipotle pepper or hot chili spices, or top with hot sauce or fresh jalapeños after serving to customize the heat level for each person. Fritos is a must for any bowl of chili in our household if you ask my husband. Diced tomato, sour cream, and cheese were cool and fresh toppers for me.

Give this recipe a try if you’re looking for a new spin on your current recipe or you’re ready for a change!

Walt’s New Chili

Serves 6


  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3/4 pounds beef stew meat
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked chipotle powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons beef base
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can pinto beans, drained
  • diced jalapeno, optional


  1.  Dice bell pepper, onion, jalapeno (optional), and garlic, set aside. In a large pot over medium-high heat, braise stew meet for about 1 min each side to brown. Remove from pot and set aside. 
  2. Turn down heat to medium, brown ground beef in fond from stew meat; when almost finished add peppers, onion, jalapeno (optional), garlic, and tomato paste, cook until veggies are soft. 
  3. Whisk 1 tablespoon of beef bullion base into 2 cups of hot water at a time until completely dissolved. Add to pot and stir to deglaze the pot.
  4. Drain beans then add tomatoes, beans, and spices to pot. Return stew meat to the pot, stir to combine. Allow pot to come to a simmer. Turn heat to low and cover. 
  5. Simmer 1-1.5 hours on low until reduced to taste. Season with additional salt, pepper, and chili if desired. Enjoy!


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