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President Barack Obama's Family Chili Recipe

Hail to the Chili: A Fast and Easy Presidential Dinner

According to a 2008 interview, our nation's chief is quite the home chef, and his favorite preparation is his family's chili recipe. This multi-ingredient, all-American stew has apparently made the rounds at family dinners and potlucks and, when you stop to think about it, perfectly embodies our multicultural President and nation.

And given that he's perhaps one of the busiest men in America, it's also rather fitting that this chili recipe is incredibly fast and simple. It may lack that slow-simmered flavor depth that a carefully cultivated pot of chili gains over the course of an entire day on the stove, but we certainly won't veto it as a tasty homemade dinner.

Flexible as a president should be, this recipe is receptive to any fresh herbs and spices you have on hand. And don't forget the toppings: sour cream and cheddar cheese are the classics, but I broke free of those bipartisan politics with some crumbled Fritos corn chips! Read on for the recipe.

The Obama Family's Chili Recipe

The Obama Family's Chili Recipe

The Obama Family's Chili Recipe


  1. 1 tbsp. olive oil
  2. 6 slices thick bacon, roughly chopped
  3. 1 large onion, chopped
  4. 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  5. Several cloves garlic, chopped
  6. 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  8. 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  9. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  10. 4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  11. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  12. 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  13. 1 14-ounce can red kidney beans, drained
  14. 6 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
  15. Shredded cheddar cheese (for garnish)
  16. Sour cream (for garnish)
  17. Fritos (for garnish)


  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a 5-quart Dutch oven. Cook bacon until crisp, remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.
  2. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the remaining oil and fat, and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add ground meat to pot and brown.
  3. Add spices and herbs, toss with meat and vegetables, then add red wine vinegar and tomatoes. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes. Add kidney beans and cook about 5 minutes more.
  4. Serve with white or brown rice, and top with cheese, sour cream, and crumbled Fritos corn chips.

Serves 4.

Love this recipe? Check out more recipes from Michelle Obama and the White House.

Blanca123 Blanca123 5 years
Kindly explain why you call this pittifully flavored 'meat one-pot' a chili?  1 Tbs chili powder for 1 1/4 lb meat (including scrawny bacon...1 1/2 lb for good thick-cut brands) barely will be tasted with that much tomato.   Where's the heat?  No cayenne, red pepper flakes or even hot sauce, much less real fresh chiles?  Turmeric? Why?   I'd love another good chili recipe...and this'n ain't it, pa'dnuh.
lauren lauren 5 years
Yum this looks amazing and I can't wait to try this chili recipe!
fuzzles fuzzles 5 years
I loves me a bowl of badass chili.
Sara-Yoo Sara-Yoo 5 years
@limelindsey So true! It's a great way to use up leftover rice sitting in the fridge.
limelindsey limelindsey 5 years
Chili over rice is very Hawaiian. And delicious!
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