Walt’s Famous Chili Recipe

AAA World Article

Celebrate the 65th anniversary of Disneyland at home with one of Walt’s favorite recipes: Chili and Beans. Walt enjoyed food that was hardy and filling, and this chili definitely fits that! Enjoy watching AAA’s own Amy Short and Tony Adubato as they cook up a batch and then make some for yourself.

The Walt Disney Archives houses several variations of this recipe with the first dating back to around 1958. Disney chefs have changed the recipe over the years, and this particular version is served at Carnation Café at Disneyland park. You’ll enjoy the subtle, spicy kick of this version as it has a bit more seasoning than the original recipe since Walt didn’t really care for overly seasoned or spicy cuisine.

Be sure to serve this up with saltine crackers – just the way Walt liked it.

Serves 6 to 8


  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 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 chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons beef base
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • Coarse salt, to taste


  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 small tomatoes, diced


  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in large Dutch oven, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add stew meat and sauté for 10 minutes, until meat is browned on all sides. Remove stew meat from pan and set aside.
  • Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to pan, heat for 3 minutes over medium heat.
  • Add onions and green pepper. Sauté 8-10 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and sauté one minute longer, until garlic is fragrant.
  • Add ground beef. Cook, stirring occasionally to break up large chunks of beef, for 10-12 minutes, until beef is no longer pink. Drain excess fat.
  • Return stew meat to the Dutch oven with ground beef mixture. Add ground cumin, chili powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, tomato paste, fresh diced plum tomatoes, diced can tomatoes, beef base, and water.
  • Bring chili to a simmer. Cover and simmer over low heat for 3 hours, until stew meat is tender.
  • Add pinto beans. Simmer for 10 minutes, until beans are warm.
  • Season with salt, as needed.
  • Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and diced tomatoes.

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