This perfectly baked potato gets a major upgrade with homemade chili and a variety of toppings. The chili is easy to make, exceptionally flavorful, and hearty and comforting enough for any fall or winter day.
Plain baked potatoes are yummy with just a pat of butter and salt and pepper. However, sometimes you have to make your food (and life) extra special and delicious. Time to throw some glitter on your baked potato. I decided to make a big pot of homemade chili, and set up a baked potato bar with all the toppings!
BAKED POTATO. Please feel free to bake your potato however you’d like. There are so many different methods that people swear by to get the perfectly baked potato. I don’t have enough experience to tell you that I’ve tried all the methods and found the best one. I can tell you that I followed Alton Brown’s method, and the potatoes turned out great. Side note, did anyone else used to watch Good Eats and think “this guy is so bizarre”? I did, but actually love him and basically trust all his recipes/cooking methods because he backs them by science (kind of).
The CHILI recipe was inspired by Pioneer Woman (again, she’s amazing). I followed her recipe, but ended up adding a few extra things to make it extra tasty. Here are the changes I made: 1. I sautéed a diced onion and 4 diced jalapeños (seeds removed) before adding everything to the pot; 2. I added a can of black beans, an extra can of diced tomatoes and Rotel, a small can of tomato paste, and some garlic powder; 3. I added a bottle of beer to the mix because extra flavor…; 4. I simmered the chili for almost 2.5 hours for the flavors to really develop. One note about the masa: the point of it is to thicken the chili. I honestly didn’t think it made a huge difference, so if you can’t find it, don’t sweat it. If you’re really looking for a thick chili, maybe decrease the amount of liquid (beer). For your loaded baked potato, you can definitely use canned chili if you’re tight on time or feeling a bit lazy. I do love me a good can of chili, but making your own is super simple and the flavors are just wonderful! Plus it’s so customizable, you can easily adjust it to your preferences.
TOPPINGS. You can go crazy with your toppings, and basically use whatever you want or whatever you have on hand. I thought of mine kind of like a nacho bar and ended up using red onion, jalapeños, cheese, green onions, avocado, Fritos and cornbread. Cornbread with chili is one of my favorite things, so that was a must for me. The combination of all these toppings contributes perfectly to the taste and texture of the dish. The gooey and melty cheese; spice of the jalapeño, green onion and red onion; the crunch and saltiness of the Fritos; and the flavor and texture of the cornbread make this simply amazing. Other options to consider: sliced radishes, pickled jalapeños, hot sauce, corn nuts, cilantro, sour cream, etc. Go crazy!
THE SET UP. This is a great dish to entertain with for a couple reasons. Most of the work is just sitting and waiting for things to cook (simmering the chili, baking the potatoes) and most of it can be done ahead of time so you’re not stressed out about timing everything perfectly. The only thing I would try to time correctly is baking the potatoes – just throw them in the oven about an hour before eating time! That way, the potatoes will be nice and hot. The chili can be made ahead of time (then reheated right before it’s time to eat), and all the toppings can be cut and prepared beforehand as well. Then you can set out all the toppings and let people load their potatoes with whatever they want instead of trying to tailor your dish to appeal to everyone’s taste buds individually. It’s simple for you and fun for your guests. This is a win-win kind of dish!
These chili loaded baked potatoes get an A++ in my books! They’re so simple to make, they taste like a big magical hug, they’re great for sharing with friends, and they’re the perfect way to throw that glitter in your life! I hope you enjoy! Hugs & kiss and all my best wishes!
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 jalapeños, seeds removed and diced
- One 12-oz bottle of beer* (See note)
- One 8-oz can tomato sauce
- One 10-oz can Rotel
- One 15-oz can diced tomatoes
- One 6-oz can tomato paste
- 2.5 tbsp chili powder
- 1.5 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup masa harina (corn flour)** (see note)
- One 15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- One 15-oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- One 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 8 russet potatoes
- Olive oil
- Toppings: red onion, green onion, shredded cheese, Frito chips, cornbread, avocado, jalapeños
- Place the ground beef in a large pot and cook over medium heat until browned. Drain off excess fat and remove meat from pot.
- Cook onion, garlic and jalapeños over medium heat until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the beer to the pot.
- Add the cooked meat back into the pot. Add the tomato sauce, Rotel, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, salt and cayenne. Stir together well, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1.5 hour, stirring occasionally.
- After 1.5 hours, place masa harina in a small bowl with 1/2 cup water and stir with a fork. Dump the mixture into the chili. Stir together.
- Add all the beans and simmer for additional 30-60 minutes.
- Add more masa paste and/or water to reach desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
- Bake the potatoes while the chili is simmering. Heat oven to 350F. Position racks in top and bottom thirds. Wash potatoes thoroughly. Poke 8-12 deep holes over each potato using a fork. Lightly coat with oil and sprinkle with salt. Place potatoes directly on oven rack, and place a baking sheet on lower rack to catch drippings. Bake for 1 hour and 15 mins or until skin feels crisp and flesh is soft. Score the potato from end to end, then squeeze the ends towards each other to open it.
- Ladle a big scoop of chili into the potato, and add whatever toppings you'd like.
- * Can sub beef stock
- **The masa harina is commonly found in grocery stores. Its purpose is to thicken the chili. If you can't find it, you can just leave it out, and add less beer if you're looking for a thicker chili.