President Obama's Chili Recipe | Kitchen Explorers | PBS Food

President Obama’s Chili Recipe

Chili is one of my most favorite go-to meals to prepare during the winter months.  Perhaps it’s the cold, wet weather which ignites a hunger for a hot bowl of chili over a bed of rice.  Although sometimes I like to make chili for no other reason except that it is a comfort food for me.  I also sometimes make it because my daughter Mimi loves chili, cheese, and rice burritos.

Chili is a very simple one-dish meal that can be pulled together rather quickly, even for large crowds.  In fact, our family just returned from a 3 day ski vacation with my sister’s family.  As we took turns preparing meals, I brought a big batch of President Obama’s chili and baked cornbread with a hearty salad to serve on the side.  In case you’re wondering where you can buy the President’s chili, the answer is, you can’t.  However, you can make it at home.

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon an article about how the President would make a huge batch of chili and serve it to friends when he and First Lady Michelle would have company over.  I imagined him in the kitchen stirring the pot, serving it to friends as they discussed world events, sports, future hopes and ambitions for their children, then going back for second and third helpings with bursts of eruptive laughter in-between.

The chili is rather simple in a very honest way, which I like.  Served over a bed of rice, and topped with a small spoonful of sour cream and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese, the President’s chili is perfect for having company over including lively conversations.


*This recipe was adapted from Dash. For another awesome chili recipe, try Dad’s Chili!

President Obama’s Chili Recipe

President Obama's Chili Recipe - A simple yet hearty meal made to be a comfort food meal the whole family will love.



  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb ground turkey or beef
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground basil
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 3 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
  • One 28-ounce can peeled tomatoes (I prefer San Marzano)
  • One 29-ounce can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium-high heat
  2. Add the onions, green pepper, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes
  3. Add the meat to the pan.  Once the meat has browned, add the spices
  4. Stir in the red-wine vinegar and tomatoes
  5. Using a potato masher, mash the whole tomatoes down
  6. Stir in the kidney beans.
  7. Cook the chili covered for 15 minutes on medium-low heat.


OPTIONAL: *The Obama's like to serve this chili over white or brown rice. *Garnish the chili with toppings such as grated cheddar cheese, chopped onions, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, scallions, cilantro, avocado, or corn bread crumbles.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 15 Minutes

Total Time: 30 Minutes

Yield: 4-6

Alice-Currah-169x215Alice Currah is the publisher of popular food blog, Savory Sweet Life. Her approachable everyday recipes are accompanied by beautiful step by step photos and have been featured online at Martha Stewart, Real Simple, The Pioneer Woman, Epicurious, Bon Appetit, Saveur, iVillage and many more. In March 2010, featured Alice as one of “Eight of the Very Best Food Bloggers.” You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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