Spicy Chili with Cornmeal Biscuits

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Spicy Chili with Cornmeal Biscuits ~ my zesty chili pairs so well with my cornmeal biscuits, they have the crunchy, nutty sweet flavor of cornbread, and the light fluffiness of a biscuit (their golden color is gorgeous.)  This comforting meal is a family pleaser!

Cornmeal biscuits and chili are a match made in heaven.

I love biscuits in the cold weather.  They go with so many of the one pot meals that I make during the season.  The great thing about biscuits is that you can think of them and make them at the last minute.

I like to make my chili with quality meat and I like it really spicy.

This batch stars steak tips, white beans, two varieties of hot chilies, three different chili powders, ale, and a secret ingredient (sweet potato, shhhhh….)

Other great chilis to try ~

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4.56 from 43 votes

Spicy Chili with Cornmeal Biscuits

Spicy Chili with Cornmeal Biscuits ~ my zesty chili pairs so well with my cornmeal biscuits, they have the crunchy, nutty sweet flavor of cornbread, and the light fluffiness of a biscuit (their golden color is gorgeous.)  This comforting meal is a family pleaser!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican/American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Yield 4 - 6 servings



  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal (you can also use white cornmeal)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 Tbsp (1 and 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter cut in pieces


  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and all, minced
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 lb steak tips, cut in bite sized chunks
  • 1/2 bottle of beer, any kind you like
  • 1 14 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes, pureed or diced
  • 1 small can mexican chilies
  • 1 cup beef stock, I keep those little containers of stock around, you can also use water
  • 1/2 bottle of beer
  • 1 cup cooked white beans, (made from dried is best, but you can use canned)
  • 1 heaping tsp chili powder
  • 1 heaping tsp ground ancho chili pepper
  • 1 heaping tsp chipotle chili pepper
  • 1 heaping tsp ground cumin
  • salt to taste
  • 2 Tbsp masa harina


  • Preheat oven to 450F
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Whisk the cornmeal, buttermilk and honey together in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of a processor along with the butter pieces and pulse about 10 times until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  • Add the buttermilk mixture and pulse just enough to bring the dough together.
  • Turn out onto a floured board and knead about 10 times until the dough is workable. Add in extra flour if it’s too wet.
  • Pat into a 9 inch round and cut out about 8 biscuits with a 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 inch biscuit cutter.
  • Bake for 5 minutes, until they just start to rise, and then turn down the heat to 400F, and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, until golden.
  • Cool on a rack.
  • To make the chili: saute the onion, peppers anfd sweet potato in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until the onion is translucent. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • In the same pan, heat a bit more oil over medium high heat and sear the steak tips on all sides. I did this in two batches to get good color. Too much meat in the pan and it just steams instead of sears.
  • Add in the ale and put back the vegetables. Add in the tomatoes, broth, can of chilies and spices. Mix it well and let it simmer on low for about 45 minutes. Add in the beans toward the end of the cooking time. The chili is best if it gets a chance to rest before you eat it, so put it aside to cool, and then refrigerate until ready to eat.
  • When you are ready to eat, reheat the chili. Make a paste out of the masa harina and a little water, and add to the pot. Stir to combine and heat for another 10 minutes. The chili will thicken slightly.


  • Make sure your biscuit cutter is big enough. I don't have a biscuit cutter, so I first tried using a glass, but I found that it squashed the dough down as it cut. You really need a sharper edge, so after searching around the kitchen I landed on the metal top of a cocktail shaker!  It measured 2 3/4, and it was perfect. You don't want wimpy biscuits.
  • If you don't have buttermilk, add 1 Tbsp of lemon juice to the milk and set aside for 10 minutes. It will do just fine.
    The recipe says to rotate the pan halfway during the cooking.  I didn't do that.  I think that's to insure an even rise.  Some of my biscuits lilted to one side, but I didn't care enough to watch the clock and rotate the pan.
  •  I really like the fiery hot chili tempered by the sweet potatoes and creamy white beans.  You don't really taste the sweet potato, it just melts into the background and gives added richness to the chili.  I think using steak or chunks of beef gives it a much needed variety of texture, and it allows you to actually taste the beef.

cornmeal biscuits pin

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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2020 at 10:21 am

    5 stars
    Hi, which cornmeal the normal coarse one or the much finer precooked cornmeal?????

    • Reply
      October 28, 2020 at 12:29 pm

      I used normal cornmeal, but you could actually use either.

  • Reply
    kathryn monck
    September 28, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    5 stars
    i have used a tuna fish can for a biscuit cutter. my mom gave me the idea as its what she used, great biscuits thanks .i grew up with biscuits being a staple at family meals.

  • Reply
    August 25, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    Hi Sue, this looks delicious. A question about the servings, 4- 6 servings, does that mean this batch will give you 4-6 large size biscuits or the total yield is enough to feed 4 – 6 people ? Sorry for the stupid question.
    Also what is the best way to reheat them ? Thanks in advance

    • Reply
      August 25, 2020 at 5:57 pm

      The biscuit recipe makes about 6-8 biscuits, depending on size, and the chili will serve 4-6, again, depending on size of portions. Not a stupid question at all…this was one of my earlier recipes and I wasn’t super savvy about conveying portion information 🙂

      • Reply
        August 26, 2020 at 7:30 pm

        Thanks so much Sue, that clarifies it . Will let you know how it turns out ?

  • Reply
    August 19, 2020 at 9:11 am

    Hi Sue. This looks just the ticket for dinner tomorrow night. We’re having friends over who like a stick to your ribs type of menu and your Chili looks delicious. Just wondering, beer is listed twice in the recipe and I’ve read the recipe through a couple times but I seem to be missing where I’m adding the second half bottle of ale. Can you please advise me? Thanks so much. And those biscuits will be made. I adore anything with cornmeal.

  • Reply
    June 25, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    I dont have a food processor what do i do?!

    • Reply
      June 26, 2020 at 7:16 am

      You can make biscuits the old fashioned way, by hand! Use a pastry cutter or forks to cut in the butter. Some people like to freeze their butter and then grate it before adding to the dry ingredients.

  • Reply
    Sandra Vaux
    April 26, 2020 at 12:39 am

    5 stars
    Dear Sue, I also have never made chili with chopped beef but I certainly am trying this tomorrow along with your biscuits. I make biscuits all the time but never even thought of making cornmeal ones dah..love cornmeal! Thanks from another Great Island…Vancouver Island Canada. Love your site and am now going to follow, keep up the good work. Blessings?

  • Reply
    Sue Smandych
    April 25, 2020 at 11:13 am

    5 stars
    Just made these and they are gorgeous! Recipe was wonderful. Thank you

  • Reply
    Moira Clarke
    April 24, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    I have not tried this dish nor the biscuits as yet, but it is soon to be on my list. I wonder if you have a nutrition breakdown for this, especially a separate calorie count for the chili and biscuits. I have joined Noom, and would need to be able to provide the calories to the database and give a author’s name for the recipe. Thank you.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    I am going to try these cornmeal biscuits soon, they look great..

  • Reply
    December 16, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    These biscuits look delicious. My husband challenged my mom to a biscuit throwdown over Christmas weekend. This looks like a good recipe for me to enter the contest. Exactly what kind of cornmeal did you use? Was it a plain or self-rising?

    • Reply
      April 21, 2020 at 8:45 pm

      I use just plain yellow cornmeal.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2011 at 10:06 am

    These biscuits are fabulous – I’ll try to make them for my next chili. Yum!

  • Reply
    November 30, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    I must try the biscuits. I’m always drawn to things I’ve never tasted. I wager these are delicious. Your photos of them are worthy of a magazine. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    November 30, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    5 stars
    I just made chili last night and boy do I ever wish I would have seen these cornmeal biscuits before hand. They would have been so good last night! Oh well, next time but I am bookmarking them!

  • Reply
    November 30, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    You know, I’ve never made chili with actual beef pieces, only hamburger. Great looking biscuits!

  • Reply
    November 30, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Love, love, love your biscuit recipe, Sue! Can’t wait to try it!
    I don’t make chili often but this looks like a wonderful recipe.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I’ve never had cornmeal biscuits. They sound great! I’m sure they have great texture. And yes, I do want to take one home.

  • Reply
    From Beyond My Kitchen Window
    November 30, 2011 at 3:37 am

    Great post. The cornbread biscuits look so light and delicious. I have never used steak in my chili. I think I might like to use your recipe next time. My husband and sons love their beef!

  • Reply
    November 29, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    those biscuits are fab!!! i think i am going to have to whip up a batch tomorrow…it is so cold and miserable here xx

  • Reply
    November 29, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    5 stars
    It should be ‘illegal’ to make people drool like you do with your recipes and your pictures… 😉 Seriously, this looks SO good!

  • Reply
    November 29, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Such a great idea to prepare some spicy tapas! If you don’t mind, I’m borrowing this one Sue!

  • Reply
    November 29, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Oh. My. Those biscuits sound fantastic. I adore cornbread and those sound like my kind of combination. I’m loving the sweet potato in your chili too! I’ve fallen for sweet potatoes like crazy this fall. I have at least 3 sweet potato recipes that I still need to write up. Have a great afternoon!

  • Reply
    November 29, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Looks gorgeous. Cannot stop drooling over the pictures

  • Reply
    Hungry Dog
    November 29, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    We’ve been in the mood for chili recently but looking for the right recipe. Looks like we found it! And these biscuits are gorgeous, I love that yellow hue! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  • Reply
    November 29, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    This looks amazing, I’ve never tasted a biscuit before, I’m racking my brain to think what I could cut them with, hmm, no cocktail shaker either.
    I haven’t had chilli in ages, I’m going to take a note of this, you really need to put out a book!