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Frisch’s Chili Recipe Copycat: A Clone of Big Boy’s Chili Recipe

FrischsChiliSpaghettiFrisch’s Chili Recipe Copycat

Will we ever finish with tweaking this recipe? Frisch’s famous chili is what reader Bob B. just made. He didn’t like the idea of paprika in it. Instead, he added 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin to the recipe and said it’s very close to Frisch’s.  So here we go again, with Bob’s suggestions.

After checking with Greg Grisanti, R&D chef at Frisch’s, who told me there are no bell peppers in Frisch’s chili, I removed them from the original reader submitted recipe.

I have one of my readers of my Community Press weekly syndicated column to thank for this, Marion Johannigman, from the Westside of Cincinnati.

Marion cooks hers in a pressure cooker. Here’s my adaptation of Marion’s chili. She said she found the original recipe years ago in the newspaper. Since most of you don’t have pressure cookers, I’ve adapted it for stove top cooking.

Eat it plain, with crackers or as a topping for spaghetti.


3 pounds ground beef
3 cups water or more if necessary
1 large onion, chopped
2-1/2 tablespoons chili powder or more to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder or more to taste
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon paprika (opt)

1 generous cup of tomato puree (about 5 oz)
6 oz tomato paste

2-3 cans kidney beans

Frisch's Big Boy Logo

Frisch’s Big Boy


Place everything except beans in a large soup pot. Turn heat to medium high, then lower to a gentle simmering boil. I am using mu Le Creuset enameled cast iron pot which heats so well and keeps food warm for a long time.

After about 30 minutes, check to see if meat is cooked. If it is, add beans and cook another 30 minutes or so still staying at the gentle simmering boil.  Taste for seasonings and add more water if necessary.  The longer you cook this the better it gets.

Delicious chili recipes just like Frisch’s.

Permanent link to this article: http://abouteating.com/frischs-chili-recipe/


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  1. Vicki

    Would love to have the recipe for Pogue’s egg salad

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Vicki,
      That’s a new one for me but I’ll put out a call for it.

    2. terry

      I would love to have that too! That brings back so many memories of my Mother and me eating at Northgate Mall Pogue’s. Thanks for the memories, Terry

  2. Bruce

    This isn’t Frisch’s Big Boy chili. Frisch’s has never put green peepers into their chili. This is more like Wendy’s chili.

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Bruce,
      The original recipe was a reader’s. I’m intrigued – care to share how you know Frisch’s doesn’t put green peppers in their chili?

      1. Lori

        anyone who has ever eaten Frisch’s knows there is no green pepper in it..even asked some servers and they laughed and said no

        1. cyndy

          There are no green peppers and no beans in Frisch’s chili. They will add bean but, there are no beans in BEANS in their Chili

          1. Brie

            Yes Frisch’s chili has beans and lots of them. I always ask for light beans!!

      2. Mary

        I’ve eaten Frisch’s chili many times and he’s right, they do not put green peppers in it. Wish I could get my hands in their actual recipe. It’s. The best chili I’ve ever had from Indiana to Tennessee, Texas, and Florida. Bar none, theirs is the best.

  3. Donovan

    this is not frisches chili. And I know they dont have green peppers in their chili because I know someone who works there. And I eat it all the time…

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hey, for all of you out there who insist Frisch’s chili has no green peppers in it, read my latest blog post. Mystery solved!

  4. Richard Brinkers

    Hello, could tell me how to get to your blog about the Use of green pepper in the Friches chili recipe.


  5. Cathy

    I just had Frischs chili…and I did not really “see” any gr peppers/nor beans? but could they make it differently depending on the location, maybe? thanks

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Cathy,
      Frischs chili does not contain green/bell peppers but does have beans. They make it the same for every restaurant in their commissary.

  6. Mary Ann Wolf

    Missed your blog, but wondered about Frisch’s chili?? Does it have green peppers or not??

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Mary Ann,
      As mentioned before (and I apologize if you couldn’t find it) Frisch’s chili does not contain green bell peppers.

  7. Loretta

    I have been eating Frisch’s chili for 50 years and I can tell you that their have never been peppers in their chili.

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      You’re right, as Greg Grisanti informed me – Greg is the R&D chef at Frisch’s and I blogged about it. Check it out!

  8. Janet Wilson

    Just curious,what kind of chilli powder?

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      I always use Buena Vida – it’s in a packet.

  9. Robert Beckelhimer

    Everyone is commenting about the green peppers in this chili. That is not the problem! I made this chili 2 nights ago and it did not taste like the Frisch’s chili I had last Monday. It was bad. I then looked at the recipe and found that paprika was used but not cumin. I added 1 tsp of cumin and the taste was almost there. I added another 1/2 tsp and it was very close. Why paprika? Chili needs cumin! Next time before nit picking a recipe, try it first. the peppers make very little difference to the taste.

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Robert,

      Wish I had the answer about paprika, but that’s what was in the original recipe given to me. I love the addition of adding cumin – cumin is part of the ingredients in chili powder but depending upon which kind you use, the chili may need more cumin, like you added. Next time I make it, I’m going to add some and I’ll edit the posted recipe to reflect your suggestions.

      Thanks much for your input – that’s what makes this blog fun!


  10. Mike

    I was curious, it doesn’t say what heat levels were supposed to use, do we bring it to a boil then simmer? Do we simmer it the whole time? I plan to try this version soon,


    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Mike,
      I would bring it to a boil, then lower to what I call a “gentle simmering boil”. Does that make sense? Let me know how you like it and what changes, if any, you make. This recipe seems to be a work in progress all the time!

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