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Zippy’s Chili Recipe is an iconic dish of chili that has been well-loved by the people of Hawaii for decades. It’s a hearty mix of beef, sausage, beans, and unique spices that provide a range of mouth-watering flavors and textures in every spoonful.

Zippy’s is not your typical chili. It’s served in a bowl, over fries, on top of spaghetti, on a hamburger patty, or over a burrito with sides of mac salad and rice.

zippy's chili with a scoop of rice on top in a bowl
Famous Zippy’s Chile With Rice

Zippy’s Chili History

Charles Higa and his brother Francis created the original Zippy’s chili recipe. In 1966 they took this signature recipe and opened their first restaurant in Honolulu, Hawaii. One key to their success was they decided to stay open 24 hours a day and soon became the in-place for late-night customers. 

The chili’s popularity took off and spread across the Hawaiian islands and eventually became well-known throughout much of the US mainland.

This recipe was great! The consistency & overall “look” was almost identical to our beloved Zippy’s chili but with just a few tweaks, it turned out even better!(According to the Ohana!) I wish I could post a photo – Mahalo for sharing this with us!

Juliana

🌺Why This Recipe Is Authentic

For this copycat recipe, I went right to the source, a box of Zippy’s Chili Sauce with Beef and Beans and Portuguese Brand Sausage. I carefully list all the ingredients and test the combination of all the ingredients. I do, however, leave out any preservatives added for commercial packaging. 

I also looked through copycat recipes back in the 60s and 70s for comparison hoping they would be the most authentic. It’s essential that a chain restaurant does not give up their “secret” ingredients, but they must comply with our FDA for listing ingredients on their packaging.

For this reason, the “secret” seasonings are sometimes listed as natural flavors or seasonings. The original recipe is still a secret, but this copycat will definitely be a hit when you serve it to family and friends. 

Zippy’s Chili Ingredients

You’ll need a few key ingredients to recreate this famous chili at home. 

zippy's chili ingredients and seasonings
Zippy’s Copycat Chili Recipe Ingredients

Ground beef: Purchase lean ground beef, such as a 90/10 ratio. 

Portuguese sausage: I had trouble finding two pounds of Portuguese sausage in my area. I purchased Spanish chorizo, which is very similar in flavor and can be used interchangeably for this recipe. 

Vegetables: It is important that the onion, celery, and green bell pepper are finely chopped to make this chili authentic. 

Broth: This may seem strange, but the ingredient list has beef and chicken broth. You will need 1 14 oz can of chicken and beef broth. The recipe also has a beef base and a chicken base. I use Better Than Bullion brand for the chicken and beef base. LINK 

Beans: Zippy’s puts red kidney beans in their chili. You can omit or switch out to your favorite beans. I used pinto for this recipe because they are less dry tasting. We have some very particular bean eaters in our family. 

Seasonings

Oleoresin of paprika: The ingredients list has Oleoresin of paprika. Oleoresin is an oil-soluble extract from the fruits of Capsicum frutescens (Indian red chilies), which is primarily used as a coloring and flavoring in food products. For this copycat, use regular paprika. 

Ginger: Be sure you only use freshly grated ginger, not powdered. Peel the ginger and grate on a fine grater. My favorite is the OXO Good Grips Zester. 

Cayenne pepper:  This can be omitted if you do not like spicy or doubled if you want some heat in your Zippy’s chili. 

⭐️ See the recipe card for a complete list and quantities.

Is There A Secret Ingredient In Zippy’s Chili?

There is one unique ingedint that keeps popping up on many Zippy’s copycat recipes. The copycats state that a scoop of mayonnaise is put into a pot of chili just before serving. 

Mayonaise or no mayonnaise? Let me put this to rest. Under the allergen ingredients on Zippy’s website, they do not list eggs in their chili. Since mayo is basically eggs and oil, it is safe to say there is no mayonnaise in Zippy’s Chili.

Zippy's chili with a scoop of mayo over it and a big red x on mayo
Zippy’s Chili With Mayonaise?

Did Zippy’s Share Their Secret Recipe?

Zippy’s restaurant did share a copycat recipe for their chili. They posted on their Facebook page 11 years ago a photo of the recipe printed in the newspaper.

Since Zippy’s posted the recipe publicly, I’m figuring this recipe was a diversion from what is really in their chili. 

newspaper article with zippy's copycat recipe
Newspaper Article For Zippy’s Chili Recipe

Of course, we don’t expect them to tell all their secrets, and this newspaper recipe from 1969 does not line up with the ingredients on the prepared box of chili they sell at food stores today. The following items are in the old newspaper recipe. However, they are missing from the box’s ingredients today. 

  • Red wine
  • Bacon
  • Bay leaf
  • Powdered paprika
  • Cumin seeds
  • Oregan leaves
  • Ajinomoto
  • Peanut butter
  • Sour cream

While testing the recipe, I omitted the newspaper items and used the box ingredients for this copycat recipe. 

How To Make Zippys Chili Recipe

1. Remove sausage from the casing and chop it into small pieces. In a large frying pan or dutch oven over medium heat, brown beef and sausage until all the pink is gone.

2. Remove the cooked meat from the heat. Spoon off any excess oil. Then blot the excess oil up with a few pieces of paper towel. Transfer beef to a bowl for now. 

hamburger and sausage cooked in a pot
Zippy’s Chili Meats

3. Pour the cooked meats into a 6-quart crock pot. 

4. Add finely diced green pepper, onion, and celery.

green peppers, onions and celery over zippy's chili meat
Vegetables In Zippy’s Chili

5. Next, add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, beef, and chicken base.

zippy's chil meat, veggies, tomato paste and beef base in crock pot
Zippy’s Chili Ingredients

6. Grate peeled fresh ginger into the chili mixture.

grating ginger over zippy's chili in slow cooker
Ginger Being Grated Into Zippy’s Chili

7. Stir in chili powder, sugar, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, beef broth, and chicken broth. Add dark red kidney beans if you want beans in your chili.

zippy's chili seasonings over meat in crock pot

8. Place the lid on the crockpot and cook for 4 to 5 hours on high or 6 to 7 hours on low.

zippy's chili in a crock pot before cooking
Zippy’s Chili Ready To Cook In Slow Cooker

How To Serve Zippy’s Chili

The best part of making a big pot of Zippy’s Chili is figuring out the best way to serve it! Zippy’s restaurant has a variety of ways to serve its chili. Sure, you can eat just like it comes out of your slow cooker. However, to find your favorite, you must try all the unique ways Zippy’s serves their chili in Hawaii. 

  • Chili Bowl No Rice
  • Chili with Rice: A bowl of chili with a big round scoop of white rice in the middle. 
  • Chili Frank: Zippys chili is served on a plate with beef hot dogs plopped right down in the middle. Next to the chili is a side dish scoop of mac salad and rice. 
  • Chili Loco Moco: A juicy hamburger patty on top of rice, then smothered with Zippy’s chili and topped with two fried eggs. 
  • Chili Cheese Fries: French fries topped with Zippy’s chili and shredded cheddar cheese. 
  • Chili Spaghetti with Garlic Bread: Chili over spaghetti noodles and a side of garlic bread. 
  • Chili Burrito: Deep fried bean and ground beef burrito smothered in Zippy’s chili, then topped with cheddar cheese. 

🤩 If you have a favorite way to order Zippy’s famous chili, share it in the comments below.

In A Hurry?

If you’re in a hurry and want to prepare the chili quickly, you can make it in a large pot on your stove. Follow the instructions in the recipe card, and then instead of putting the ingredients in a slow cooker to simmer, place them in a heavy-bottomed pot on your stove. Cook on low for at least an hour, striking with a large wooden spoon every 15 minutes. 

What To Do With Leftovers

If you have leftovers, allow the chili to cool to room temperature. Place the chili in airtight containers. Keep in the refrigerator for up to three days. 

Need a big batch to feed a crowd? You can easily change the number of servings in the recipe card below by tapping 2x or 3x. The ingredient measurements will automatically double or triple. You can then tap print and there you have it, a recipe for a crowd.

Enjoy this copycat Zippy’s Chili recipe whenever you’re craving some Hawaiian comfort food – no trip back to Hawaii is necessary!

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zippy's chili in a bowl with a scoop of rice on top
5 from 4 ratings

Rich Hawaiian Zippy’s Chili Recipe; Slow Cooker

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Zippy's Chili is an iconic dish of chili that has been well-loved by the people of Hawaii for decades. It's a hearty mix of beef, sausage, beans, and unique spices that provide a range of flavors and textures in every spoonful.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

hand showing you to tap on the ingredient to add to your walmart and target list.

Ingredients
 

  • 3 lbs ground beef , lean, 90/10
  • 2 lbs Portuguese sausages, If you can't find Portuguese sausage, Spanish chorizo, is very similar in flavor and can be used interchangeably for this recipe.
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups celery, very finely chopped
  • 2 cups green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste.
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon beef base, I use Better Than Bullion brand.
  • 1 tablespoon chicken base, I use Better Than Bullion brand.
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoons ginger, fresh, peeled and grated
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper – , omit if you do not like spicy or doubled if you want more spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 14.5 oz chicken broth, can
  • 14.5 oz beef broth, can
  • 15.5 oz dark red kidney beans, canned – You can omit or double if you really like beans.

Instructions
 

  • In a large frying pan or dutch oven over medium heat, brown beef and sausage until all the pink is gone. Crumble and break apart the meats as they cook
    3 lbs ground beef, 2 lbs Portuguese sausages
    hamburger and sausage cooked in a pot
  • Remove the cooked meat from the heat. Spoon off any excess oil. Then blot the excess oil up with a few pieces of paper towel. Transfer beef to a bowl for now
  • Pour the cooked meats into a 6-quart crock pot.
  • Add finely diced green pepper, onion, and celery
    1 cup onion, 2 cups celery, 2 cups green pepper
    green peppers, onions and celery over zippy's chili meat
  • Next, add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, beef, and chicken base.
    1 6 oz can tomato paste., 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon beef base, 1 tablespoon chicken base
    zippy's chil meat, veggies, tomato paste and beef base in crock pot
  • Grate peeled fresh ginger into the chili mixture
    1 teaspoons ginger
    grating ginger over zippy's chili in slow cooker
  • Stir in chili powder, sugar, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, beef broth, and chicken broth. Add dark red kidney beans if you want beans in your chili
    1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon white sugar, 1 tablespoon paprika powder, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper -, 1 teaspoon salt, 14.5 oz chicken broth, 14.5 oz beef broth, 15.5 oz dark red kidney beans
    zippy's chili seasonings over meat in crock pot
  • Place the lid on the crockpot and cook for 4 to 5 hours on high or 6 to 7 hours on low

Notes

The best part about making a big pot of Zippy’s Chili is figuring out the best way to serve it! Zippy’s restaurant has a variety of ways to serve its chili. To find your favorite, you must try all the unique ways Zippy’s serves their chili in Hawaii. 
  • Chili Bowl No Rice
  • Chili with Rice: A bowl of chili with a big round scoop of white rice in the middle. 
  • Chili Frank: Zippy’s chili is served on a plate with beef hot dogs plopped right down in the middle. Next to the chili is a side dish scoop of mac salad and rice. 
  • Chili Loco Moco: A juicy hamburger patty on top of rice, then smothered with Zippy’s chili and topped with two fried eggs. 
  • Chili Cheese Fries: French fries topped with Zippy’s chili and shredded cheddar cheese. 
  • Chili Spaghetti with Garlic Bread: Chili over spaghetti noodles and a side of garlic bread. 
  • Chili Burrito: Deep fried bean and ground beef burrito smothered in Zippy’s chili, then topped with cheddar cheese.
Serving: 1g, Calories: 595kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 38g, Fat: 40g, Saturated Fat: 18g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 162mg, Sodium: 1092mg, Potassium: 941mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 1065IU, Vitamin C: 48mg, Calcium: 87mg, Iron: 6mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Soup
Author: Gina Dickson

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