Golden Corral Timberline Chili Recipe (Copycat)

Timberline chili is a wonderful meal to make during the holiday season. It’s warm, simple, and has a rich tradition behind it. If you’re looking for a hearty chili recipe to recreate, then try our version of the famous Golden Corral chili that just requires 15-minutes prep.

Beef chili is often cooked in big portions so it’s good for potlucks or if you’re expecting many guests. Although it takes a lot of time to finish cooking, you are guaranteed to experience the best hearty meal you can get. It is savory, spicy, and sometimes with a hint of sweetness from the tomatoes. 

Most people think that chili is an overly indulgent dish but this stew can still be considered healthy. In this recipe, we use black and kidney beans, but feel free to use red and pinto beans as alternatives or add-ons. They are large in size and are equally nutritious. Together with other simple vegetables, this easy chili makes an incredibly healthy meal. It’s best paired with a comforting side that you can make with this cornbread recipe. Just dip the bread into your chili sauce to savor the taste of this Golden Corral chili recipe.

Golden Corral Timberline Chili Recipe (Copycat)

How To Make Golden Corral Timberline Chili (Copycat)

This slow-cooked copycat Golden Corral Timberline Chili is filled with ground beef and various beans, making it a very hearty meal that comes with an explosion of spice from the chili powder, cumin, and jalapeño.

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 55 mins
Total: 1 hr


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 oz yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 15 oz tomato sauce, (1 can)
  • 8 oz kidney beans, (1 can)
  • 8 oz black beans, (1 can)
  • 8 oz corn, (1 can)
  • 8 oz tomatoes, (1 can), whole
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste

To Serve:

  • 1 tbsp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp sour cream

For Garnish:

  • ¼ tsp cilantro, per serving, chopped


  1. Heat up a deep skillet or Dutch oven, add the beef and saute until caramelized, roughly 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside and drain any excess oil if needed.

  2. Add the oil and onions. Saute until translucent.

  3. Add the corn and tomato paste. Roast briefly.

  4. Add the garlic, all your beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, chili powder, ground cumin, and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine and bring mixture to a boil.

  5. Add the cooked beef and stir to combine. Simmer until the chili reduces by half, flavors deepen, and beef is fully cooked for roughly 30 minutes.

  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Adjust accordingly.

  7. Ladle your chili in a serving bowl. Top with cheese and sour cream if preferred. Garnish with cilantro.


  • Sugar: 9g
  • :
  • Calcium: 111mg
  • Calories: 493kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 42g
  • Cholesterol: 69mg
  • Fat: 25g
  • Fiber: 12g
  • Iron: 7mg
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 11g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g
  • Potassium: 1303mg
  • Protein: 30g
  • Saturated Fat: 9g
  • Sodium: 993mg
  • Trans Fat: 1g
  • Vitamin A: 2049IU
  • Vitamin C: 18mg
Nutrition Disclaimer

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best secret ingredient for chili?

You can spice up your ground beef chili even more by adding some special ingredients. Booze like beer and wine adds richness and depth to the dish. Some people put chocolate in their recipe to add a hint of a bittersweet taste. Cocoa powder, unsweetened chocolate, or dark chocolate are good choices. Finally, the last ingredient that we recommend is lime juice. This would give a tangy taste to the dish that would very much complement its savory and spicy flavor. Just squeeze a lime wedge before serving a bowl of chili. 

Should chili be thick or soupy?

Since chili is considered a stew and not a soup, its consistency should be thick and hearty. If your stew ends up being too watery, there are ways on how to solve this problem. You may use a masher to crush some of the chili beans to add more starch and make it thicker. But remember to do this in moderation to avoid ruining the dish. You can also try adding 1 tablespoon of cornmeal to your chili to make it thicker.

What is the best meat for chili?

There’s no doubt that beef is the best meat you can use for chili. But aside from ground beef, you can also use other cuts such as beef chuck, brisket, or short ribs.

Stew Recipes


Try this timberline chili inspired by Golden Corral’s recipe. This hearty and delicious meal is good for sharing and will surely fill everybody’s stomach. It is savory, spicy, and warm, bringing you a bowl of comfort for the cold weather.
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