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Johnsonville Sausage Fire House Chili

sausage chili recipe in a bowl topped with fritos and sour cream
This post is brought to you by Johnsonville. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own — always have been, always will be!

Wow, has it already been a week since Valentine’s Day? My sweetie gave me the first four installments of The Twilight Saga on Blu-ray… and the flu. Fun times, eh?

Now that I’m mostly feeling myself again, I wanted to share how we spent that morning before I was relegated to my bed. You see, Johnsonville contacted me about a month ago asking if I’d be interested in preparing my favorite easy chili recipe for our local fire department so the men could have a nice, hot meal on Valentine’s Day. Uh, yeah, of course I would love to!

Johnsonsville was kind enough to donate a slow cooker for transporting the chili, as well as coupons for Johnsonville sausage and a gift card to purchase additional ingredients. As it turns out, Valentine’s Day was pretty chilly here (no pun intended, lol), so a steaming hot bowl of chili was perfect for lunch.

Johnsonville Italian Sausage

I know there’s a lot of disagreement over the “right” way to make chili — beans, no beans, meat, no meat, etc. — but I say make it however you like it! Growing up, our chili always had both meat and beans, and that’s how I still make my favorite chili recipe today.

This easy chili recipe starts with Johnsonville Sweet Italian Sausage. I removed the casings and browned the meat along with some chopped white onions and green peppers. You can also find ground Johnsonville sausage at some stores, which is a slightly easier option, but not all of my local stores carry this product.

From here, you can either continue to cook your chili on the stovetop, or you can transfer the browned meat mixture to your slow cooker and proceed. Simply add diced fire-roasted tomatoes, dark kidney beans, tomato juice, and all of the spices mentioned below, and simmer for your desired length of time — the longer the better.

I made this batch slightly spicy, but not too hot since I know everyone has a different tolerance. My family actually prefers it a good deal spicier, so you can add additional red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper if you like a hot and spicy chili, as well.

Easy Chili Recipe

We like to serve our chili over corn chips, topped with sour cream and sharp cheddar cheese. Or add a side of homemade cornbread for a delicious and filling winter meal. This recipe makes a BIG 4.5 quart pot, so there’s plenty to go around, and chili is one of those things that’s even better the next day!

sausage chili recipe in a bowl topped with fritos and sour cream

Spicy Fire House Chili

Yield: 4.5 quarts
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 2 packages Johnsonville Italian Sausage, casings removed
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 (14.5-oz.) cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 4 (15-oz.) cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (46-oz.) bottle tomato juice
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • sour cream (optional)
  • cheddar cheese (optional)
  • corn chips (optional)


  1. Slice each sausage link lengthwise to remove the casings. Brown meat over medium-high heat, along with diced onions and green peppers.
  2. At this point you can transfer the browned meat mixture to a 4.5 quart or larger slow cooker if desired.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, tomato juice and kidney beans. Add all spices and mix well.
  4. On stovetop bring to a boil and then turn the heat down. Let simmer for at least 30 minutes, the longer the better. Or for a slow cooker, turn heat to low and cook for 4 hours.
  5. For a spicier chili, increase the red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper as desired.
  6. Serve over corn chips, topped with sour cream and cheddar cheese or with homemade cornbread.

Have you tried this recipe?

Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag it @unsophisticook and hashtag it #unsophisticook!

More Sausage Recipes To Try

If you like this sausage chili recipe, you might also enjoy these other delicious sausage recipes with bold flavor:

Did you make this recipe?
Tag @unsophisticook on Instagram and hashtag it #unsophisticook.

Aimee @ ShugarySweets

Friday 15th of March 2013

Oh yeah, this looks amazing!! PINNING.


Wednesday 27th of February 2013

I love the hot sausage in this chili. We eat a lot of chili in my house so we'll have to try this out!


Saturday 23rd of February 2013

This chili looks great! Love that hot sausage!

Erika @ The Hopeless Housewife

Friday 22nd of February 2013

Great chili and what a cutie pie your son is!


Friday 22nd of February 2013

What a cutie!!! I had to pin this... it looks gorgeous and my hubby would love me if I made it! :)

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