The Best Chili Recipe:
This classic chili recipe is everything you want from a chili recipe, it is thick and chunky, has some spice and is flavorful without being too hot! It has just the right amount of meat, beans, and veggies. And, is the perfect vessel for all your favorite chili toppings. Plus, it is cooked on the stovetop in just 30 minutes! Win-win!
From the pantry to the table in just 30 minutes, this chili is the perfect weeknight meal, and is amazing served with Homemade Cornbread, or Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread, or even these easy Buttermilk Biscuits. Add in your favorite toppings and dig in!
Did I mention this is ready in under 30 minutes!?
You have probably noticed I like to keep things simple but flavorful in my kitchen, and when it comes to delicious and easy, this is the best chili recipe. You toss ingredients into a pot and allow it to cook and simmer until the flavors have melded and it is done. Yes, you have to brown the ground beef for this beef chili, but it doesn’t get much simpler than this.
What makes this Chili Recipe So Good?
We have established this recipe is easy, but easy isn’t always good, so what makes this chili recipe so good?
- It is nice and thick! This fits the bill for a stew-like consistency, and one of the best parts is you can make it as thick or thin as you want. Love really thick chili? Simmer longer.
- Chunky, but not too chunky. No one wants to get a bite that is all tomatoes, or all ground beef. This recipe uses Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes and Rotel, which both offer good sized, small, even chunks.
- Flavor, this chili offers a variety of spice and depth of flavor, with just the right amount of heat. It is cozy, and isn’t going to make anyone run for milk screaming.
- Balanced: I spent a good deal of time playing with this recipe to get just the right balance of beans and meat and vegetables. I love the beans, and the hearty aspect they bring, but don’t want all beans, just like I don’t want all ground beef.
- It gets better with age. This chili recipe just gets better and better as leftovers, so you can make it ahead and enjoy it on hectic nights, and be grateful for it.
How to Make Chili
Making chili is EZPZ, with just 3 easy steps:
- Brown the ground beef with onions, garlic.
- Add remaining ingredients and simmer uncovered until desired thickness is achieved.
- Serve with your favorite toppings
I like to brown my ground beef right in the pot I use for the soup, and I recommend a heavy based pot, like an enamel covered dutch oven. I add it into the pot with the things that add flavor, onions and garlic!
You want to cook everything until it is browned, and make sure to break up any big chunks of ground beef so you can maintain those perfect ratios. I use this handy little meat chopper that makes breaking up the ground beef so easy, and you can get it on Amazon for really inexpensive.
Once it is browned, just stir in your spices, and add the rest of your ingredients.
Let simmer until the chili thickens (this takes about 15-20 minutes)
Then just top and enjoy!
What ingredients go into chili?
Classic chili is the perfect home cooked comfort food for busy nights, relaxing weekends, tailgating and so much more. In fact, I would say it is the perfect meal to get your through the holidays with less stress and more joy!
And you can’t have great chili without great ingredients:
- Ground Beef: This classic chili recipe uses ground beef, but fortunately, you can totally sub in a different ground meat if you would like, such as ground turkey or chicken. If you want to use a stew meat, you can, but keep in mind it will take a lot longer to cook so the tough fibers will break down
- Veggies: I wanted to keep it very simple, so I added onions, garlic, and celery. But you can add in other vegetables as well if you would like. Green peppers are an excellent addition, and if you chop them pretty fine, kids will hardly notice them.
- Tomatoes: I used a few different types, some tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and the flavorful Rotel tomatoes that are spiced up with green chilies.
- Spices: The biggest make or break ingredient for chili is the spices you use! I have come up with the perfect combo of spices to give you flavor and a tiny bit of heat. Including: cumin, chili powder, oregano and cayenne pepper, to name a few.
Chili Recipe FAQ’s:
How to Thicken Chili
Everyone likes their chili to be a different thickness. And if you want a perfectly scoopable, deliciously thick chili, the trick is to let it simmer UNCOVERED. This allows it to thicken naturally by reducing the liquid in it.
Let it simmer for as long as it takes to reach your desired thickness, but if you are in a rush, you can thicken it with the help of cornstarch, flour, or even some crumbled cornbread.
If you don’t have time to simmer:
- Sprinkle in a little bit of cornmeal
- Use a cornstarch slurry
- Use a flour slurry and
To make a slurry, use COLD water and cornstarch/flour, and mix it together, then slowly add it to your hot chili.
Toppings for Classic Chili
The toppings are such a fun place to add personality and extra flavor to your chili. And oh the possibilities…
Let’s put it this way, if you love it, and it isn’t too sweet, you can probably add it to chili. This of it like a canvas for your imagination to run wild. Here are a few ideas to get your started, but don’t let your toppings end here.
- Cheese – Cotjia cheese, cheddar cheese, or really any kind of cheese is great! A nice yellow sharp cheddar is my favorite!
- Sour Cream – Adds some creaminess and flavor. You can use plain greek yogurt too if you want a lighter topping.
- Chips – Chips add some saltiness and some crunch, or some thickness. The popular options include tortilla chips or corn chips like Fritos.
- Avocados – Sliced, diced, or mashed into guacamole, they add a creamy fat to the dish that is oh so yummy!
- Corn Bread- Crumble it and it right to the top, stir it in, or eat it on the side.
- Jalapeños – Want a little more heat? Use peppers. You can use pickled or fresh jalapenos, but remember, without the seeds you won’t get as much heat, but you still get great flavor.
- Onions – Green onion adds a bright, fresh flavor, red onions a nice sweet onion with some crunch, and white onions a classic onion flavor. Pick your favorite.
- Cilantro – Makes things bright and fresh, and adds a delightful depth of flavor (if you love cilantro like I do).
- Bacon – Crispy bacon is a great way to add some crunch, some saltiness, and some flavor!
How to Eat Chili
I think of chili as the chameleon of the food world, it can change to fit any occasion.
- Want a cozy soup for a cold winter night? Chili.
- Need a great topping for a burger or hot dog while tailgating? Chili
- Serving a crowd a baked potato bar, or nacho bar, and need a great topping? Chili
- Want to spice up your macaroni and cheese? Chili
As you can see, the possibilities are endless!
Can You Freeze Chili?
Yes, you certainly can. And should.
It reheats really well. Freeze it individually or in a large bag. Let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight, or in warm water. Then reheat stovetop or in the microwave.
Other Chili Recipes
- Sweet Chili
- Easy Chili
- White Chicken Chili
- Keto Chili
- Slow Cooker Southwestern Style Chili
- Crockpot Sweet Chili
How to Make Classic Chili Video Tutorial
Classic Chili Recipe
- 1 Tbs Olive Oil
- 1 Onion diced
- 1 cup Celery diced
- 1 Tbs Garlic minced
- 1 pound Ground Beef
- 1 ½ cups Beef Stock
- 14.5 ounces Ro*Tel Original
- 15 ounces Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes
- 5 ounces Hunt’s Tomato Sauce
- 15 ounces Kidney Beans drained
- 2 ½ Tbs Chili Powder
- 2 Tbs Cumin
- 1 tsp Oregano
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Pepper
- 1 Tbs Garlic Powder
- ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- Sour cream
- Green onions
- Saute onions and garlic, add in your ground beef, and brown.
- Add spices. Beef stock, Ro*Tel, Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes, Hunt’s Tomato Sauce, and bring to a boil.
- Turn down and let simmer for 15 minutes with lid on.
- Add in drained kidney beans and continue to simmer 5-10 minutes, or longer, until desired consistency is reached.
- Serve topped with your favorite toppings.
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
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Julie Blanner says