See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.


This is the ultimate Chili Recipe: Ground beef, beans, and the perfect mix of spices give this hearty homemade chili the BEST flavor!

Looking for more ground beef recipes? Try Hamburger Soup, Goulash or Stuffed Peppers next.

Ladle full of chili held over pot of chili.

How to Make the Best Chili

I’ve been making chili for years and years, and along the way I’ve learned quite a few tips and tricks for making the best ever homemade chili. This chili recipe is thick and flavorful with the rich, complex flavor that characterizes a great chili.

  • Use the right spices. The secret to the best chili is to use a flavorful mix of spices to give the chili a spicy, nuanced flavor that keeps you going back for more. This recipe uses chili powder, ground cumin, dried oregano, salt and pepper.
  • Add a touch of sweetness. I add a tablespoon of brown sugar to my chili and it brings just a bit of sweetness to complement the spicy flavors. It’s so good. Try it and see for yourself!
  • Use tomato paste and fire roasted tomatoes. Tomato paste brings rich tomato flavor to the chili and also helps to thicken it. Fire roasted tomatoes add a deep, smoky flavor that works so well in a chili recipe.
  • Simmer it to thicken the chili and develop the flavors. I simmer this chili on the stove for 1-2 hours, and if you have time to let it cook for 2 hours, you’ll be rewarded with a deeper flavor and a thicker chili.
Two bowls of chili with cheese, sour cream and green onions.

How to Make Chili

Sauté the onion. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot. Add the onion and cook until softened.

Brown the ground beef. Add the ground beef to the pot and cook it, crumbling with a spoon, until browned.

Ground beef added to pot with onion.

Add the garlic, seasonings and tomato paste. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds while stirring. Then stir in the chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, oregano, salt, pepper and tomato paste.

Tomato paste and seasonings added to pot.

Stir in the broth, tomatoes and beans. Scrape up any browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Broth, crushed tomatoes and beans added to pot.

Simmer the chili with a lid on the pot for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.

To thicken chili, uncover the pot during the last 30 minutes of cooking and simmer until it is your desired thickness.

Chili in a pot with a ladle.

Chili Toppings

This is the fun part! Everyone can add their favorite toppings to their bowl of chili.

  • Cheese. Shredded cheddar, Monterey jack, pepper jack or cotija are all delicious on top of chili.
  • Sour cream. Cool, creamy sour cream tempers the spice.
  • Onions. Both chopped green onions and chopped red onions work well.
  • Avocado. I love adding diced avocado on top of chili.
  • Jalapeños. For extra spice. Slice or dice them before serving.
  • Tortilla chips. Crumble them up and sprinkle on chili for crunch.
  • Cilantro. If you’re a cilantro fan, add chopped fresh cilantro for a pop of color and flavor.

What to Serve with Chili

This Cornbread Recipe is my favorite side dish to serve with chili. You could also serve Biscuits, Corn Casserole or a salad with this chili recipe.

Leftover chili makes a delicious topping for a Baked Potato or Baked Sweet Potato. Or mix leftover chili with pasta and cheese to make an easy chili mac.

Bowl of chili topped with cheddar cheese, sour cream and green onions with a spoon in the bowl.

To Freeze

Chili freezes really well! I like to freeze it in individual portion sizes to thaw and reheat for quick lunches or dinners. You can store chili in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Reheat in a covered pot on the stove or in the microwave.

More Tasty Chili Recipes

Ladle full of chili held over pot of chili.
5 from 2 ratings

The Best Chili Recipe

Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
The Best Ever Chili Recipe, made with ground beef, beans and the perfect mix of chili spices. This homemade chili is thick, hearty and richly flavored. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons chili powder*, use 1 tablespoon for mild chili, 2 tablespoons for spicier chili
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ¾ cups low sodium beef broth, or one 14.5 ounce can
  • 28 ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes, or fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 15 ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15 ounce can pinto beans, or black beans, rinsed and drained
  • For topping: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado, chopped red or green onions, cilantro, etc., as desired

Instructions
 

  • Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook 2 minutes, until onion starts to soften.
  • Add the ground beef and cook, crumbling, until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain off excess grease. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
  • Add the chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, oregano, salt, pepper and tomato paste. Stir to combine.
  • Add the broth and stir, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pot.
  • Stir in the crushed or diced tomatoes and beans.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook at a low simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Cover the chili during the first part of the cook time and then uncover during the last 30 minutes as needed to thicken the chili.
  • Serve chili with toppings, as desired.

Notes

  • Chili powder: Some chili powders are more spicy than others. Adjust the amount accordingly.
  • To make chili without beans: Omit the beans and use 2 pounds of ground beef.
  • To freeze: Freeze chili in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Reheat in a covered pot on the stove or in the microwave. I like to freeze chili in individual portion sizes to thaw and reheat for quick lunches or dinners.
  • To store: Store leftover chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Calories: 320kcal, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 47mg, Sodium: 1007mg, Potassium: 1337mg, Fiber: 11g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 821IU, Vitamin C: 17mg, Calcium: 138mg, Iron: 7mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
Cuisine: American
Course: Main Course
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