The Best Classic Chili

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The Best Classic Chili – This traditional chili recipe is just like mom used to make with ground beef, beans, and a simple homemade blend of chili seasonings.

The Best Classic Chili recipe in a red bowl topped with cheese and sour cream

This classic chili is perfect for a weeknight meal because it can be made in minutes.  The only thing to chop is an onion.

How do you make good homemade chili?

  • Heat olive in a large soup pot. 
  • Add chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add ground beef and break it apart with a wooden spoon.
  • Cook for 6-7 minutes.

onions and ground beef sautéing in a soup pot

  • Add chili powder, cumin, sugar, tomato paste, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and optional cayenne. 
  • Stir until well combined.

chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, sugar, salt, and pepper over browned beef and onions in a pot

  • Add diced tomatoes, kidney beans, beef broth, and tomato sauce. 
  • Stir well.

diced tomatoes over chili seasoned ground beef and onions in a soup pot

  • Simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  • Let the chili rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

beans, beef broth, and tomato sauce added to chili seasoned beef, onions, and tomatoes in a pot

What do you top chili with?

In addition to the chili ingredients listed in this recipe for chili, you may also want to have these things as toppings.

  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • sour cream
  • sliced green onions
  • saltine crackers or oyster crackers
  • diced avocado

What goes well with chili for dinner?

I’ve been playing around with this chili recipe for the past few months, making it many times.  My family didn’t mind the repetition at all because I really do believe that I ended up with the best chili ever!

Watch the step by step recipe video for this chili recipe below.

Find more of my recipes on TikTok

The best classic chili recipe in a red bowl topped with cheddar cheese and sour cream

The Best Classic Chili Recipe

4.96 from 2048 votes
The Best Classic Chili - This traditional chili recipe is just like mom used to make with ground beef, beans, and a simple homemade blend of chili seasonings.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


Servings 6 servings
Calories 334 kcal


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion -diced
  • 1 pound 90% lean ground beef
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper* -optional
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (16 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce


  • Add the olive oil to a large soup pot and place it over medium-high heat for two minutes. Add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the ground beef to the pot. Break it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the chili powder, cumin, sugar, tomato paste, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and optional cayenne. Stir until well combined.
  • Add the broth, diced tomatoes (with their juice), drained beans, and tomato sauce. Stir well.
  • Bring the liquid to a low boil. Then, reduce the heat (low to medium-low) to gently simmer the chili, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the pot from the heat. Let the chili rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.


I typically skip the cayenne pepper because I have a young kiddo.  Then, I put out some hot sauce for those adults that want to add some spiciness to their chili.


Serving: 1/6th of the recipe | Calories: 334kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 1249mg | Potassium: 1110mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1445IU | Vitamin C: 12.8mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 7.5mg
Course Dinner, Entree, Main Course
Keyword best chili, chili recipe, classic chili, homemade chili
Cuisine American
Author Amanda Finks

Check out all of my great ground beef recipes.

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  1. 5 stars
    Amazing recipe! I added some Cajun and southwest seasoning, along with a can of lentils, green pepper and celery. Highly recommend!!

    1. 5 stars
      This was such an easy recipe. I’m not a fan of Cumin so I only added 1/4 teaspoon. It came out great. I’ll definitely be making this again!

    1. 5 stars
      Truly the best I have ever tasted. Made this recipe 4 days ago, family raved about it and had to make another batch today!
      Thanks for posting and taking your time to enlighten your readers!

  2. 5 stars
    I’m pretty sure my fiancé just proposed to me again after eating this chili recipe! Haha I replaced the diced tomatoes for rotel tomatoes since we didn’t have cayenne pepper and this turned out AMAZING! Will be making it more often now.

  3. 5 stars
    Makes a really good batch of chili! I’m super happy with this recipe and will definitely be making it again.

  4. 5 stars
    This is a great recipe. I have to admit I’ve tried a couple of substitutes. I didn’t have any ground beef so, I used leftover pot rost and the second time I used cubed leftover pork tenderloin and I’ve also used chopped Hatch Green Chile’s. I also omitted the sugar. Both times it was fantastic and my husband loved it.

  5. 5 stars
    Always turns out tasty and easy to follow instructions. This is my go to recipe whenever I am making chilli . 😋

  6. 5 stars
    Great basic chili. I left out the sugar as it was sweet enough from the tomatoes. If I made a huge batch to feed a crowd I would leave out the cayenne and put some hot sauce on the side. I wouldn’t say this is spicy but some in my circle cannot take any heat.
    All in all I thought this recipe is a definite keeper.

    1. 5 stars
      I make this quite often for our rescue squad crews. By the recipe, I always have enough for everyone and usually some for the next day. Everyone loves it. Leaving out the cayenne makes it good for all. Available toppings include sour cream, cheese, chopped onions, and hot sauce.

    2. I am hosting a Block Party & I was wondering if this can be done in a slow cooker or at least kept warm in there so that I could put the slow cooker on the table.

      1. I’ve made this in a slow cooker and it is equally as tasty, the longer it cooks the more the flavor develops. I recommend still browning the meat first though.

  7. 5 stars
    I made this recipe exactly as the instructions are including the cayenne. I only made one addition by adding a can of pinto beans as well as the kidney beans as stated in the recipe because my family loves beans. It turned out perfectly. We love spice and it satisfied. This is my new chili recipe go to. Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. 5 stars
    My go to Chile recipe. I’ve made this a few times. I do use pinto beans that I cook in my crockpot and it just takes it to the next level❣️

  9. Looks good but How much is a serving? A cup? Two cups? 1/6 of the recipe is no help in planning if I’d like to make this or how much

  10. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! Been using it for two years now but I’m starting to count calories. What’s the serving size? Sorry if I’ve overlooked it.

  11. 5 stars
    Love this recipe!!!
    First time I made Chili in my life and it came out PERFECT. I was so impressed. I followed directions and was surpised how well it came out. My Husband likes chili spicy so if you make it and like it spicy, just bump up the the spicies a bit – it will still come out perfect for you. SO EASY and Fast to make. Taste even better the next day.
    Highly Recommended!
    Thank You

  12. 5 stars
    Loved it! So easy! Next time I will cut the sugar to one tablespoon, I found it a little too sweet for my taste but others didn’t complain. Also tried without the cayenne because at the end, before putting the cayenne I tasted and was Spice enough for me and everyone loved.

  13. 5 stars
    The best chili recipe. I live in Louisiana where flavor is everything and this recipe has got it all! Definitely my families favorite! Great on hot dogs too! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  14. 5 stars
    This the best chili recipe I have ever made. It’s full of flavor spiciness aroma and it’s very addictive.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe

  15. 4 stars
    Great recipe for a basic chili. I agree with previous comments that say the sugar is not needed at all. Having read what other people had said about the sugar before I started, I decided not to add any sugar until I tasted at the very end and it was perfect without it. I also added a green bell pepper, a few cloves of fresh garlic and a jalapeno (instead of cayenne), all added in after the beef was browned and cooked for a few minutes. Delicious!

About Amanda Finks

I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Zionsville, IN. I’m an avid cook, travel nerd, & lover of good food! I’m trained in Food Science & recipe development. It’s my mission to bring you the BEST recipes your whole family will love!

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