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.

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

The Best Classic Chili Recipe

4.96 from 2176 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
    I consider myself hard to please. But this recipe is by far the best I have ever tasted, and I’m 70 years old. And it’s so easy and simple. Serve this and you will impress your friends. And in my opinion even with the cayenne pepper it is not too spicy hot. But that’s me.
    I was raised in Indiana, so I leave the beans out and serve this over macaroni or spaghetti. For those whose diet is gluten free, get some brown rice pasta from Trader Joe’s.

    1. 5 stars
      Even better the day after!

      Made this for supper last night. Added on YELLOW pepper for a little sweet. Served with a corn muffin and a dollop of sour cream. It was phenomenal and just perfect. Eating for lunch right now. Soooooo Good. This is my new favorite fall/winter recipe

    2. 5 stars
      I have used this recipe over and over. I sometimes tweak a few things to my liking. I have always gotten rave reviews on it, no matter what! This recipe is a staple in my household. Thanks for sharing!

    1. 5 stars
      You can add whatever you want. I put use black beans and pinto beans instead of kidney beans (a can of each when doubling the recipe) and I cube up a roast rather than using ground beef usually. I consider a recipe like this a starting point and get creative from there.

    2. 5 stars
      I am 62 years old and I have never tried Chili before because I always thought yuck, but my husband likes Chili and after reading your recipe I thought why not give it a try. I did not add the red pepper, but I did buy Goya red kidney beans which came in a sauce, that I rinsed off and then drained they gave the Chili a bit of a kick. This recipe was so easy. This is so yummy and my husband agreed!!

    3. 5 stars
      I’ve been using this recipe for the past three years or so and it’s unbeatable. I always add a few chipotles in adobo along with some of the sauce and it gives it a nice heat and smokey depth. And because we love our spice, usually top it with fresh or candied jalapeños.

    4. 5 stars
      I double the recipe and use 1 can each pinto, cannellini and black beans… use whichever beans you like!

  2. 5 stars
    I added 4 garlic cloves and ½ yellow pepper & ½ orange pepper (which I don’t think changed it much from the original). Phenomenal! Served with shredded cheese and a spoon of sour cream.

    1. 5 stars
      Fantastic chili recipe! I used 1 tablespoon of sugar, instead of two and felt it was plenty. Also added an additional can of white northern beans. Will definitely make again!

    2. 5 stars
      Me and my boyfriend made this recipe and this was the best chili we ever made. It was simple and easy to make and it taste really good. 10 out of 10 highly recommend.

    3. 5 stars
      Delicious! Had 2 cans of Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilis, so used instead of diced tomatoes. Also had ground turkey vs. the ground beef on hand. Great seasoning.

  3. 5 stars
    My bf LOVES this chili! I’ve made it several times and add the cayenne pepper & jalapeños if I have them on hand for extra heat. I serve it with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and chopped green onions. Always a hit! Thank you for the delicious recipe!

    1. 5 stars
      Great chili! Perfect Football Sunday meal. Was so tasty by itself and over macaroni with shredded cheese. Will definitely make again but will leave out added salt next time.

  4. 5 stars
    Great recipe!! Almost taste like WENDYS Restaurant. Ive made this recipe @ least 6 times for different occasions and always the same response as that is some awesome chili so I share the link to family and friends. Keep up the great work!
    Mike B.

  5. 5 stars
    This is THE chili recipe I’ve been looking for! I have tried so many recipes and self-made variations and it never was quite right. Thank you!

  6. 5 stars
    Made this recipe exactly as written, but I always add cocoa powder, just a couple tablespoons. This recipe is so good!! I will make it again and again. Than you!

  7. 5 stars
    The best chili I have ever made. Recipe said not to strain beef after browning so I didn’t and it adds a ton of flavor. Cut the sugar in half and added a tablespoon of chipotle peppers for heat and smoke. Sooo delish. Will make it again.

    1. 5 stars
      I love this chili. Everyone loves it that I cook it for. I’ve made it 10 times or more. I add corn. I use a couple cans of Organic 3 bean from Walmart. Less sauce.

  8. 5 stars
    First time making chili from scratch. Pulled this recipe off the internet. Very easy to make and delicious. My wife doesn’t like kidney beans, so substituted black beans for the kidney beans. Worked out great.

      1. 5 stars
        Best chili I ever had! I added some chopped bell peppers with the onion. I also add corn when adding beans. Served with a scoop of sour cream, and cojito cheese. Side of corn bread, perfection!

      2. I didn’t, but it was too greasy for me, so I spooned off a lot of it before I went to next steps. I liked it better that way.

  9. 5 stars
    Delicious! Thanks for the recipe. I just used water because I was out of beef broth. There is plenty of flavor with all the spices, water works just fine.

    1. 5 stars
      This chili is absolutely perfect! I added a 1/2 cup of corn and an extra can of beans to stretch it out. Still amazing! Everyone absolutely loves it!

  10. 5 stars
    I have been looking for a good chili recipe for a long time and am so happy to have found it in this recipe. And it is easy! Most recipes I have tried were ok but just a little off one way or another but this one tastes like real chili, the kind they made in the 60’s and 70’s, the kind you could get in places like The Dew Chili Parlor.

      1. 5 stars
        Yes, drain the extra grease if you used less than 90/10 pr 93/7. I used 93/7 ground beef so there wasn’t anything to drain. The chili turned out great other than it was a little runny, so I added extra tomato paste and simmered it until the extra liquid dissipated.

      2. I don’t have any beef broth so I am going to try using the lipton beef and onion broth in its place. First time making.

  11. 5 stars
    Awesome recipe! I make this all the time. The only thing I’ve modified is that I triple the cayenne, just because I like it spicy 🔥

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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