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 3171 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
    Excellent & definitely my fave! Made vegetarian with a bag of frozen veggie crumbles and veggie broth instead of beef. Added 1/4 cup more veggie broth to make up for not having beef drippings and to allow longer simmer time (1 hr) to develop flavors. Also added a can of pinto beans. Mixed in spaghetti mac noodles, cheese, & sour cream to serve. A real winner to economically have great food all winter!

    I’m no cook and almost skipped over this recipe for one with fewer ingredients. I’m glad I trusted all the great reviews and made this one. Don’t be intimidated if you rarely enter the kitchen like me. It really was easy and cleanup wasn’t terrible. I like that several ingredients just take 1 can: cuts down on prep time and dirty measuring cups/spoons.

  2. Discovered it about a month ago. Made it twice so far. My daughter even asked for the recipe. I used black beans as I had on hand and small can of garbanzo. So many spices and they all blend.

  3. 5 stars
    I thought this was delicious and so easy. The only thing that I did differently was to add one chopped jalapeño. I would make it again

  4. 5 stars
    This is my favorite beef chili recipe. It’s has a great taste and I would highly recommend this recipe to anyone who enjoys a tasty bowl of chili.

  5. 5 stars
    This chili recipe was absolute PERFECTION! I am planning to make it again for a huge tailgate party. How can I prepare this in a huge crockpot vs. on the stove?

    1. 5 stars
      Cook the onions and beef in a frying pan. Once cooked, add to the crockpot with the rest of the remaining ingredients. I would turn the temperature to high until it starts to bubble then switch to low and simmer for a few hours to let the flavors come through. I hope this helps.

  6. I made this tonight and tripled it, we’re a huge family, very yummy! I’ll be honest I cooked my beef and then dumped all the other ingredients in, then hard simmered it for 30 min. Next time I’ll try to give myself more time to actually follow the instructions 😂 but it was excellent and everyone liked it. I used about 1/2 t of cayenne (I don’t really measure just eyeball) and it had nice warm heat, 4 yo littlest loved it.

  7. I made this recipe exactly as it is written (including the cayanne) and I am so thankful I did. It is delicious and my new go to recipe for chili. Thank you for sharing it.

  8. 4 stars
    This is a very good recipe but I thought that there was too much salt in it even after cutting the salt to 3/4 of a teaspoon and using beef broth with 50% less salt. That is why I gave it 4 stars. Other than that, it’s a great recipe.

  9. 5 stars
    Great recipe for all ages I am a younger seasoned cook I loved it it was a great recipe spices were right on if you follow the recipe how it’s written my mother is 70 and her husband is 87 and they both enjoyed it it was perfect for everybody

  10. 5 stars
    This is a great, easy to make crowd-pleaser. I love chili but could never just “throw together” a batch. This recipe is delicious with just the right amount of seasoning to be super-flavorable but not over-the-top for any sensitive palates. Hint: cut the optional amount of cayenne in half and it’s just enough to give a hint of heat, and still mild enough that my 8 year old daughter loves it!

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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