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 2480 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
    5 stars! Look no further this will be my go to for ever more! Thank you so much for sharing! In my normal style, I did change modify a bit and added hot Italian sausage along with ground beef (Extra protein), I used two cans of rotel tomatoes and chilies instead of 15 oz can of diced tomatoes and I used a whole can of tomato paste. It is amazing!

  2. 5 stars
    My daughter and husband , based in Kosovo visited us recently, I made this recipe with a few tweaks .
    They liked it so much , they’re contemplating opening a shop in Kosovo offering chili!
    They said it would be a hit there!

  3. 5 stars
    I didn’t realize how hot the cayenne pepper was going to make this chili. I don’t cook with it often. I would suggest cutting it in half or omitting it if you do not like spicy! Otherwise this is a great recipe. We enjoyed it!

    1. I goofed up and didn’t come here first to read the comments. I doubled the recipe and it’s way too hot. I only used 1/8 tsp of Cayenne Pepper. I have now crossed Cayebbe Pepper out so as not to make that mistake again.

    2. 5 stars
      This was a delicious chili. I used brown sugar which added another layer of flavor. Also added twice the amount of beans.Cooked it a little longer to thicken it up. Reduced the amount if cayenne for our preference.Will definitely make again!

    3. 5 stars
      This is now our go to recipe for chili because we love it so much! I omit the cayenne pepper, and I use an entire 15 oz can of beef broth since 12 oz leaves some out to waste. To compensate for the extra liquid, and because we like thicker chili, I also add a small can of tomato paste. We’ve recently been replacing the sugar with a granulated sugar substitute as we are trying to be as sugar free as possible. I’ve made this for a potato & chili bar before, and everyone there loved it too! They nearly liked the pot clean!

    4. 5 stars
      Very easy to make and had lots of happy tummy n smiles at dinner:). Love, love this recipe…just added some black beans and a pinch of cinnamon and voilà!

    5. 5 stars
      Loved this recipe but I have a weak stomach so I omitted the cayenne pepper, doubled the recipe and added 1 can tomato paste, 1 can Italian diced tomatoes, 2 cans kidney beans, 1 can northern beans, 1 can black beans and a can of chili beans and 2 lbs Hamburger. We like thick chili and it turned out amazing!! Sprinkled some Shredded cheese and a dollop
      of sour cream and we have an easy new chili recipe the family LOVES! Thank you so much for sharing. 😍

    6. 5 stars
      I don’t really like Chili but this recipe is great! I did omit the cayenne pepper but this recipe has just the right amount of spice.

    1. 5 stars
      I never made chili before (I’m not much of a cook) but I followed this recipe exactly and it’s delicious. Perfect amount of heat for my taste.

    2. 5 stars
      I made this recipe for the second time because of the simplicity in it. I also leave out cayenne pepper and my daughter does not like spice. My daughter eas sick and wanted comfort food and I said want some chilli. Yes she said so I did a small batch. My wife doesn’t really like chilli all that much but she ate a spoonful, because that is what was left and she asked, can you make that exact recipe again. So thank you so much for this recipe.

    3. 5 stars
      I literally never use another chilli recipe! I like mine to have a lot of spice so I end up adding more spices than recommended but this is the perfect recipe for the classic chilli taste. I will be using turkey this time and I know it will still taste amazing!

    4. 4 stars
      Agree with the previous comment cut down the Cumin and definitely cut down the sugar. To add don’t use granulated sugar use brown sugar instead. If you can use chop roast home ground, it’s better quality, no fillers and the taste of the meat screams chili!! Otherwise this is a really good quick recipe.

    5. 5 stars
      This chili was the BEST and even better the next day. I doubled the recipe but next time I will 5x the recipe to share with my famiy.

    6. Delicious delicious chili. I love trying different recipes with different herbs and spices. This was the best with a glass of cold beer or a glass of Merlot red wine. Great chili

    1. 5 stars
      Made this for a fall festival, chili cook off, and it won first place. I did add three cans of beans, light red kidney, dark red kidney, and pinto beans. (Doubled the recipe as well). Thanks for a great classic chili with really good flavor.

    2. 5 stars
      Great recipe but of course I had to alter it which I do with everything I cook. I added diced carrots & celery with the onions, I also used Rigel & diced tomatoes and added the Cayenne was Spicy but very good I think next time I might add a second can of kidney beans

  4. I’ve never liked my homemade chili, so I stopped making it. I’ve searched recipes trying others, I still wasn’t satisfied. I made this recipe this week and I absolutely love it. I now have a recipe that I will continue to make.

    1. 5 stars
      This is the BEST chili recipe! I won a chili cook off with it! I double the cayenne cause I like it SPICY! Once it’s done cooking, I out it in a crock pot for about 24 hours, delish!

    2. 5 stars
      I have tried several recipes, including my mothers but I could never get it just like hers. Found this one..simple but full of flavor! My kids LOOOVE IT! this is now my go to. Thank you so much for sharing!

    3. 5 stars
      This is delicious. We won our church’s chili cook-off tonight with it. I did cut down on the cayenne just a bit was my family doesn’t like things too spicy. Thanks!

  5. 5 stars
    almost made this exactly as the recipe but i ran out of cumin and used a sugar substitute. it still tasted great! will be using this recipe as long as i make chili.

    1. 5 stars
      I used all of the spices as indicated including cayenne pepper. I chopped peeled, fresh tomatoes from the garden rather than using canned and I added an extra tablespoon of tomato paste with a little filtered water to replace the tomato juice that would have been in the can. I added an extra can of kidney beans and I used 2 lbs of stew beef instead of hamburger. It’s absolutely delicious and *flavor-full* !

      I love the suggestions of toppings to include the chopped avocado. I’m sharing this with friends who always, like me, buy the chilli packet from the grocery store.

      I love to use organic spices and this recipe allows me to do just that.

      Thank you for putting this on the internet!
      Happy in the kitchen,
      Colleen Fritz

    2. 5 stars
      The best recipe ever. I don’t like spicy so I don’t put in the cayenne pepper. I love this recipe as it’s the best chili I have ever had!

    1. 5 stars
      Great recipe! I didn’t drain the meat fat because the recipe didn’t say to – should it be drained?

  6. 5 stars
    Easy and definitely delicious! So glad I found the recipe and gave it a try. Keeping the recipe as one of my favorites. My husband said I should make a pot of it monthly during our Wisconsin winter.

    1. 5 stars
      This chili came together nicely in such a short amount of time! It is delicious! I doubled the recipe and used 1 pound each of ground turkey and ground beef, which was delicious. I did not add the optional cayenne pepper and it was still plenty spicy for my family. This recipe is a keeper!

  7. 5 stars
    Very good recipe. The only change I will make next time is to decrease the amount of cumin used. It was a bit strong for my taste. This recipe is definately a keeper!

    1. 5 stars
      My NEW favorite chili dish!! I followed the recipe but used 2 Rotel diced tomato cans and 1 extra can of chili beans. (Only because I had more than 1 pound of frozen beef to work with.). My husband loves green peppers, so I put some in “his”. Great recipe!! Thank you!

  8. 5 stars
    Every time I make chili this is the recipe I use. Very easy to make and the results are family pleasing.

    1. 5 stars
      Excellent recipe. I like a stronger chili flavor so increased the chili powder to 4T. One can of dark and one can of light beans. Delicious.

  9. 5 stars
    Best means best! I use the recipe just like it is here at home I use venison. Use it for students and I use it for home.

    1. 5 stars
      We love this chili. My 2 young boys eat it up too. I don’t add cayenne pepper and I add more beggies to the pot with the onion. Today we did red and white onion, celery, green pepper, corn and pees. Sometimes I add carrots and mushrooms too.

  10. 5 stars
    Great recipe!
    My daughter prefers impossible meat so I use a package of it instead of chop meat.
    I also add Tabasco sauce. Everyone in the family enjoys it.

    1. Question please: normally I would brown the beef in a separate pan and drain off the grease. This recipe sounds like it keeps it all together in the large pot. So the grease is not a concern? Thanks!

  11. 5 stars
    This recipe is a GREAT classic, traditional chili! This will be my go-to standard from now on. Perfect with some Fritos corn chips, shredded cheddar, and a spoon of sour cream.

    1. I need to make this for a chili cook off contest at church. What I need to know is if I use 6 pounds of ground beef do I need to 6× all the ingredients, too?

    2. 5 stars
      Very mild and delicious recipe! I also added a lil beer and increased the amount of cumin by 1 teaspoon. Result was just fantastic 😁

    1. 5 stars
      Absolutely delicious! My husband and I have always liked different variations of chili but this one was perfect for the both of us.

      We have also substituted the ground beef for ground turkey & beef broth for chicken broth (just using up what we already had in the house) and it was AMAZING. Couldn’t even tell it was turkey instead of ground beef!

    2. 4 stars
      It was yummy, but way WAY too much cumin. Next time I will be using half or less than half of the suggested amount. All I could taste was cumin and we are definitely feeling it in our stomachs today! However, after that adjustment I think this chili would be phenomenal.

  12. 5 stars
    This recipe was fantastic!! I did not put in the cayenne pepper but used a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies. Just enough kick without overpowering the great taste of the chilli.

    1. 5 stars
      This recipe has been my go to for over a year now and I take credit for at least finding it to share with my neighbors and family members who all request it.
      My kids are ages 1-12 and they ALL love it and it’s hard to please them. We do omit the cayenne pepper of course. I’ve messed with it a bit and I would add an extra can of kidney beans to make it fuller. I’ve even substituted the ground beef for Bison and it tasted wonderful! Thank you so much.

    2. 5 stars
      I was afraid it wouldn’t have that Chili kick, but it is perfect! I’ve always loved chili but never knew how to make It. This recipe is spot on! Even my 9 year old loves it! Served with white rice and cornbread for the win! Thanks for this amazing receipt! Just in time for those winter nights!

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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