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 2508 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
    Yep, I tried it. My husband loved it. I’ve been looking for a recipe that I didn’t have to buy a pack of seasoning to season it. This is it. This one want be deleted

  2. 5 stars
    We have been making your chili for YEARS! It’s seriously sooo good. Although I do double the meat and add a green, red and yellow or orange bell pepper to the mix. Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipe!

    I had to leave a review because I just noticed you live in Zionsville & I do as well! Such a small world

  3. Pretty good chili, just sweet.
    I followed the recipe as it was, and found it far too sweet. I ended up having to add a good amount of cayenne and tabasco to cut the sweetness. Next time, will not be adding sugar at all.

  4. 5 stars
    10/10 stars, delicious! Perfect heat, I added in pepperoni’s and topped with pickled jalapenos, sour cream and sharp cheddar, this recipe exceeded expectations, will def be using everytime I make chili now!

  5. 5 stars
    Just made this… WOW!! So simple and easy to follow and I love the option to double or triple the recipe and not have to calculate it all over again. I also omitted the chunky tomatoes and subbed for more beans!

  6. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe – I doubled it to feed a family of 12 and it worked out perfectly. Some went back for seconds!

  7. 5 stars
    I don’t like chili-never make it. But, my husband does so I decided to make it and found this recipe. It was absolutely delicious. I did a few alterations to the recipe by using diced tomatoes with habaneros and the cayenne and yes it was hot so I served it over rice with cornbread. I still can’t believe how great it was!!! Thanks for the recipe- I will make again and again.

  8. 5 stars
    This chili is delicious – rich, spicy, and flavorful. My husband is a tough critic and he thoroughly enjoyed it. I can’t wait to make this again and will add it to the rotation.

  9. 5 stars
    LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe!!! Super easy & quick to make. So delicious!!! Love spicy food, Added the cayenne pepper & it’s not too spicy it’s just right!! Second time making it & the fam loved it as well. Will definitely be making again.

  10. 5 stars
    Very good! I doubled this and used finely diced stew meat for 1lb instead of all ground beef. Only other changes that I made were to cut down a little on sugar and salt, added a diced jalapeño, some fresh roasted Hatch NM green chile and a half cup of dark beer along with the cayenne. Perfect with a piece of corn bread or on chili dogs!

  11. 5 stars
    This is the best chili ever!! I have made so many recipes before and they just weren’t good but this is the best❣️

  12. 5 stars
    The family loved it. It is just like my mom used to make. I have tried many chili recipes; this is the best one so far. My kids asked if I could put some in their lunch boxes for school. I made no adjustments to the recipe.

  13. 5 stars
    My first time ever making Chili and I signed up to bring some for my sons football team dinner. This was the first crockpot of chili gone and I was told it was awesome. My family agreed 🙂 I going to be making this again!
    I am a spice wuss so I left out the cayenne pepper and I added one can of fire roasted green peppers instead, it was perfect!

  14. 5 stars
    omg. OMG. I still have to bring it to a low boil then simmer. But WOW this really is the BEST chili.
    Making it for my son 4 year birthday today and it is absolutely outstanding. Better than canned hormel chili with beans, and we love that one. I will only ever make this recipe.

    – I forgot to get tomato sauce, so I made my own using the leftover paste. I mixed it 1:1 with water until I hit 8 oz. And added 1 clove minced garlic, and Italian seasoning to taste
    -I also used the cayenne pepper (1/4tsp) and it added great flavor, not spicy at all. (If your worried about spice, just add a little less)

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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