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
    I’ve been making this recipe with no changes for years now and its awesome every single time. My husband smothers his hot dogs in it, i eat it as is with some green onions and sour cream. Delicious!

  2. 5 stars
    The ABSOLUTE MOST AMAZING chili recipe!! The only thing I didn’t add was the diced tomatoes and didn’t even need it. Will be remaking again and again.

  3. 5 stars
    My new go to chili recipe. Simple and delicious. 2 of my 3 picky teens even liked it. The other wouldn’t even try it saying she didn’t like chili. Whatever. More for the rest of us! (I only had chili/pinto beans in the cupboard so that is what I used. Next time I will try the kidney beans.)

    1. 5 stars
      Perfect as written. My mix I used forever was discontinued and I’ve been searching for another recipe for chili for years. This is a keeper!
      Thank you.

    2. 5 stars
      This is a very good chili! I just tweaked it a little by adding a 15oz can of tomato sauce instead of 8 oz and 2 cans pink beans instead of 1 can. I like a lot of beans. I’ve made many chili recipes through the years and this is my favorite! My husband liked it also. Served with shredded cheddar on top, yummy!

  4. 5 stars
    You’re right — it tastes just like Mom used to make and is delicious. My wife, who is New York Sicilian heritage, learned to cook in her grandmother’s kitchen. In 38 years of marriage she had never made chili. What an outstanding dish she made! Thanks from both of us.

    1. 5 stars
      This recipe is perfect. I love the addition of sugar, and I also went a little heavy on the cayenne pepper. Topped it with cheese, sour cream and also diced avocado 😋 10/10 will probably always use this recipe!

      1. 5 stars
        I found this chili recipe a couple years ago and I’ve made it every couple months since then. It’s my absolute go-to and everyone I’ve ever served it to has asked for the recipe.

  5. Outstanding!! I doubled recipe, added the Cayenne, and 20 Sheshitos and 3 medium Jalapeños. At the end, before serving I added 1/2 cup of real Vermont Maple Syrup. Don’t know how well Pancake Syrup would have been. Forgot to say earlier, I also added 1 lbs of sweet Italian sausage.

  6. 5 stars
    Yep- all the reviewers were right- this is the best chili recipe I have ever made! Made for a Friendsgiving gathering & everyone loved it! I made it the day before as someone suggested, added just a little cayenne & a can of garbanzo beans (just for the fun of it). Served with shredded cheese & sour cream. Delicious.

  7. 5 stars
    It’s a good quick chili with basic ingredients and spices. I added a couple more herb and spice (Mexican chocolate, oregano and cinnamon) to personalize it and add to an already very good flavor base.

  8. 5 stars
    First time making the chili 🌶️ I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor was my family. I had never used beef broth in my chili so I was taken a back. It came out very tasty and my girlfriend wants me to make another pot. Well done who ever came up with the recipe. Five Star ⭐✨

  9. 5 stars
    Delicious nutritious recipe, so add as much heat as you like. I added red dried chilis and substituted sugar for a chopped carrot for sweetness.

  10. 5 stars
    I absolutely love this chili recipe! My 24-year-old grandson loved the chili and gave it a 10 out of 10 and I have to agree! I certainly will make this again but I think I’m going to have to double it because it went fast!

  11. Excellent recipe ! The taste brings me back to my childhood and the spices make it !!! Especially the sugar ! Thank you ! Using this recipe also for a meal train!

  12. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe many times and the only thing I have done different (wife asked for) is put in a teaspoon of cinnamon and a tablespoon of peanut butter. The rest is the original recipe. When I first made this it was phenomenal, of course.

    Thanks for the recipe, it’s a big keeper in our house!!!

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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