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 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. I think it tastes too sweet. We doubled the batch 20 4 tablespoons of sugar. I don’t think the recipe needs any sugar. Great flavour with out.

  2. 5 stars
    Good chili. Very happy. Pot I had was too small because I tripled the recipe. Had to omit broth otherwise I would be making chili on the floor, still came out killer

  3. 5 stars
    This recipe is my first time making chili the recipe was quick and easy to follow. I used chicken broth instead of beef because it was what I had. I thought the cayenne was a bit too spicy so then I added more sugar which made it too sweet so then I sprinkled in a bit more salt and it all balanced out lol rookie mistakes. Served with sour cream, cheddar cheese, crackers or tortillas and crunchy fried jalapeño peppers. Everyone loved it! I will def make again albeit only add one tablespoon of sugar next time and 1/8 cayenne.

  4. 5 stars
    I made this chili for my family and it was phenomenal! This will be my go to from now on! We like a little bit more spice (even though I did use the ground cayenne) so next time I think I will add in a little tiny bit of freshly dried cayenne. But this recipe had soo much flavor! It’s worth a try!!!

  5. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it’s phenomenal! I’ve tried many different chili recipes and haven’t fallen in love with any of them until now. So glad I stumbled across this recipe!

  6. 5 stars
    Just made this tonight, if not the best chili, then it’s definitely top 3. I added maybe just a bit more cayenne. Cheddar cheese, sour cream and green onion on top. Perfect.

  7. 5 stars
    Great recipe. Easy to do most items are staples in our house making it easy to pull together. I kept the cayenne as my men love spicy! Thanks for sharing. Definitely will keep this in my bag of tricks to whip up again.

  8. 5 stars
    This was so good and my whole family loved it. We ate it with corn chips and the only change we made was to put less cumin and less chili powder. It was so delicious and not too hard to make even though I’m only eleven! 🙂

  9. 5 stars
    I seriously use this recipe every time I make chili. My husband grew up on chili and this is by far his favorite too. Thank you for sharing!!

  10. Excellent recipe! Used kidney and pintos…and a combo of ground beef and Italian sausage…eyeballed it a bunch as I do but still, it was the best chili I’ve ever made! Thank you!

  11. 5 stars
    Great recipe! We doubled this recipe and it was really good. I would probably do a little less chili powder next time but otherwise great flavor.

  12. 5 stars
    My husband requested homemade chili (but I hadn’t made any in over ten years), then I found this recipe. After a quick trip to the grocery store, voila! The chili tasted good and the recipe was simple and thorough. Thanks!

  13. 5 stars
    Sooooooo delicious! I used the exact measurements for the seasonings as a foundation for flavor and then added additional seasoning for my taste preference.

    It’s sooooooooo yummy! Solid recipe!

  14. 5 stars
    My husband husband is a very picky eater. He loved this recipe and so did I! I think this is the best chili ever!!! I added a little bit of cinnamon and only used 2 tablespoons of sugar and used garlic salt instead of garlic powder (just a pinch). This is a recipe we will make from now on!

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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