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 3628 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 haven’t stopped making this recipe. Love it. I add mushrooms and corn kernels and reduce broth to 1 cup. Love it.

  2. 5 stars
    Love this recipe. Being from the southwest, I use two cans of Rotel and also add jalapeños. It’s a fast and easy recipe and delicious!

  3. 5 stars
    This is such a great recipe! I did add a red bell pepper other than followed it exactly. Everyone loved it. Will double it next time for leftovers.

  4. 5 stars
    So good! I didn’t have tomato sauce but I had some spicy salsa so I halved the amount of chili powder and cumin and left out the cayenne pepper. Still had plenty of kick to it!

  5. I just added 2 green peppers and some Tabasco sauce. I had over 2 lbs of beef so I made some adjustments on the liquids. Was very good. Served with garlic bread. Thank you!

  6. 5 stars
    I just won 2nd place out of 16 at a church chili cook off with this recipe! I added smoked paprika and chili lime seasoning.

  7. 5 stars
    My husband does most of the cooking in our house. After I made this chili he said I had to cook whenever we have chili. The chili was fantastic! My daughter and her boyfriend also loved it. Delicious!

  8. 4 stars
    I made this chili tonight. I used 1.5 lbs of ground beef (because that’s what I had) and I added 2 extra cans of beans. Those were the only changes I made to the recipe. I was surprised at how hot it came out. I love spicey and I love hot but this was almost inedible for me. I know it would be for anyone else I know. I am surprised I am the only one to say anything in the comments/reviews. Is it really supposed to be 2.5 tablespoons of chili powder and 2 tablespoons of cumin? Or should it read 2.5 teaspoons of chili powder and 2 teaspoons of cumin? Something was way off to cause it to have this much heat. Otherwise it tasted good but I had to add some cream cheese just to cut through some of the heat so I could eat it. I can’t imagine how hot it would be if I hadn’t added extra ground beef and beans.

    1. 5 stars
      Chili power shouldn’t add heat- nor does cumin. Maybe you used cayenne pepper instead of chili powder?

  9. 5 stars
    Excellent chili recipe. I had a 50/50 lean beef and venison hamburger that I used along with Penzey’s Chilli 3000 spice blend that has cumin with the chili powder for the recipe. I was able to use our diced garden bell peppers, tomato sauce and stewed tomatoes and it turned out excellent. I will definitely make it again. The addition of the 2 TBS of sugar with the 1 TBS of garlic powder add some nice flavor accents to it. I did however hold back on the recipe salt recommended because of family sodium restrictions. Great chili!!!

  10. 5 stars
    I have made this chili twice now. The second time I added cooked, small red beans to the kidney beans. I feel like this is teaditional from our California parents! It is our tradition now! My family at home is from 9 years old to 79 years old. Everyone loves it. Thank you.

  11. 4 stars
    Hubby really liked it. It was too spicy for me, even without the cayenne. Next time I might use half as much chili powder.

    1. 5 stars
      Our family Absolutely love this recipe. I ALWAYS make a double batch The only thing I changed up is , instead of kidney beans I add one can of chili beans, one can of black beans and one 4 ounce can of diced green chilies. Otherwise the recipe is followed to the T. Makes going through winter that more desirable. 🤪

  12. Delicious chili! I have made it 3-4 times now. I do not use tomatoe paste but use a little more tomatoe sauce than the recipe calls for. I cut the sugar down to about 1 tablespoon. I use 1 tsp.chopped organic garlic with about 1 tablespoon of garlic power. Top it with organic shredded sharp cheddar cheese and I have a meal that I can feast on that helps keep me warm during our historic California storms this winter.

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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