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 3326 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. 3 stars
    It would have been a great recipe if you don’t add the sugar in until later after you taste it. The amount of sugar it calls for just makes it too sweet. Wait until you see what the heat level is and then add your sugar in. A whole pot got ruined and there wasn’t any saving it. Other than that, it was very simple and easy to make.

  2. 5 stars
    OMG! My first time EVER making chili and it’s the Bomb! Love, love , LOVE! this simple yet very flavorful recipe. I’ve looked for a recipe, on and off, all winter that didn’t require a entire day to cook. I like chili but not that much. I always eat others chili.
    I made recipe as is with one exception. I used water instead of the broth because watching my sodium intake but I was generous with the spices! I love heat and flavor! Also didn’t use sugar this go around. Craving spicy chili even though there are times I like my chili a little sweet and spicy.
    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I’m done looking. I found my chili recipe!

    Thank you Amanda!

  3. 5 stars
    This chili is the best I’ve ever had!! I swapped ground beef for Impossible Ground “Beef” and it I swear it came out just as good. I highly recommend this recipe for anyone looking for the perfect balance of sweet and savory chili

  4. 5 stars
    I won a chili cookoff at work with this recipe by substituting Lee Kum Kee chili garlic sauce for cayenne pepper. Topped it with grated cheese, bacon bits and chopped scallion greens (for St Patricks Day). They loved it! Thank you for a great recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    Fabulous homemade chili. Very rare for me to comment, but here we are.. I struggled to find the perfect chili recipe for 30 years. Why is it so hard to find old fashioned recipes? Sooo, we ate the whole pot in one meal. And family told me that I didn’t make enough. So I will double in the future. My little tweaks are to add a little wine to taste after cooking tomato paste and spices. Then about a TBS of vinegar at the end of cooking. Balances flavors. Make sure that you like the taste of your brand chili powder and tomatoes first. Makes a huge difference. Add chili powder a little at a time, tasting as I go. I like juicy chili. Not dry or soupy. So I don’t use broth, cuts salt. I use water as needed. Leave out the sugar. Preferences is your best friend.

    1. 5 stars
      This is really good and is just like what Mom and then I used to make! Not sure why I started going fancy on the chili!!
      I do however typically use real maple syrup in place of the sugar or half and half. Just cuts that acid a little bit.

  6. 5 stars
    Wonderful recipe…….tasted great😋…..I did lower the amount of sugar…..and I did use the cayenne. Thanks for the recipe❤️

  7. 5 stars
    It’s so good! Full of flavor (I didn’t add the cayenne) and excellent consistency. This was my first time making chili but I’m so glad I picked this recipe! I absolutely love it and will definitely be making it again! Thanks for sharing!

    1. 5 stars
      Excellent! I have to agree with a few others that it was a bit too sweet for my and my husband’s taste. Will probably leave out next time, but there WILL be a next time! He thought there was too much cumin, but I liked the flavor a lot. Used the cayenne and heat was just right. Thank you very much for sharing with us.

  8. 5 stars
    The chili was absolutely delicious. I’m glad I didn’t have any cayenne pepper. I used brown sugar.
    Thanks for the great recipe.

  9. 5 stars
    I’m renting a holiday home and supplies and utensils are limited. Having friends from home. Stay so I wanted something easy and not a lot of ingredients
    This is PERFECT! I only used 1 1/2 Chile powder but I shall borrow the suggestion in the comments and put the hot sauce out just in case they would like it spicer
    Very nice dish. Thankyou

    1. 5 stars
      So so good. I did have to make a couple of adjustments, I used actual garlic instead of garlic powder (3 cloves, I love garlic) and I did a bell pepper instead of beans. I also added 2 jalapeños!
      I added the cayenne and after adding the recipe amount of spices I added more by heart feel haha

  10. 5 stars
    Tried this recipe for 1st time making chili from scratch; not using a box or envelope. It was delicious. I should have doubled the recipe because it was all gone with my husband, son & I being the only persons eating. So simple to make.

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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