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 3171 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
    Amazing chili! Next time I think I’ll add two cans of beans. Ate bowls of chili the first day and then made nachos with chili on top tonight. The family loved it both ways!

  2. 5 stars
    I followed this recipe and added a can of corn and it was DELICIOUS!
    My husband and young children all asked for seconds. It’s hearty, meaty and very filing. This recipe is definitely going into my book.

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve made this chilli lots of times and each time it does not fail. It hits the spot. Its like my grandmothers chilli. It’s really tasty and you feel fulfilled and satisfied with wholesome food. Thanks for sharing this recipe..

  4. 5 stars
    First time making chili, and surprised how easy it was. I’m cut cumin to half and it taste fine. I would probably cut down on the sugar in 1/2 next time and add smoke paparika for smokeyness. Otherwise very happy on how it turned out.

  5. 5 stars
    Love this recipe, but was always puzzled about the ‘leaving out the cayenne pepper’ bit for your kid. I mean, it’s nothing compared to the 2.5 tbsp of chili powder that go into the recipe…
    I used 2.5 tbsp of dried and powdered mixed Indian chillies and jeez, even for a hothead like myself that was verging on a bit too much…
    Only recently found out Chili powder is a spiceblend lol. Made a much milder batch today that has so much more depth to the flavour instead.

  6. 5 stars
    My husband and I thought the balance of this seasoning is perfect HOWEVER it makes a ton. I didn’t even have enough of all of the ingredients but when I was done I saw how much it made and thought it was way more than any packet used for 1 lb of meat. So I made the spice ingredients (didn’t use sugar as I don’t like it in my chili and used a limited amount of the tomato paste/sauce)but then started with 3 tablespoons of the seasoning and then suited to taste from there. I’m keeping the recipe because it is a solid base and better than the store bought. Thanks!! Now if I could find taco seasoning that was perfect….still on the hunt for that, lol

    1. 5 stars
      This chili was absolutely delicious! We love veggies, so I added half of each green, yellow, orange, and red bell peppers. I also added white kidney beans and a little extra beef broth to compensate for the extra substance. Even then, I didn’t change the spices at all and it was perfect. Exactly what I’ve been craving. Thanks so much for the yummy recipe. It’s definitely a keeper!

    2. 5 stars
      So tasty and simple. Great for cornbread casserole! You could use this recipe for anything chilli, thanks for sharing :>D

  7. 5 stars
    This is awesome. I had never made chilli before. I did add more beans and some Rotelle. I’m making it again today. My man loves it.

    1. 5 stars
      Love this recipe, it’s a family favorite! Perfect every time! Top with shredded cheddar and a dollop of sour cream!

    2. 5 stars
      I have tried many different chili recipes over the last 20 years, including several of my own. This recipe, as presented, is my hands down favorite.

  8. 5 stars
    This is My go to chili recipe with a couple of changes. I add 1 chopped green pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of all spice, more cayenne pepper and I’ll simmer it on low for an hour stirring occasionally. My boyfriend can’t get enough of it. Every time it finishes he wants me to make more.

  9. 5 stars
    Perfect blend of spices. I tend to cook it a bit longer to thicken the chili, but this has become a go-to recipe not just for at home, but to bring to parties or to help out busy friends and family who need help with extra meals because it stores well. Thank you!!

    1. 5 stars
      Great recipe thank you! I made with 50/50 mince beef and BBQ pulled pork for a cowboy chilli and it was amazing 😋

  10. 5 stars
    I had a packet of McCormick Chili seasoning and a pound of beef. Then company showed up! Ut-OH, took out another lb of beef ad followed this recipe. Best best chili EVER. Will use this from now on instead of packet.

    1. 5 stars
      Good tasting chili but added 1 diced green pepper and would use less cumin next time. That’s what I love about this recipe. It’s a good base for chili and you can add or subtract as you like. We were sure glad we had leftovers (2 people) as it will always better the next day. Kudos for a great recipe.

    1. 5 stars
      This is my favorite recipe for a chili. My 3 year old requests it frequently, so we tend to skip the cayenne 🤣. We love beans so I add cannellini, garbanzo, and black beans. I also add bell pepper and corn. Such a great recipe with the seasoning-I really appreciate you sharing! It is a staple in our house.

  11. 5 stars
    First time making chili and this was so easy to make and so good, like im getting myself another bowl of it as im writting this, TOO GOOD

  12. 5 stars
    This is the BEST and EASIEST chili recipe I have ever tried! It was so easy to make, it doesn’t require any crazy ingredients, just simple, amazingly good chili!
    In my pot, I substituted the cayenne pepper for about 5 or 6 drops of Tobacco habanero sauce. It came out delicious!

    1. 5 stars
      Delicious!!!!!! Found it just in the nick of time! Winter is at the doorstep here in the Southern hemisphere !!!!!

    1. 5 stars
      It’s my go to chili recipe. It’s my 8 year old boy’s favorite meal. Just as good with ground turkey instead of ground beef.

  13. 5 stars
    I don’t measure when I make mine so I used your recipe to walk my daughter through it for her first time and she loves it! She added just a lil more pepper and cayenne! She’s a hot little pepper! First chili success! Thanks!

    1. 5 stars
      I prepared the chili today, had everything in my pantry except the kidney beans & tomato paste. I just added more diced tomatoes and used Bush pinto beans (canned) and the cayenne pepper. I’ve never added sugar to my chili. It was so so delicious. My husband asked me to save the recipe. Thanks

  14. 5 stars
    I made a no bean chili because I don’t like kidney beans. My husband said it came out Really , good just wish there was beans in it ,so tomorrow I’m going to buy a can of red kidney and put it in the chili just for him!

    1. 4 stars
      I enjoyed making this easy dish. It was very simple and easy to follow. Next time I will less Cumin than recommended since I do not lot like the taste of it. Overall this was my first time making chili and it was delicious especially the next day.

  15. 5 stars
    Very nice, simple, and to the point, the way chili was meant to be. Of course, I tossed in a little of this* and that** along the way but didn’t wander too far from the proffered path. Many thanks, Amanda.

    * smoky paprika, chipotle chili powder, a small can of hot green chilis
    ** 12 oz of lager beer instead of broth


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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