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. 5 stars
    I’ve been coming back to this recipe for years and it’s hands down one of the best I’ve ever had. One pit doesn’t last long at all so I’m going to double the portion.

  2. 5 stars
    Love this recipe as does my husband. Make it frequently since I found recipe! Clean and filling, served with shredded cheese and tortillas chips.

  3. 5 stars
    Making it now and it tastes delicious!! Thank you for the recipe! I doubled it to put some in the freezer for another day!

  4. 5 stars
    OBVIOUSLY I doubled this and added 1,000 more beans. And green chilis. And jalapenos.
    If it ain’t burnin ya ain’t learning;)

  5. 5 stars
    Such a great classic chili recipe! It’s been a hit with young and old for all that I’ve made it for. My 5 year old asks for it he loves it so much. I do omit the cayenne due to him and halve the sugar as we don’t like it too sweet but it doesn’t need any other tweeks for us. It’s the only one I’ve made for several years since I found it. So good and so easy to make!

    1. 5 stars
      Made it for dinner of four and I tell you No left over. It was delicious. Will definitely make it again…

  6. 5 stars
    This recipe was shared with me 3-4 years ago and we continue to love it! It is the only chili recipe I use. Many, many friends and family love it too. I follow the recipe exactly and use either ground beef or ground venison.

  7. 5 stars
    This recipe is what taught me how to cook chili & ever since that first time – I have come back to the same recipe.

    Everytime I make it; it is so good !!!! I have been ranting about how good it is to all my friends that they finally had some tonight and just about melted on their first bite.

    So thank you to the author for helping me create my childhood dish and also teaching me to make the best kind of chili 🌶️❣️❣️🙂

  8. 5 stars
    Delicious! Will make again, but without the sugar.

    If you don’t like sweet, I would suggest omitting or lessening the sugar.

  9. 5 stars
    This chili was fantastic! I made it as written and it turned out wonderful. I like that it takes only 30 minutes and the spice combination is spot on. I reviewed this on my YouTube channel, The Real Deal Recipe Reviews, where I always try to make recipes as written and give honest reviews. I wouldn’t change anything about this chili.

  10. 5 stars
    I made this recipe with turkey, black beans and zucchini, because I didn’t have the full pound of meat. DELISH! I am not a spicy person, so we held off on the cayenne, and added some turmeric. Served with warm cornbread muffins. YUMZZZYY

  11. This has been my go-to chili recipe for a few years now. We absolutely love the spiciness of it – we don’t go for heat in our spices so I keep the Cayenne to a minimum, but it is THE BEST. It is delicious as is, but I have made a few adaptations to accommodate our pantry and diet:
    1) instead of beef, we use ground turkey – it lowers the calories and red meat. I’ve made it AND love it both ways.
    2) I rarely use tomato paste and when I use 2T of it the rest goes to waste, so I’ve replaced the paste and the 15 oz can of diced tomatoes with a 28 oz box of diced tomatoes.
    We are in our 70s and this is our favorite Chili recipe of all time.

  12. 4 stars
    I love how easy this chili recipe is. However 2T is sugar is too much for my taste buds. Our chili actually tasted sweet, so much so that my husband wouldn’t eat it. I will try again using less sugar.

  13. 5 stars
    Great tasting and easy recipe. I added salt and sugar to taste at the end. Thank you for the Chili recipe. It’s perfect 👍

  14. 5 stars
    Best classic chili recipe! Agree with others that no tweaking is needed. Have used this one for past several years and have it pinned on my phone.

  15. 5 stars
    I used the recipe today for the chili cook-off party at our church. It’s my first time ever cooking chili and I haven’t tried one before. I used seasoning blend instead of the yellow onion, used some minced garlic, added some creole seasoning, used Rotel’s dice tomatoes with chilies, and used brown sugar instead of white sugar. OMG, I won the chili cook off! Thank you for the recipe!!!

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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