The Best Classic Chili

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The Best Classic Chili is a traditional chili recipe 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.

I’ve been playing around with this 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!

How To Make Homemade Chili

Note: This is a summary. The full printable recipe and step by step video are located at the bottom of this post.

  • 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 it 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, 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

How To Store

Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Or, store in the freezer for up to three months. Transfer the container to the refrigerator to thaw the day before you want to reheat it.

Pro Tip – Is It Too Spicy?

The brand of chili powder you use will have a huge difference in how spicy your chili will be. Different brands of chili powder have VERY different levels of spiciness.

I always use McCormick Chili Powder (No affiliation) because it is flavorful without being spicy.

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 3656 votes
The Best Classic Chili is a traditional chili recipe 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

Video

Servings 6 servings
Calories 334 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

*The brand of chili powder you use will have a huge difference in how spicy your chili will be. Different brands of chili powder have VERY different levels of spiciness.
I always use McCormick Chili Powder (No affiliation) because it is flavorful without being spicy.
**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.

Nutrition

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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Comments

  1. Absolutely LOVE this recipe! Really great use of many spices and flavors….its now my new standard chili in my recipe collection.
    Making some this weekend as a tasty break from the Thanksgiving meal and leftovers.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Susan from Kansas City

  2. 5 stars
    This was by far the easiest and most flavorful chili I have ever made. My husband made 4 separate comments about how it was the best he’s ever eaten it throughout the night. That’s how you know….

  3. 5 stars
    Absolutely LOVED this chili! I followed the recipe to a “T” with a few additions…and mistakes. I added chopped green and red peppers, used regular diced tomatoes (this was a mistake but I’ll do it again!), and added more cayenne pepper (I like it hot!). Great recipe…thanx so much for sharing!

  4. This recipe is amazing! I’ve tried tons of recipes and this is by far my favorite classic chili!! I did cut the sugar in half and i also forgot tomato paste when i ran to store so i substituted ketchup and it was still award winning. Thank you for the recipe.

  5. This chili was easy to make and really good. I like a bit more flavor so I added my own southern spice. Definitely adding this recipe to the books!

  6. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and I loved it! My husband hates chili but even he ate a bowl! It’s easy to make an packed with flavor. I did tweek a few things. I used 1/2 the cumin, and added 1 jalapeno. Go for it was delish!

  7. Almost perfect chili, except the 2 Tablespoons of sugar make it too sweet. The tomatoes and tomato sauce already contain sugar. I will omit when I make this chili again. Great recipe.

    1. 5 stars
      I agree. I used one tablespoon of maple syrup in place of the sugar and also found it a bit too sweet. My daughter and I both enjoyed this very much. I’m vegetarian so replaced the beef with Beyond Beef Crumbles.

  8. This is AWESOME chili!!! I will be trying more of these recipes for SURE!! Super easy to make and so delicious! Perfect football season food. Great with chips too! Thank you for sharing!

  9. 5 stars
    This truly is the best! My husband and I loved it! Thank you for sharing. I placed a copy in my pantry for a shopping ingredient reference!

  10. 5 stars
    I thought like, oh this recipe just didn’t burn so that’s why people rated it 5 stars. Nope. It’s just so good it’s worth 5 stars. I made it for kiddos too but I bet it would be delicious with the cayenne pepper.

  11. 5 stars
    Excellent base recipe to use or alter…it’s simple, hearty and flavourful. I follow a plant based food lifestyle and used 1 package of ground Impossible meat in place of the ground beef. I used vegetable broth, eliminated the added sugar altogether, added diced carrots and a dices jalepeno. Like I said, the base recipe is perfect as is but it can easily be ammended to suit one’s own preferences. It came out excellent. Thank you for providing.

  12. This is great chili-Thanks so much for the recipe-I used the Rotel green chilies and tomatoes to give it a little more heat- It came together so quickly

  13. 5 stars
    This Recipe is delicious, I have a big family so I doubled all the ingredients except for the cayenne pepper and sugar.

  14. Great Recipe! I doubled ingredients and added 2 tblsps apple cider vinegar, 4 bay leaves, 1 tblsp Hungarian paprika and 1/4 cup dried parsley. Used 1 lb ground beef and 1 lb ground turkey. Served with a salad and corn bread. My husband loved it!

  15. 5 stars
    I altered the recipe a little/lot to fit my families taste. I added mushrooms, green bell peppers and a jalapeño, I also used diced tomatoes with green chilis! We like things spicy but the base flavor of this recipe is fantastic! I served it with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and an avocado fan. One bowl was not enough, we loved it!

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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