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. I MEAN!!!! WOWWW!!! This the BEST CHILLI IVE EVER TASTED!!!! Plus I added the chili mix mild and HOT season it turned out AMAZING!!! Hands down the best chili recipe =)

  2. This is the best chili ever. Kinda reminded me of mothers ( see would never added hot spices I love them) this will always be my go to.

  3. 5 stars
    My wife, who complains about EVERYTHING, was very complimentary of this recipe. Thanks for a great recipe that even my nag nag naggy wife can enjoy.

  4. 5 stars
    My husband and I loved this!! Added a little ancho chili powder and chipotle powder and used the Rotel diced tomatoes with Serrano pepper. Fantastic! This recipe is a keeper.

  5. 5 stars
    I was pulling something out of my cabinet and a container of cocoa powder fell out and burst open all over my ingredients. Chili plus chocolate equals mole so I just went with it. It’s actually pretty good

  6. 5 stars
    Amazing! This was my first time making chili and I’m blown away by how easy and delicious it is. I made a few modifications: I skipped the sugar, used ground turkey instead of beef, and went heavy on the cayenne (we love spice in this household) and it was fantastic. Can’t wait to make it again. Thank you!

  7. 5 stars
    First day of winter in south Florida so I pulled up this trusty recipe that I have used I think 3 or 4 times in the past. It was a great decision and the entire household plus two neighbours enjoyed the chili. Thanks for posting this.

  8. 5 stars
    Loved this Chili … my husband and I ate the entire amount in one night! Have a question! Serving for 9 at a dinner party Sunday night. Should I quadruple (or more) the recipe? Would you serve the bacon cornbread mentioned with this recipe? Thank you!

  9. first rate chili!!! The portions of everything were perfect and it had a nice kick to it (i added 1/2 the cayenne instead of 1/4).

    This will definitely be a staple in our house this winter!

  10. 5 stars
    A huge hit with the family . I used Venison bacon burger. The flavor was amazing. I put a scant 1/4 tsp of cayenne in toe recipe. It was spicy but we like spicy.
    Definitely will make again. I want to make it for a crowd but two people are allergic to garlic. I wonder how different it would taste if I left out that 1 Tblsp of garlic powder?

  11. I doubled the recipe with very slight adaptions. Came out really good. I lightened the sugar and actually used brown sugar. I used 2lbs of beef. I may use 3 next time to make it heartier.

    1. Tom,

      Curious how big of a pot you used? I was wondering if a 6 quart is big enough to double this recipe???



  12. This is a fantastic recipe! I was craving chili but just about every recipe I came across had a ba-zillion ingredients. This however, was the best chili recipe I’ve ever had (and trust me, I’ve tried many). So simple, yet so savory with such deep flavors. Love it and thank you for sharing!

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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