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. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! My absolute go-to for a hearty chili on a winter day.
    The addition of sugar gives it the perfect amount of sweetness to offset the acidity of the tomatoes. Absolutley perfect!

  2. 5 stars
    It was my first time making chili and this recipe was a success! I love it. Some people said the sugar made it too sweet but I didn’t think so. I also used a couple of different spices so maybe that’s why I didn’t notice the sugar. Overall I really enjoyed it and would definitely make again

  3. 5 stars
    Best Chili I have ever made!!! My boyfriend told me several times how “delicious” it was!! This is definitely going in my recipe folder!!!

  4. I agree with all comments posted. It is quick, easy, versatile, and delish. Very happy to have come across your site and recipe. I will be making second batch to share with the fam.

  5. I just made this tonight and it will be my go-to Chili recipe. Shame on me for not reading recipe earlier in the day, since I did not have any tomato paste or beef broth in my pantry. I just skipped the paste and substitute chicken broth, which I did have on hand. I find it Delicious and will make again. Great recipe.

  6. 5 stars
    We love this chili! I recommend leaving out the sugar. Other than that, it’s a great classic chili recipe that can be easily customized.

  7. I made this tonight! It was delicious, although I made one tweek, I reduced the sugar to just a pinch as I don’t like a sweet chili. One other comment, I followed the recipe exactly other than the sugar and it only amounted to 4 servings – we use standard bowls as well. Wish we had more for leftovers tomorrow, but I’ll just double it next time. Absolutely delicious and a great kick with the cayenne!

  8. 5 stars
    Truly awesome Chile! I used ground venison this time and it really made everything pop.
    Next time I will try .5 the sugar and use brown sugar instead of granulated. What a great find!!!

  9. Hi
    We feed the needy every Tuesday here in our community. I made this receipt multiplied by 8 on all ingredients. Also added green and red bell peppers. The people helping serve those in need as well as our guests loved this Chile. We had complements about how good it tasted. I believe the sugar is the secrete ingredient for the flavor. We will be doing this receipt once a month for everyone.

  10. Kudos on the enormity of your successes!
    By adding one of the ingredients at a time,I was able to taste the profile of this recipe.
    It’s amazing to add the perfect balance to what you are preparing. Thank you for being you !

  11. 5 stars
    A definite hit with my family. I doubled the whole recipe, and then doubled the amount of tomato paste (which still isn’t a lot). I used 1 can of chili beans + 1 can of black beans + 1 can of kidney beans, and used chili diced tomatoes instead of plain. It ended up being super flavorful but without heat, so I had minced jalapenos on the side. And here’s where it will get weird, especially any chili purists: I cubed 1 yellow squash, 1 red pepper, 1 orange pepper, and 1 small zucchini. If that sounds weird or gross, I get it, but it is surprisingly good. It didn’t seem or taste vegetabley in the least, and it adds extra nutrition while stretching the meal further. And even my non-vegetable oriented kids were ready to fight over the leftovers.

  12. Good recipe and easy. I prefer a little less cumin and more chili powder, and also added some red and yellow pepper pieces for more substance. Had a good flavor!

  13. 5 stars
    Truly enjoyed this recipe, I added green and yellow peppers and would have added mushrooms as well if I had of had them. I also was out of tomato paste which I subbed for ketchup like another reader. Turned out great and my whole family enjoyed 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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