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.

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The best classic chili recipe in a red bowl topped with cheddar cheese and sour cream

The Best Classic Chili Recipe

4.96 from 2508 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. Doubled it. Very spicy. Don’t know about the sweetness either. The flavor was good, but next time I’ll use no sugar and cayenne,and back down a little on the chili powder and cumin.

  2. 5 stars
    Loved it but made some changes. Added #some chopped shishito peppers with the onions. Used beer instead of broth.
    Used PINCH SPICE MARKET chili powder. Best chili powder ever. (You can buy it online) used maple syrup instead of sugar. Best chili I ever made. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    Didn’t use the beans or the sugar… As my husband and I are not huge bean fans. Swapped the beef for ground turkey and we loaded it up with celery, carrots and bell peppers to sub out the beans. Made our own diced tomatoes and tomato paste to make it healthier. We loved it!!!

  4. I made this chili recipe but doubled everything and I’m sorry that I did. I turned out too soupy for my liking and the taste was okay, not “the best” in my opinion.

  5. 5 stars
    Wow! I’ve tried many chili recipes and usually like them all. BUT… this one was the easiest and quickest and OMG! most yummy! I only made a few additions (which speaks volumes since none really impact what you’ve done). I made all veggies on the chunkier side and used a whole, large, sweet onion, a red bell pepper, and an 11oz drained canned of Mexican corn I only had chicken (not beef) broth, so used that. This is a GREAT recipe, and I’m so glad I found it. I’ll definitely pass it along to my (adult) sons. Yummm!

  6. I’ve made this recipe twice, 1 as written and the other without sugar. Much better without the sugar and ok with it. My family loved it without and ate 2 big ole bowls before their stuffed bellies just really couldn’t hold any more.

  7. 5 stars
    I made the chilli recipe exactly, and we loved it. Enjoyed the sweetness. It is now our new go to for chilli! Thank you for sharing.

  8. 5 stars
    This chili recipe is AMAZING! Very good, the entire family loved it! Definitely keeping this recipe to use for family gatherings. Thanks for sharing!

  9. 5 stars
    I normally use another recipe for my chili but decided to give this one a try. My husband loved it: “This is the best chili you have ever made” “that recipe is a keeper”. The only thing different that I did was skip the sugar and I added fresh minced garlic. Will be making it again this weekend!

  10. 5 stars
    This was fantastic. I left our the sugar but did everything else. So good and easy vs a day long cooking version.

  11. 5 stars
    LOVED IT ! I did it with fresh heirloom cherry tomatoes that I diced up instead of using canned,nd also made my own tomatoe sauce w/ fresh tomatoes to make it healthier. I wish I added some bell peppers as I felt it was missing a crunch so I think I will get some tomorrow& air fry them and add it in. Topped mines off w/ fresh green onions,sour cream,Mexican cheese,and lots of Tabasco of course. Delicious i sure got to the bottom of the bowl fast! Will definitely remake ! Thanks for sharing the recipe !

  12. 5 stars
    OH MY OH MY OH MY!!!! So good you will not regret it!!!!! First time I ever made it knocked it out of the park!!!

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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