This beef chili is a blend of meat, tomatoes, spices and beans, all simmered together to make a delicious and hearty meal. An easy classic chili recipe that’s quick to make and always gets rave reviews!
Beef chili is traditional recipe for good reason – it’s simple to make, packed with flavor and is a great way to feed a crowd. You can put out an assortment of toppings, and let everyone customize their bowl of chili for a fun and satisfying dinner.
How do you make beef chili?
Start by cooking ground beef and onions in a large pot until the meat is cooked through and the onions are softened. Add garlic to the pot, along with diced tomatoes, beef broth and a variety of spices. Let the mixture come to a simmer, and cook until thickened. Stir in the beans, then simmer the chili for a few more minutes. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Tips for the perfect chili
- I typically use 90% lean ground beef which has plenty of flavor without a lot of excess grease. If you use beef with a higher fat content, be sure to drain off the grease before proceeding with the recipe.
- This is a mild chili. If you prefer a spicy chili, you can use hot chili powder, or add in spice in another form such as a few teaspoons of hot sauce or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.
- Chili stays fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days, which makes this recipe perfect for meal prep.
- I like to offer a variety of toppings on the side, such as shredded cheese, sour cream, green onions, diced tomatoes, tortilla strips and avocado.
- Not a fan of beans in your chili? Omit the beans and add another 1/2 pound of ground beef.
Beef chili flavor variations
This recipe is fabulous as written, but you can absolutely add other ingredients to customize it to your tastes.
- Protein: This recipe also works with ground turkey, ground chicken or Italian sausage. You can also use diced or shredded chicken breast, or even steak. Try using cubes of beef stew meat instead of ground beef; if you go this route, add another 45 minutes to the cooking time.
- Vegetables: You can add some veggies to the mix such as bell peppers, corn kernels, roasted green chilies or diced zucchini.
- Beans: While red kidney beans are a common addition to chili, you can use other types of beans such as pinto beans or Great Northern beans.
What do you serve with beef chili?
This beef chili is hearty enough to stand on its own as main course offering. The most common accompaniment to chili is cornbread. I recommend serving my honey cornbread, or you can buy some at the store to save some time. Other great options include buttermilk biscuits or garlic bread. I also typically serve a light green salad for a little freshness and nutrition. Of course, you’ll also want to offer up plenty of toppings for your chili.
How can you make chili more flavorful?
There are a variety of ingredients you can add to beef chili to amp up the flavor.
- Pickled Jalapenos
- Espresso powder
- Dried chilies such as ancho, chipotle, cascabel or guajillo
Can you freeze chili?
This chili is a great candidate for the freezer. Freeze your chili in an airtight container or gallon sized resealable freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw the bag or container over night in the refrigerator, then reheat the chili on the stove top over medium heat until warmed through.
Slow cooker beef chili
You can easily adapt this recipe to make it slow cooker friendly. Brown the beef and onions on the stove, then place them in a crock pot. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the beans, and reduce the beef broth to 3/4 cup. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Add the beans, then cook for another 20 minutes before serving.
Once you try this chili, it will become part of your regular meal rotation. It’s mild enough for the kids, yet flavorful enough for the adults, and it will please even the biggest appetites.
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Beef Chili Video
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 pounds ground beef I use 90% lean
- 3/4 cup onion finely diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes do not drain
- 3 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt divided use
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper divided use
- 2 15 ounce cans kidney beans drained and rinsed
- Toppings such as shredded cheese, sour cream, green onions and tortilla strips
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, for 3-4 minutes. Drain off any excess grease.
- Add the onion to the pot and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, cocoa powder, brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the pot. Bring to a simmer.
- Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until chili has thickened.
- Add the kidney beans and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately with toppings of your choice.