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You’re going to fall hard for this spicy, hearty homemade beef chili. This best chili recipe is not only simple but delicious!!

Chilis are popular to take to cook-offs and potlucks and today’s recipe is always a winner! Other winners include our White Chicken Chili and Crockpot Chili.

Best Chili Recipe served in a red bowl with cheese and fresh lime.

We Love Chili!

Fall and winter are the perfect times to enjoy chilis and soups, especially our favorite homemade version, which has won countless chili cook-offs.

Here is why we love it!

  • Feeds a crowd. A big pot is great for big gatherings.
  • Quick + easy. It’s on the table in just over 30 minutes!
  • Filled with flavor. It’s filled with spices, beans, and big chunks of meat.
  • Easy to customize. Adjust the spiciness and ingredients to your personal preferences.
Canned ingredients for for chili on a kitchen table.

Chili Ingredients

It’s also made with simple ingredients that we usually have on hand.

  • ground beef – substitute ground turkey or chicken
  • sugar – balances out the flavor and can be adjusted to taste
  • spices – cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, garlic salt, paprika, and black pepper can be adjusted to taste
  • red kidney beans – or use black beans, pinto beans, or navy beans
  • diced tomatoes
  • tomato sauce
  • beef broth
Cooking ground beef in a skillet on the stove.

How to Make the Best Chili

  1. BEEF. In a large pot, cook ground beef over medium heat, stirring to break up meat, until browned and cooked through. Drain fat.
  2. SEASONINGS + BEANS. Add spices, tomato sauce, kidney beans, tomatoes, and beef broth.
  3. SIMMER. Bring to a simmer on medium-high heat and cook uncovered for 25–30 minutes.
  4. GARNISH + SERVE. Season with more garlic salt and pepper, if desired, and add any desired toppings before serving into bowls.

Our Favorite Chili Toppings

Serve homemade chili with lime wedges, cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese, avocado chunks, sour cream, Tortilla Chips, Cornbread (my favorite!), and/or diced onions.

Two avocados and a bunch of cilantro on a cutting board.

Variations

People love to add a secret ingredient to their pot of chili. Some ideas include:

  • Lime juice: adds just a bit of tang and a clean, fresh taste
  • Cornmeal: add just a few tablespoons to thicken and add a polenta flavor
  • Veggies: zucchini or bell peppers will add texture and nutrition
  • Mustard: a tablespoon enhances the chili flavor like you’d never imagine

Recipe Tips

  • Make it thicker by mashing some of the beans and give it a good stir. You can also use flour or cornstarch to thicken.
  • Remove spice. Neutralize the heat by adding sour cream or milk, honey or brown sugar, tomato paste, or a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.
  • Add spice directly to the dish or on the side with chili powder, cayenne pepper, red chili flakes, or diced jalapeños.
  • Vegetarian-friendly. Substitute the meat with your favorite plant-based meat or extra veggies. Use vegetable broth instead of beef broth.
  • A perfect pairing. We can’t have chili without cornbread, try: Sweet Corn Bread, Cornbread Muffins, Street Corn, and Mexican Cornbread.
  • Leftovers can be used to make other delicious meals such as chili baked potato, chili hot dogs, chili nachos, and more.
A ladle full of chili over a pot on the stove.

storing info

  • STORE chili in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until hot.
  • FREEZE. Cool and divide in a freezer safe airtight container leaving about ½ headspace. Store for 4-6 months.
    • Thaw in the refrigerator (allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds) and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.

We hope you’ll agree that this is the BEST chili recipe!

Our best chili recipe topped with shredded cheese and green onions.

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5 from 79 votes

Best Chili Recipe

By: Lil’ Luna
You're going to fall hard for this spicy, hearty homemade beef chili. This best chili recipe is not only simple, but delicious!!
Servings: 6
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can red kidney beans drained
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • cups beef broth

Toppings (Optional)

  • sour cream, cheese, green onions
Save This Recipe!
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!

Instructions 

  • In a large pot, cook ground beef over medium heat, stirring to break up meat, until browned and cooked through. Drain fat.
  • Add sugar, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, garlic salt, paprika and pepper and stir to mix.
  • Add tomato sauce, kidney beans, tomatoes and beef broth. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 25–30 minutes.
  • Season with more garlic salt and pepper, if desired, and add any desired toppings before serving.

Video

Notes

Slow cooker directions: Cook the meat and drain the fat as described in Step 1 above, then combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 3–4 hours.
STORE in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until hot.
FREEZE. Cool and divide in a freezer safe airtight container leaving about ½ headspace. Store for 4-6 months.
  • Thaw in the refrigerator (allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds) and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup, Calories: 224kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 54mg, Sodium: 689mg, Potassium: 320mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 504IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 42mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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5 from 79 votes (56 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




49 Comments

  1. Pegg says:

    This is a great chili recipe. Delicious!!

  2. Amanda says:

    5 stars
    This was delicious!! I added some diced onion, red pepper and jalapeno as I love that in chili! My husband was wanting a more soup-like chili and this hit the spot! Thanks for a great recipe!