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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!!

Our Best Chili Recipe made with beef is the most popular to take to cook offs and potlucks, but I also love making White Chicken Chili, or Green Enchilada Pork Chili. They’re all perfect for get togethers during soup season!

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

Favorite Homemade Chili

Fall and winter are the perfect times to enjoy chilis and soups. With that in mind, we wanted to share with you our favorite homemade chili recipe!

We love to make a big pot of our Best Chili Recipe for gatherings with family and friends. I always whip it out for chili cookouts because everyone that tries it, loves it.

A bowl of chili is also perfect on Halloween night post-trick-or-treating! But let’s be honest, this homemade chili is good on ANY night.

I love the spice, the flavor, the beans, the big chunks of meat, and pretty much everything else about this homemade Chili Recipe. For another fav, try our our favorite White Chicken Chili!

Canned ingredients for favorite Beef Chili recipe.

How to Make beef Chili

Is there anything better than a one pot meal? Great ingredients, super easy to cook up, and just a couple of dishes to wash. Yes, yes, and yes.

BEEF. Grab one of your large cooking pots and heat it on medium heat. Cook up the ground beef and drain the excess fat from the pot.

BOIL. Add sugar, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, garlic salt, paprika and pepper. Add beef broth, diced tomatoes, drained kidney beans and tomato sauce.

SIMMER. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25 – 30 minutes.

SERVE. Season with more garlic salt and pepper, if desired.

Our favorite chili toppings: lime wedges, cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, corn bread (my favorite!) and/or diced onions.

Crockpot version

Making this in the slow cooker is vert simple! Follow the directions below to set it and forget it. 😉

  1. Cook the meat, then drain the fat.
  2. Add sugar, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, garlic salt, paprika and pepper. Stir and cook for an additional minute. Transfer to a large slow cooker.
  3. Add beef broth, diced tomatoes, drained kidney beans and tomato sauce to the slow cooker. Stir and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours.
  4. Season with more garlic salt and pepper, if desired.
Cooking ground beef in a skillet for the best chili recipe.

Recipe Tips

Make it Thicker. If you find that the chili is too thin for your liking you can easily mash some of the beans and give it a good stir. You can also use flour or cornstarch to thicken.

  • Flour – In a separate bowl add 1-2 tablespoons of flour to 1 cup of liquid from the chili. Whisk and return to the chili.
  • Cornstarch – For every 2 cups of chili, mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water in a separate bowl. Whisk and add to the chili.

Different Meats. Ground Beef is the most common, quickest and cheapest. However, you can try some of these other cuts of meat:

  • beef chuck
  • brisket
  • short ribs

Cube it, brown it and add it to the pot. You can also substitute the ground beef for ground chicken or ground turkey.

Best Beans. In my opinion the best beans to use in chili are kidney, black, and pinto beans. Some people use navy beans or green beans. This recipe uses both kidney and black beans, but you can substitute an equal amount of another type if you wish. 

Easy beef chili recipe in ladle.


In case you want to add a little extra to it, here are some chili secret ingredients that will add even more flavor!

  • Lime Juice – it adds just a bit of tang and a clean, fresh taste.
  • Cornmeal – adding just a few tablespoons will thicken the chili and add a polenta flavor.
  • Sugar – a pinch is all you need to help balance some of the flavors in your chili.
  • Zucchini – it makes it heartier, adds texture and gives bonus veggie nutrition!
  • Mustard – don’t knock it until you try it. A tablespoon enhances the chili flavor like you’d never imagine.

Bring on the Heat. If you LOVE spicy chili there are several things that you can do to increase the heat index such as increase the amount of chili powder, add cayenne pepper, add diced jalapeños with the seeds, add red chili flakes. Either add these directly to the pot of chili, or have them available on the side for each person to add heat to their own bowls.

Too Spicy. If the pot of chili is delicious, but a little too hot for your liking, add:

  • sour cream or milk
  • honey or brown sugar
  • tomato paste
  • squeeze of lemon or lime juice

All can all help neutralize the heat.

storing info

STORE. Chili will last in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until hot.

FREEZE. Let the chili cool and divide into portions your family can consume in one meal. Use a freezer safe airtight container leaving about ½ headspace. Store for 4-6 months. To thaw in the refrigerator allow 24 hours for every 5 lbs. You can choose to reheat the chili without thawing first, but it may affect the texture.

Leftovers can be used to make other delicious meals such as chili baked potato, chili hot dogs, chili nachos and more.

I have a feeling this will become your go-to chili recipe because it is so simple and delicious. I also think it’s the best chili recipe to bring to your next chili contest. It has the flavors everyone loves to make it award-winning.

Is it fall yet? Because I want to put this chili into my weekly dinner rotation!

what to serve with chili

We can’t have chili without cornbread! Here are some of our favorite cornbread recipes to pair with this chili:

Our go-to chili recipe topped with shredded cheese and green onions.

And for more chili recipes, check out:

5 from 61 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


  • 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


  • 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.



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.


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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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Hi, Are you going to make a cookbook filled with ALL of your recipes?
    You are my always my go to when I need help on how to cook something!

    1. Oh thank you SO much! No announcement for a cookbook right now, but we’ll certainly spread the word if there ever is!

  2. 5 stars
    Love , love, love this Chili. This is my 2nd time making it and my family loves it. I only use 1/2 tblsp so it’s not to spicy. So good served with honey cornbread.

  3. 5 stars
    This recipe is easy to make and it was my first chili I ever made. We love it topped with cheese, sour cream and saltine crackers. Soo good!

  4. 5 stars
    I love this chili recipe. So warm and comforting. It screams winter to me and its even better the day after!