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The Best Classic Chili

This Classic Chili recipe is made with ground beef, beans, crushed tomatoes, and chili seasonings. A simple and delicious dish that is ready in less than one hour. 

Homemade soups and stews are perfect to enjoy once the cold weather hits. You may also try our crockpot cheesy potato soup, beef stew, and cheeseburger soup.

This Classic Beef Chili is made in one pot and is the perfect family-friendly dish. It is one of our favorite comfort foods to enjoy during colder times. However, because it is so delicious and flavorful, we love making it during any season of the year!

Also, it is super easy to make and the chili freezes really way. So, you can easily make a large batch and freeze it for months to come!

This easy chili recipe has the right balance of spices and deep flavors. The ground beef and beans combined with species make it really fabulous and irresistible. The chili itself is gluten and dairy-free! Therefore, feel free to enjoy it on many diets.

Also, we love topping it with some sliced avocado, and crushed corn or tortilla chips. But you can add whatever you prefer, like various cheeses, sour cream, or cilantro. No matter how you top it with, it will taste delicious and is guaranteed to win you over.

It is ready in minutes and perfect for game day, party, or even pot-luck. Make it a family favorite meal, and enjoy a bowl of chili with freshly baked dinner rolls, or homemade cornbread


  • Beef: I love using about 1 pound of ground beef. Also, 85% to 90% lean ground beef works the best as it has the right balance of fat.
  • Yellow onion: You will need a medium yellow onion. Also, you could use red or white onion. 
  • Olive oil: To brown the meat and onion. 
  • Fresh garlic: Freshly minced garlic works the best and it adds plenty of flavors. So, use more if desired!
  • Seasonings: Light brown sugar, chili powder, ground cumin, salt, ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, cocoa powder. Similarly, use your favorite seasoning mix. 
  • Crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. If you cannot find tomato paste, feel free to use tomato sauce instead. 
  • Beef broth: Use low sodium stock so you can control the saltiness along the way. 
  • Red bell pepper or green pepper.
  • Beans: Kidney beans, cannellini beans, and pinto beans are my favorite choice when it comes to making the best chili recipe. I love mixing the three together to get a rich texture and the best flavors out. 
  • Sweet corn

How to make the best beef chili recipe?

This is one of our favorite recipes during colder days because it is so rich and flavorful, yet super easy to prepare.

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Then, add chopped onion and saute for about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Next, add the ground beef and cook for another 6-8 minutes, until no longer pink.
  4. Drain the fat and add the minced garlic.
  5. Then, add the remaining ingredients and stir well using a wooden spoon. 
  6. Simmer for about 25 minutes. 
  7. Enjoy!

Instant pot classic chili recipe:

If you have a pressure cooker, you can easily make this basic chili recipe in less than 30 minutes.

Follow this link and see how to make beef chili in the instant pot

How to Make a Slow Cooker Chili recipe?

You can absolutely make this recipe in the crockpot. It will result in a rich and very flavorful meal. Also, by making in the crockpot, the flavors marinate together over a longer period of time, resulting in a super flavorful and hearty dish.

Here are the easy steps:

  1. First, prepare the ingredients.
  2. Then, simply, put all the uncooked ingredients in the slow cooker. 
  3. Cover and cook it for 7-8 hours on LOW or 3-4 hours on HIGH.
  4. Also, if time allows, you can sauté the onions and peppers first for a slightly softer texture. It’s that simple!

Check out the full crockpot chili recipe here

Can I use turkey instead of beef?

Yes! We usually make it with ground beef; however ground turkey works perfectly fine. It will result in a healthier and leaner meal as well.

Also, it is a great alternative if you prefer to avoid red meat. Check out this easy turkey chili recipe

In addition, ground chicken breast is an excellent alternative as well.

How do you make beef chili thicker?

The best and quickest way to thicken it is by using flour. Just don’t add it directly to the pot! Instead, use a separate bowl.

To the bowl, add 1-2 tablespoons of flour and a cup of hot liquid from the chili.

Then, simply whisk the mixture together until combined and add it to the pot.

How do you make it more flavorful?

The best way to make it rich and flavorful is to let the spices “bloom” together. Simply, let them sautee in a skillet prior to adding them to the chili.

This will make a huge difference and add a nice depth of flavor to the whole dish. 

Favorite toppings:

Some other great toppings are:

  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Sliced green onions
  • Tortilla chips
  • Crackers or oyster crackers
  • Croutons
  • Sliced avocado
  • Hot sauce

Storing instructions:

  • Refrigerate: First, let the soup completely cool at room temperature. Then, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. It tastes even better the next day!
  • Freeze: Use a freezer-safe container, and freeze it up for 3 months. 
  • Reheat: Using a large soup pot, reheat the chili over low heat until warm. 

More delicious chili recipes to try:

Recipe Tips:

  • To make this vegetarian use tofu instead. Preferably use extra firm tofu and additional beans such as black beans or dark red kidney beans. 
  • Also, feel free to add a can of your favorite beans or a mix of beans to this recipe. 
  • This makes about 8 cups of classic chili, which is more than our family will eat in one sitting. We usually serve half one night, then freeze the leftovers.
  • In addition, you can make this spicier by adding more cayenne pepper when sauteing the onion. Similarly, you could add chopped jalapenos or red pepper flakes.
  • Turn it into a white chicken chili by swapping the beef with ground chicken. 

Best Classic Chili Recipe

The Best Classic Chili recipe comes together in just under one hour. It is made with ground beef, beans, crushed tomatoes, and seasonings.

Best Classic Chili recipe
  • Prep Time15 MIN
  • Cook Time30 MIN
  • Servings 8 servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound 85 or 90% lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder unsweetened
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 medium red bell pepper seeds removed and diced
  • 15 ounces canned kidney beans rinsed and drained
  • 15 ounces canned cannellini beans rinsed and drained
  • 15 ounces canned pinto beans rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup canned sweet corn rinsed and drained


  • In a large pot over medium heat add olive oil and then saute the onion in it for about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the ground beef, and cook for about 6-7 minutes until no longer pink and the onions are soft. Break the meat with a wooden spoon.
  • Drain the fat and add the tomato paste and crushed tomatoes, stir well while cooking for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. 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.
  • Once cooked, remove the pot from the heat and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts

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Tamara Peevy

Tamara Peevy

Can I used honey instead of the cocoa? I did buy cocoa to use for this chili only to really see it at home as chocolate peppermint flavor.

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

Cocoa is used to add a very subtle flavor and to elevate other flavors, honey actually will just add some sweetness.

Celebrate Woman Today

Celebrate Woman Today

Catalina, Give me a chili any time of the week! I love eating chilis with crackers. Yours looks bright with veggies and appetizing sauce! Bravo!



I love a good hearty chili! Your recipe sounds so delicious and easy. Can't wait to try it!

Ruth I

Ruth I

Ahh, this looks perfect! I'd love to cook this now more because of our weather. Yum!

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