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There’s nothing quite like a classic, and if you’re a chili traditionalist, then this is the classic chili recipe you’ve got to make. Meaty, flavorful, and easy to make ultra-spicy or completely mild, you’ll have an all-American meal you can show off for any dinner of the week or for parties.

Best chili recipe

Best Chili Recipe

The best chili is made with simple classic ingredients. You can’t ever lose when you make this recipe, so get ready to rule the kitchen with the best chili recipe ever!

Easy Chili Recipe

This is the easy chili chili to make on a weeknight when you want an easy dinner that satisfies that massively manly hunger. It only takes 35 minutes so get to it!

Chili ingredients

Homemade Chili Ingredients

  • Ground beef – Gives that classic chili a meaty base. A must in any in any beef chili recipe.
  • Yellow onion – Finely chop this for even distribution.
  • Garlic – You’ll finely chop this up too.
  • Brown sugar – How come you taste so good? No seriously though, this is how you take chili to the next level.
  • Tomato paste – Creates that signature chili sauce base with a nice tangy flavor and rich texture.
  • Beef broth – Makes for a more flavorful base than water.
  • Diced tomatoes – Use the can of the petite diced stuff.
  • Red kidney beans – The best beans for chili. Rinse and drains these badboys.
  • Tomato sauce – To further add to our nice chili base.
  • Chili Seasonings – Grab chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper from your spice rack. And if you want a more spicy chili recipe, add cayenne pepper.
  • Chili Toppings – While this chili is perfection on its own, toppings can make it even better. I like sour cream, shredded cheddar, red onion, and cilantro.

Easy chili recipe

How do you Make Chili from Scratch?

To make this homemade chili recipe, you’ll start by heating olive oil in a large pot with a heavy bottom on medium-high. Add those chopped onions, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes, followed by the garlic for an additional minute. Next the meat goes in. Break it apart as you stir it, cooking for 7 minutes or until browned. You’ll then add your seasonings, followed by the diced tomatoes with juices, beef broth, beans, and tomato sauce. Stir it all up, let it boil gently, then drop the heat down to low or medium-low so it simmers gently. Keep that up for 25 minutes and stir every now and then. When ready, let it rest 10 minutes and then serve.

How do you make chili from scratch

Expert Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Homemade Chili Every Time

  • Always drain and rinse the beans. Otherwise they’ll impart your chili with a funky taste.
  • Never add raw meat. Make sure you take the time to brown your beef. It gives your chili more flavor than simply dropping it into the pot raw.
  • Adjust to your spiciness liking. The cayenne pepper is optional, so if you’re not big on heat, just leave it out. Conversely, if you want your eyes to water and your mouth to burn, throw it in there and get ready for that kick of spice!

How to cook chili

What ingredients can you add to chili?

With this simple chili recipe, you’ll have everything you need to make the perfect chili every time. The brown sugar will help you give it a balanced taste so that it hits all the right notes on your palate.

What is the best secret ingredient for chili?

So few people realize that brown sugar is the best secret ingredient for chili. It’s something everyone has too, which makes chili have balance between savory and sweet.

What is the most important ingredient in chili?

Chili powder is always the most important ingredient to put into any chili. It is what gives chili that special taste it is known for.

What ingredient makes chili taste like chili?

That would be chili powder, giving chili its distinctive taste. It is in every traditional chili recipe, even vegan versions, because it is the seasoning you need to give it that flavor.

What ingredient makes chili better?

Brown sugar will always improve your chili. It adds harmony with the savory and spicy ingredients, bringing them all into full balance.

What goes well with chili

How to Cook Chili?

Chili is a one-pot meal that makes it easy to feed a crowd, and all you need is a big soup pot and your stove!

What liquid do you put in chili?

You will put in beef broth. This provides a richer flavor than simply adding water to the chili.

Which beans are best for chili?

Red kidney beans are the most classic bean for chili. That’s why they are included in this recipe.

What is the secret ingredient for chili

What does tomato paste do for chili?

Tomato paste is essential in chili because it helps with a thicker texture while imparting a nice tangy and zesty flavor to this dish.

Do I need tomato paste for chili?

Yes, you need tomato paste to make chili. But if you don’t have any, ketchup is an almost perfect replacement.

Should you put tomato paste in chili?

Yes, you should put tomato paste in chili. This recipe includes tomato paste in the ingredients as it will make for a zippier, richer, and more delicious chili.

What liquid do you put in chili

What is the best thing to add to chili?

A combination of things like tomato paste for a tangy flavor along with brown sugar make this chili recipe stand out. It adds depth and character that unfolds in every mouthful.

What can you not put in chili?

Don’t ever put raw meats into chili, from the ground beef to any other additions. Those things should be cooked first to bring out their flavors and ensure they are fully cooked before consumption.

How can I make my chili more flavorful?

Chefs always recommend a touch of sweetness for things like chili. Those savory flavors are great but they fall flat without contrast. The addition of brown sugar in this recipe is why it is a true classic chili that comes together with bold and balanced flavors.

What is the most important ingredient in chili

What goes well with Chili?

Chili is great with baked potatoes, fries, cornbread, nachos, quesadillas, on top of hotdogs, as a side at a BBQ, with mac n’ cheese, and a nice salad too. Some people love it atop steamed white rice while others prefer it on noodles. And still others are purists who only want their chili in a bowl with toppings like cheese and onions. There’s really no wrong way to serve it!

Classic homemade chili recipe

How to Store Chili?

After your chili cools, you need to take any leftovers and put them in airtight containers in your fridge.

How Long Does Chili Last?

Aim to eat that chili in your fridge within 3 to 4 days. If you can’t, then you’ll need to move it to your freezer.

Can You Freeze Chili?

Chili is seriously one of the best things to freeze. Make sure your containers are airtight first, then put them in there for up to 3 months for an easy meal any time.

How to Reheat Chili?

Warm it up on the stovetop until it’s nice and hot. Take it slow so it doesn’t burn to the bottom of your pot.

Watch How To Make Chili (Video)

Chuck's Classic Chili Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 574
This classic chili recipe is one of my most popular chili recipes! This is easy the best chili I've ever made and a family favorite! Slow cooking this chili allows for the flavors to combine and beef to become tender. Enjoy!


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion (finely chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef (lean 90/10)
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, spicy!)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 16 oz can red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 small tub sour cream (optional topping)
  • 1/2 cups red onion (optional topping)
  • 1 small bag shredded cheddar cheese (optional topping)
  • 1 bunch cilantro (chopped) (optional topping)


  • On a stove top heat olive oil in a large heavy bottom pot over medium high heat. 
  • Next add chopped onions and cook for 4 minutes stirring occasionally. Then add garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute, continue stirring.
  • Add the lean ground beef to the pot. Using a wooden kitchen spoon, break the ground beef apart into small pieces. Cook for about 7 minutes or until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally while it’s cooking.
  • Place your skillet back on medium-high heat, add beef and cook until the beef has browned. Stirring occasionally to keep it from burning.
  • Next add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, brown sugar, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and cayenne (optional). Stir to combine all ingredients evenly.
  • Next, add in the diced tomatoes (with their juices), beef broth, drained kidney beans, tomato sauce. Stir to combine all ingredients evenly.
  • Bring the chili to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low or medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer leaving the pot uncovered. Simmer for 25 minutes while occasionally stirring.
  • Remove pot from heat, turn off stove, and let the chili rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with your preference of toppings such as shredded cheddar cheese, avocado slices, sour cream, chopped red onions, hot sauce.

Calories: 574kcal
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American


Calories: 574kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 5280mg | Potassium: 3230mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 5083IU | Vitamin C: 68mg | Calcium: 193mg | Iron: 13mg

More classic chili recipes:

Chuck 'The Chili Guy' Miller

Hey I'm Chuck "The Chili Guy" Miller. Chili is my passion so I have expertly crafted my list of tried and true award worthy chili recipes that will warm your soul. My gift to you from one chili connoisseur to another. - Chuck

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