What Cut of Beef Is Best for Chili?

You can use just about any kind of beef in chili, but the good news is that the cheaper kinds tend to be the best. The cut of beef that’s best for chili actually isn’t a real “cut” at all: It’s ground up. But any cut of beef that can be simmered in chili without getting tough is a good choice.

Ground Beef (80/20)

Ground beef with an 80/20 lean-to-fat ratio is a popular choice for chili. The higher fat content adds richness and depth to the flavor, making your chili irresistibly savory. The fat content ensures that the meat stays tender and juicy during the long cooking process, creating a hearty and comforting texture. It’s also cost-effective and readily available at most grocery stores.

Ground Sirloin (90/10)

Ground sirloin, with a 90/10 lean-to-fat ratio, is leaner and healthier while still providing a satisfying beefy flavor. While it may lack the richness of 80/20 beef, it’s a great option for those looking to cut down on their fat intake.


Brisket is a premium choice that’s ideal for special occasions or when you want to impress with a special chili. Brisket adds an intensely beefy flavor to the chili, and since it’s typically braised, it does well in a simmering pot of chili. Although it requires longer cooking times to become tender, the result is a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

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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