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Easy Chili Recipe

This classic chili recipe is easy to make on the stovetop or in the Slow Cooker! This savory chili sauce is loaded with juicy ground beef, beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, and the best flavor enhancers.

Be sure to serve this with a side of cornbread

A pot filled with Chili with a ladle in it and Fritos on the side.

Easy Chili Recipe

This chili recipe has the absolute best flavor combination. It’s so easy to put together, and from there it’s left to simmer, reduce, and concentrate. It incorporates simple flavor enhancers that make all the difference.

Worcestershire sauce is one such ingredient. It adds umami and enhances the other flavors in the dish. Mustard powder is another secret weapon, along with hot sauce.

The quantity of hot sauce used in this recipe doesn’t make the dish spicy– in fact, you won’t even know it’s in there. But it is one of my favorite flavor boosters that I use in everything from mac and cheese to soup recipes

This is a great base that you can use to get creative with. Kick up the heat if you’re a spice lover. Toss in some mushrooms or play with different bean combinations. This also works great with ground turkey or a ground beef/ground sausage combination! 

PS- Be sure to try my White Chicken Chili recipe next. 😁

How to Make It

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Cook onions in olive oil for 8 minutes. (This jump-start allows them to release some of their natural sugars which is a nice way to offset the acidity of the tomatoes.)

Increase heat and cook and crumble the ground beef for 5 minutes. Add bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, and garlic and cook for 3 more minutes. Drain grease.

Add the seasonings, tomato paste, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Toss to season and coat the beef evenly. 

Cooking onions and ground beef in a pot to make chili.

Add chicken broth and use a silicone spatula to “clean” the bottom and sides of the pot. Add the beef bouillon, crushed tomatoes, and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover partially and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Adding diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes to a pot of chili.

Add the drained kidney beans and simmer for 15 more minutes or until desired consistency is obtained.

Taste and add seasonings as needed. Let it rest for 5 minutes prior to serving, it will thicken even further. Serve with cornbread!

Adding kidney beans to a pot of chili.

Crock Pot Method

  • Cook and season the ground beef/onions/peppers/garlic and deglaze with chicken broth as outlined in steps 1-4 in the recipe card below this post. 
  • Transfer the meat mixture to the slow cooker along with the beef bouillon, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and kidney beans. 
  • Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.

Do You Rinse Kidney Beans for Chili

  • You’ll want to drain the kidney beans, but rinsing them is optional. Doing so will reduce the amount of sodium that gets carried into the dish.
  • I choose to let mine sit in the strainer for awhile, but I don’t rinse them.

What to Add to Chili

  • Beans: Black beans, Pinto beans, and Kidney beans are the best options for chili.
  • Vegetables: Mushrooms, zucchini, celery, corn, carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes are all good vegetable options for chili.
  • Meat: Ground turkey, beef, sausage, pork, and/or veal are all good meat choices/combinations.
  • Garnishes: Sour cream, shredded cheese, lime wedges, diced avocado, Fritos, and tortilla chips.

Pro Tips

  • The Worcestershire sauce, mustard powder, and hot sauce act as flavor enhancers and can’t be tasted outright. The hot sauce won’t make it spicy, I use Frank’s hot sauce for this recipe.
  • Spice Lovers: If you like heat, I would double or triple the hot sauce and use a little more cayenne as well. Consider adding additional spice gradually and tasting until desired level is obtained.
  • Chicken Broth: I like the depth of flavor from using chicken broth as it adds a nice contrast to the beef, but feel free to use beef broth or a combination of both.
  • Make Ahead Meal: This is a great recipe to make up to 2 days ahead of time and reheat on the stove top when ready to eat! If needed, an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce (or passata) can be added as the chili may thicken more during storage.
  • This chili is great for making my chili mac recipe and leftovers are perfect for baked chili cheese dogs

Storage

  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Leftover chili makes a great freezer food. 

A white bowl of Chili with sour cream and cheese on top.

Tools For This Recipe

(Amazon affiliate links)- Check out all of my kitchen essentials here.

  • Le Creuset 4.5 quart Dutch Oven– This is the one I use for this recipe, it’s the perfect size and it conducts heat really well.
  • Measuring Spoons I have these magnetic ones which stay nice and organized in my utensil drawer.
  • Pinch Bowls for measuring out seasonings ahead of time.
  • Chefs Knife– I have this one. It’s affordable but high quality.

Try These Next

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Easy Chili Recipe

5 from 5 ratings
This easy chili recipe is a classic meal that can be made on the stovetop or in the Crock Pot! This savory chili sauce is loaded with juicy ground beef, beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, and the best flavor enhancers.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 lbs. ground beef, 90% lean
  • Salt/pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, optional
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth, see notes
  • 1 beef bouillon
  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 16 oz. Kidney Beans, drained

Seasoning

  • 2 ½ tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Each: ground cumin, dried oregano, salt, mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes

Garnish Options

  • Shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, lime wedges, and Fritos or tortilla chips.

Equipment

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and let them soften for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. (This allows them to release their natural sugars which is a nice offset to the acidity from the tomatoes. They also are very soft and subtle in the chili.)
  • Season the ground beef with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high. Add the ground beef and cook and crumble it for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and bell/jalapeno peppers and cook for 3 more minutes.
  • Drain excess grease. Add the seasonings and toss to coat. Add the tomato paste, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Toss to season and coat the beef evenly.
  • Add the chicken broth and use a silicone spatula to “clean” the bottom and sides of the pot.
  • Add the beef bouillon, crushed tomatoes, and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  • Cover partially and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to lift any meat that has settled to the bottom. Stir in the drained kidney beans and simmer for 15 more minutes or until desired consistency is obtained.
  • Taste and add seasonings as needed. Let it rest for 5 minutes prior to serving (with cornbread!), it will thicken even further.

Notes

Pro Tips:
  • Spice Lovers: If you like heat, I would double or triple the hot sauce and use a little more cayenne as well. Consider adding additional spice gradually and tasting until desired level is obtained.
  • Ground turkey can be used instead of ground beef for a leaner option.
  • Chicken Broth: I like the depth of flavor from using chicken broth as it adds a nice contrast to the beef, but feel free to use beef broth or a combination of both.
  • You’ll want to drain the kidney beans, but rinsing them is optional. Doing so will reduce the amount of sodium that gets carried into the dish.
  • Make Ahead Meal: This is a great recipe to make up to 2 days ahead of time and reheat on the stove top when ready to eat! If needed, an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce (or passata) can be added as the chili may thicken more during storage.
  • This chili is great for making my chili mac recipe and leftovers are perfect for baked chili cheese dogs!
  • Be sure to try my White Chicken Chili recipe next. 😁

Crock Pot Method
  • Follow steps 1-4 on the stovetop as outlined in the recipe card above.
  • Transfer the meat mixture to the slow cooker along with the beef bouillon, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and kidney beans.
  • Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours

Nutritional information below is per cup. This recipe makes approximately 9 cups.

Nutrition

Calories: 295kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 62mg, Sodium: 660mg, Potassium: 1084mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 1083IU, Vitamin C: 31mg, Calcium: 92mg, Iron: 7mg

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16 comments on “Easy Chili Recipe”

  1. Made this yesterday with a few changes.  I traditionally have not been a Chili eater but this recipe is a winner and has changed my view of this food ( as long as it is based on this recipe).  I soaked and cooked a package of mixed beans for 12 -14 hours.  The blend of spices for this chili really make it delicious!

  2. Great recipe…I made it with half the amount of beef and added ground pork sausage.  Family wants it again next weekend.  Thank you, Cheers 

  3. I’d actually never made chilli before. This recipe was easy and delicious- a hit!

    • I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed it Jodi!! I bet you’ll be making this regularly now! 😉 Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review! -Stephanie

  4. Outstanding Chili! Next time with your Corn Bread!

  5. Another excellent recipe! I used the one can of kidney beans but I also added 2 small cans of Pinto beans. I don’t really like kidney beans but my husband does. I followed everything else to the t. I did add more hot sauce because we like more heat. Excellent!

    • That is SOOO awesome Lisa! I am obsessed with Pino Beans (have you tried my pinto bean soup? lol. SO GOOD!)- I also add more hot sauce to this recipe too, I like to keep the recipe mild as a base as it’s always easy to add heat. I love me some heat! Thank you so much for this review, you are the BEST!

  6. Can the kidney beans be omitted as I don’t like chili with beans?

  7. I LOVE this Chili recipe. It was easy to make, fast to cook, and absolutely delicious. I followed the recipe exactly as you have laid out. For the meat, I did a combo of ground beef and hot sausage. The spices in the chili were perfect as written for my family’s taste buds. I used the left overs to make chili cheese dogs for the kiddos which was another hit!!! This is a wonderful recipe and I know I will be making it regularly!!! Thank you!

    • I’m so happy that you enjoyed the Chili Jacob! This is definitely our go-to chili recipe! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review, I really appreciate it!! -Stephanie

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