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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 try my White Chicken Chili and Chili Mac recipes next!

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  and my Chili Con Carne recipes 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
  • Want to make a version with chunky beef? Try my Chili Con Carne!

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 high quality and affordable.

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A Dutch oven filled with Meaty Chili with Kidney beans, peppers, and a chili sauce with a ladle on the side.

Easy Chili Recipe

5 from 50 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 cube beef bouillon, or 1 tsp better than bouillon
  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 16 oz. Kidney Beans, drained

Seasoning

  • 2 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. I use Frank's hot sauce for this recipe.
  • 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!
  • Want to make a version with chunky beef? Try my Chili Con Carne and 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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135 comments on “Easy Chili Recipe”

  1. Will adding thr jalapeños and hot sauce make this spicy?

    • The quantity of hot sauce used in this recipe doesn’t make the dish spicy. (I use Frank’s hot sauce.) Jalapenos can add a kick, the white membrane of the jalapeno is the spicy part so if you include that, it’ll add some spice. Sometimes the seeds come in contact with it as well, making the seeds a bit spicy.

  2. For years, I bragged that I had the best chili recipe in the world. Nope, that’s no longer true. This is world-class chili. I made as suggested, but added a can of corn, one, zucchini, and one summer squash.

  3. Would it be too much if I add a chicken bouillon cube instead of beef? I don’t have beef but have chicken and am trying to avoid the store. Maybe do beef broth and chicken bouillon cube?  

    • Hi Kelly!! I would do beef broth and a chicken bouillon cube! The ol’ switcharoo! (Of course all chicken bouillon/broth is fine too, but having a little of each adds a nice flavor contrast.)- Enjoy!!

  4. I love this recipe! It is so delicious! 

  5. My husband LOVES this chili recipe.

  6. I love Ranch Style Beans and mine and some rice. Just recently tried cornbread with it and was surprised how amazing it was. That prompted making chili covered corn dogs. Delish!

  7. This chili recipe is so flavorful and absolutely delicious! It’s a new family favorite and will definitely be on repeat this fall and winter. Thank you Stephanie!

  8. I would love to make this for my potluck this weekend. I’ve never made chili for a large group before so would I be able to double the recipe? Would it fit in an 8.5qt Ninja Foodi Crockpot?

  9. I Love & enjoy your recipes. They are simple but eloquent. I believe a lot of people would agree to what I am saying. Please keep appealing to All our senses & I believe you will achieve your goal of touching people with your food.

  10. What should I do if I add tortellini? Add more broth and cook the noodles first??

    • Yes and Yes! I would cook the pasta on the side before adding it, and they’ll still absorb some liquid when added to the chili, so adding a little more broth would be a great way to go, maybe 1/3 – 1/2 cup!

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