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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.

Try These Next

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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. Is this recipe spicy? My family doesn’t like anything so it. Can we leave out the jalapeño? 

  2. What do you mean by hot sauce? Like tapatio or tabasco or something or real hot sauce? 

  3. Stephanie, you are the best Tex-Mex chef that is not a native! This chi4li is outstanding, and tastes just like it is from an Arizona classy restaurant! I made it exactly as written on the stove top, and served with your cast iron cornbread. My guests were asking for seconds on everything. Barely enough to make your Chili Mac Thursday night! Thank you!!

  4. Great recipe, Stephanie! My chili usually turns out super runny and this is in the crockpot now. I forgot to buy canned kidney beans so did a quick soak method using up dried beans from the cupboard. It looks amazing and smells delicious as it’s cooking in the crockpot now.

  5. This is the most delicious, easiest chilli recipe I have evee made! My family loved it!  We served it topped with sour cream, Fritos corn chip strips and shredded Tillamook cheese and it was amazing!  We even used fresh jalapeños from our garden!  Thank you for creating this delicious recipe and sharing it with us!

  6. I was hesitant to add all of the chili powder. I did add it all in the end along with a bit of chipolte powder. My husband said- don’t loose that receipe, it is the best!
    All of your receipes that I have made have been flavourful. Thank you!

    • I am so happy to hear that it was a hit Mary! 🙂 My own mom was hesitant about the chili powder too when she first made this! But it’s the only chili she’ll ever make now. I’m so glad your husband loved it. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review!! -Stephanie 🙂

  7. Few changes 1 pound Italian sausage, 1 pound hamburger doubled the hot sauce love the rest 

  8. I want to make this for a pot luck in the crockpot! If I double the recipe would the cook time change?

  9. This was the best chili I have ever made!

  10. Made this today . It will be the only chili recipe I will ever make !!! 
    Delicious…… 

    • That’s GREAT news Chele! I’m so happy that you loved the chili!! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review, I appreciate it so much! -Stephanie 🙂

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