The Best Chili Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
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Filled with hearty ground beef, veggies, and beans, this is The Best Chili Recipe! Rich and hearty, secretly healthy, and so easy to make. The longer it cooks, the more flavorful it gets.

A Classic Stovetop Chili Recipe You’ll Make Again and Again

If you are looking for a simple beef chili recipe that delivers a rich, slow-simmered meal without too much prep work, this is it! A classic, balanced recipe that’s not too spicy, you can easily customize it for your family’s needs and tastes.

Plus, it’s “secretly healthy,” as I like to call it! With carrots, onions, and two kinds of beans, this dish is loaded with healthy fiber and veggie goodness. What could be better?

Ingredients for a stovetop chili recipe, measured and arranged on a table.

What You’ll Need

So what’s in this classic chili recipe? A little bit of all the good stuff: meat, veggies, tomato sauce, spices… yum. Let’s take a closer look.

  • Ground Beef: I like to use lean ground beef, but you can use whichever you have on hand.
  • Onion: To add color and flavor to the chili, use a red onion! Of course, white, yellow, and sweet onions will also work.
  • Carrots: For added nutrition and a touch of sweetness.
  • Diced Green Chiles: Canned chiles are convenient to use and add a punch of flavor.
  • Tomato Sauce and Tomato Paste: Using both gives the chili extra body and complexity.
  • Beans: You will need two cans of beans. I use black beans and kidney beans. Rinse and drain them before using.
  • Corn: Frozen is fine – fresh or canned would also be great.
  • Beef Broth: For simmering the chili, so it doesn’t dry out.
  • Chili Seasoning: Try this Homemade Chili Seasoning, or use your favorite store-bought brand.
  • Brown Sugar: This is optional, but it’s helpful for balancing the tartness of the tomato sauce.
  • Toppings: Sour cream, cilantro, tortilla chips, diced red onion, avocado, shredded cheese… and now I’m hungry.

Do You Need Beef Broth for Chili?

You will need some kind of liquid to make the chili soupy at first, so it can cook down and thicken up without burning. I use beef broth, but you could also use chicken broth, vegetable broth, or even a mix of broth and beer or water.

Stirring a homemade chili recipe in a Dutch oven.

How to Make Chili

The method for this chili recipe is super simple. It all comes together in one pot (yay, easy cleanup!) and is mostly hands-off.

Cook the Ground Beef. To get started, set a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Give it a spray with some cooking spray or oil – you don’t want too much. Then brown the beef in the pot, breaking it up as you go. If there’s excess fat, drain that off.

Add Veggies. Now’s the time to throw in the onions and carrots. Let those go for about five minutes, to soften up.

  • Add the Remaining Ingredients. This is my favorite part – dumping in the rest of the goodies! So satisfying. Add in your green chiles, tomato sauce, tomato paste, black beans, kidney beans, corn, beef broth, mild chili seasoning, and brown sugar. (Whew!) Stir the chili well.
  • Boil, and then Simmer. Bring the chili to a boil, and then turn it down so that it simmers gently. Let it simmer away for half an hour to an hour. The longer you cook it (within reason – more on that in the “Cook’s Notes” section) the more it will thicken and develop the flavors.
  • Enjoy! Once the chili is done to your liking, ladle it into bowls and serve it up with your favorite sides and toppings.

Does Chili Get Better the Longer It Cooks?

Mostly, yes – a good long simmer helps all of the flavors deepen and blend. However, it is possible to overcook chili and dry the meat out too much. If it begins to stick to the bottom of the pot and scorch, that can also be a problem. But within reason, a longer cooking time means better chili!

If you would like to leave it simmering for longer, you can always add in a little more liquid: water, beef broth/stock or even a little beer.

Lifting a spoonful of beef chili out of a pot.

Cook’s Notes

But wait, there’s more! Be sure to read over these helpful ingredient notes. They’ll help you create the perfect chili for your pantry and family.

  • Beef: I used a 93/7 extra lean ground beef and chose not to drain off any extra fat because there wasn’t much to drain off. If you are using anything under 90/10, I would recommend draining.
  • Turkey: Yes, if you want to, you can absolutely use ground turkey in this chili recipe.
  • Chiles: Want to up the heat? In addition to (or instead of) the diced green chiles, add a seeded, diced jalapeño. If you want it extra spicy, leave the seeds in, or use a serrano pepper instead.
  • Beans: Just about any variety of plain canned beans will work in this chili recipe, so use your favorite kind or any canned beans you have on hand.
  • Veggies: I like the sweetness of carrots in this recipe, but you could easily use other vegetables, too. Corn, squash, bell peppers, celery, and sweet potatoes are all tasty options!
  • Beer: Beer can add a great depth of flavor to a chili. If you would like to use beer, replace half of the beef broth with your beer of choice.
Chili in a white bowl with lime wedges, shredded cheese, and more.

Side Dishes and Toppings

I like to serve chili straight up, with Mexican-style toppings like the ones listed in the What You’ll Need section above. You could also try one or more of these tasty sides:

  • Cornbread: Everyone loves this simple Sweet Cornbread, fresh and warm, right out of the skillet. If you aren’t a cornbread fan, try my favorite easy Beer Bread!
  • Sweet Potatoes: Pro tip number one: Chili over baked sweet potatoes is to die for. Pro tip number two: Air Fryer Sweet Potatoes are super easy to make! You’re welcome!
  • Salad: A crisp salad makes a nice addition to the menu, such as a green salad or even a fruit salad.
A bowl of homemade chili loaded with toppings.

How to Store and Reheat the Leftovers

Store any leftover chili in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 5 days. Leftover toppings should be stored separately. To reheat, place the desired portion in a saucepan over medium-low heat and stir occasionally until heated through.

Can I Freeze This Chili Recipe?

Sure! To freeze this homemade chili recipe, just cool down the chili and then pack it into your favorite freezer bags or freezer containers. Freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw it out overnight in your refrigerator before reheating.

A pot of the best chili being scooped up with a serving spoon.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Recipe
Yield: 4 Servings

The Best Chili Recipe

Filled with lean ground beef, veggies, and beans, this is The Best Chili Recipe! Rich and hearty, secretly healthy, and so easy to make. The longer it cooks, the more flavorful it gets.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 cup diced red onion, about 1/2 a large onion
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 4 oz can diced mild green chiles
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 1 15.5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15.5 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 batch homemade chili seasoning, or 1 oz packet chili seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar, optional

Optional Toppings:

Instructions 

  • Spray a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add the ground beef, breaking apart the meat as it browns. Drain off excess fat if desired and place back into pot.
  • Add the onion and carrot and cook another 5 minutes, to slightly soften the vegetables.
  • Add in the green chiles, tomato sauce, tomato paste, black beans, kidney beans, corn, beef broth, mild chili seasoning, and brown sugar. Stir well. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer, stirring occasionally.
  • Cook for 30 to 60 minutes at a gentle simmer. Chili is done when all veggies are soft and chili is flavorful and thick. It will thicken (reduce down) as it cooks. The longer you cook it, the more the flavors will develop.
  • Serve with any desired toppings!

Notes

  • Beef: I used a 93/7 extra lean ground beef and chose not to drain off any extra fat because there wasn't much to drain off. If you are using anything under 90/10, I would recommend draining.
  • Chiles: Want to up the heat? In addition to (or instead of) the diced green chiles, add a seeded, diced jalapeño. If you want it extra spicy, leave the seeds in!
  • Beans: Just about any variety of plain canned beans will work in this chili recipe, so use your favorite kind.
  • Veggies: I like the sweetness of carrots in this recipe, but you could easily use other vegetables, too. Corn, squash, bell peppers, celery, and sweet potatoes are all tasty options!
  • Storage: Store any leftover chili in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 5 days. Leftover toppings should be stored separately.
  • Reheating: To reheat, place the desired portion in a saucepan over medium-low heat and stir occasionally until heated through.
  • Nutrition

    Serving: 1, Calories: 673kcal, Carbohydrates: 64g, Protein: 60g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 139mg, Sodium: 1066mg, Fiber: 18g, Sugar: 15g

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    Jessica
    I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.