An easy recipe for delicious Beef Chili, just like mom used to make. Follow the recipe, or add your own special stuff for an award-winning bowl everyone will love.

Beef chili in a white bowl.

When the weather starts to turn and the air is a little crisper, making a big pot of chili is a no-brainer. It’s great when you have a lot of mouths to feed or you want to send a hearty meal to a neighbor or friend.

This recipe cooks up quickly on the stove, in a little more than an hour, with very little hands-on time. That makes it perfect for weeknights and busy weekends. Make a double batch and enjoy the leftovers; it only gets better with time.

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled beef chili ingredients in various bowls.

Ingredient notes:

  • Onions and peppers: Add or substitute carrots, celery, zucchini, or corn.
  • Spices: My homemade chili seasoning has chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, thyme, and chipotle chili powder (or cayenne) for heat.
  • Kidney beans: This recipe calls for canned kidney beans, but you can substitute any other kind of canned bean that you like. To substitute dried beans, cook 1 ½ cups dried beans (about 10 ounces). In a large saucepan, add dried beans, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 ½ quarts water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to gentle simmer and cook until beans are tender (about 1 ½ to 2 hours). Stir the beans occasionally to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan and adjust heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Drain.
  • Canned tomatoes: I like the fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chilies. You could also use regular diced tomatoes and add a 4-ounce can of diced green chilies.
  • Toppings: Sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado, corn chips, scallions, oyster crackers, hot sauce, all of it and more.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Heat some olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large stock pot, and sauté onions, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, thyme, cayenne (omit if you’re my mom or you don’t like spicy!), and the salt and pepper. Continue to sauté until the vegetables soften, about 7 to 10 minutes.
    Vegetables and seasonings being cooked in a skillet.
  2. Stir in the garlic, then add the beef. Break up the larger clumps with a wooden spoon. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
    Ground beef and vegetables being cooked in a skillet.
  3. Add the beans (I drain and rinse, but if you don’t, you’ll be just fine), tomatoes (undrained), and tomato purée, and bring everything to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes, then cook for 30 minutes longer with the lid off.
    Beef chili ingredients being cooked in a pot.
  4. Before you serve the chili, give it a taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Then serve it up in big bowls with all your favorite chili toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and lots of sliced scallions.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Without beans: Some chili lovers insist beans don’t belong in a traditional chili. Just add extra meat and veggies.
  • Stew meat: You can use chunks of beef for a heartier stew, but it might take longer to cook. Dredge the stew meat in salt, pepper, and flour and add to the pot. Simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours until fork-tender.
  • Bacon: A handful of diced bacon or crumbled chorizo cooked along with the onions, add another layer of delicious flavor to the pot (I start with bacon in my favorite Chili Con Carne recipe).
  • Spicy: Add dried ancho, chipotle, guajillo, or New Mexican chili powder to the pot to bump up the heat, add some sweetness, or make chili a little more complex. Careful – some of these get really spicy!
  • Beer: A can of good beer cooks down and gently flavors your stew. Especially good over open fires with lots of friends.
  • Chocolate: Yes, you read that right! A square or two of unsweetened baking chocolate makes a bold, deeply delicious chili. It’s a trick I learned from making Cincinnati Chili.
  • Make ahead: Make it up to 4 days in advance. The flavors just get better with time!
  • Storage: Let the chili cool and store in the refrigerator. Enjoy the leftovers within the week.
  • Freezing: Beef chili freezes beautifully. Portion, label, and date. When you’re hungry, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating gently on the stove.
  • In a slow cooker: Get the chili started on the stove by softening the vegetables and browning the meat, following steps 1 and 2 in the recipe. Then transfer everything to a crockpot large enough to hold it all, add the tomatoes and beans, and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 7 to 8 hours. Do not add dried kidney beans directly to the slow cooker; they must be cooked separately first.
  • Instant Pot Beef Chili:  Soften the onions and peppers in the pot on the sauté function, then add the spices, beef, and garlic. Once the beef is cooked through, add the tomatoes and beans. Seal the Instant Pot, turn the pot to the Chili/Bean setting, which takes about 20 minutes. Depending on how quickly you want to eat, you can either release the pressure manually or wait for the pressure to naturally release over the next 10 to 15 minutes. If the chili is too soupy, you can thicken it by letting it cook down with the sauté function for another 10 minutes, until you get the right consistency.

Beef chili in a white bowl.

More delicious chili recipes:

Beef chili in a white bowl.

Beef Chili

An easy recipe for delicious Beef Chili, just like mom used to make. Follow the recipe, or add your own special stuff for an award-winning bowl everyone will love.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Calories 369

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions chopped (see note 1)
  • 1 green bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/4 cup chili powder (see note 2)
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder optional, or ¼ teaspoon of cayenne
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 (15.5 ounce) cans kidney beans drained and rinsed (see note 3)
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles undrained (see note 4)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomato purée
  • Toppings: Cheese, sour cream, scallions, avocado, crackers, hot sauce, etc. (see note 5)

Instructions 

  • Heat oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, thyme, chipotle chili powder (if using), ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook until vegetables have softened, 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beef and cook, breaking up the clumps with a spoon, until the beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in kidney beans, tomatoes, and tomato puree. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Remove lid and continue to simmer until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with preferred toppings including cheese, sour cream, and scallions.

Notes

  1. Onions and peppers: Add or substitute carrots, celery, zucchini, or corn. 
  2. Spices: My homemade chili seasoning has chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, thyme, and chipotle chili powder (or cayenne) for heat.
  3. Kidney beans: This recipe calls for canned kidney beans, but you can substitute any other kind of canned bean that you like. To substitute dried beans, cook 1 ½ cups dried beans (about 10 ounces). In a large saucepan, add dried beans, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 ½ quarts water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to gentle simmer and cook until beans are tender (about 1 ½ to 2 hours). Stir the beans occasionally to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan and adjust heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Drain.
  4. Canned tomatoes: I like the fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chilies. You could also use regular diced tomatoes and add a 4-ounce can of diced green chilies.
  5. Toppings: Sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado, corn chips, scallions, oyster crackers, hot sauce, all of it and more.
  6. Without beans: Some chili lovers insist beans don’t belong in a traditional chili. Just add extra meat and veggies.
  7. Stew meat: You can use chunks of beef for a heartier stew, but it might take longer to cook. Dredge the stew meat in salt, pepper, and flour and add to the pot. Simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours until fork-tender.
  8. Bacon: A handful of diced bacon or crumbled chorizo cooked along with the onions, add another layer of delicious flavor to the pot (I start with bacon in my favorite Chili Con Carne recipe).
  9. Spicy: Add dried ancho, chipotle, guajillo, or New Mexican chili powder to the pot to bump up the heat, add some sweetness, or make chili a little more complex. Careful - some of these get really spicy!
  10. Beer: A can of good beer cooks down and gently flavors your stew. Especially good over open fires with lots of friends.
  11. Chocolate: Yes, you read that right! A square or two of unsweetened baking chocolate makes a bold, deeply delicious chili. It's a trick I learned from making Cincinnati Chili.
  12. Make ahead: Make it up to 4 days in advance. The flavors just get better with time!
  13. Storage: Let the chili cool and store in the refrigerator. Enjoy the leftovers within the week.
  14. Freezing: Beef chili freezes beautifully. Portion, label, and date. When you're hungry, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating gently on the stove.
  15. In a slow cooker: Get the chili started on the stove by softening the vegetables and browning the meat, following steps 1 and 2 in the recipe. Then transfer everything to a crockpot large enough to hold it all, add the tomatoes and beans, and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 7 to 8 hours. Do not add dried kidney beans directly to the slow cooker; they must be cooked separately first.
  16. Instant Pot Beef Chili:  Soften the onions and peppers in the pot on the sauté function, then add the spices, beef, and garlic. Once the beef is cooked through, add the tomatoes and beans. Seal the Instant Pot, turn the pot to the Chili/Bean setting, which takes about 20 minutes. Depending on how quickly you want to eat, you can either release the pressure manually or wait for the pressure to naturally release over the next 10 to 15 minutes. If the chili is too soupy, you can thicken it by letting it cook down with the sauté function for another 10 minutes, until you get the right consistency.

Nutrition

Calories: 369kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 22gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 211mgPotassium: 573mgFiber: 4gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 2435IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 90mgIron: 5mg
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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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