Hearty, filling, and perfect for chilly weather, the best classic chili recipe is the answer you need for dinner tonight. My kids love this, especially in the winter on a rainy day. This family favorite classic chili recipe provides a rich, beef and bean-filled meal that will keep bellies warm while having plenty for leftovers too!
Best Chili Recipe
For the best chili recipe, you want something that takes easy-to-find ingredients and puts it all together in one pot. The recipe calls for stove top cooking though you could easily prep this and throw it in your slow cooker or instant pot to come home to after a long day. All you’ll need are some sides and you’ll be golden!
Easy Chili Recipe
Chili is not difficult to make. It only tastes complex. Once you make this easy chili recipe, your family will ask for it all the time. It really couldn’t be easier. Just 30 minutes of prep time and the heat will take care of the rest.
Ingredients in Chili
- Ground beef – use lean and you won’t have as much fat to contend with (though it tastes better if it’s a little fatty like 80/20)
- Beans – I use both black beans and red kidney beans from the can in my recipe (make sure you drain them!)
- Peppers – serrano peppers and sweet peppers add complexity to the flavors without making the recipe itself complex
- Chili powder – a must-use ingredient though you can adjust it to your level of spiciness
How to Make Homemade Chili
Making homemade chili is quite easy. You’ll first need to cook the onions and garlic. Then you’ll add your beef and cook it through. You’ll finally add the peppers and seasonings, stirring it together to get that beautiful flavor together. There is nothing like a real homemade chili recipe to warm you up on a cold day.
After that, you can choose to drain away fat or leave it in for a fuller flavor before adding in the rest of the ingredients and letting it simmer until you can’t stand salivating over the aroma any longer!
Expert Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Chili
- Spices are key – Spices are really the key element in the taste of chili. It’s what takes it from being a drive-thru offering that you eat only because you’re hungry and blue ribbon winner at the state fair. You can use chili powder ready to go or make up your own chili spice blend as you get even better at making it. This will help you cultivate your own flavor.
- Time is on your side – The longer it cooks, the better it will be due to the flavors coming together. That’s why your chili may taste even more delicious tomorrow. Make a big batch and you can enjoy it any time. I’ve got tips for freezing it below.
You’re Gonna Need A Bigger Bowl.
How Long to Cook Chili
Chili only takes about 30 minutes to get ready. The rest of it is cooking, for about 30 minutes, and then a little simmer time for about another 30 minutes. But if you don’t want to hover over the stove top or have places to go and things to see, you can always do all the preliminary prep work on the stove and then put it all together in the slow cooker.
How to Thicken Chili
On the stove top, it’s very easy to get your chili to thicken up. Take off the cover and voila! Your chili should thicken on its own as it simmers. If that doesn’t do the trick, simply make a little slurry out of cornstarch and water. Stir it well before stirring it into your pot of chili and it will thicken up quickly (and no, that won’t change the taste!).
Toppings for Chili
One thing I looooooove about chili are the countless ways you can top it:
- Sour cream (need I say more?)
- Shredded cheddar cheese (cheese is really a classic)
- Chopped cilantro (trust me, try it)
- Chopped green onions (adds a fresh and zesty crunch)
What to Serve with Chili
Chili is an interesting meal because it’s basically a big bowl of soup or stew. But it fills you up! Still, you could do with a few other things on the table. Homemade cornbread is always a classic though adding jalapeno to that cornbread really kicks things off. Baked potatoes, broccoli salad, grilled corn, or even nachos with tortilla chips can be a great way to have your own chili cookoff for dinner every night.
Can you make chili in a crockpot?
Yes – it’s easy too. Just start with the stove-top steps and then instead of simmering it there, combine all the cooked and uncooked ingredients into your crockpot.
Is Chili healthy?
You can make chili healthier by draining the fat from the beef or using lean meat. You can also keep it vegetarian if you prefer by adding more tomato sauce, tomato paste, and veggies to make the perfect vegetarian chili. Some recipes even call for beef broth as an enhancement. The spices and peppers used in chili also have health benefits that are great for immunity during the colder weather months.
Can You Freeze Chili?
Confession…I usually have chili frozen in my freezer at any given time. It’s perfect for a busy night or to take to the office for a money-saving lunch that fills you up. Freeze it in freezer bags to portion it out easier. Ideally, let it have some time to defrost in the fridge overnight first.
How to Reheat Chili
Chili can easily be reheated on the stove top or in the microwave. All you need to do is figure out how much you’ll be serving and take it from there!
The Best Traditional Chili Recipe
- 3 tbsp olive oil (with optional red chili pepper flakes)
- 5 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 1/2 cups red onion chopped
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 tbsp cumin
- 1 1/2 tbsp red chili powder adjust for spice preference
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 29oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 15oz can of black beans drained
- 32oz can of kidney beans drained
- 3 serrano peppers chopped
- 1 1/2 cups sweet peppers
- 29oz can of tomato sauce
- 1 small tub sour cream for topping
- 1 small bag shredded cheese for topping
- 1 bunch cilantro (chopped) for topping
- In a large pot, over medium heat the olive oil and minced garlic for about 2 minutes. Once heated, add onions and stir until they caramelize and become semi-translucent which takes about 5 minutes.
- Add the ground beef into the mixture and mix well until cooked through.
- Add in the serrano peppers, black beans, kidney beans, cumin, red chili powder, and garlic powder. Once mixed, add in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low heat to medium low cover and simmer for 25-35 minutes.
- Serve by topping with scoop of sour cream, shredded cheese, and chopped cilantro.
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