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This easy chili recipe is based on my keto chili, which has been one of the most popular recipes on Wholesome Yum for years, and many readers have told me that they added beans to make it into a regular version. People even said that they won contests and awards for the best chili recipe doing this! So, it was time for me to post it for everyone to enjoy.
This homemade chili is perfectly spiced and flavorful. Whether you prefer it with a mild kick, or something more adventurous with a fiery punch, I’ll show you how to make chili the way you like it best.
With the changes to make this classic chili recipe, it ended up being more than the “10 ingredients or less” that my recipes usually are, but it was too good not to share. Plus, the ingredients are simple and the recipe is super easy!
Why This Is The Best Chili Recipe
- Rich and hearty
- Chunky, thick chili texture
- Packed with flavor, with the perfect amount of heat (and easily adjustable)
- Common ingredients found at any grocery store
- Quick 5 minutes prep time
- Three cooking options: stovetop, Crock Pot, or Instant Pot
- Award winning chili recipe – winner of best chili contests!
Chili Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for chili, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Olive Oil – Used for sauteing. Any heat-safe cooking oil, such as avocado oil, would work as well.
- Onion – I used a white onion, but you could also use a yellow onion.
- Garlic – I used 8 cloves fresh garlic, but you could use 4 teaspoons jarred minced garlic for convenience. If you don’t have either, you can substitute 1 teaspoon garlic powder instead and just add it at the same time as the spices.
- Ground Beef – I prefer to use grass-fed ground beef that is 85/15. Any lean ground beef you like will work, or you can substitute ground turkey, chicken, or sausage without casings. If you use a high-fat ground beef, such as 80/20, you may want to drain it after browning. You can also substitute ground turkey, ground chicken, or even ground pork.
- Diced Tomatoes – You could also use fire roasted diced tomatoes for more flavor.
- Tomato Paste – Just a little bit adds concentrated flavor. This chili recipe uses one can, which is 3/4 cup of tomato paste. If you don’t have any on hand, you can substitute 2 1/4 cups of tomato sauce.
- Green Chiles – These chiles add a very mild heat, but feel free to omit if you don’t like them. You could also add jalapeños if you like the spice. Don’t drain.
- Beans – For this chili recipe, I used a combination of black beans and pinto beans, but you could also use kidney beans or even lentils. Drain and rinse before using.
- Beef Broth – Adding beans made this dish super thick, so I added broth to make it slightly thinner. Reduced-sodium beef broth works best to avoid the dish being too salty. If you don’t have any on hand, reduced sodium chicken broth or bone broth would also work.
- Worcestershire Sauce – This secret ingredient adds umami flavor and slight sweetness.
- Chili Powder – This classic chili recipe uses 4 tablespoons chili powder (1/4 cup). This might seem like a lot, but actually adds the perfect amount of spice and flavor. You can use less if you want it more mild, or use a hot chili powder if you want more spice. Keep in mind that chili powder in the US is actually a blend of spices, so if you’re in another country, you’ll probably need less if your chili powder is purely made from chilies.
- Other Spices – Ground cumin, dried oregano, sea salt, black pepper, and an optional bay leaf. You could also add smoked paprika if you would like a smoky flavor.
VARIATION: Spicy chili recipe!
To make this chili spicy (beyond the mild kick it already has), use hot chili powder instead of regular, add 1/2 tablespoon of hot pepper sauce, or add cayenne pepper to taste.
How To Make Chili
This section shows how to make homemade chili, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Saute aromatics. Heat oil in a large pot or a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Brown the beef. Add ground beef and cook, breaking apart with a wooden spoon, until browned.
- Combine. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, green chiles, black beans, pinto beans, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper to the pot. Stir until combined. Place the bay leaf in the middle, if using.
- Simmer. Bring ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer.
- Serve. Remove bay leaf and serve warm with toppings (see ideas below).
Alternate Cooking Methods: Crock Pot Or Instant Pot
- Instant Pot – Follow the saute and browning steps above using the “Saute” mode on pressure cooker. Add all the ingredients from the chili recipe to the Instant Pot and select the “Meat/Stew” mode for 35 minutes and start pressure cooking. When it’s done, let steam naturally release.
- Crock Pot – Follow the saute and browning steps above using a skillet on the stovetop. Add all the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker along with sauteed ingredients. Add bay leaf into the middle. Slow cook for 6-8 hours on Low or 3-4 hours on High.
The Best Chili Toppings
This recipe for chili is simple to make, but the toppings make the dish! Once you add it to a bowl, here are some ideas for what to add on top:
- Shredded cheese – I used Mexican blend, but Cheddar cheese is also a classic option.
- Sour cream – Mellows out the heat.
- Green onions
- Avocado – Dice it, or slice thinly and fan out as shown below. Guacamole also works!
- Jalapenos – Slice them thinly. Remove the seeds if you want the flavor with less heat.
- Fresh cilantro
- Lime wedges
- Tortilla chips
Common Chili Recipe Questions
- Is chili a soup? While some might be inclined to see chili with beans as a soup because of its liquid components, chili is more like a stew because it’s much thicker and more hearty than most soups.
- Is chili healthy? Yes, chili is very nutritious. It contains protein, vitamins, and minerals that are essential to a balanced diet including calcium, potassium, vitamin C, and fiber.
- Does chili have beans? Most homemade chili recipes do have beans, but Texas chili does not. If you don’t want beans, try no-bean chili instead.
- How to thicken chili? Some thicken their chili recipes by whisking a tablespoon of white flour or cornstarch with water or broth, adding this to the soup, and simmering. However, this step is unnecessary and the best way to thicken chili is to simply not use too much liquid.
Cool this easy chili recipe down to room temperature. Then, transfer to an airtight container and place in the refrigerator.
How Long Does Chili Last In The Fridge?
Chili can last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, but will taste the freshest within 3 days.
Can You Freeze Chili?
Yes, you can freeze chili recipes. Let it cool completely before transferring to an airtight container, then store in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
What To Serve With Chili
This easy chili recipe makes a meal on its own once you add toppings (see ideas above!), but if you’re wondering what else to eat with chili recipes, here some great options:
- Cornbread – A classic chili pairing! I usually make almond flour cornbread for more nutrient-dense option.
- Salad – Pair with salads that have Mexican or Tex-Mex flavors, like taco slaw or avocado corn salad. You can also make a taco salad and omit the beef, since you’d be serving it with beef chili.
- Potatoes – Pile chili on top of roasted potatoes or your favorite french fries (or rutabaga fries or jicama fries for healthier options). You can also stuff it inside baked sweet potatoes, or make air fryer baked potatoes while your homemade chili simmers on the stove.
- Vegetables – Try mixed oven roasted vegetables, cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole (or simply roasted cauliflower), or roasted brussels sprouts.
- Dutch Oven – I use this Dutch oven to cook chili, because it goes beautifully from stovetop to table. You could also just use a large pot.
The Best Homemade Chili Recipe
Best Easy Chili Recipe (Award Winning!)
The BEST easy chili recipe at home! Learn how to make chili that has won awards, with simple ingredients like beef, beans, and chili powder.
Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Heat the oil a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5-7 minutes, until translucent.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
Add the ground beef and cook for 8-10 minutes, breaking apart with a wooden spoon, until browned.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, green chiles, black beans, pinto beans, broth, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper to the pot. Stir until combined. Place the bay leaf in the middle, if using.
Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
Remove bay leaf and serve warm with toppings like sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado, hot sauce, etc.
Last Step: Leave A Rating!
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Serving size: 1 cup
Nutrition info does not include toppings.
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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This chili was absolutely delicious! It smelled so good while it was cooking we couldn’t wait to eat it. I really like the homemade spice mix rather than the packets in the store.
This was so easy to make and I love this!
What a flavorful chili! The broth/gravy was rich and delicious. And we loved all the textures. Thanks for sharing your recipe.