The Best Chili Recipe

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The Best Chili Recipe is one that is loaded with beef and beans and absolutely full of flavor… just like this one! Chili is hands down one of my husband’s favorite meals (and I love it because it’s easy to make)!

This easy chili recipe cooks on the stovetop and is perfect served alongside Homemade Cornbread, buttered toast or Buttermilk Biscuits. Add in your favorite toppings like cheese and onions for the perfect meal.

A big pot of ground beef chili - the perfect game day food!

How to Make Chili

While I sometimes make crockpot chili, this easy version is great for a weeknight meal! Making chili is really easy! In this recipe I add bell pepper but you can skip it or add your own favorite veggies (peppers, mushrooms, zucchini are all great choices).


  • The seasonings in this recipe are chili powder and cumin. I always make my own homemade chili powder but of course store bought works great too.
  • What is in Chili Powder?  Sweet paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, oregano and cumin. This is the perfect blend of spices (find my favorite chili powder recipe here).
  • Mix Chili Powder into the raw ground beef before cooking to ensure every morsel is seasoned to perfection.

A serving of the best chili recipe topped with cheddar cheese


  • I use canned red kidney beans but pinto beans or black beans work as well.
  • Rinse beans (unless using chili beans) before adding to remove excess salt and starches.
  • Chili beans add great flavor! What are chili beans? Usually either pinto or kidney beans with added flavors in a chili style sauce.

How to Cook Chili

  1. Brown the beef, onions, garlic and some of the chili powder.
  2. Drain any fat.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and simmer uncovered.

Seriously, it’s that easy to make the best chili recipe!

Ingredients to make the best chili recipe including beef and beans.

How to Thicken Chili

When making chili on the stove, I simmer it uncovered which allows the chili to naturally thicken without having to add cornstarch or flour.

While thickening chili by simmering is the best option, you may not always have time to let it reduce. If you don’t have time to simmer it to thicken you can sprinkle in a little bit of cornmeal or make a cornstarch or flour slurry and add it in.

If you can spare a few extra minutes, just let it simmer uncovered.

What to Serve with Chili

My #1 favorite of course is cornbread or just plain ol’ toast with butter. Pretty much any bread to sop up whatever is left in the bottom of my bowl! 30 Minute Dinner Rolls are great with chili too!

I always put out a collection of toppings…  and while everyone has a different idea as to what goes with chili I have a few staples:

  • sour cream
  • red or green onion
  • cheddar cheese or monterey jack
  • jalapenos
  • cilantro, avocado & lime wedges
  • croutons or tortilla chips

Can You Freeze Chili?

100% yes!!! Chili freezes and reheats beautifully. We freeze it in single sized portions for lunches or in freezer bags for a quick and easy weeknight meal.

Defrost in the fridge overnight and heat in a saucepan (or the microwave) to serve.

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4.53 from 17 votes
Review Recipe

The Best Chili Recipe

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Tex Mex
This is the best chili recipe! A big pot of ground beef chili loaded with beef and beans is the perfect game day food! 


  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder divided (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 green bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 14.5 oz crushed tomatoes canned
  • 19 oz kidney beans canned, drained & rinsed
  • 14.5 oz diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

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  1.  Combine ground beef and 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder.

  2. In a large pot, brown ground beef, onion, jalapeno, and garlic. Drain any fat.

  3. Add in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 45-60 minutes or until chili has reached desired thickness.

  4. Top with cheddar cheese, green onions, cilantro or other favorite toppings.

Recipe Notes

Serving size: 1 1/2 cups
Nutrition Information
Calories: 395, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 77mg, Sodium: 283mg, Potassium: 1066mg, Carbohydrates: 27g, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 6g, Protein: 29g, Vitamin A: 870%, Vitamin C: 26.2%, Calcium: 86%, Iron: 6.2%

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword chili, ground beef

Is Chili Healthy

Yes, it’s lean beef loaded with tomatoes and beans (and veggies if you’d like). Tons of fiber, protein and flavor all in one bowl! Be sure you’re using lean beef and drain any fat (or use ground chicken/turkey if you prefer).

Choose low sodium or low sugar products to reduce the salt and sugar in this recipe.

This is the best chili recipe! A big pot of ground beef chili loaded with beef and beans is the perfect game day food! #spendwithpennies #chilirecipe #easychili #groundbeefchili #groundbeef #beefrecipe #souprecipe
This is the best chili recipe! A big pot of ground beef chili loaded with beef and beans is the perfect game day food! #spendwithpennies #chilirecipe #easychili #groundbeefchili #groundbeef #beefrecipe #souprecipe

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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  1. This was a great easy chili recipe! The only thing that makes it pop is a few tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Gives a little Zing that’s always good in chili. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Hi Peggy, to keep the flavors the same it is probably a good idea but I would at least increase the chili powder in step one to flavor the meat!

    1. Natalie, this chili recipe makes 8 servings. You can find the number of servings for each of our recipes on the recipe card right near the recipe title. Enjoy!

  2. Hi Holly,

    I do not usually have beer on hand. but i see here in the comments you dont necessarily need to put beer in the chili!


  3. This is a great recipe that my boyfriend and I love. I do not add beer and brown sugar to the chili, but it still turns out GREAT!

  4. I found this recipe just searching for a good chilli recipe which meat, beans and peppers in it, glad I found yours. My mom used to make the best chilli, with her sudden passing my sister and I are now trying to find food recipes to make for our dad. I will be using this one again. I made some adjustments.. I didn’t use the beer, I just used extra broth, added another can of diced tomatoes and extra kidney beans and the taste is still amazing! Thank you for this great recipe!!

    1. Hi Juanita, we use it for the richness that it gives the recipe, but it can easily be substituted for additional beef broth.

  5. I learned something new this morning…. never heard of beer in chili….and I have never rinsed my beans….I only drain them… I am making this recipe with ground deer meat….I really hope I get to taste the great flavor this recipe says it has with a sub meat….. anything I should know or do differently? It is for a work party for my guys that hunt…. they begged me to cook their deer meat. And this is what I came up with…..?

    1. Hi Ali, we use whatever we have on hand at the time. But we do love the softer flavor of a light beer, for a deeper flavor try your favorite dark beer.

  6. This is the greatest & easiest chili. The family loved it. The only thing I omitted was the jalapeño. This will be added to our family favorites.

  7. I have not made it but I like it because the ingredients are what I have on hand and it seems that it can easily be doubled for a large crowd. Except I will leave the beer out and use extra broth. Thanks.

  8. Nice recipe but instead of using the broth I like to use can of spicy V-8. I also cook it I like to get i soupy.. stalk of celery stoplight peppers ,onion, Use 4 # ground chuck. Brown burger, drain , can rinse. Cans of beans are put in colander and rinsed thoroughly.
    Thank you for your recipe. Like to look at different recipes and go from there. Love to have big chunks veggies. Kids(teen) love it. Thanks again. Scott Parsley

  9. Just made this tonite! Easiest chili recipe I’ve ever made. And delicious! Don’t know how some found it spicy cause I had to amp it up with more cumin and plenty of unseeded jalapeños on top. The beer is a must, as in all my previous chili recipes. Gives a real depth of flavor. This one’s a keeper tho! Half the work of others. Thank you!

  10. I tried this recipe for a chili cookout we had in our condo complex. This by far is the best chili I have made. Wonderful flavor, liked mixing the chili powder with the meat before browning, this sealed the flavor into the meat. I used a 14oz can of black beans and red beans along with the kidney beans and instead of the beer I used another cup of broth.

  11. Thank you so much for including nutritional information & serving size!
    My daughter is a type 1 diabetic & I’m constantly trying to figure out serving size and carbs. This makes it so easy! Thank you!

  12. I feed a family of 7. I don’t care for chunky chili, another doesn’t care for beans, and a 3rd doesn’t care for ground beef. I made this chili the other night, and all 3 of us cleaned our bowls. 2 of us wanted seconds but my husband had already beaten us to it scraping the pan. He immediately claimed we should make it again next week. I didn’t put in the bell peppers or crushed tomatoes, I did all broth rather than the beer, and I substituted crushed red pepper flakes for the jalapeno, but it was definitely a hit.

    1. So happy this was a hit with your family Crystal! Sounds like you will have to make this again for sure!

  13. What kind of beer did you add/do you recommend for this chili? I am not a beer drinker at all and don’t really know the differences between brews. If you could share the specific name/brand that would be awesome! Thanks.

    1. Hi Marie, Any will work just fine! A darker beer will have a bit more flavor than something light so if I have something darker, that’s what I would usually choose. You can also sub additional broth in place of the beer if you would like as well. It does change the flavor slightly but is still delicious!

  14. This is the spiciest chili I’ve ever made and I left out the jalapeños. My husband, who loves hot and spicy food, could not eat it.

    This recipe should come with a warning label.

    It’s going down the garbage disposal!

    1. Hmm, that doesn’t sound quite right and most readers have not had the same experience.

      Chili powder is a blend of herbs/spices that has a very mild heat at the quantity called for. May I ask what type of chili powder you used?

      1. I made this Chili tonight, and find it’s delicious: not too hot, as I can’t take a lot of heat! I add that it was super easy to make. I would suspect that the brand of chili powder used could cause the issue, if engineered to be super hot, and/or the quantity used. I am also curious about the brand of chili powder, and also the quantity used.

  15. This is the best homemade chili I’ve ever made. I made your chili powder and will now use it for ever. Thank you for your recipes. Lora

  16. Does the jalapeno pepper make it super hot? Like, I’m thinking of adding less. I’m going to try this today, but not sure if I have beef broth at hand.

    1. If you aren’t sure about the heat, try it with half of the amount of jalapeno pepper the first time. Enjoy Loretta!

  17. Way better than using flour, corn starch, or corn meal for thickening chili: Peel a potato. When all the skin is gone, keep peeling the flesh of the potato into the chili. OR, if you don’t want to take the time to peel a potato, use some instant mashed potato flakes.

  18. it says 1 1/2 cups of broth – and 1 cup of beer? Now is that one or the other or both together? Then if say I do not have broth, then I would 2 1/2 cups of beer? or vise versa?

    1. It’s both for a total of 2 1/2 cups of liquid. I haven’t tried with all one or the other, the broth adds a saltiness and beer adds a bit of a richness. You can of course use all one or the other but the flavor will change slightly.

    1. Define “real”. It’s all relative, and for families stretching a dollar, various brand in a chili are welcomed. I like chili beans/pintos/black beans/ white beans. I hate kidneys so I avoid them. When a decent lean ground beef (85% or greater) is on sale is when I make chili.

      Definitions of “real” are often defined by where you were raised, ancestry, etc. Nothing frustrates me more as an experimental cook to have someone say “real Hungarian Goulash does not have tomatoes” or real collard greens would never include sugar, oh the horror! Or “real southern greens are made with ______(fill in the blank).” “Real southern grits ALWAYS are stone ground, savory, or with cheese.” (This Yankee woman loved them all ways, but always in the morning made with milk, butter and maple syrup like a cream of wheat.)

      Often our “realism” is defined what momma or grandma did, or by region. Where I was raised chili was always with ground beef and various beans, and spice depending on tolerance. In Cincinnati it is defined by Skyway. Hotdish from WI or MI, casserole everywhere else.

      I’m sorry, sometimes purists irritate me. No offense intended, but I had a moment while checking out potential chili recipes with ground beef.

  19. Absolutely loved. I did not add the beer as I was cooking it with my son and I didn’t know how to explain that part lol. But the chili was amazing. A total hit at home. Made a huge pot and it didn’t survive the night

  20. It’s sooo delicious. I substituted broth for beer because my daughter has Celiac and this way it was gluten free. We will make this over and over. Thank you for sharing!!

    1. I am thrilled that your family enjoyed this recipe and that you were able to adapt it to meet your needs Stephanie!

  21. This is a really good tasting chili! I didn’t have any beer but I had Angry Orchard Cider and it worked just fine. I really liked the seasoning for the recipe. This one’s a keeper!

  22. Only thing I’d comment about, is the freezing; don’t freeze with the beans.
    (and the purists, not me, will tell you ‘real’ chili doesn’t have beans. I’ll use any combo of black, light/dark kidney, and pinto beans.)

  23. I love your idea to mix the seasonings in with the meat before cooking it! We do this with burgers, so why not with chili, right! I’m going to try your homemade chili powder recipe – homemade seasoning mixes, like dry onion soup, etc. is always better and certainly cheaper than store bought.
    Chili is a winter staple in our house, actually, it shows up year ’round. I dehydrate onions and peppers when they are in abundance, then rehydrate and add to my ground beef, because the flavors are just intensified so much. You can also use the frozen saute’ed onion and peppers mix to save a little prep time. Mixing some ground pork, turkey, venison and/or bulk breakfast sausage is good for variety. My favorite tip is always to make this the day before you want to serve it, because chili is always better warmed over. Always. If I have time, I will make Mexican cornbread to serve with it, but in a pinch, even good ol’ saltine crackers will do! I make a double batch because we like it over hot dogs and tamales with mac and cheese, in cheese dip for game days – you get the idea. Thanks for your recipe and tips. We’ll try it this weekend.

  24. I like beer. All different kinds. Do you have a favorite kind of beer for this recipe? IE: lager, ale, porter, etc. Thank you.

    1. Any will work just fine! A darker beer will have a bit more flavor than something light so if I have something darker, that’s what I would usually choose.