How to Make the Best Chili

Dinner Recipe – last updated march 2023

Few dishes are as comforting as a steaming bowl of homemade chili. Whether you’re warming up on a chilly night or feeding a crowd at a backyard barbecue, chili is a versatile and delicious meal that never disappoints. With just a few basic ingredients, you can create a hearty and savory chili that will fill your belly and warm your soul. And for those who like to get creative in the kitchen, chili is the perfect canvas for experimenting with different spices, meats, and toppings. So get ready to take your taste buds on a flavor adventure, and let’s dive into the world of homemade chili!

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Classic Chili Recipe

This hearty chili is the perfect comfort food, with a rich and spicy flavor that pairs perfectly with delicious toppings like shredded cheese, sour cream, and green onions. This recipe is perfect for feeding a crowd and can be easily customized to suit your personal taste.
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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Dinner
Servings 8


  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with juice (14.5 oz)
  • 1 can kidney beans (19 oz)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • n a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the onion in olive oil and brown the beef.
  • Stir in the spices with a wooden spoon.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Adjust spices to your preference and simmer half-covered for 30 minutes.
  • Garnish with your favorite toppings and enjoy your delicious chili!

Tips and Tricks

  • Simmer the chili over low heat until you have the desired consistency, this step brings all the flavors together and could take up to 1 hour.
  • For better results, make it a day ahead, as it usually tastes even better the next day and it will save you time on a busy weeknight.
  • Make it your own by adjusting the ingredients to your taste. Check out the suggestions below to make the perfect chili recipe that suits you best.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

How to make chili con carne?

To make chili from scratch, you’ll need a big pot and a few key ingredients. Start by browning some onions and ground beef to create a flavorful base. Then mix in your favorite spices and add all the remaining ingredients. Let it simmer on the stove until it reaches the perfect consistency.

Key ingredients that make chili a chili

Onion: Begin by dicing a medium-sized yellow onion. 

Meat: For the meat, choose lean ground beef and remember to drain the excess fat once it’s cooked. If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding sausage meat to elevate the flavor. 

Seasoning mix:  To create the perfect seasoning mix, combine chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Don’t be afraid to adjust the spice level to your liking. 

Tomato paste: A small can of tomato paste to make the tomato sauce. 

Beef broth: Don’t hesitate to swap beef broth for chicken stock  if desired.

Diced tomatoes: Canned diced or crushed tomatoes (14.5 oz) work great, or you can use 5 crushed fresh tomatoes and 1/2 cup of water. 

Beans: Lastly, add a can of kidney beans (19 oz) to the mix. Be sure to rinse the beans thoroughly and for extra flavor, try roasting them in a drizzle of oil on medium heat before adding them to the recipe. If you’re not a fan of kidney beans, you can also use pinto or black beans to make your chili. 


How to make the best chili?

If you’re a fan of classic chili, why not take it up a notch and make it even more interesting? Elevate your dish by experimenting with special ingredients, toppings, or side dishes. The key to making a perfect chili is to use bold, flavorful ingredients that complement each other, so don’t be afraid to get creative and find the perfect combination that suits your taste buds.

Find your special ingredient

Elevate your chili game by experimenting with unique ingredients and flavor combinations. Make your chili stand out from the crowd with a special ingredient that showcases your personal taste.

  1. Hot peppers: Heat things up by adding hot peppers like jalapenos or chipotles to your recipe. Once the meat is cooked, mix in chopped peppers along with the spices. 
  2. Sugar: Add a touch of sweetness by adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of brown sugar to your spice mix. 
  3. Beer: While beef broth is the classic liquid used in chili, you can mix things up by adding a bottle of your favorite beer instead. This substitution will bring a unique, deep, and complex flavor to your chili. Just be sure to choose a beer that complements the other ingredients in your recipe.
  4. Paprika or smoked paprika: With just ½ teaspoon of paprika added to your spice blend, your chili can transform into an award-winning chili that will have your friends and family coming back for seconds.

With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a one-of-a-kind chili that’s sure to impress.

The best chili toppings

    • Tortilla chips
    • Sour cream: With its creamy texture, sour cream can help bring down the spice of the dish. For a healthier option, substitute with plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
    • Shredded Cheese: The best cheeses for chili are Cheddar or Monterey Jack. Top your warm chili with a generous amount of cheese and watch it melt into a cheesy delight. 
    • Guacamole or avocado: Make your meal healthier by adding avocados, either diced or sliced. For a smoother texture, try adding a dollop of guacamole. 
    • Fresh cilantro
    • Lime wedges
    • Chopped red or green onions
    • A dash of hot sauce

Wondering how to make chili less spicy? Incorporate toppings like sour cream, cheese, or guacamole to balance out the spices with their creamy texture.

Serve a side dish

When it comes to serving chili, the options for side dishes are endless. A classic option is to serve cornbread, either baked in a skillet or in muffin form. You can also go for a classic side salad, such as a Caesar or coleslaw, to balance out the heartiness of the chili. Another option is to serve rice or quinoa, which can help to soak up any extra liquid in the chili and create a filling meal. Finally, you can also consider serving chili with potato skins, roasted veggies, grilled corn or sweet potatoes. No matter what side dish you choose, it’s sure to complement the bold flavors of the chili and make for a satisfying meal.

How long is chili good for?

Chili can last for up to 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator when stored in an airtight container. 

To extend its shelf life, you can freeze chili for up to 3 to 4 months. When freezing chili, make sure to let it cool down completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container.  When reheating frozen chili, it’s best to let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating it on the stovetop or in the microwave.

If you are wondering what to do with the leftovers, you can make a chili dogchili nachos or a chili burger.

How to make chili more healthy?

  1. Choose lean meat: Use lean beef, turkey, or chicken instead. You can also try using plant-based protein like lentils or beans.
  2. Add more vegetables: Increase the number of vegetables in your chili by adding bell peppers, zucchini, carrots, or other veggies. It’s super nutritious while giving the dish an extra crunch. 
  3. Use low-sodium broth: To reduce the sodium content of your chili, use low-sodium broth or make your own broth at home.
  4. Top with healthy ingredients: Choose a healthy topping like avocado, diced tomatoes, or fresh herbs like cilantro.

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