Say hello to our best easy chili recipe with ground beef and beans cooked in a hearty and flavorful sauce. With our easy recipe, you can make a pot of delicious chili in about one hour!
Watch the Video
Related: We also love this easy turkey chili with black beans, and a smoky blend of spices that add so much flavor.
How to Make the Best Homemade Chili
This homemade chili recipe is pure comfort food and you can make it in under 1 hour. Our special blend of spices will make some of the best chili you’ve ever had. For something a little different, try our white bean chicken chili.
Making chili at home is simple. To give you a better idea, here are the basic steps. The full recipe is below and there’s a helpful recipe video showing you how we make it.
You’re going to cook ground meat in a bit of oil until well browned so that it’s crispy and flavorful. Next, throw in chopped onions and cook until they smell sweet.
When your onions are sweet and soft, it’s time for lots of minced garlic, tomato paste, and our perfect blend of spices. The tomato paste adds color and rich flavor to our chili.
Now we have our flavorful base, you are going to finish the chili with pureed tomatoes, beef broth (or chicken broth), and beans. Beans make this chili hearty — I like pinto beans or kidney beans. If you aren’t one for beans in your chili, feel free to leave them out.
Before serving, we add one more secret ingredient: masa harina. Masa harina is what we use to make corn tortillas, and it’s what I think makes this recipe for chili so darn good. Stirring a bit of masa with water and then stirring it into our chili adds a slight nuttiness while thickening the sauce at the same time.
If you don’t have masa harina, chopped corn tortillas will do the trick. As you stir them into the chili, they will break apart and thicken just like the masa does.
Our Chili Spice Blend
The right blend of spices makes this chili so good. The full recipe with all the ingredients amounts is below, but I’ll answer a few frequently asked questions about them here:
- Blended chili powder — Spice jars sold in stores labeled “chili powder” combine a few spices to make the blend. You can also use our DIY chili powder.
- Pure ancho chili powder — We buy McCormick’s ancho chili powder. Ancho chili powder is mild, fruity, and sweet. We use it frequently in our recipes and highly recommend getting yourself a jar. Alternatively, you can also make your own by toasting dried ancho chilies and then blending them.
- Ground cumin
- Dried oregano
- Cayenne or Chipotle powder — I love chipotle powder, but be careful. It’s hot! Treat it like cayenne pepper and add it slowly.
- Salt — We are generous when seasoning chili. Between the ground meat, tomatoes, and beans, you will need quite a bit of salt to make the flavor pop. We provide a guide in the recipe, but season to taste.
Why Do You Use Pureed Tomatoes?
We’ve made this recipe with pureed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes and find the pureed tomatoes make the best chili. Use what you have, but if you have the option to use pureed tomatoes, do it. You won’t regret it. Since I rarely (if ever) have seen smaller 15-ounce cans of pureed tomatoes, I blend a can of diced tomatoes in my food processor or blender.
Do I Have to Use Ground Beef?
No, not at all! In the photos, we have used ground beef to make the chili, but this recipe works just as well with other ground meat. Chicken, turkey, pork, goat, and lamb are all fine. I prefer using ground meat with some fat, so when using leaner meats (like chicken or turkey), look for 10% to 20% fat. You can also swap the ground beef for cubes of beef like we do in this Texas-inspired chili recipe.
For a meatless chili, take a look at our this black bean and quinoa version or substitute the ground meat with a ground plant-based option.
Do I Have to Add Beans?
We love this chili with beans, but if you prefer your chili without them, leave them out. You might want to increase the amount of ground meat a bit — we recommend 1 ½ to 2 pounds of ground beef instead of the amount that’s called for in our recipe below. For a chili made without beans, try this red beef chili.
What to Serve with Chili
Thanks to the beans, this classic chili is a meal on its own, but you can always add a few more things to make it extra special. I love adding shredded or crumbled cheese, chopped onion, sliced green onions, sour cream, avocado, guacamole, pickled jalapeños, or pickled onions.
It’s also nice to have something on hand to dunk into chili:
Make Ahead and Storing Tips
Chili is perfect for making in advance. Store the chili in airtight containers and then refrigerate for up to 4 days in the refrigerator and for up to 6 months in the freezer.
The Best Easy Homemade Chili
We love this easy chili recipe with ground beef and beans cooked in a hearty and flavorful sauce. With our recipe, you can make a pot of delicious chili in about one hour! Feel free to swap the beef for another ground meat like turkey, chicken, or pork. We recommend keeping some fat in the meat, so look for ground meat with 10% to 20% fat.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will Need
1 pound ground beef, 10% to 20% fat
1 large white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced, one heaping tablespoon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder blend, see notes
1 tablespoon pure ancho chili powder, see notes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne or chipotle powder, optional for heat
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, pureed, see notes
1 ½ to 2 cups stock, use vegetable, chicken, or beef
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, kidney beans, or chili beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon masa harina or 1 to 2 small corn tortillas torn into small pieces, optional
Salt, to taste, we add 1 to ½ teaspoons
1Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large pot (like a Dutch oven). Add the ground meat and flatten it down into the oil. Wait a minute or two, or until the underside of the beef has browned, and then use a wooden spoon to break the meat apart into smaller crumbles. Cook, occasionally stirring, until the meat is well browned, about 7 minutes.
2Add the onions, and cook, occasionally stirring, until they begin to sweat and soften, about 3 minutes.
3Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, ancho chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne (or chipotle powder), and 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt. Cook for one minute.
4Pour in the tomatoes and 1 ½ cups of stock. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot to lift any bits of onion or meat that’s stuck. Bring the chili to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and then cook, partially covered, for 15 minutes. If you notice the chili is dry, turn the heat down a little and add an extra 1/2 cup of stock.
5Taste the chili, and then add salt as needed. We typically add another 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon but add to your taste.
6Stir in the beans and cook until they are warmed through, about 5 minutes.
7Mix the tablespoon of masa with three tablespoons of water into a smooth paste, and then stir into the chili. If you are using corn tortillas instead of the masa paste, tear the tortillas into small pieces, and then stir into the chili. After a minute or so, the tortillas will disintegrate into the chili.
8Take the chili off of the heat, and then serve.
Adam and Joanne’s Tips
- Chili Powder Blend vs. Ancho Chili Powder: Spice jars sold in stores labeled “chili powder” combine a few spices to make the blend. You can also use our homemade chili powder blend. We enjoy it, but find that this chili is best when we also add pure ancho chili powder. We buy McCormick’s ancho chili powder. Ancho chili powder is mild, fruity, and sweet. It’s completely different than the plain chili powder blend I just mentioned. We use it a lot in our recipes and highly recommend picking up a jar. You can also make your own by toasting and then blending dried ancho chilies. If you only have a chili powder blend and no ancho chili powder, leave out the ancho chili powder and use 1 ½ tablespoons of regular chili powder. Taste and adjust with more as needed.
- Tomatoes: For the best texture, use pureed tomatoes. I buy one (15-ounce) can of diced tomatoes, and then blend them into a puree. If you would prefer to skip this step, use diced tomatoes or tomato sauce instead. Alternatively, you can buy a larger can of pureed tomatoes and only use about 2 cups of it.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values. We used 1 teaspoon of salt in our calculations and assumed a generous serving (about 1/4 of the pot).
Nutrition Per Serving
1 generous serving (4 total)
#Easy #Homemade #Chili