Best Ever Chili Recipe (2024)

Home Recipes Courses Dinner Best Ever Chili Recipe

by Lisa Bryan

378 Comments

Updated Dec 15, 2023

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This is the best chili recipe, if I do say so myself! This classic beef chili is the perfect blend of meaty richness simmered with hearty vegetables and warming spices. It’s a delicious, and comforting one-pot meal that will have the whole family begging for seconds.

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If it’s cold outside and you’re looking for an answer to that pesky what’s-for-dinner question, I’ve got you covered. The answer is chili! This one-pot wonder is a cinch to make, and it fills your house with enticing aromas as it simmers.

Chili is the perfect chunky mix of ground beef, bacon, vegetables, and beans with a touch of heat. But don’t forget to add your favorite toppings like shredded cheese, sour cream, and a sprinkle of green onions – it really amps it up!

Chili recipes, whether it’s this classic beef chili, a white chicken chili, vegetarian chili, or turkey chili, are also budget friendly since they rely heavily on pantry staples. That makes them a perennial one-pot dinner winner!

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Chili Ingredients

A few pantry items, some vegetables, ground beef, and a few strips of bacon are all you need to pull together this amazing chili recipe.

  • Ground beef: You can buy ground beef anywhere between 80% and 90% lean. I prefer 90% just so I don’t have to drain any excess fat. But you could purchase 80% and then drain off any residual fat, it’s up to you.
  • Bacon: Bacon adds a wonderful smoky flavor to the chili. I’d consider it the secret (or not so secret) ingredient!
  • Beef broth: I recommend purchasing a high-quality beef broth for the best flavor.
  • Dried spices: Besides the usual suspects of chili powder and cumin, I add smoked paprika for a touch of campfire flavor.
  • Tomatoes: Almost any variety of canned tomatoes in their juices will work here. But I love canned fire-roasted tomatoes for extra flavor!
  • Beans: I’m using a combination of black beans and red kidney beans which are classics in chili, but you can use any beans you like.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below

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How to Make The Best Chili

This recipe is all about slowly adding in layers of flavors. Here’s what you do:

  1. Cook the bacon. I let my bacon cook until it’s perfectly browned and crispy.
  2. Saute the vegetables. Saute the diced onion and bell pepper with the bacon for a few minutes.
  3. Brown the ground beef. Add the ground beef to the pot, cook until browned, then drain off the excess fat.
  4. Toast the spices. Stir the spices and seasonings with the vegetables and meat to bring out their full flavor.
  5. Add the tomatoes, broth, and beans. This forms the bulk of the chili. Then give everything a good stir.
  6. Simmer the chili. Cook this low and slow for about 30 minutes for maximum deliciousness!
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Can You Make Chili Ahead of Time?

You sure can! Here are a couple of make-ahead tips.

  • Get a jump on your chili prep by chopping the vegetables and mixing your dried spices together in a separate container the day before. Even better, mix your dried chili spices in a larger quantity so you can spoon out just what you need, when you need it.
  • Chili always tastes better the day after you make it. Whip up a pot on the weekend and enjoy it as a quick dinner during the week.
  • Don’t forget that chili freezes beautifully! And it can be stored in the freezer for several months.

What Do You Put On Top of Chili?

Almost anything tastes great on top of this classic chili. Here are a few of my favorite ideas.

  • Cheese. Anything from shredded cheddar to cotija to feta works well.
  • Onions: Sliced green onions or diced red onions go perfectly with chili. If the bite of red onion is a little strong for you, run the diced onion under running water and pat dry.
  • Jalapeños: If you like spice, diced fresh or pickled jalapeños are delicious here.
  • Sour cream. The creamy coolness plays nice with the warm spices.
  • Cilantro or parsley: Just a sprinkle of chopped herbs gives a nice pop of freshness and flavor.
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Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Chili freezes incredibly well, which makes it great for meal prepping.

  • To Store: Place cooled chili in an airtight container and store for 4 to 5 days in the fridge.
  • To Freeze: Use a freezer-safe bag or airtight container and store it for up to 3 months in the freezer.
  • To Reheat:Thaw frozen chili overnight in the fridge. Then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave, until warmed through. If the chili thickens too much for your taste, add a splash of water or beef broth.
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More Warming Winter Recipes

Want a few more delicious dinner ideas? These one-pot or one-pan recipes sure come in hand during the busy weekdays.And let’s not forget, chili in particular is great for parties, gatherings, and of course Super Bowl!

  • Slow Cooker Pot Roast
  • Tuscan Chicken
  • Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
  • Beef Tenderloin Roast
  • Taco Soup

This big pot of chili will surely satisfy all your comfort food cravings. If you make this, I’d love to hear what you think in a comment below. You review will help the community!

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Best Ever Chili Recipe

4.99 from 226 votes

Prep: 20 minutes mins

Cook: 50 minutes mins

Total: 1 hour hr 10 minutes mins

Servings: 6 servings

Author: Lisa Bryan

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Description

This is the best chili recipe that's a classic blend of meaty richness simmered with vegetables and warming spices. Watch the video below to see how I make it!

Video

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Heat a large pot on medium heat, add the sliced bacon and cook until crispy, stirring occasionally and scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat if bacon is browning too quickly.

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  • Add the onion, and bell pepper to the pot, stirring frequently. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables have softened. Add the garlic and stir for another 30 seconds.

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  • Add the ground beef, breaking into small pieces with a spatula, until cooked through. Strain off any accumulated liquid and fat from the pot.

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  • Reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir in the tomato paste, and dried spices, and cook until they are fragrant, about 2 minutes.

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  • Add the canned tomatoes with juices, drained beans, beef broth, and bay leaf. Give it a stir.

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  • Increase the heat to high until the chili comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally.

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  • To serve, remove bay leaf. Ladle servings into individual bowls. Garnish with avocado, red onion, cheese, cilantro or any other toppings.

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Lisa’s Tips

  • Serving Size: This recipe makes 9 cups, enough for 6 good-sized servings.
  • To Store: Place cooled chili in an airtight container and store for 4 to 5 days in the fridge.
  • To Freeze: Use a freezer-safe bag or airtight container and store for up to 3 months in the freezer.
  • To Reheat: Thaw frozen chili overnight in the fridge. Then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave, until warmed through. If the chili thickens too much for your taste, add a splash of water or beef broth.
  • To control the amount of salt in your chili, choose unsalted beef broth, beans, canned tomatoes, and tomato paste.
  • Bacon can be tricky to slice. To make it easier, place your bacon in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to firm it up.
  • Want to spice this up even more? Add 1¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper!
  • Make sure to use a large pot, to accomodate all these ingredients. My favorite is the beautiful Le Creuset dutch oven you see pictured.

Nutrition

Calories: 512kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 1153mg | Potassium: 1180mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1816IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 131mg | Iron: 9mg

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American

Keyword: beef chili, best chili recipe, chili recipe

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Recipe originally published September 2020, but updated to include new information.

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

Read More About Me

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