The Best Easy Chili Recipe (2024)

Published: · By: Kylie · This post may contain affiliate links · 6 Comments

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This easy chili recipe comes together all in one pot AND in less than an hour! It's loaded with classic chili flavors and a delicious homemade seasoning mix. It's a simple, cozy comfort food that your whole family will love!

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Table of Contents

1 Easy Classic Chili Recipe

2 Ingredients to Make Chili

3 How to Make The Best Chili

4 Tips for Making Chili at Home

5 The Best Chili Seasoning Recipe

6 Variations

7 FAQ

9 Storing Leftover Chili

10 Freezing Chili For Later

11 Reheating Chili

12 Serve Chili With

13 Try these family favorites next!

14 Chili Recipe

Easy Classic Chili Recipe

This simple chili recipe is perfect for beginners! If you've never made chili before or if you're looking for your signature chili recipe, this is a great place to start. The ingredient list is short and sweet and the prep work is totally minimal. But you'll end up with a super flavorful meal that will taste like you spent all day in the kitchen. I've tested a million chili recipes over the years, and this is the one I come back to again and again!

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Ingredients to Make Chili

  • Onion & Garlic: Sauteed onion and garlic are the best way to start chili. They add tons of flavor with very little prep. And when combined with the tomato paste and spices, they're the perfect aromatic base.
  • Ground Beef: I like to use 80/20 or 85/15 ground beef. Remember that fat equals flavor. 90/10 or 93/7 ground beef won't give you quite as much flavor.
  • Chili Seasoning: If you're a chili fan, you NEED to make my super simple homemade chili seasoning recipe. It's got all your favorite classic chili flavors and it makes the process of preparing chili so much easier. I include the measurements for each ingredient in the recipe card below if you're just making one batch of chili, but I promise it's worth the 5 minutes it takes to throw a batch of chili seasoning together. Once you've got a jar in the pantry you can just add 2-4 tablespoons of chili seasoning to your chili recipe and you're good to go! No measuring or getting all the spices out of the drawer every time you want chili.
  • Tomato Paste: Tomato paste is my favorite way to add depth of flavor to chili. The tomato paste combines with the spices and creates a truly delightful experience for your taste buds while thickening the chili as well.
  • Chipotles in Adobo: Chipotles in adobo are one of my favorite ways to add smoky flavor to my chili. Look for diced chilies in adobo and they'll mix right into the chili so you get a bit of smoke in every bite. Add as much or as little as you like but keep in mind that it does have some heat. If you're averse to any heat, feel free to omit them.
  • Kidney Beans: Kidney beans are such a classic choice for chili. I prefer to use a combination of dark red kidney beans and light red kidney beans. But you can also use pinto beans or black beans for this recipe.
  • V8: The secret ingredient in this chili is the V8. You can use V8 or any tomato-based vegetable juice. Other recipes use beef broth or chicken broth (which makes them watery and thin). The best way to get a thick, rich chili is tomato-based vegetable juice! It's got tons of flavor and a super velvety texture that gives you that "cooked all day" vibe in just minutes. Pro Tip: If you make chili often but don't use V8 for anything else, buy the cans of V8! They come in a pack of 6. You can use 3 cans for one recipe of chili and store the other 3 cans in the pantry until you're ready to make chili again!

How to Make The Best Chili

Saute onion and garlic in a large pot.

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Add ground beef and brown.

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Stir in tomato paste along with my signature chili seasoning blend.

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Add dark kidney beans, light kidney beans, and V8.

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Simmer for 30 minutes.

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Serve with Fritos or tortilla strips, shredded cheese, cilantro, green onion, and sour cream. Enjoy!

Tips for Making Chili at Home

  • Don't drain the grease. You might be tempted to try to drain some of the grease after you brown the meat but I promise it's just going to add a ton of flavor and the chili won't end up greasy.
  • If you like a super thick chili, simmer it without a lid. This way more of the liquid will evaporate giving you a thicker texture.
  • If you like chili with more liquid, add a few extra splashes of V8 and simmer with the lid on.
  • As written, this chili gives you the best of both worlds. The chili is moderately thick but with enough liquid that it can reheat beautifully!
  • You can add canned diced tomatoes if you want! Lots of chili recipes include diced tomatoes, but I love to make it without. Add a can if you like.
  • Spice it up! Add extra chilies in adobo or cayenne pepper if you want to make this chili spicy. I usually keep it pretty mild so it's family-friendly but you can easily turn up the heat on this classic chili recipe.
  • Add ground pork. Feel free to use a mixture of ground beef and ground pork for a different flavor variation.
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The Best Chili Seasoning Recipe

This easy chili recipe is the best because of my signature chili seasoning blend! It's made with simple ingredients and stays good in the pantry for up to 3 months so you can have chili any time you like!

Variations

Add your favorites to this chili recipe. Some of my favorites include:

FAQ

What is the trick to a good chili?

A good chili recipe of course! The trick to a good chili is to use a combination of simple ingredients along with a delicious chili seasoning blend. You want to make sure to layer in the flavors starting with onion, garlic, tomato paste, and plenty of spices. Then add ground beef, kidney beans, and my favorite secret ingredient V8 vegetable juice! Simmer for about 30 minutes and voila! You've got an award-winning chili in less than an hour!

What does tomato paste do for chili?

Tomato adds a delicious depth of flavor to your pot of chili and gives it that "cooked all day" flavor in about an hour. It also acts as a thickening agent. There is no watery chili on Midwest Foodie's watch! Tomato paste is a must for chili. It comes in a tube that you can keep in your fridge so you can use a tablespoon here or there whenever you need it!

How long to cook chili for best results?

You can make an amazing chili in less than an hour. Spend about 15 minutes chopping and prepping, another 15 minutes cooking the onion, garlic, seasonings, and ground beef, and then about 30 minutes simmering it all together. I've tested this recipe with all kinds of cook times and found that anything over 30 minutes of simmering didn't change the flavor in a measurable way. A solid 30 minutes of simmering is the sweet spot for getting the perfect homemade chili every time.

Do you need tomato sauce for chili?

Not if you use V8! While tomato sauce is a common ingredient in chili - typically along with broth of some kind - I find that V8 vegetable juice is a much better choice. It's loaded with tons of flavor and the perfect consistency to make a rich chili that isn't watery.

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Make-Ahead Instructions

This classic chili recipe actually tastes best when made ahead of time because the flavors just get better with time! It will stay good in the fridge for up to a week and reheats beautifully.

Storing Leftover Chili

Store leftover chili in an airtight container for up to a week.

Freezing Chili For Later

Freeze chili in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.

Reheating Chili

Reheat chili in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until warmed through. You can also reheat this chili in the microwave in 30-60 second increments until warmed through. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.

Serve Chili With

  • Easy One Pan Cornbread Casserole

    1 hour

  • Air Fryer Baked Potatoes Recipe

    35 minutes

  • Easy Garlic Bread

    17 minutes

  • The Best House Salad Recipe

    10 minutes

Try these family favorites next!

  • The Easiest Chicken Alfredo Lasagna (with Homemade Sauce!)

    1 hour 30 minutes

  • 30 Minute Beef and Noodles Recipe (One Pan Dinner!)

    30 minutes

  • The Best Chicken Divan Recipe

    40 minutes

  • 2 hours 10 minutes

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Chili Recipe

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5 from 2 reviews

This easy chili recipe comes together all in one pot AND in less than an hour! It's loaded with classic chili flavors and a delicious homemade seasoning mix. It's a simple, cozy comfort food that your whole family will love!

  • Author: Kylie
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings (about 2 ½ quarts) 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

UnitsScale

Garnish:

  • Fritos or easy homemade tortilla strips
  • shredded cheddar
  • fresh chopped cilantro
  • sliced green onion
  • sour cream

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large potover medium heat.
  2. Add 1 small diced onion along with a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently for 6-8 minutes or until they're super soft and almost starting to brown.
  3. Add 5 cloves minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  4. Add 1 pound ground beef and cook, crumbling with a spatula until cooked through. Use the fat from the beef to deglaze the bottom of the pan and scrape all the yummy bits off.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 tablespoon cumin, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon dried oregano, 2-3 teaspoons chipotles in adobo, and a couple large pinches of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute.
  6. Add two 15 ounce cans dark kidney beans, 15 ounce can light kidney beans, 4 cups V8 and a couple large pinches of salt and pepper.
  7. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  8. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  10. Serve with Fritos or tortilla strips, shredded cheese, cilantro, green onion, and sour cream. Enjoy!
  11. If you loved this recipe, please leave a 5-star rating and review below!

Notes

  • Don't drain the grease. You might be tempted to try to drain some of the grease after you brown the meat but I promise it's just going to add a ton of flavor and the chili won't end up greasy.
  • If you like a super thick chili, simmer it without a lid. This way more of the liquid will evaporate giving you a thicker texture.
  • If you like chili with more liquid, add a few extra splashes of V8 and simmer with the lid on.
  • As written, this chili gives you the best of both worlds. The chili is moderately thick but with enough liquid that it can reheat beautifully!
  • You can add canned diced tomatoes if you want! Lots of chili recipes include diced tomatoes, but I love to make it without. Add a can if you like.
  • Spice it up! Add extra chilies in adobo or cayenne pepper if you want to make this chili spicy. I usually keep it pretty mild so it's family-friendly but you can easily turn up the heat on this classic chili recipe.
  • Add ground pork. Feel free to use a mixture of ground beef and ground pork for a different flavor variation.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: ⅙ of chili
  • Calories: 294
  • Sugar: 8 g
  • Sodium: 578.9 mg
  • Fat: 6.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 33.7 g
  • Fiber: 8.9 g
  • Protein: 25.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 45.2 mg
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