The best chili recipe you’ll ever eat is right here! Our classic beef chili is made with ground beef, beans, diced tomatoes, and a homemade chili seasoning.
So many of you have made this chili recipe and loved it so much that you keep coming back for more. This is hands-down our most popular chili recipe on Fit Foodie Finds and we can’t wait for you to make it!
Best Chili Recipe!
Chili for days you say? That’s right! This classic chili recipe will give you chili for days because boy does it serve a crowd. And, did we mention that it’s truly the best chili recipe on the internet?
This is truly the best chili recipe ever. It’s filling, flavorful, and fool-proof delicious. A big bowl of this is perfect for game day, a weeknight dinner, or even a fall party.
Why You’ll Love it
- Amazing Meal Prep: Chili is an excellent meal prep idea because it will literally give you chili for days. This particular recipe serves 6-8 and you can easily double it and freeze for later! Plus, you can turn it into our Chili Mac and Cheese recipe for more variety!
- Healthy: Our beef chili recipe is made with lean ground beef, beans, and tons of veggies making it high in protein, fiber. It’s also made with a homemade chili seasoning canceling out any additives you may find in the store-bought kind.
- Made in No Time! In less than 45 minutes you can have dinner on the table!
Made with Classic Chili Ingredients
There’s a big debacle on the internet about whether classic chili has beans or no beans. In my opinion, the best chili recipe is a base of ground beef, tomato, spices, and BEANS. I love the number of fiber beans add to this dish and I promise you won’t regret adding them.
The star of the show here is ground beef. I’ll give you one secret, the fat in your beef matters! We’re big fans of 80% or 85% fat because that little bit of fat adds so much flavor. If you go any leaner, you risk compromising flavor and texture.
Can I substitute a different ground meat? Ohhhh, if you must! Yes, ground chicken or turkey both work for this recipe. We’ve even made this chili recipe with a plant-based ground to make it vegetarian.
One of the reasons I love chili is because it’s made with tomato products. Thick, creamy, and so delicious. This recipe calls for 3 different kinds:
- tomato sauce (gives this recipe a delicious tomato flavor)
- diced tomatoes (adds great texture)
- tomato puree (helps to thicken and intensify the flavors)
While some traditional beef chili does not call for beans, we like to up the ante a little bit in the nutrition department and include 2 different variations to make this the most epic chili beans recipe. Pinto beans and kidney beans add texture and fiber to this beef chili recipe.
Feel free to swap the beans for a different kind such as black beans, garbanzo beans, or cannellini beans.
Do yourself a favor and make your own chili seasoning. I promise you the flavor is better AND there isn’t any added junk. Try our homemade chili seasoning and keep a batch in your cabinet at all times.
homemade chili seasoning ingredients
- Chili powder
- Garlic powder
- Ground cumin
- Smoked paprika
- Ground pepper
#1 Secret Ingredient for THE BEST CHILI RECIPE
Every chili needs a little bit of sugar in some form to bring out all of the savory flavors from the chili seasoning. Our classic chili recipe calls for a little bit of maple syrup. It’s warm, unrefined, and absolutely delightful.
Don’t have maple? Swap it with some brown sugar or even some honey.
The best secret ingredient for chili is a little bit of sugar. Whether you use white sugar, brown sugar, or my favorite, maple syrup, a little bit of sugar will bring out all of the savory spices of your chili.
Traditionally, chili used to be served without beans, but in my opinion, it’s so much better with beans!
o make chili more flavorful, we suggest using more homemade chili seasoning. We always recommend making your own spice blend at home because you can really control the flavor that way. Other ways to add more flavor include: more salt, more heat (diced jalapeño, hot sauce, or green chiles), or add a jar of salsa.
Good chili toppings include shredded cheese, green onion, sour cream or Greek yogurt, Fritos, tortilla chips, and chives.
How do you make chili spicy? To make this beef chili spicy, you can add a few tablespoons of diced jalapeños, poblano peppers, or green chiles. You can even add a few tablespoons of hot sauce.
How to make truly the BEST chili recipe!
Here is a quick rundown of How to Make Chili. Make sure to scroll all the way down to the recipe card to get the full ingredient list and instructions.
- Saute ground beef: add ground beef, onion, and garlic to a stockpot or Dutch oven and saute for 7-10 minutes to fully brown.
- Add rest of the ingredients: Next, add the rest of the ingredients including the chili seasoning and mix to combine.
- Simmer: Bring chili to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Serve: Serve immediately with your favorite toppings!
In my opinion, chili isn’t chili without the toppings! I’ll share what we at our bowl of chili with and some other ideas.
- shredded cheese
- chips – tortilla or Fritos
- green onions
- Greek yogurt or sour cream
- hot sauce
Can I make this chili recipe in the Crockpot or Instant Pot instead?
This ground beef chili can easily be made in the slow cooker or Instant Pot. While we haven’t tried either of these methods, you can follow a similar method to the other crockpot and Instant Pot chili recipes we have on Fit Foodie Finds.
Crockpot Chili Recipes
- Crockpot Chicken Chili
- Lazy Girl Turkey Chili
- Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup
- White Bean Chicken Chili
Instant Pot Chili Recipes
Leftover Chili Ideas
Got leftovers? Here are a few ideas on how to repurpose this recipe:
Chili Baked Potatoes: Top either a baked potato or baked sweet potato with leftover chili and shredded cheese.
Chili Nachos: Are you a fan of nachos just like us? Place a bag of tortilla chips on a baking sheet. Then, top with leftover chili, shredded cheddar cheese, and other nachos toppings.
Chili Mac and Cheese: It doesn’t get much better than combining 2 of your favorite things into 1 dish. That’s exactly what we did in our Chili Mac and Cheese recipe.
Can I freeze beef chili?
Beef Chili is the perfect chili recipe to freeze! We wrote an entire post on how to freeze soup and it works the exact same way for chili.
- Let your beef chili cool completely.
- Then, transfer it into an airtgiht container or freezer-safe gallon-size bag.
- Remove as much air as possible and seal.
- Freeze for up to 3 months.
We recommend freezing in a freezer-safe gallon-size bag or freezer-safe storage container. Make sure that you remove as much air as possible before sealing.
How do I store beef chili?
Store beef chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To reheat: Either place multiple servings of the beef chili back into the stockpot and heat over medium heat until boiling or place 1 serving of chili into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
This is hands-down our favorite Dutch oven. It’s a 6.75 quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven that’s super high-quality and gorgeous.
Best Chili Recipe
- 1 lb. ground beef we used 15% fat
- 1/2 medium yellow onion finely diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 15-oz. can pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 1 15-oz. can kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 cup beef broth chicken broth or water works too
- shredded cheddar cheese
- green onion
- First, heat a large stockpot over medium/high heat.
- Then, add ground beef, yellow onion, and minced garlic and sauté for 7-10 minutes or until beef is fully browned.
- Next, add pinto beans, kidney beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and maple syrup to the pot and stir to combine.
- Add spices and 1 cup of broth and stir to combine.
- Bring beef chili to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes to thicken.
- Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
Tips & Notes
- Nutrition information is for 6 servings and does not include toppings.
Love this chili recipe. my husband raves every time i make it. i tweaked it a bit by using a whole onion and added half of a large red bell pepper and a whole poblano pepper diced. i sauteed the onion and peppers in a bit of olive oil before adding the meat. it was delicious!
Yum! Those tweaks sound so delish!
Im making this tonight! But I want to use about 3lb hamburger meat for leftovers. Would I need to tweak the measurements for each thing? And if so how much?
probably a little late to help you, but yes, you should adjust the other measurements. if you look at the top of the recipe it gives you options for 1x, 2x & 3x – choose 3x and it should automatically adjust everything.
These are great blogs. Thanks!
great fast kid friendly chili
Loved it! How many cups of chili is a serving?
This was such a good chili!!!! It was so quick and easy to make and delicious! Only thing I would do next time is 1/2 tbsp maple syrup to lesson the sweetness just a tad! This is my new go to chili from now on!
Anything that makes me a hero is a keeper. This chile makes me a hero. The recipe has all the qualities one hopes for in anything…simplicity, quality and immediate gratification. Try this recipe and take a bow…
This is a great fast kid friendly chili! I had it done in 30 mins, I used lean ground beef and chili accent stewed canned tomatoes, I also doubled the recipe;)
I’m making this today! Can I put it in a crockpot and let it hang out? I couldn’t find notes or comments asking this. TIA!
Yes!!! This is what I was wondering as well??
Great recipe! I will keep this one, however, please drain your sautéed beef. I know fat adds some flavor but a greasy chili is disgusting. Especially gross when you refrigerate and spoon into a bowl the next day. Yuck! Do yourselves a big favor and drain your meat!!!!!!!!
This is the best chili I’ve ever made. The only thing I done differently was added a diced bell pepper. Topped it with Fritos, sour cream and cheese. Yummy!! 😋
Made this over the weekend and we really liked it, both for ease of preparation and taste. I prefer my chili spicier but hot sauce fixes that and my better half can enjoy it’s mildness. I will say that its a great base chili, but it needs more seasonings. I never would’ve thought to add maple syrup or Fritos to my chili, but I will from now on. GAMECHANGERE
So glad you loved this chili!
I have been making Chili for many years but this is the best and easiest recipe so far – thanks so much – we loved it. – I left out tomato paste and added a little more chicken broth and let it simmer til right consistency. Also added fresh jalapenos!
Hi there! In the tomatoes section of your blog you mention tomato puree but everywhere else is tomato paste, including ingredients. Maybe it’s a typo?
Anyhow, I’ve made this 3 times and love it! Everything is perfect just as listed.
This was SO good! It was also so easy I will be making it all the time. We added the green chilies and it sent it over the top. I have tried many different recipes and have always been disappointed, but this was AMAZING!! Thank you so much for this recipe.
So glad you loved this chili, Angela!
Great chili recipe that the whole family loved. Planning to make another batch this weekend to freeze for future dinners. 😀
Thanks. This really is an excellent chili. I do believe the maple syrup is a game changer.
Best Chili recipe ever this is my recipe favorite from now on. Husband loved
thank you for sharing it with us I used one teaspoon of sugar instead of the maple syrup and we had leftover beef tips that I minced up. Absolutely delicious
OMG I bet this chili was even more delish with leftover beef tips — yum!
Delicious recipe! My husband loved this chili! I did tweak the recipe slightly. I omitted the beans and tomato paste. The maple syrup was a subtle addition and the sweetness brought out the flavors of the spices. I wonder if people may be using pancake syrup instead of real maple syrup. There is a huge difference and not at all interchangeable in recipes. I used New Mexican chili powder which is the best, in my opinion. I
Let me start by saying yummy yummy all in my tummy. This is my second time trying this recipe. It came out amazing the first time and on a rainy day I just figured why not. My son at first didn’t care for the sweetness with the maple but finished at least three bowls so it’s safe to say he loved it as well. I loved the maple it was not too sweet just a small hint. Once this marinated overnight just know the flavors will intensify and get even better. I always make a side of jiffy cornbread and add Fritos, cheese and sour cream to my bowl. – delicious