The BEST Easy Chili Recipe! Made with simple ingredients and tons of flavor, this chili is perfect for a weeknight dinner, game day or doubling to feed a crowd! Topped with sour cream, cheddar and chives, it’s the perfect cold weather meal.
While I definitely love the ease of making Instant Pot Chili, I just love the aroma that fills my home when I cook chili on the stovetop. It’s just so good!
Best Easy Chili Recipe
Chili has always been my go-to when I’m not sure what to make for dinner. It’s super simple to whip up and only takes about 45 minutes. It’s even better if you have at least an hour to let it simmer. The flavor is rich and robust and the ingredients are probably already in your kitchen.
My cousin always made chili for her family on Halloween so now that’s my tradition too. It’s perfect because it’s such a great dump it and forget it kind of recipe. The only thing that takes time is cooking the meat, which is really only about 7 minutes. So I can help get my kids ready for trick or treating without worrying about dinner.
Why It’s Our Favorite
- Super simple to make and no babysitting the pot.
- No complicated ingredients.
- Great flavor, and easy to customize the heat level.
How to Make Chili the Easy Way
My dad always made chili I the winter time. I don’t think he ever made the recipe exactly the same way twice. I’m usually a make it up as I go along kind of cook, too, but I follow this easy chili recipe pretty much to the letter ever single time.
- In a large soup pot, cook ground beef with onions and garlic. I just cook it all together and the grease from the meat helps cook the onions while the onions flavor the meat. Drain as much grease as possible. You can either sop it up with paper towels or transfer the meat to a plate and drain off the grease that way. I usually just use paper towels.
- Add chili powder and cumin and cook it with the meat for a minute or two. Then add a can of diced tomatoes with the juice, a can of chili beans with the sauce, a can of black beans that have been drained and rinsed and a can of tomato sauce.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often to avoid scorching the bottom. Once it’s boiling, turn the heat down to low. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. You could serve it at this point, or replace the lid and continue to simmer for another hour to deepen the flavor.
- Serve with your favorite toppings.
Chili in the Slow Cooker
Making chili in the crockpot is an excellent solution if you want dinner to waiting for you when you get home. There is only about 10 minutes of prep required. Cook the ground beef with onions and garlic, then transfer the meat to the slow cooker using a slotted spoon. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Replace the lid and cook on low for at 4-8 hours. As long as the chili is heated through, you’re good to go!
Serving Suggestions and Variations
- Chili Nachos – When I was kid the snack bar at my brother’s school served “Chilly Billies” that were just tortilla chips topped with cheese and chili and OMG they were my all-time favorite snack. I still make them for my kids when we have leftovers, but nowadays they’re just called chili nachos.
- Turkey Chili – Replace the beef with ground turkey.
- More beans – Want more beans in your chili? Add kidney beans, pinto beans, white beans or any other bean you want. Sometimes I’ll add corn to sweeten it up.
- Favorite chili toppings – sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, green onions, diced red onion, Fritos or tortilla chips, cilantro
- Too thick? If your chili is too thick, add a little bit of beef broth to thin it out. If it’s too watery, simmer it with the lid off for at least 30 minutes.
- Spice it up – Add some hot sauce to the pot if you want a spicier chili. You could also add this to individual bowls if you have some sensitive tummies (like mine). Other options are to add a can of diced green chiles or jalapenos or some red pepper flakes.
- Easily double or triple this recipe to feed a bigger crowd.
What to do with leftovers
Leftover chili will freeze incredibly well. When it’s cooled, store it in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw in the fridge, and reheat on the stove top uncovered.
In the fridge, leftovers will last 4-5 days if properly stored in an airtight container.
More easy cold weather recipes:
- White Chicken Chili Recipe
- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Chili Recipe
- Bacon and Bean Soup
- Hamburger Soup
- Simple Beef Stew
- Vegetarian Chili
- 1 pound ground beef I use 80/20
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons Chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 15-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes undrained
- 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 15-ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 15-ounce can chili beans undrained
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook ground beef with diced onion and minced garlic in a large stock pot or soup pot over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Drain any excess grease.
- To the pot, add chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add in canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and beans. Stir to combine and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir again, then reduce heat to low.
- Simmer uncovered for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours; iIf simmering longer than 30 minutes, switch having the lid on and off for 30 minute intervals to keep the chili from getting too thick. Taste and add salt and pepper or more chili powder as desired. NOTE - if adding more chili powder, let the chili simmer for at least 15 minutes more.
- Divide into bowls and garnish with desire toppings.