Best Easy Chili Recipe

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The best quick and easy chili recipe! Made in 30 minutes on the stovetop, homemade chili is a delicious, from scratch (no packaged seasoning) dinner your whole family will love.

a bowl of chili topped with sour cream, cheese and green onions


I created this easy chili recipe the night I went into labor with my 5th baby on Super Bowl Sunday! I didn’t expect to still be pregnant, so I planned nothing for our football-watching menu. But lo and behold I wasn’t snuggling my sweet newborn quite yet, so I quickly whipped up this easy chili recipe before the game started, and it was delicious.

Now I make this beef chili recipe weekly in the cooler months. It’s one of my go-to meals when I’m short on time, because it only takes 30 minutes to make, but still want to feed my family a hearty, healthy meal.

I love that this recipe includes a homemade spice mix that is free from preservatives and it’s gluten-free! So you can serve it to large crowds including those who cannot eat gluten.

best easy chili recipe in a pot with a wooden spoon

Easy Chili Recipe: Ingredients & Substitutions 

One of the great things about homemade chili is that it’s customizable. Here are some notes about the ingredients and possible substitutions.

overhead photo of the labeled ingredients in this Beef Chili recipe
  • Ground beef. I’ve used both 85/15% and 93/7% lean ground beef with great results. Or try turkey chili, chicken chili, or vegetarian chili.
  • Minced garlic. You can substitute 1 tsp garlic powder for the minced garlic, and add it with the rest of the spices. 
  • Bell peppers. any color variety of bell pepper works well in this recipe. If you like to add some heat, add some spicier peppers.
  • Spice mixture. I have written this recipe with the spice ratios and combination that are spot on. You can add more chili powder, or some cayenne powder to increase the heat. This is a mild chili as written.
  • Fire roasted tomatoes. I love the flavor that the fire roasted tomatoes adds to this recipe (and this sausage gnocchi). Regular diced tomatoes are a good substitute.
  • Kidney Beans. I use one can of kidney beans because my husband doesn’t love them. However you can add another can (2 cans total) if you love beans. Use your favorite beans such as: black beans, great northern (white) beans, and garbanzo beans (chickpeas).
  • Corn. Fresh and frozen corn both work well in this chili recipe.
a spoon taking a scoop of easy chili from a bowl

How to Make Chili

This beef chili recipe is super easy to make, and I always have all the ingredients on hand. Let’s walk through the process step-by-step, and don’t forget to watch the video.

Begin by making the homemade chili seasoning in a small bowl. It can be tweaked according to your personal preferences. I make ours mild, so adjust the heat accordingly. 

two photos showing how to make chili seasoning for homemade chili

Once the spice mixture is ready, brown the ground beef with the garlic. Cook it over medium-high heat until it’s mostly browned for the best texture and flavor. 

two photos showing How to Make Chili - browning meat with onions and garlic

Once the meat is mostly (but not totally) browned, add the bell peppers and cook until they are slightly soft.

two photos showing How to Make Chili - adding bell peppers

Next, add the rest of the ingredients and stir until everything is combined.

If you’re short on time, cook this easy chili recipe on medium heat for 15 minutes before serving, stirring occasionally. If you have a longer, simmer until you’re ready to serve.  The longer the chili is simmered, the more the flavors will meld together. 

Taste and adjust the salt, pepper, or heat (spicy/mild) according to your preferences. 

two photos showing How to Make Chili - adding the rest of the ingredients and stirring

Serve

People often ask,  “what can you add to chili?”  Once your chili is finished cooking, gather your favorite fixings and serve the chili recipe warm. Some of our favorite additions are: 

a ladle taking a scoop of Easy Chili Recipe from the pot
a ladle pouring homemade chili into a bowl

Store

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

To Freeze

  • Let it cool to room temperature then transfer it to an airtight, freezer-friendly container and freeze for up to 2 months. 
  • To thaw, remove it from the freezer and let it thaw on the counter or in the refrigerator. 
  • Reheat in a stockpot over low heat.
homemade chili in a bowl with a spoon topped with sour cream, onions and cheese

Easy Chili Recipe FAQs

How do you store beef chili? 

If you don’t gobble this easy chili recipe up in one sitting, then it can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 days. You can also freeze this beef chili for up to 2 months in an airtight, freezer-friendly container. 

Do you drain beans for chili? 

Yes! Drain and rinse the beans before adding them to this beef chili recipe!  

How do you thicken chili? 

If you like super thick chili, here are a few ways to thicken it up really nicely!
Cook the chili uncovered over medium-high heat. This will cause the water to evaporate and naturally thicken the chili! 
Make a mixture of 1 TBS cold water, 1 TBS flour or cornstarch, add it to the beef chili and cook uncovered. 
Add a few tortilla chips to a food process and process them to make fine crumbs. Add 1-3 TBS of tortilla chip crumbs to the chili and cook uncovered! 

How long should you cook beef chili? 

If you’re short on time, cook this easy chili recipe on medium heat for 15 minutes before serving, stirring occasionally. If you have a longer, simmer until you’re ready to serve.  The longer the chili is simmered, the more the flavors will meld together. 

a spoon taking a scoop of beef chili topped with sour cream, green onions, cheese and crushed chips.

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Best Easy Chili Recipe

Laura
The best quick and easy chili recipe! Made in 30 minutes on the stovetop, homemade chili is a delicious, from scratch (no packaged seasoning) dinner your whole family will love.
5 from 11 votes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 254
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Mix cumin, coriander, paprika, chili powder, sugar, sea salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Add ground beef, onion and garlic to a large pot. Cook until the beef begins to brown.
  • Add bell peppers and continue cooking over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes until beef is browned and veggies are soft.
  • Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chilies, corn, beans and chili seasoning mixture and stir until evenly distributed.
  • Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, reduce heat to a simmer until ready to serve.
  • Taste and adjust salt/pepper as needed.
  • Serve with your favorite chili fixings. Our favorites include: sour cream, green onions, cheddar cheese, and crushed tortilla chips.

Video

Notes

Ingredient substitutions: 
  • Ground beef.  If you want to use turkey try this ground turkey chili. 
  • Minced garlic. garlic powder can be used in place of minced garlic, add it with the spice mixture.
  • Bell peppers. any color variety of bell pepper works well in this recipe. If you like to add some heat, add some spicier peppers.
  • Fire roasted tomatoes. You can substitute regular canned, diced tomatoes. 
  • Kidney Beans. If you love beans,  use 2 cans total instead of 1. And choose your favorites: black beans, great northern (white) beans, and garbanzo beans (chickpeas).
Store
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 
To Freeze
  • Let the chili cool to room temperature then transfer it to an airtight, freezer-friendly container and freeze for up to 2 months. 
  • To thaw, simply remove it from the freezer and let it thaw on the counter or in the refrigerator. 
  • Reheat in a stockpot over low heat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 233mg | Potassium: 414mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2245IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you enjoy this recipe? Have a question? Leave a comment below!

We call this easy chili recipe, “Keilah Chili” since she was born a few short hours after we all enjoyed it! So It holds a special place in my heart.

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11 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I just want you to know that I love to cook and use to collect cook books. However the older I get I just cook from memory. That being said I have baked several of your cookies recipes and they are amazing.. I just made up this Chili recipe,haven’t tried yet, but looks yummy. Love your site….thanks, carol

  2. 5 stars
    This quickly became my favorite chili recipe! Sometime I follow it pretty close, sometimes I use it as a framework 😉 (I add carrots and mushrooms chopped really small almost every time)) so yummy! As always, I love your recipes!

  3. 5 stars
    This quickly became my favorite chili recipe! Sometime I follow it pretty close, sometimes I use it as a framework 😉 (I add carrots and mushrooms chopped really small almost every time)) so yummy! As always, I love your recipes!

    1. Thank you so much Vanessa! I actually just made a double batch of this yesterday, one for our family and one for a friend! 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    My husband suggested chili on a VERY cold (-10º) Alaskan night. I just happened to have MOST of the ingredients you suggested and it turned out great! We used ground turkey instead of beef and we doubled the beans. This one is definitely going into the recipe box. Thank you so much for having such an easy and delicious recipe. <3

  5. 5 stars
    Delicious! This was a hit with my toddler and my Husband! My toddler throw out the Kidney beans but it’s still a success in my book!

  6. This looks like the best bowl of chili in the whole world. I love chili especially with cheese and sour cream and chips. :-). I love how you call it Keilah chili.

  7. You mention beans in the recipe post, but not the actual recipe ingredients. How many cans of beans do you use and what type?

    1. Oh my word thank you so much Audra! Sometimes important details get by me even though I read (and re-read) my blog posts dozens of times! I went ahead and fixed that! We use 1 can of beans, usually kidney beans or black beans. My husband loathes beans so I don’t make our chili too “beany!” so he will still eat it (LOL). But adding up to 2 cans of your favorite beans would still taste great! I like black beans, great northern beans (white), or garbanzo beans too!