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The Best Classic Beef Chili Recipe

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Today, I am going to share the best classic beef chili recipe! This chili is loaded with yummy ground beef, chopped onions, beans, green chilies, and a homemade chili spice blend. Let me tell you- it’s definitely a family favorite!

Easy Ground Beef Chili For A Hearty Meal

Ground beef chili is one of my favorite comfort food meals ever since I was a small child. My mom would make this for us at least once a week- we loved it that much!

This classic chili recipe is full of delicious and comforting ingredients. It’s the perfect dinner for a busy weeknight. It’s also great if you are wanting to make leftovers to last you a few meals- just double the recipe! And it’s easy to freeze and pull back out for next week, or month!

Classic Beef Chili Recipe

Ingredients Needed To Make The Best Classic Beef Chili Recipe

To make this chili recipe at home, these are the ingredients you will need:

  • Ground Beef: For chili, I like to use 80-90% lean ground beef and drain off any fat that cooks off before adding in the rest of the ingredients to the pot.
  • Onions: Make sure to chop the onion evenly so you don’t end up with big chunks in between bites.
  • Garlic: I recommend adding a tablespoon of freshly minced garlic (or from a jar) to the chili to give it a more robust flavor.
  • Chili Seasonings: You can easily buy a packet of chili seasoning but I prefer to make my own. I used cumin, dried oregano leaves, chili powder, and salt.
  • Worchestershire Sauce: This sauce has a tangy yet sweet flavor- almost like vinegar.
  • Tabasco Sauce: My secret ingredient! (More on that below)
  • Tomatoes: I typically use petite diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes when making beef chili. It helps give the chili that stew-like texture we all love!
  • Diced Green Chiles: Adding in a can of diced green chiles adds a mild spice to the beef chili recipe.
  • Beans: For this chili recipe, I used light red kidney beans but you can easily use whatever kind of bean you like or even mix your two favorites.

Optional Toppings To Add To Your Chili Bowl

Now, eating a bowl of chili on its own is absolutely delicious… but, adding one (or more) of these toppings can really take your chili from delicious to YUM!

Here are some of my go-to chili toppings:

  • Shredded cheese: I prefer to use cheddar cheese but you can also use Monterrey or pepper jack.
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped green onions 
  • Sliced jalapenos: Use pickled jalapenos instead of fresh ones if someone wants just a little bit of a kick. You can also remove the seeds from a fresh jalapeno to not make it so spicy.
Classic Beef Chili that Everyone Loves

What To Serve With Homemade Beef Chili

Besides all of the topping options mentioned above, I love to have salty crackers or a helping of homemade cornbread to serve on the side. Especially, when you get to the bottom of your bowl… that cornbread comes in real handy to scoop up those last little bits.

My family doesn’t like to leave anything in their bowl!

You can also make a batch of plain white rice to serve alongside your beef chili for a hearty dinner meal.

Equipment Needed:

How To Make Ground Beef Chili: Frequently Asked Questions

Whenever I share this recipe, I get some of the same questions. Here are the most popular ones that people ask!

If you have a question that isn’t listed here, please leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them as soon as I possibly can.

Do I have to use ground beef to make this classic chili recipe?

No, you don’t. You can easily swap out the ground beef for:

  • Ground turkey
  • Ground pork
  • Chorizo
  • Ground venison
  • Plant-based meat
Browning meat for chili recipe

Do I need to add the beans?

No! If you would prefer to make this chili more low carb friendly or even if you just don’t like beans, you can easily omit them from this recipe.

Can I cook chili in the Instant Pot or slow cooker?

Yes! If you know you won’t be home or have errands to run, you can always throw these ingredients into the Instant Pot or Crockpot and you’ll still end up with yummy classic chili.

To Cook Chili In The Instant Pot:

  1. Cook the ground beef and onions first.
  2. Once that is all cooked, add those 2 ingredients along with the rest into the Instant Pot.
  3. Hit the “Pressure Cook” button and set the setting for “High”.
  4. Set the time for 20 minutes.
  5. After the time is up, you can either let the pressure naturally release or release the pressure manually.

To Cook Chili In The Slow Cooker:

  1. Cook the ground beef and onions first.
  2. Once that is all cooked, add those 2 ingredients along with the rest into the slow cooker.
  3. Cover with the lid and set the temperature setting to “Low”.
  4. Allow the chili to cook for 5-6 hours.

What is the secret to making a great pot of chili?

Well, this is a loaded question and my grandmother would kill me but… it’s the tabasco. Just a few dashes of this hot sauce really adds a layer of depth and flavor that the chili sometimes really needs.

Between the rich fattiness from the ground beef and the sweetness from the crushed tomatoes, adding in the tabasco really helps balance out all of the flavors.

Trust me- you’ll thank me later!

The green chilies also add a spiciness that is just the right kick!

Classic Chili Recipe

More Grandma-Approved Recipes To Try

If you enjoyed this recipe for classic beef chili, take a look at some of these other yummy recipes:

How delicious did your chili turn out? What kind of toppings did you add? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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Classic Chili Recipe

The Best Classic Chili

This is the BEST Classic Chili recipe is full of delicious, comforting ingredients. Loaded with yummy beef, onions, beans, green chilies and spices, it's a sure crowd pleaser!
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Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: ground beef dinner, main dish, soup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Laura



  • 2 pounds Ground beef
  • 2 Onions chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried oregano leaves
  • 2 teaspoons Chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 28 ounces Petite diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
  • 4 ounces Diced green chiles
  • 32 ounces Light Red Kidney Beans

Optional toppings:

  • cornbread
  • cheddar cheese grated
  • sour cream
  • crackers


  • In a large pot, sauté ground beef, onions and garlic until meat is cooked through and onions are soft. Remove from heat.
  • Drain any excess fat.
  • Add cumin, oregano, chili powder, worchestershire sauce, salt and tobasco to the meat.
  • Cover the meat and spices with 2 inches water and simmer for 1 hour.
  • Add tomatoes and green chiles.
  • Simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Add beans and heat.
  • Serve with toppings of your choice. We love to have crackers, cheddar cheese and sour cream toppings!

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