This thick and hearty classic chili comes together in 30 minutes! Or if needed you can easily make this in the slow cooker. Juicy ground beef and beans are simmered in a tomato sauce seasoned with a simple, yet bold homemade seasoning blend.

Overhead view of a bowl of chili with toppings.

All about this Classic Easy Chili Recipe…

  • This ground beef chili recipe comes together in 30 minutes making it a perfect weeknight family dinner that everyone will love. 
  • Control the spice: depending on who you are cooking for you may want a more mild chili or a spicier chili. Easily control the amount of spice by adding cayenne or hot sauce. 
  • Slow Cooker OR 30 Minute meal: there are directions included to make this in the slow cooker or on the stovetop. This lets you set this up in the morning to enjoy later or if you have time in the evening for a 30 minute meal you can follow the stovetop directions. 

Ingredients:

Ingredients needed for easy chili recipe laid out on the counter.

Notes on Some Ingredients: 

  • Ground Beef: 80/20 is a good choice flavor-wise. Drain any excess grease after cooking the meat. You can always substitute for ground turkey or chicken if desired. 
  • Light Brown Sugar: this helps cut through the acidity with the tomatoes and gives a balanced flavor. You could substitute with honey, or leave out if a no sugar meal is needed. 
  • Beans: use beans that have no salt added, this allows you to control the salt. If you have regular canned beans you will need to taste the chili before adding salt to ensure that it’s not over salted. Avoid cans that are labeled Chili beans since these are beans that come with added flavoring in a chili sauce.

How to make (step-by-step):

How to make an easy chili recipe, showing cooking ground beef and onion in a skillet, then all other ingredients added to a large pot.
  • Step 1: Cook the beef: regardless if you are making this recipe in a slow cooker or on the stovetop the beef needs to be cooked first. Break the meat up and cook until browned and no longer pink. Cook the onion with the meat until it’s softened.
  • Step 2: Combine the additional ingredients. Add the seasonings to the meat and allow to cook to bloom the flavors, then either add the meat to the slow cooker, or using the same pot add in the beans, green chiles, tomato sauce and brown sugar.
  • Step 3: Simmer, let the chili come to a low simmer, then cover and cook for another 10 minutes. OR cook on low in a slow cooker for 4-6 hours.
Chunky homemade ground beef chili being cooked in a large pot.

Expert Tips: 

  • Drain and rinse beans: this will remove excess salt and starch and can also remove any metallic flavoring that may come from being canned. 
  • Freezing: allow to cool to room temperature and then store in freezer safe containers or bags. This can be stored in the freezer for 2-3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in a pot over medium until heated through. 
  • Variations & Substitutions: Chili is a great recipe to sneak in extra veggies. Add in some potatoes, carrots, celery, zucchini, sweet potato, squash or mushrooms. 
  • Broth: this chili is thick and hearty, and to make it that way we are not using any broth. If you want a more broth-y chili you can add 1-2 cups of beef broth or even a beer.
Up close view of a chunky homemade ground beef chili recipe.

FAQ’s:

What do you top chili with? 

Some popular options include: shredded cheese, sour cream, sliced green onion, diced onion, cilantro, crackers or chips, avocado, and lime wedges.

Is it spelled chili or chilli?

It can be spelled either way. Chili is the typical way you will see it spelled in the US. Other European countries will use a chilli spelling.

What is the spice level?

I would say this particular recipe is mild. If you are concerned about heat feel free to start with less chili powder and add to taste. If you are wanting more heat feel free to add a diced jalapeño and sauté with the onions. 

More Recipes to enjoy:

Overhead view of a bowl of chili with toppings.

Easy Chili Recipe

Quick and filling, this easy chili recipe can be made in the slow cooker or as a one pot 30 minute meal. Loaded with ground beef, beans, chiles and more this hearty chili is perfect for loading up with all your favorite toppings.
4.79 from 23 votes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion , diced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomato
  • 1 (7 ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

Toppings

  • sour cream
  • cheese, shredded
  • green onion

Equipment

Instructions

Slow Cooker Directions:

  • Cook Beef: Add the ground beef and onion to a medium size skillet. Cook over medium heat until the onion is soft and the beef is completely cooked. Add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.
  • Drain: Remove from heat, drain grease, and add meat mixture to the crockpot.
  • Slow Cook: Add in all the other ingredients, stir to combine. Cook over low heat for 4-6 hours.

Stovetop Directions:

  • Cook Beef: Add the ground beef and onion to a large pot or dutch oven. Cook over medium heat until the onion is soft and the beef is completely cooked. Add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. Drain any grease and return to heat.
  • Season: Add the seasonings: chili powder, cumin, black pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Stir to coat the meat and cook about one minute.
  • Simmer: Add all other ingredients to the pot, stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Cover and allow to simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

Video

Notes

  • Ground Beef: 80/20 is a good choice flavor-wise. Drain any excess grease after cooking the meat. You can always substitute for ground turkey or chicken if desired. 
  • Light Brown Sugar: this helps cut through the acidity with the tomatoes and gives a balanced flavor. You could substitute with honey, or leave out if a no sugar meal is needed. 
  • Beans: use beans that have no salt added, this allows you to control the salt. If you have regular canned beans you will need to taste the chili before adding salt to ensure that it’s not over salted. Avoid cans that are labeled Chili beans since these are beans that come with added flavoring in a chili sauce.
  • Storage: store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat leftovers in a saucepan or in the microwave. 
  • Freezing: allow to cool to room temperature and then store in freezer safe containers or bags. This can be stored in the freezer for 2-3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in a pot over medium until heated through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 307kcal, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 24g, Cholesterol: 47mg
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Recipe first published February 16, 2018. Updated September 3, 2021 with new images and information. Recipe is unchanged.

Photography done by the talented @KJandCompany.co