The Best Chili Recipe (2024)

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This Chili recipe is the best comfort food, made with bacon, ground beef, vegetables, beans, and a perfect combination of spices in a homemade chili seasoning. This perfectly comforting and classic dish makes a great weekend dinner.

Chili is also a great dish to serve at football parties and my Boozy Chili or make Turkey Chili as a great healthier option.

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Table of Contents

Why It’s Best Cold Weather Food

I am always more than happy to spend a couple of hours making a big batch of chili for the family. Chili is a great healthy dish because it’s made with lean meat, vegetables, and beans. It’s loaded with protein, fiber, and iron.

Besides tasting great, I like adding beans to my chili because it does have great nutritional value. So if you’re debating whether to add beans to chili or not, I say go for it!

Now, my Texas friends, don’t come after me for putting beans in the chili. I know that the original Chili Con Carne is made with meat and chilis and many Texans stay true to the original chili recipe. On the other hand, the idea of putting beans in the chili has been around for a long time now and in a way, it’s just as classic as the original way.

Tradition or not, we all know chili tastes delicious, it’s comforting, nutritious, and quite versatile. There are a few uses for chili beyond just enjoying a nice big bowl of it.

Ingredient Notes

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Ground Beef– I’ve had the best, tender and flavorful results when I use ground beef with an85/15 meat to fat ratio.

Bacon – use your favorite bacon, we personally enjoy the smoked maple bacon. It adds a great hint of flavor. Remember it’s much easier to dice your bacon cold.

Jalapeños– If you want chili to bespicier, leavejalapeño seedsin. If you do not want it to be too spicy, choose younger jalapeño peppers without any lines on the skin and take out all seeds and membrane out of jalapeño.

Tomatoes– You’ll need freshtomatoes on the vine, a can offire roasted diced tomatoes, andtomato paste. All of these contribute to both the flavor and consistency of the chili.

Beef Stock– I like to useHomemade Beef Stockwhen I can! Of course, store-bought stock also works. I recommend that you use “low sodium” or “no salt added” options.

Beans– you can of course choose your favorite beans for your chili, we like to use bothpintobeans andred kidneybeans.Just remember to drain the beansbefore using them.

Seasonings– I use a mix ofsalt, pepper, cumin,oregano,smoked paprika, garlic powder,andancho or chipotle chili powderin my homemade chili seasoning mix.

See the recipe card below for the full list of ingredients and instructions.

How To Make The Best Chili

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1. Sear the bacon and ground beef. Sear diced bacon first (1), until it’s mostly done and add ground beef. Beak it up as much as you can (2) and mix and cook until most of the meat has browned (3). Take it all out of the pot and set aside.

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2. Sauté veggies. Add a little more oil if needed and sauté onions and peppers until mostly softened (4). Once softened, make room for minced garlic (5) and sauté until garlic is fragrant. Mix everything and add back the meats (6).

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3. Beans, tomatoes, and seasoning. Drain beans and add them to the pot. Add can of diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and all the seasoning (7). Mix everything very well and stir in the beef stock (8).

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4. Cook! Bring the chili to a low boil and then lower the heat to low. Cover with a lid but leave a small crack for the steam to escape. Cook on low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (9). Remember to stir well from time to time!

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Tips and Trick For The Best Results

There are a few things you can add to make your chili taste great.

  • First of all, use good chili seasoning, preferably homemade. Chili seasoning is basically the spices and herbs that go into chili. Be generous with chili powder and make sure to add cumin, oregano, and paprika. I recommend smoked paprika for a smoky taste in chili.
  • To help regulate spice level in chili, you can add jalapenos or other spicy chili peppers. Adding spicier chili peppers can increase the spice level dramatically and if you add seeds from those peppers, that will bring up the heat even more.
  • I prefer to make chili ahead of time and eat it the next day. It really does taste best when it gets a chance to sit in the fridge overnight.

Recipe FAQ

How to make chili in a Crock Pot?

Slow cooker lovers will be happy to know that chili recipe can just as easily be made in a Crock Pot.
Begin by browning bacon in a cooking pan, over medium heat. Add ground beef, break it all up, and cook until beef is browned. Transfer beef and bacon mixture into a Crock Pot.
In the same pan where you cooked beef, add onions, peppers, and jalapeno. Sauté veggies until softened and add smashed and minced garlic. Sauté until garlic is fragrant and transfer veggie mixture onto the Crock Pot as well.
Add tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, broth, and seasoning to the Crock Pot. Stir everything well, cover, and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or on LOW for 6 hours. (Open and stir about once an hour.)
Of curse, if you want faster results, you can try my Instant Pot Chili Recipe!

How to make my chili spicier?

Love it spicy? Use spicier peppers like serrano or habanero. Your chili will also be spicier if you keep the seeds in the chili peppers.
If you just want to use jalapeno peppers, you can control the spice level on them as well. If you want spicier result, use jalapenos that have some veins in the skin and keep the seeds. Choose smooth, firm jalapenos for less heat and discard the seeds.

What other veggies can I add to my chili?

Feel free to load your chili with veggies like carrots, celery, more bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, corn, winter squash, and avocado for topping. You can always have like a combination of my vegetarian chili and meat chili.

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Freezing Instructions

You will be happy to know that you can easily freeze chili.

After chili is cooked, you will want to cool it as quickly as possible if you plan to freeze it. This will give bacteria less chance to build and extend the shelf life of food. The best way to cool chili quickly is to place the pot of chili into a larger container filled with ice and make sure to stir it from time to time as it cools.

Once it’s cooled, portion it into smaller freezer bags, let all the air out, and close it well. Remember to label and date. Lay the bags flat on the cutting board and freeze. Chili can be frozen for up to 6 months.

To Thaw: Make sure to slow-thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Creating a Chili Bar

1. If you’re making chili for a game day, creating a chili bar is an awesome idea. Chili bar is basically a spread of awesome chili and an array of toppings that people can use for their chili.

2. Make sure to keep chili warm, so keeping it in a Crock Pot is a good idea even if you didn’t cook it in it.

3. Set out plenty of bowls and extra spoons so each topping option can have its own spoon.

4. There are many topping options like:

  • cheese
  • sour cream
  • diced jalapeno peppers, onion, avocado, cilantro, lime wedges, green onions
  • crackers, tortilla strips, pretzels
  • dried chick peas

5. Make some additional sides to go with chili like cornbread, jalapeno cornbread, dinner rolls, and/or biscuits.

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More Chili Recipes To Try

  • White Chicken Chili
  • White Turkey Chili
  • Turkey Chili
  • Vegetarian Chili


DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?PLEASE leave a 🌟star rating!Let me know how you liked it by leaving the 📝commentbelow or share and tag me on social media@willcookforsmiles. DON’T FORGET to subscribe to my newsletter!

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The Best Chili Recipe

Amazing classic Chili made with bacon, ground beef, vegetables, beans, and tasty combination of spices to make chili seasoning.

4.32 from 119 votes

PrintSave Rate

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American

Diet: Gluten Free

Prep Time: 10 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours hours 30 minutes minutes

Total Time: 2 hours hours 40 minutes minutes

Servings: 8 (Makes about 2 quarts)

Calories: 555kcal

Author: Lyuba Brooke


  • 8 oz raw bacon
  • 2 lbs ground beef 85%-15% lean to fat ratio
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 bell peppers – various colors
  • 2-3 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 4-6 large garlic cloves
  • 14 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 4 oz tomato paste
  • 16 oz can low sodium pinto beans or other beans you love
  • 16 oz can low sodium kidney beans
  • 1 cup beef stock or broth
  • 2 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tbsp salt more or less to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

US CustomaryMetric


  • Prepare ingredients ahead of time by dicing bacon, onion, tomatoes, and peppers. Measure the stock and seasoning, drain the beans, and mince garlic

  • Preheat a 2.5-3 quart pot over medium heat and add a little bit of oil.

  • Add diced bacon and cook until browned and most of the fat is rendered.

  • Add ground beef, season with some salt, and cook, breaking up all the clumps of meat as much as possible. Continue to cook until the meat is mostly brown. Take meats out of the pot and set aside.

  • Add diced onion, jalapenos, and bell peppers to the pot and sauté until softened.

  • Make some room in the middle and add minced garlic. Sauté until garlic is fragrant and mix it into the veggies.

  • Add meats back to the pot, stir, and add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, and seasoning. Stir everything well and pour in beef stock.

  • Bring the chili mixture to a low boil and then lower the heat to low. Cover with a lid but leave a crack for the steam to escape.

  • Cook for about 1.5-2 hours and make sure to stir from time to time. Take the lid off half way through and cook the rest of the time uncovered.



  • Storing: store cooled leftover chili in an air-tight food storage container, in the refrigerator. Remember to use a clean ladle each time to take some out. Properly stored, homemade chili will last 3-4 days.
  • More or less spicy: Love it spicy? Use spicier peppers like serrano or habanero. Your chili will also be spicier if you keep the seeds in the chili peppers.
    If you just want to use jalapeno peppers, you can control the spice level on them as well. If you want spicier result, use jalapenos that have some veins in the skin and keep the seeds. Choose smooth, firm jalapenos for less heat and discard the seeds.
  • Additional veggies: Feel free to load your chili with veggies likecarrots,celery, morebell peppers,zucchini,yellow squash,corn,winter squash, and avocado for topping.


Calories: 555kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 1844mg | Potassium: 1065mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1624IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 124mg | Iron: 6mg

Tried this recipe?Mention @willcookforsmiles and tag #willcookforsmiles

Originally published on Will Cook For Smiles in January, 2019.

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I’m Lyuba Brooke, mother of 2, the cook, recipe developer, photographer, and author behind I share many classic and original recipes, cooking tips, and tutorials. My passion is sharing delicious meals for everyone to try. Read more...

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