Best Classic Beef Chili

The classic beef chili dish never disappoints and is ideal when cooking for a crowd.

The lazy simmer secret

What makes most chili dishes so delicious, and this one, in particular, is the long simmer. Left for long enough, the onions, peppers, and tomatoes will thicken the chili to a perfect creamy texture. 

This chili can be cooked faster, in about 45 minutes, but if you want that perfect flavor you should let it simmer for double that time (1 ½ hours). You won’t regret it!

For the perfect Classic Beef Chili, make your own powder

Most chili powders out there combine other ingredients such as dried onions, garlic, smoked paprika, and so on. If you want to level your chili to a new level, you should add those extra seasonings yourself and find a pure ground chili powder that doesn’t blend any other flavors to use as your base.

Make sure to watch out how much pure chili powder you’re using if you opt for this method as there might be some hard-to-handle spicy consequences. Also, make sure that the type of chili the pure powder is made of is in line with the level of spiciness you are after so you don’t accidentally skip a few levels of spice.  

How to make this Classic Beef Chili your own

  • For this recipe, you can use black, kidney, pinto beans, or a mix. While they are interchangeable, black beans give the best flavor.
  • Adjust the level of chili powder to fit your preference. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even combine two or more types of chili powders. 
  • For a different protein, you could choose ground turkey or pork. Pork would be closer in flavor to the classic recipe, but the turkey will shave off some calories of the final product. 
  • For some extra flavor, you could also add some of your personal favorites such as zucchini, squash, or even carrots.

Toppings for your Chili

A very important part is to not forget the toppings, and there are plenty to choose from! Here are some of the most popular choices out there: 

  • Chopped onions
  • Chopped jalapeños
  • Sour cream
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Grated sharp cheddar

Leftover Chili

If you find yourself with leftover chili it means that you either love this dish and got carried away with how much you made or you didn’t invite enough friends to join you for the meal. Regardless, the chili will last a little over a week in the fridge (although the flavor is no longer that great after about four days) and around three months if you freeze it.

Best Classic Beef Chili

Recipe by therecipestack


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Cooking time




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The classic beef chili dish never disappoints and is ideal when cooking for a crowd.


  • For the chili
  • 2 cups water

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef

  • 2 sweet bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, or mixed), diced

  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole, crushed or puréed tomatoes

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans of black beans or kidney beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder, or to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder, or to taste

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons oregano

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • For the garnishes
  • Chopped onions

  • Chopped fresh jalapeños

  • Sour cream

  • Fresh cilantro

  • Grated sharp cheddar


  • Fry the onions, garlic, and ground beef:
    Add and heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Once ready, add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions soften, stirring often. After that add the ground beef as well as the salt and pepper. Cook until the beef is no longer pink and make sure the meat is broken up into small pieces – you can do that with a potato masher. 
  • Add the peppers and spices:
    Add the chili powders, cumin, oregano, and diced bell peppers to the pot. Cook, stirring, for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes:
    Add the water and the tomatoes to the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Cook the chili:
    Once boiling, turn to low heat and simmer for a minimum of 45 minutes or up to 1 1/2 hours (the longer the better!).
    If the mixture is getting too thick for your taste you can add more hot water during cooking, 1/2 cup at a time.
  • Add the corn and beans:
    Add the corn and beans and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Taste and add more spices if needed.
  • Enjoy!

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