Best Ever Chili Recipe

This is the best chili recipe, if I do say so myself! This classic beef chili is the perfect blend of meaty richness simmered with hearty vegetables and warming spices. It’s a delicious, and comforting one-pot meal that will have the whole family begging for seconds.

A bowl of chili on a table with a spoon.

If you’re looking for a new answer to that pesky what’s-for-dinner question, I’ve got you covered. This one-pot wonder is a cinch to put together, and fills your house with enticing aromas as it simmers.

It’s the perfect chunky mix of ground beef, bacon, vegetables, and beans with a touch of heat. But don’t forget to add your favorite shredded cheese, sour cream, and a sprinkle of green onions to amp it up.

And bonus, this recipe is light on your wallet since it relies mostly on pantry staples. Let’s dig in!

Chili Ingredients

A few pantry items and some fresh meat and vegetables are all you need to put together this best chili recipe.

  • Bacon: Adds everyone’s favorite smoky flavor to the chili. Select uncured to avoid nitrites if you prefer.
  • Ground beef: Buy a good quality freshly ground beef between 80% and 90% lean.
  • Beef broth: You could add water to the chili but no one’s secret ingredient is water. Look for a good quality product beef broth that’s low in sodium.
  • Dried spices: Besides the usual suspects of chili powder and cumin, I add smoked paprika for a touch of campfire flavor.
  • Tomatoes: Almost any variety of canned tomatoes in their juices will work here, including fire-roasted.
  • Beans: I used canned black and red kidney beans which are classics in chili but you can use any bean you like.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below

Ingredients for the best chili on a table.

How to Make The Best Chili

This recipe is all about slowly adding in layers of flavors Here’s what you do.

  1. Cook the bacon. I let my bacon cook until it’s perfectly browned and crisp.
  2. Brown the ground beef. Cook the beef with the bacon and drain off the excess fat.
  3. Add the vegetables. Let the vegetables soften and meld together with the beef.
  4. Toast the spices. Add them to the vegetables and meat to bring out their full flavor.
  5. Add tomatoes and beans. Then give everything a good mix.
  6. Simmer the chili: Cook this low and slow for about 30 minutes for maximum deliciousness!
A big pot of chili with a large serving spoon in it.

Can You Make Chili Ahead of Time?

You know it! Here are a couple of make-ahead tips.

  • Get a jump on your chili prep by chopping the vegetables and mixing your dried spices together the day before.
  • Mix your dried chili spices in larger quantities so you can spoon out just what you need, when you need it.
  • Chili always tastes better the day after you make it. Whip up a pot on the weekend and enjoy it as a quick dinner during the week.

What Do You Put On Top of Chili?

Almost anything tastes great on top of this classic chili. Here are a few of my favorites.

  • Cheese. Anything from shredded cheddar to cotija to feta works well.
  • Onions: Sliced green onions, diced sweet or yellow onions, or red onions go perfectly with chili. If the bite of red onion is a little strong for you, run the diced onion under running water and pat dry.
  • Jalapeños: If you like spice, diced fresh or pickled jalapeños are delicious here.
  • Sour cream. The creamy coolness plays nice with the warm spices.
  • Cilantro or Parsley: Whole leaves or chopped, they gives a nice herbal pop.
Two bowls of chili on a table with spoons in them.

Ways To Serve

Typically, I’ll just eat it straight out the bowl with toppings. But here’s a few other ways to serve it.

  • Pour it over rice, cauliflower rice, or quinoa for a much heartier meal.
  • Ladle a spoonful into a small bowl as an appetizer or side. It’s great for parties, gatherings, and of course Super Bowl

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Chili freezes incredibly well, which makes it great for meal prepping.

  • To Store: Place cooled chili in an airtight container and store for up to 5 days in the fridge. 
  • To Freeze: Use a freezer-safe bag or container and store for up to 2 months in the freezer. 
  • Reheat This: Thaw the chili either overnight in the fridge or in the microwave. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave. If the chili thickens too much for your taste, add a bit of water or beef broth.
Two bowls of chili next to a little bowl of shredded cheese and spoons.

Chili Recipe Video

Watch how I make this recipe step-by-step. Click on the video below! 

More One-Pot Winter Recipes

Want more delicious dinner ideas? These one-pot or one-pan recipes sure come in hand during the busy weekdays. 

This big pot of chili will surely satisfy all your comfort food cravings. So, if you make this, I’d love to hear what you think in a comment below!

A bowl of chili next to chopped cilantro on a table.

Best Ever Chili Recipe

4.99 from 91 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
This is the best chili recipe that's a classic blend of meaty richness simmered with garden-fresh vegetables and warming spices. Watch the video above to see how I make it!

Recipe Video


  • 4 strips bacon, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon paprika, or smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 28 ounces fire-roasted diced tomatoes, you can use diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounces red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • avocado, red onion, shredded cheese, for garnish


  • Heat a large pot on medium heat, add the sliced bacon and cook until crispy, stirring occasionally and scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat if bacon is browning too quickly.
    Bacon bits cooking in a large white pot.
  • Add the onion, and bell pepper to the pot, stirring frequently. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables have softened. Add the garlic and stir for another 30 seconds.
    Bacon bits, diced onion and bell pepper in pot.
  • Add the ground beef, breaking into small pieces with a spatula, until cooked through. Strain off any accumulated liquid and fat from the pot.
    Raw ground beef and chili ingredients in a pot.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir in the tomato paste, and dried spices, and cook until they are fragrant, about 2 minutes.
    Sauteed beef, spices, and tomato paste in a pot.
  • Add the canned tomatoes with juices, drained beans, beef broth, and bay leaf. Give it a stir.
    Beans and tomatoes being added to a large pot of chili.
  • Increase the heat to high until the chili comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally.
    Chili being cooked in a large white pot with a serving spoon.
  • To serve, remove bay leaf. Ladle servings into individual bowls. Garnish with avocado, red onion, cheese, cilantro or any other toppings.
    A bowl of chili garnished with cheese, avocado, red onion and cilantro.

Lisa’s Tips

  • Serving Size: This recipe makes 9 cups, enough for 6 good-sized servings.
  • To Store: Place cooled chili in an airtight container and store for up to 5 days in the fridge. 
  • To Freeze: Use a freezer-safe bag or container and store for up to 2 months in the freezer. 
  • To Reheat: Thaw the chili either overnight in the fridge or in the microwave. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave. If the chili thickens too much for your taste, add a bit of water or beef broth.
  • To control the amount of salt in your chili, choose unsalted beef broth, beans, canned tomatoes, and tomato paste.
  • Bacon can be tricky to slice. To make it easier, place your bacon in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to firm it up.
  • Want to spice this up even more? Add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper!
  • Make sure to use a large pot, to accomodate all these ingredients. My favorite is the beautiful Le Creuset dutch oven you see pictured.


Calories: 512kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 40g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 83mg, Sodium: 1153mg, Potassium: 1180mg, Fiber: 15g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1816IU, Vitamin C: 22mg, Calcium: 131mg, Iron: 9mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef chili, best chili recipe, chili recipe
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224 comments on “Best Ever Chili Recipe”

  1. This was my first time making chili and I was so excited to use your recipe. I made it for dinner tonight and it turned out perfectly! It was delicious, and I even made extra to store in the freezer. I already knew I’d be obsessed with it. It’s so good!5 stars

  2. Wonderful. Guest I had over, loved it also! 5 stars

  3. Flavor is very balanced, I added a little bit of Anchovy to add more depth. It turned out great! Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

  4. Your chili recipes have become my go to chili base. I’ve found I like it with a poblano in place of the bell pepper. I always add chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and only do one 14 oz can of tomatoes as we like a little less acidity. Tonight we made it with ground bison, sweet potato, and a smidgen of cinnamon. Delicious!5 stars

  5. Hi Lisa, this chili recipe is the best and so happy I found you as all your recipes are AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS. 5 stars

  6. Our favourite chili recipe! I make it a lot for my boyfriend’s parents and they love it! The four of us eat all 6 portions. Of course in that case I take the spiciness down a notch, and we also like sweet corn in it. 😋5 stars

  7. Does heating this in a crockpot for a few hours instead of simmering on stove affect the flavor and texture?

  8. About to make this for the second time. Every one of Lisa’s recipe are perfect.5 stars

  9. On a last minute whim looking for a quick easy chili recipe I found this one and wow was it good! The best part about it is that it isnt spicy hot at all (So if you like it hot you can add the peppers to taste) which made it a great chili for my 5 and 10 year old boys.5 stars

  10. OMG! This is so delicious. I love the hint of bacon in every bite!  It’s simple and easy and full of flavor!5 stars

  11. I absolutely loved this recipe!!! The instructions were so easy to follow. It has all the perfect flavors and textures to complement the chili.5 stars

  12. Lisa: This chili checks all the boxes of yummy comfort food. It is So good.
    This will be my go to recipe for chili.
    Thanks Lisa.5 stars

  13. Never thought I would find a recipe of yours that we like more than Turmeric Chicken… but this might be the one. Adding it to football season’s Soup Sunday rotation, where it joins White Chicken Chili at the top! Thanks as always. 5 stars

  14. does halving the recipe impact the flavor? I only have a 3.5 qt Dutch oven so I’m afraid it won’t fit 

  15. Great flavor – easy directions – great recipe 5 stars

  16. Husband wants to know – could you split the ground beef into half ground beef, half ground sausage? How do you think that would taste? He would love to try this as a three meat chili.