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5 from 5 votes

Beef Chili Recipe

Your search for the best chili recipe stops here! With just the right amount of zesty seasoning, this simple and easy beef chili recipe is thick, rich and incredibly flavorful!
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Keyword beef chili recipe, best chili recipe, easy chili, ground beef chili
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 8 cups
Calories 307kcal
Author Blair Lonergan


  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced (about 3 teaspoons)
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can whole tomatoes, not drained
  • 1 ¼ cups beef broth (plus extra broth to thin the chili at the end, if desired)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons chili powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons brown sugar (or increase to 1 tablespoon for a sweeter flavor)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less, to taste)
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can kidney beans or pinto beans, drained and rinsed (or sub with a can of corn, drained)
  • Optional, for serving: cornbread; corn chips; cheese; sour cream; sliced green onions/chives; cilantro; avocado; diced red onion


  • In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, sauté beef, onion, and garlic until the meat is no longer pink. Drain fat and return beef mixture to the pot.
  • Add the tomato paste, whole tomatoes and their juices, beef broth, chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, salt, bay leaf, oregano, and cayenne. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer the chili over very low heat for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Break up the big tomatoes with a wooden spoon or a fork as you stir.
  • Add the beans and simmer the mixture for 10-15 minutes longer. Thin the chili with extra beef broth, if necessary. Discard the bay leaf. Ladle into individual serving bowls and garnish with desired toppings.



  • Don't omit the sugar. It might seem odd, but the sugar helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes in the chili, creating a richer, multi-dimensional tomato flavor. It doesn't make the chili taste too sweet. Start with 1 teaspoon, and if you like an even sweeter taste, increase the amount to 2 teaspoons or up to 1 tablespoon.
  • Adjust the heat. The cayenne gives this beef chili recipe a spicy kick. If you prefer a less-spicy chili, omit this ingredient (it will still have plenty of zesty flavor from the chili powder). If you like a spicier chili, add a bit more cayenne.
  • Simmer the chili with the pot covered to trap the moisture. If you prefer a thicker consistency, you can remove the lid towards the end of the cooking time.
  • If the chili looks too thick, stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, or additional beef broth to thin.
  • Stir the pot occasionally as the chili simmers to prevent the bottom from scorching.
  • If you have the time, prepare this chili at least one day in advance. The flavors will come together and the chili will taste even better on day 2!


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 1083mg | Potassium: 976mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1139IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 6mg