Seriously The Best Chili Recipe (5-star Beef Chili!) – Fit Foodie Finds

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best classic chilibeef chilichilichilichili

The best chili recipe you’ll ever eat is right here! Our classic beef chili is made with ground beef, beans, diced tomatoes, and a homemade chili seasoning.

4 bowls of beef chili with Fritos on top4 bowls of beef chili with Fritos on top

So many of you have made this chili recipe and loved it so much you keep coming back for more. This is hands-down our most popular chili recipe on Fit Foodie Finds and we can’t wait for you to make it!

Best Chili Recipe!

Chili for days you say? That’s right! This classic chili recipe will give you chili for days because boy does it serve a crowd. And, did we mention that it’s truly the best chili recipe on the internet?

This is truly the best chili recipe ever. It’s filling, flavorful, and fool-proof delicious. A big bowl of this is perfect for game day, a weeknight dinner, or even a fall party.

Why You’ll Love it

  • Amazing Meal Prep: Chili is an excellent meal prep idea because it will literally give you chili for days. This particular recipe serves 6-8 and you can easily double it and freeze for later! Plus, you can turn it into our Chili Mac and Cheese recipe for more variety!
  • Healthy: Our beef chili recipe is made with lean ground beef, beans, and tons of veggies making it high in protein, fiber. It’s also made with a homemade chili seasoning canceling out any additives you may find in the store-bought kind.
  • Made in No Time! In less than 45 minutes you can have dinner on the table!

Made with Classic Chili Ingredients

There’s a big debacle on the internet whether classic chili has beans or no beans. In my opinion, the best chili recipe is a base of ground beef, tomato, spices, and BEANS. I love the number of fiber beans add to this dish and I promise you won’t regret adding them.


The star of the show here is ground beef. I’ll give you one secret, the fat in your beef matters! We’re big fans of 80% or 85% fat because that little bit of fat adds so much flavor. If you go any leaner, you risk compromising flavor and texture.

Can I substitute a different ground meat? Ohhhh, if you must! Yes, ground chicken or turkey both work for this recipe. We’ve even made this chili recipe with a plant-based ground to make it vegetarian.


One of the reasons I love chili is because it’s made with tomato products. Thick, creamy, and so delicious. This recipe calls for 3 different kinds:

  1. tomato sauce (gives this recipe a delicious tomato flavor)
  2. diced tomatoes (adds great texture)
  3. tomato puree (helps to thicken and intensify the flavors)


While traditional beef chili does not call for beans, we like to up the anty a little bit in the nutrition department and include 2 different variations to make this the most epic chili beans recipe. Pinto beans and kidney beans add texture and fiber to this beef chili recipe.

Feel free to swap the beans for a different kind such as black beans, garbanzo beans, or cannellini beans.

Chili Seasoning

Do yourself a favor and make your own chili seasoning. I promise you the flavor is better AND there isn’t any added junk. Try our homemade chili seasoning and keep a batch in your cabinet at all times.

homemade chili seasoning ingredients

  • Chili powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Ground cumin
  • Smoked paprika
  • Salt
  • Ground pepper

#1 Secret Ingredient for THE BEST CHILI RECIPE

Every chili needs a little bit of sugar in some form to bring out all of the savory flavors from the chili seasoning. Our classic chili recipe calls for a little bit of maple syrup. It’s warm, unrefined, and absolutely delightful.

Don’t have maple? Swap it with some brown sugar or even some honey.

beef and onions in stockpotbeef and onions in stockpot

Chili 101

What is the best secret ingredient for chili? The best secret ingredient for chili is a little bit of sugar. Whether you use white sugar, brown sugar, or my favorite, maple syrup, a little bit of sugar will bring out all of the savory spices of your chili.

Does traditional chili have beans? Traditionally, chili used to be served without beans, but in my opinion, it’s so much better with beans!

How do you make chili more flavorful? To make chili more flavorful, we suggest using more homemade chili seasoning. We always recommend making your own spice blend at home because you can really control the flavor that way. Other ways to add more flavor include:

  • More salt
  • More heat (diced jalapeño, hot sauce, or green chiles)
  • Add a jar of salsa

What are good chili toppings? Good chili toppings include shredded cheese, green onion, sour cream or Greek yogurt, Fritos, tortilla chips, and chives.

How do you make chili spicy? To make this beef chili spicy, you can add a few tablespoons of diced jalapeños, poblano peppers, or green chiles. You can even add a few tablespoons of hot sauce.

stockpot of the best chili recipestockpot of the best chili recipe

How to make truly the BEST chili recipe!

Here is a quick rundown of How to Make Chili. Make sure to scroll all the way down to the recipe card to get the full ingredient list and instructions.

  1. Saute ground beef: add ground beef, onion, and garlic to a stockpot or Dutch oven and saute for 7-10 minutes to fully brown.
  2. Add rest of ingredients: Next, add the rest of the ingredients including the chili seasoning and mix to combine.
  3. Simmer: Bring chili to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Serve: Serve immediately with your favorite toppings!

Topping Ideas

In my opinion, chili isn’t chili without the toppings! I’ll share what we at our bowl of chili with and some other ideas.

  • shredded cheese
  • chips – tortilla or Fritos
  • green onions
  • Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • chives
  • hot sauce

Check it out!

Best Chili Mac and Cheese

Chili mac and cheese might be the best dinner of all time. Make it once and eat it all week long. Bonus, it’s kid-friendly and protein-packed! PS: the base of this chili mac is made from this beef chili recipe!

bowl of beef chili with cheese on topbowl of beef chili with cheese on top

Can I make this chili recipe in the Crockpot or Instant Pot instead?

This ground beef chili can easily be made in the slow cooker or Instant Pot. While we haven’t tried either of these methods, you can follow a similar method to the other crockpot and Instant Pot chili recipes we have on Fit Foodie Finds.

Crockpot Chili Recipes

Instant Pot Chili Recipes

Leftover Chili Ideas

Got leftovers? Here are a few ideas on how to repurpose this recipe:

Chili Baked Potatoes: Top either a baked potato or baked sweet potato with leftover chili and shredded cheese.

Chili Nachos: Are you a fan of nachos just like us? Place a bag of tortilla chips on a baking sheet. Then, top with leftover chili, shredded cheddar cheese, and other nachos toppings.

Chili Mac and Cheese: It doesn’t get much better than combining 2 of your favorite things into 1 dish. That’s exactly what we did in our Chili Mac and Cheese recipe.

Can I freeze beef chili?

Beef Chili is the perfect chili recipe to freeze! We wrote an entire post on how to freeze soup and it works the exact same way for chili.

  1. Let your beef chili cool completely.
  2. Then, transfer it into an airtgiht container or freezer-safe gallon-size bag.
  3. Remove as much air as possible and seal.
  4. Freeze for up to 3 months.

We recommend freezing in a freezer-safe gallon-size bag or freezer-safe storage container. Make sure that you remove as much air as possible before sealing.

How do I store beef chili?

Store beef chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

To reheat: Either place multiple servings of the beef chili back into the stockpot and heat over medium heat until boiling or place 1 serving of chili into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

bowl of beef chili with Fritos and shredded cheesebowl of beef chili with Fritos and shredded cheese


4.8 from 84 reviews

Best Chili Recipe

The best chili recipe you’ll ever eat is right here! Our beef chili is made with ground beef, beans, diced tomatoes, and a homemade chili seasoning.


15 minutes


30 minutes


45 minutes















  • 1

    lb. ground beef (we used 15% fat)

  • 1/2

    medium yellow onion, finely diced

  • 1 tablespoon

    minced garlic

  • 1

    15-oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1

    15-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1

    15-oz. can tomato sauce

  • 1

    15-oz. can diced tomatoes

  • 3 tablespoons

    tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon

    maple syrup

  • 3 tablespoons

    chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons

    garlic powder

  • 2 teaspoons

    ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoons


  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground pepper

  • 1 cup

    beef broth (chicken broth or water works too)

Optional toppings

  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • Fritos
  • green onion


  1. First, heat a large stockpot over medium/high heat.
  2. Then, add ground beef, yellow onion, and minced garlic and sauté for 7-10 minutes or until beef is fully browned.
  3. Next, add pinto beans, kidney beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and maple syrup to the pot and stir to combine.
  4. Add spices and 1 cup of broth and stir to combine.
  5. Bring beef chili to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes to thicken.
  6. Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Tips & Notes

Nutrition information is for 6 servings and does not include toppings.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size:















Lee Funke







Keywords: chili recipe

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