Everyone needs a good Classic Homemade Chili recipe and this one is simply perfect! It’s made with ground beef (or ground turkey) and I’ve included tips for how to make chili on the stovetop or in the slow cooker.

Chili is such a versatile and delicious comfort food. It shines as a main dish (along side some Homemade cornbread of course!) or serve it over a baked potato, on top of Cornbread Waffles, or on Spaghetti Squash.

Overhead view of a white bowl full of chili with sour cream and shredded cheese on top and a spoon in it.

I think we can all agree that a basic chili recipe is something everyone should have in their recipe file! I’m talking about a no-nonsense chili with meat and beans, that’s super flavorful but simple and easy to make. You could substitute ground turkey to make it turkey chili, or leave the meat out all together (and add more beans) to make vegetarian chili.

How to make Chili in 3 simple steps:

  1. Cook onions. Cook the onions in olive oil for about 5 minutes until they are tender and start to get a little bit golden and caramelized.
  2. Add meat. Add the ground beef and sausage cook until browned. Remove grease.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and simmer.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for at least an hour, to allow the flavors to blend. Serve with a spoonful of sour cream and shredded cheese.
Three process photos for making chili in a saucepan.

Additional Add-in Ideas:

This is a great basic chili recipe and you can easily customize it to add other things you like, like:

  • Cooked Bacon
  • Diced Bell pepper
  • Chopped Celery

You can also make this a meatless chili by leaving out the ground beef and ground sausage and doubling the beans. Or check out my spicy chili!

To Make Chili in the Slow Cooker:

Cook the onion and brown the meat in a large skillet. Add the remaining ingredients to a large slow cooker and stir in the cooked meat and onions. Cook on low for 5-7 hours.

Chili in a large saucepan with a ladle scooping some up

Freezing Instructions:

Allow to cool and then add to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then reheat on the stovetop for 20-30 minutes.

Serve Chili with:

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Recipe

Overhead view of a white bowl full of chili with sour cream and shredded cheese on top and a spoon in it.
Prep 10 mins
Cook 2 hrs 10 mins
Total 2 hrs 20 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion , diced
  • 2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes , undrained
  • 4 cups tomato juice *
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 15 ounce cans pinto beans , undrained
  • 16 ounce can can kidney beans , undrained
  • 1 Tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons chili powder
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or more if you want it spicier)
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Sour cream (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Add the olive oil to a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the ground beef and sausage to the pot and cook, breaking apart into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned. Drain any grease.
  • Add the vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato juice, ketchup, beans, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic salt, pepper, paprika, cumin and cayenne.
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring, then reduce the heat and simmer over medium-low heat for a at least one hour, or up to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve in bowls with a dollop or sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese on top.
  • Serve chili with: cornbread, biscuits, or a green salad.

Video

Notes

Tomato Juice: I usually buy a 46 ounce can and don’t use all of it. You could drink the extra, make a veggie/fruit smoothie with it, or save it for another soup. A good tomato juice substitute for this recipe is 2 cups tomato sauce + 2 cups of water.
Meatless Chili: omit the meat and double the beans.
Spiciness: As written, this chili is pretty mild. If you’d like to make it spicier, add more cayenne pepper, chopped jalapeños (canned or fresh), or hot sauce. 
Slow Cooker: Cook the onion and brown the meat in a large skillet. Add the remaining ingredients to a large slow cooker and stir in the cooked meat and onions. Cook on low for 5-7 hours.
Instant Pot: Turn Instant Pot to Saute and brown the onion and meats. Drain the grease. Add everything else and cook on high pressure for 20-30 minutes to concentrate the flavors quicker than on the stovetop.   
Freezing Instructions: Freeze chili in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat on the stovetop for 20-30 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 517kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 32gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 1193mgPotassium: 1488mgFiber: 11gSugar: 23gVitamin A: 2103IUVitamin C: 40mgCalcium: 118mgIron: 7mg

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This homemade chili I made for the first time is simply awesome and my son is a cook and he was very very impressed thank you I will be baking of fixing or cooking this again .

  2. 5 stars
    Best chili recipe I have tried. My new go to. My husband was also a huge fan! I did add two whole jalapeños to up the heat a little.

  3. 5 stars
    The BEST CHILI I have ever made..flavorful, rich, just delicious…yummy..I finally found the chili I will cook forever..thx for sharing:)) Alice Cooper

  4. 5 stars
    5 ⭐️
    The best Chile recipe I’ve ever made, hands down !!
    I made three huge crock pots of this paired with bacon honey cornbread. Every bite eaten by hungry house builders. I added crispy thick pieces of Smokey bacon, half a pound to each batch. This received rave reviews n requests for this recipe. I’ll not be searching for another chili recipe. This is a keeper.

  5. 5 stars
    First time making chili and I was very nervous because I had some tough critics! This was not only super simple but everyone loved it and the left overs where brought to work for lunch every day. I did not have ketchup so I added one extra cup of tomato juice and I also didnt have the red wine vinegar so I omitted it. Definitely a favorite meal in our house

  6. 5 stars
    Oh. My. Word. Seriously, so good. 10 for 10 recommend. I will definitely be making this again, and again. 🙂

  7. Hi there, I have a question for you. Why do you use tomatoe juice? Would using tomatoe sauce be ok as a substitute? Thank you

  8. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe!
    I could taste the slightest hint of red wine vinegar. Combined with the brown sugar, tomato juice, and the rest really worked well! Thank you…

  9. 5 stars
    I just made this recipe tonight for dinner. It came out so good😋 and also was easy recipe to follow too. My family so love it♥️. My side was collards maybe odd, but enough way. I plan to post it in Instagram 😁. Also this is a recipe I will continue to make. God bless♥️👍🏾. Keep doing what you do👏🏾

  10. 5 stars
    This was a great recipe to take to a group gathering. Went so well over baked potatoes. Thanks for sharing the recipe. It is definitely a keeper.

  11. Did this need to specifically be “pork sausage” or is ground pork a fine substitute. Couldn’t find pork sausage in store.

    1. You can use ground pork, you just may want to add some seasonings to it like Italian seasoning, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, and paprika.

  12. 5 stars
    This is the best chili i have made. Made it 3 or 4 times now.. I cook it in 2 instant pots. In one I cook dry beans to mix in later. I do the rest using the saute function on the instant pot other. I think from a health standpoint that there is probably too much sugar with the ketchup, but from a taste standpoint, i would recommend making the recipe as closely as possible to the original before you change it. Daughter is becoming a vegetarian so i need to find a good vegetarian chili recipe next. 🙂

  13. 5 stars
    I’ve cooked chili beans for years!!! These are the best Chili beans by far!!! I’ve made them one time, best find ever…

  14. Did you use Jimmy Dean sausage? I’m not sure sage would be good for this chili. If not, what type do you recommend? Thank you.

  15. My favorite chili recipe and I have made many over last 60 years! I substitute a can of mild rotel tnstead of tomatos and I use v8 instead of tomato juice.

  16. My sister made this and absolutely raved over it. I went and got all the ingredients to make it, but got ground italian sausage. I got to thinking that it might have meant pork breakfast sausage. Will what I purchased be ok, or should I go get the other kind? Thanks!

    1. You can cook your own beans. 3/4 cup dried beans = 15 oz can. Cook them on low in a crock pot over night with 2 cups of water and 1/4 tsp. salt per 3/4 cup of beans.

      Whether using canned beans or dried beans, just always make sure you’re using organic beans. Otherwise, most bean farmers spray their bean crop with Roundup a few days before harvest to dry out the plant.

  17. 5 stars
    Made today awesome….great flavor. Family loved it. Topped each bowl with shredded cheddar cheese. Served with honey corn muffins. Awesome

  18. 5 stars
    I used deer meat in mine and added some red pepper flakes and bread crumbs to thicken. It was amazing !!! All these years I thought I didn’t like chili, turns out I do. Thank you so much for the recipe my husband was impressed!!

  19. 2 stars
    I hate to leave a bad review but this taste like sloppy joe mix. I tried adding more spices, coco powder, baking soda to mellow out the tomato taste and nothing. I made this for my husband to take to work for the up coming week since he works out of town but sadly this can not go with him because it’s that bad. I don’t mind it as a frito pie with lots of onions, cheese and Fritos but him not so much. If you do not like sloppy joe flavor DO NOT add 1cup of ketchup, a complete fail.

  20. 5 stars
    I made this chili this past weekend. It was the first time I ever made chili. I tweaked it a little and adjusted some of the spices to suit my husband’s tastebuds. He said it was the best chili he ever ate and he’s eaten a lot of chili throughout his 53 years. I guess I finally have a signature dish, haha. Tonight, I plan on making macaroni and cheese with a good portion of the chili mixed in. I also plan on making the chili again next weekend since we’re supposed to have a polar vortex. Thank you so much for this recipe!

  21. 5 stars
    I have always loved chili but the rest of my family does not. I made this one night and everyone was obsessed with it. Now I am begged to make chili all the time. I do have a question. Are the nutrition facts for 1 serving or the whole thing?

  22. 5 stars
    This is by far the best chili recipe in have ever made. I was a little nervous about the ketchup and brown sugar, but the chili did not taste too sweet. No changes needed to the recipe – it is perfect as is!

  23. I’ve made this recipe many many times and it’s our favourite! At the moment I’m pregnant and have gestational diabetes. I see the recipe says there are 52g of carbohydrates, is that in the entire dish? Or for a serving? I’m only allowed a max of 30g or carbs at dinner so I’m just wondering how much I should serve myself to keep my numbers down! Thanks for a great recipe

    1. 5 stars
      I should add that this time I didn’t add the ketchup at all, nor any of the brown sugar. But usually we make it identical to your recipe and it’s perfect!

  24. 1 star
    My family has been following the weekly meal plans up to this point happily. This was the first major disappointment for us. Most of us couldn’t eat the chili resulting from the recipe as written. Way too sweet and soupy for our taste. You’re better off using the recipe as a suggestion and making the chili you already know you like. This was a major bust. Really sad after weeks of successes.

    We ended up having to throw out all of it and cook a different dinner since no one would eat it. Money wasted. Time wasted. Faith lost.

  25. Honestly, I’m from Texas and this doesn’t taste anything like chili to me. It tastes more like meat soaked in barbecue sauce. It’s far too sweet and it’s just not what I think chili should taste like.

  26. 5 stars
    YAAASSSSS!!!! This is my first time leaving a review on a recipe before. I was nervous because the reviews weren’t *insanely* high, and that’s what I try to go for when I’m cooking a huge meal for my little family since we’ll have l its of leftovers.
    Anyway– this was DELICIOUS. I appreciate the notes about adding more spices here and there, depending on flavor. I used spicy chili beans instead of plain, and I also heaped the cayenne pepper. I added more black pepper than it called for as well, and oh-my-gosh it was so yummy! The perfect amount of heat without it being *spicy*.
    Oh! I also had a small handful of baby carrots that needed to be eaten, so I cut those up and threw them in there too. 😂 My husband is super picky, and he loved it. (I didn’t tell him there were carrots in there…) The chili was also a hit with the two teenagers, though my 4 year old protested the whole time.
    Anyway– thanks for the recipe!

  27. 5 stars
    This is the absolute best recipe, quick & everyone loves it. I serve it with cheese, sour cream & tortilla chips. It’s a keeper for sure!

  28. 4 stars
    Pretty good recipe except for cooking meat after the onions. Brown the meat first and drain on paper-towel lined baking sheet. Add it back when onions are almost translucent. Also add some Hatch chiles for “zip” and masa to thicken near the end of simmer.