Bold and flavorful Spicy Chili made with ground beef, diced veggies, spices, and a definite kick of heat. It’s the type of hot chili recipe you wont be able to stop eating!

A bowl of Spicy Chili garnished with jalapeños and shredded cheddar cheese.

This spicy chili recipe was shared by a close friend who continues to win the prize for “best chili” at our annual chili party. It’s packed with flavor and spicy but easy to adjust to make milder, depending on your spice preference. Serve it alongside buttermilk cornbread or on top of a cornbread waffle!

How to make Spicy Chili:

  1. Brown the meat: In a large saucepan, brown the ground beef and ground sausage, using a wooden spoon to break it into small pieces as it cooks. Drain most of the grease and remove meat to a plate.
  2. Sauté veggies: add onion, bell peppers, and jalapeño peppers to the pot and sauté on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add remaining ingredients: spices, ketchup, lime juice, brown sugar, Worcestershire, vinegar, mustard, and V8. Stir well. Add beans, tomatoes, and salt and pepper.
  4. Simmer: Return the ground meat to the pot and bring the mixture to a low boil. Turn to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 1-2 hours.
Three process photos for making Spicy Chili in a pot.

Recipe Variations:

  • Slow Cooker: Follow steps 1 &2 and then add all ingredients to your slow cooker. Cook on low 2-3 hours.
  • Instant Pot: Use the sauté setting to brown the meat then sauté the veggies. Add remaining ingredients and select the chili/beans setting and cook for 20 minutes. Allow a natural release or use a quick release.
  • Sub meat: feel free to substitute ½ ground sausage or ground turkey.
  • Sub beans: you can substitute pinto or black beans instead of kidney beans if necessary.
  • Mild chili: for a more mild flavor, use regular V8, less jalapeño pepper, or regular diced tomatoes instead of fire roasted. Or, try my classic chili recipe.
  • Spicier chili: to make this chili even spicier, don’t remove the ribs or seeds from the jalapeño. You can also add hot sauce, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes or dice up another hot chili pepper. I recommend trying the recipe as stated and letting the flavors sit for a few hours before adding additional spice.
A pot full of cooked Spicy Chili, with a wooden spoon in it, ready to serve.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

Make ahead instructions: Make spicy chili up to 2 days ahead of time (depending on the freshness of your ingredients) and store in the refrigerator until ready to reheat and serve. Reheat on low on the stovetop.

Freezing instructions: Allow chili to cool completely and store in a freezer safe container or bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Recipe

A bowl of Spicy Chili garnished with jalapeños and shredded cheddar cheese.
Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
Total 1 hr 45 mins
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Ingredients
  

  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 1 green pepper , diced
  • 1 red bell pepper , diced
  • 1 medium onion , diced
  • 3 small jalapeno peppers , diced (seeds and veins removed for less spice)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup chili powder
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard
  • 3 cups spicy hot V8 , or regular
  • 16 oz can kidney beans
  • 1 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • salt and pepper

Instructions
 

  • In a large saucepan, brown the ground beef and ground sausage, using a wooden spoon to break it into small pieces as it cooks. Drain most of the grease and remove meat to a plate.
    A pot with cooked ground beef and a wooden spoon in it.
  • Add onion, bell peppers, and jalapeño peppers to the pot and sauté on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes.
    Browned ground beef, chopped onion and chopped bell peppers in a large pot.
  • Add spices, ketchup, lime juice, brown sugar, Worcestershire, vinegar, mustard, and V8. Stir well. Add beans, tomatoes, and salt and pepper.
    The ingredients for Spicy Chili in a large pot, ready to mix together.
  • Return the ground meat to the pot and bring the mixture to a low boil. Turn to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 1-2 hours.
    A pot full of cooked Spicy Chili, with a wooden spoon in it, ready to serve.

Notes

Slow Cooker Instructions: Follow steps 1 &2 and add all ingredients to your slow cooker. Cook on low 2-3 hours.
Instant Pot Instructions: Use the sauté setting to brown the meat then sauté the veggies. Add remaining ingredients and select the chili/beans setting and cook for 20 minutes. Allow a natural release or use a quick release.
Meat Substitute: feel free to substitute ½ ground sausage or ground turkey, or leave out the meat and add 2 more cans of beans, to make it vegetarian.
Beans: pinto or black beans would also work well.
Mild chili: for a more mild flavor, use regular V8, less jalapeño pepper, or regular diced tomatoes instead of fire roasted. Or try my classic chili recipe.
Spicier chili: to make chili even spicier, don’t remove the ribs or seeds from the jalapeño. You can also add hot sauce, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes or dice up another hot chili pepper. I recommend trying the recipe as stated and letting the flavors sit for a few hours before adding additional spice.
Make ahead instructions: Make spicy chili up to 2 days ahead of time (depending on the freshness of your ingredients) and store in the refrigerator until ready to reheat and serve. Reheat on low on the stovetop.
Freezing instructions: Allow chili to cool completely and store in a freezer safe container or bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 502kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 42gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 729mgPotassium: 1466mgFiber: 9gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 4161IUVitamin C: 60mgCalcium: 109mgIron: 9mg

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About The Author

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 looks wonderful. I noticed someone made a comment about not having sausage and just added the beef. The recipe doesn’t even have it listed as an ingredient. It just says 3 pounds of beef. How much sausage would you add in. All together how much if each, the beef and sausage? Thank you. ☺️

    1. Sausage would taste great in this chili. I’d do 2 lbs. ground beef and 1 lb. sausage but this recipe is very flexible!

  2. 5 stars
    So I was hesitant to try this recipe after reading the negative reviews, but I really wanted something different so I went for it. This chili had such a great taste. I did have to make a couple of changes, though. It was a bit too sweet when it was done. Also not as spicy as I like it. So I added another half of a can of diced tomatoes to kill the sweetness. I also added more seasonings like chili powder, cayenne pepper, and a little more cumin and salt. It really helped with the sweetness. I would also only do 1 cup of ketchup. I also added some of my own hot sauce. It came out so ridiculously good!! Definitely my new favorite chili!! I also add a secret ingredient to all of my chili recipes. 1 tbsp of cocoa powder! Trust me on this one! So good!!! Thanks for the recipe!!!!!

  3. 1 star
    Writing this review because the other recipes I’ve tried from this site have been a hit. Unfortunately this chili is a miss. It has so much stuff in it that the flavor at the end is just aggressive vinegar and ketchup.

    If you cut out the ketchup, lime juice, brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, vinegar, mustard, and V8 then doubled the beans and used cayenne pepper to hit the spice level you want this would be a great, normal chili recipe.

  4. 5 stars
    So…I needed a chili recipe to enter into our holiday cook off, and this was the one I chose. I don’t eat chili, so I was going by ingredients and in particular, spice. I placed FIRST in the competition! Thanks for the recipe! (By the way, I did try the dish and I’ve got to say, for someone who does not eat chili, it was pretty tasty!)

  5. 1 star
    This is probably the worst chili I’ve ever made. It’s not terrible but there’s a lot that That needs to be changed. How this ever one any kind of friendly competition is beyond me. Its hardly spicy at all. It does not need near the amount of ketchup that the recipe calls for. There’s no need for the brown sugar. The ketchup adds plenty of sweetness. It’s very under-seasoned. I would recommend doubling the spices in the recipe (maybe not the salt) and adding cayenne and smoked paprika. Maybe add a couple more jalepenos too. Definitely leave them seeded. I added some chilis in adobo sauce and the spices above and it helped a lot. I would double the beans as well.

    1. Respectfully it’s not that good. It’s too sweet. I followed the recipe to a T. It’s not spicy chili. It’s sweet chili.

  6. 3 stars
    Followed recipe exactly, but found it to be too sweet. The spice was good, but it was more of a BBQ sauce flavor than a chili flavor. I think 2 lbs of meat would be plenty…3 lbs was a lot of beef.

  7. 5 stars
    Ok so…WOW…I added crushed pepper, oregano and extra garlic and we crushed ritz crackers in after putting on top diced onion and cheese and a WOW this crazy awesome recipe goes in my special recipe book!

  8. 5 stars
    I’m always down to try a new chili, but what caught my eye was that this was spicy. It was delicious! It was a big hit at my house and loved that you could adjust the spice level. I thought it was even better the second day. Will definitely be making again.