This is the BEST Classic Chili recipe, it is full of flavor and is hearty and comforting! It is loaded with ground beef, beans, onions and garlic in a richly seasoned tomato base.There is also a pinch of ground clove and ground allspice to bring depth of flavor and warmth. The flavor is amazing and it is nice and thick, like a chili should be!
I might even go as far to say you could win a chili cook off contest with this recipe!?
If you want to make quick work of your chili, check out this recipe for Instant Pot Chili. If you like it spicy, really spicy, check out this recipe for Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Chili. Or if you want a chicken chili give this White Chicken Chili Recipe a try!
Make it Ahead
Chili can absolutely be made ahead and kept in the fridge for a busy night. The flavors will develop as it sits in the fridge and you end up with super flavorful chili.
You can keep it for up to 4 days and then reheat on the stove top to serve. You may need to add a few splashes of water to loosen it up a bit, as it will thicken in the fridge.
You can also FREEZE your chili!! Simply make the recipe completely, cool it, and then pop it in freezer safe container, allowing for some expansion during the freezing process.
You can freeze it in one large batch or in single servings!
To thaw pop it in the fridge overnight and then simmer on the stove top to warm through for serving.
Or soak the chili (in it’s freezer container) in cool water, changing the water about every 30 minutes until it is thawed enough to scoop into a pot for warming on the stove top.
Or you can thaw the chili with the defrost function on your microwave.
Since chili is kind of a dump and stir type of soup it is really easy to change up the flavor to suit your family. Here are a few things to make this recipe your own:
- Use ground turkey instead of ground beef.
- Add a little spice and use spicy chili beans
- For extra spice add a pinch of cayenne or extra red pepper flakes.
- For extra extra spice add a chopped jalapeno when you saute the onions.
- Try using black beans instead of northern beans.
- Add 1 cup of chopped green peppers for a veggie heavy version of this chili.
- For a vegetarian version add a veggie crumble in place of the ground beef.
- Another vegetarian option would be to omit the beef all together and add an extra can of beans.
What to Serve with Chili
Nothing better than a big hearty bowl of chili on a cold or snowy night. Serve it up with ice cold milk, saltine crackers, and my recipe for Buttermilk Cornbread, Best Ever Cornbread or Garlic Cheddar Biscuits.
Another great way to serve Classic Chili is to put out a buffet of toppings for people to choose from:
- Sour Cream or Plain Greek Yogurt
- Shredded Cheese
- Chopped Green Onions
- Corn Bread
- Saltine Crackers
- 1 lb ground beef 80/20 or 85/15
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 3 large garlic cloves minced
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 celery stalks chopped
- 4 oz can chopped green chilies
- 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 16 oz tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- 15 oz can chili beans in sauce
- 15 oz can northern beans drained
- 1½ tablespoon sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon (heaping) chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- pinch of ground allspice
- pinch of ground clove
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- In a large pot over medium high heat saute the garlic, celery, and onions for 5 minutes,stirring often.
- Add the ground beef and cook, crumbling, for 5 minutes until cooked thru.
- Turn the heat to medium low and add the green chilies, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, water, both beans, sugar, and all the spices and seasonings. Stir to combine.
- Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the bay leaf before serving.
- This recipe can be made ahead and reheated on the stove top. You may need to add a little water to loosen it up.
If nutrition facts are provided they are calculated as an estimate to the best of our knowledge.
Originally Posted February 2018 – Copy updated October 2020