If you’re a chili fan, you’re in the right place. This no-bean beef chili recipe is seriously the best! In fact, it just happens to be an award-winning chili recipe! And there’s really nothing like a good bowl of classic chili, especially as the weather cools down. It’s easy to make and is perfect for game day, a lazy winter evening or really anytime!

chili served in bowls with cheese, sour cream and avocado

I did not have beef broth on hand so I substituted with chicken broth, added 4 garlic cloves and used 1/2 ground turkey 1/2 ground beef. Turned out delicious!

— Katie

Raise your hand if you love chili! I know there are tons of chili recipes out there, but this beef chili is definitely a MUST try.

My whole family loves a good chili. But we are a bit picky about it. We like it:

  • Super thick!
  • Chunky, but not too chunky. You get me?
  • Spicy, but not like fire-in-your-mouth spicy. Just the cozy, warming, winter afternoon kind of spicy.
  • Simple. On most occasions, we don’t want any strange ingredients in our chili. Lentils, I’m looking at you!

So… with that, I’d like to introduce you to my dad’s award-winning classic chili recipe.

That’s right, this beef chili recipe is a cook-off champion! When I was just a kid, my dad experimented with his favorite chili recipe and entered it into our hometown chili cook-off. He ended up winning first place for overall BEST chili! And this recipe has been a favorite in our family ever since. You won’t be surprised he took home the blue ribbon, once you give this dish a taste!

Ingredients needed

One of the best things about chili recipes is that they’re completely versatile. I’ve listed our favorite ingredients below, but feel free to substitute or completely leave out any ingredient to suite your family’s taste preference. Here’s the lineup:

  • Ground meat. Any ground meat will work great. However, note that if you’re using ground beef with a higher fat content, you’ll want to drain off any excess grease after it’s cooked. I like to use lean ground beef for this chili recipe.
  • Onions. A must for most any soup or chili recipe!
  • Green bell peppers. Adds a slightly spicy and aromatic flavor. If you want to use red bell peppers instead, that works too!
  • Tomatoes. My dad’s recipe calls for stewed tomatoes, which are larger and softer than diced tomatoes. You can totally use either, though! For extra richness, add a few tablespoons of tomato paste.
  • Beef broth. I recommend using a low-sodium beef broth because then you can control the amount of salt in the meal.
  • Spices. We’re using a delicious blend of chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Feel free to use as much or as little as you prefer. For a bit of heat, add a dash or two of cayenne pepper.
  • For serving. Top your bowl of deliciousness with any favorites! We love sour cream, shredded cheese and diced avocado.

How to make this recipe

You may have tried other chili recipes, but this one’s definitely my favorite! It’s so flavorful and super easy! Here’s the simple process, but for the full, printable recipe, reference the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

  1. Sauté. The first step in making this is to sauté the ground beef with the onion and bell pepper in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. I cook the beef until just cooked through. It doesn’t need to cook too long because it will continue to cook as the ingredients simmer.
  2. Simmer. Add the rest of the ingredients – tomatoes, beef broth and spices into the pot. We typically add a couple tablespoons chili powder,  a couple teaspoons cumin and 1 teaspoon salt to start off. Now, it’s time to let everything simmer away! So easy! The longer it simmers, the more flavorful it will become.
  3. Serve. Once cooked to your liking, ladle into bowls and top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

My dad recommends letting the chili simmer over a couple of hours to let the flavors really shine. However, if you don’t have that kind of time, you can enjoy it after about 30 minutes of simmering. It’s even better the next day after all of the flavors really have a chance to meld together and become stronger. Yum!

browning ground beef in a large stock pot

Tips for recipe success

This is seriously the best chili recipe and it comes together with very little effort, but here are few tips to consider.

  • I use 90% lean ground beef. It’s got plenty of flavor without all the extra fat.
  • This recipe is very versatile. Feel free to add the amount of spices and other ingredients that you prefer.
  • This chili recipe makes for great leftovers and meal prep. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to one month.
  • Serve your chili with plenty of topping choices such as avocado, guacamole, cotjia cheese, cheddar cheese, cilantro, green onion, red onion, jalapeño slices, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, and/or crumbled corn bread.

Frequently asked questions

What is the secret ingredient for good chili?

As strange as it might sound, many people like to add ground cinnamon to chili. It brings a warmth to the dish, without being spicy. It combines well with other flavors commonly found in chili (like tomatoes, cumin and chile powder), so you only need a little bit to achieve the desired balance. If you’d like to give it a try, add about 1/2 teaspoon, taste and you can always add a bit more, if you’d like.

Can I make beef chili in a Crockpot?

Yes, this chili recipe can easily be made in your Crockpot! Using the slow cooker method for making chili is great. Because you’re cooking low and slow, the flavor will be rich and robust and the texture of the beef will turn out nice and tender. Six hours of slow cooking is perfect! For best results, sauté the onion, bell pepper and meat. Then, add the meat mixture along with all of the other ingredients to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. I don’t recommend cooking it on high.

Is beef chili healthy?

In my opinion, this particular version of beef chili is really nutritious, especially if you use a leaner meat. Healthy is subjective and means something different to everyone, but it’s packed with good-for-you ingredients. We’ve got veggies and high protein lean ground meat, so it is a balanced meal. And for one big bowl, the calories are just over 200 and the fat is only 6 grams, while the protein is 26 grams! This chili recipe can also easily be made paleo, Whole30 and gluten free.

add broth, tomatoes and seasoning to ground beef

Serving suggestions

Cornbread is the classic side dish for homemade chili, and my Low Calorie Mexican Cornbread Muffins or this incredible Mexican Cornbread (personal favorite) pair perfectly for a complete meal! Other great options include serving the chili over a baked potato, on a hot dog, or poured over french fries. There are so many different ways to enjoy it and you just can’t go wrong with this recipe!

Toppings

To add even more flavor to your bowl of chili, top with any of the following options!

  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sliced jalapeños
  • Diced avocado or guacamole
  • Chopped fresh cilantro

Recipe variations

While this is a classic version, there are many ways to customize it to your tastes.

  • Turkey chili. Use ground turkey instead of the beef. Or even a combo works – 1 pound turkey and 1 pound beef.
  • Beans. Add 1 to 2 (15-ounce) cans of dark red kidney beans.
  • Seasonings. Add 2 teaspoons smoked paprika and 2 teaspoons garlic powder for a different flavor option.
  • Three bean chili. Use a total of 3 1/2 cups of black beans, pinto beans and kidney beans.
  • Meat lovers chili. Use 2 pounds of cubed and browned stew meat instead of the ground beef.

How to serve leftovers

Turn your leftover chili into another meal with so many tasty options!

  • Pair with crackers, corn chips, tortilla chips or warm tortillas
  • Serve over rice
  • With fries or potato wedges
  • Stuffed inside baked potatoes
  • As Sloppy Joes piled high on hamburger buns
  • As a hot dog topping — Chili Dogs!

Storage recommendations

  • Storing leftovers. This will stay good in your fridge for about 1 week. Once it is completely cooled, just place it in an airtight container (or multiple, if you’d like to meal prep it) without any additional toppings and place it in the refrigerator. To reheat it, simply pop it in the microwave with a microwave safe bowl, or feel free to reheat it on the stovetop. Add your toppings once you’re ready to serve!
  • To freeze. This freezes beautifully and reheats really well. Follow the instructions above, but instead of placing it in the refrigerator just put it in your freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, simply thaw it overnight and reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave when you’re ready to eat. I like to keep some stocked in my freezer at all times – it makes such an easy and delicious dinner! It’s also great for meal prep! I freeze small batches for an easy lunch throughout the week. Or sometimes I make a double batch (using two large pots) then freeze a batch for dinner the next week or even month.
simmer chili for 30 minutes to 2 hours to cook chili

More recipes you’ll love:

Looking for more chili recipes? Try our other favs!

Helpful tools:

  • Le Creuset Signature Dutch Oven – If you’re open to spending a bit of money on a piece that you’ll own forever, Le Creuset is my favorite brand for heavy pots and cookware.
  • Lodge Dutch Oven – Lodge is a great brand as well. I own several of their cast iron skillets and have been very happy with them. This one is more budget-friendly, but still great quality!
  • Ground Beef Chopper – This cheap ground meat chopper is life-changing! I seriously don’t know why I waited so long to order one. Makes cooking ground meat so much easier.

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.

chili served in a bowl with a spoon and topped with cheese, sour cream, avocado and fresh cilantro
chili served in bowls with cheese, sour cream and avocado
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Beef Chili Recipe

If you’re a chili fan, you’re in the right place. This no-bean beef chili recipe is seriously the best! In fact, it just happens to be an award-winning chili recipe! And there’s really nothing like a good bowl of classic chili, especially as the weather cools down. It's easy to make and is perfect for game day, a lazy winter evening or really anytime!
Author: Kim

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef*
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 2 medium green bell peppers, diced (or 1 red bell pepper and 1 green bell pepper)
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed, crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans beef broth
  • chili powder & ground cumin, added to your desired taste , (You will most likely add a couple of tablespoons of chili powder and a teaspoon or two of cumin.)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Optional for serving: sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, fresh chopped cilantro, diced avocado or guacamole and sliced jalapeños

Instructions 

  • In a large stockpot (or dutch oven) over med-high heat sauté ground meat with diced onion and bell pepper until meat is just done. Don’t cook meat too long because it will continue to cook within the chili.
    sautéing ground beef with onion and green pepper
  • Add the rest of the ingredients in with the ground meat mixture, including seasonings; stir to combine. The amount of seasoning is up to you. You will most likely want to add seasoning as the chili cooks, tasting as the chili continues to cook. Bring the chili to a boil and then lower heat to simmer and cover.
    cooking beef chili in a large pot
  • Chili can be enjoyed in as little as 10-20 minutes after simmering. However, if you've got the time, allow chili to simmer for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally. The longer you allow the chili to cook, the tastier it will become. After simmering for preferred amount of time, ladle into bowls and top with any favorite chili toppings. We like sour cream, cheddar cheese, fresh cilantro, diced avocado and sliced jalapeños. So good! Enjoy!
    bowls filled with beef chili and topped with sour cream and cheese

Notes

*Use any ground meat you prefer. I’ve used ground turkey, bison, chicken and even a combo of 1 pound ground turkey and 1 pound ground beef. I like to use lean ground beef, but you can also use regular ground beef.
  • Storing leftovers. This will stay good in your fridge for about 1 week. Once it is completely cooled, just place it in an airtight container (or multiple, if you’d like to meal prep it) without any additional toppings and place it in the refrigerator. To reheat it, simply pop it in the microwave with a microwave safe bowl, or feel free to reheat it on the stovetop. Add your toppings once you’re ready to serve!
  • To freeze. Follow the instructions above, but instead of placing it in the refrigerator just put it in your freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, simply thaw it overnight and reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave when you’re ready to eat. 
 
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 205kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 338mg, Potassium: 736mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 880IU, Vitamin C: 34mg, Calcium: 61mg, Iron: 5mg

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