Our Chili Recipe Will End Your Search For The Best Of All Time (2024)

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Hearty, filling, and versatile, chili is a staple comfort food for very good reason. If you’re looking for the most classic version to come home to after a long day, then this is the recipe for you. While many chili recipes call for simmering for at least an hour (sometimes even more), our best-ever beef chili can be made in just 40 minutes. Plus, the uses of this classic meal go way beyond being a simple weeknight dinner. Need to feed a big crowd? No prob—this recipe is easy to double (or even triple) too. Keep reading for all of our top tips to make the best chili possible for any occasion, anytime of year:

The secret to the best chili? Spice is key.
Everyone knows a good chili has a complex flavor, thanks in part to a bunch of different spices at work. Cooks swear by all sorts of spices in their chili—everything from cocoa to mustard powder. Here at Delish, these are the four we'll pretty much always use: chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, and paprika.

Top tips for making homemade chili:
Thicken it up. If your chili is thinner than you’d like, resist adding thickeners like flour or cornstarch. Instead, be patient: Let it simmer over medium-low heat until it reaches your desired consistency. Not only will this thicken your chili, but will build and concentrate the flavor.
Deepen the flavor. If you’re all about a rich tomato flavor in your chili, really spend the time to cook down your tomato paste. Cook it 2 to 3 minutes before adding the beef, until it starts to darken and stick to the pot. This will concentrate the sweetness of the tomato and cook out the “tinny” paste flavor.
Starting to burn? Immediately move the contents of your pot (don’t scrape the bottom to avoid the burnt part!) to another pot, adding extra liquid if needed as you bring it back up to a simmer. If it still tastes a little burnt, try adding some ground cinnamon—it will soak up the bitter, burnt taste and replace it with warming, spiced notes instead.
No need to cover. For quicker-cooking chili like this recipe, don’t cover the pot. We want the liquid in the chili to reduce, and leaving the lid off is crucial. If you're simmering the chili for a longer time, partially cover the pot to prevent the liquid from evaporating too quickly.
Beef is optional. If you love the heartiness of a beef chili but are trying to eat less red meat, ground turkey or chicken totally works with this recipe. If you'd prefer vegetarian chili, we've got you covered there too with our 3-bean recipe.
Beans? Debatable. Beans in chili are HOTLY contested in Texas. Texas chili is beanless (and pretty spectacular), but the rest of the country seems to love beans (including us!), so we're all for it. We use kidney beans in this recipe, but black, pinto, even white beans work.

How to top your chili:
We love to load up our bowls with cheese, sour cream, and scallions, but your options don’t stop there. Add some hot sauce to kick up the heat, give some crunch with your favorite crackers, or level up the creamy factor with sliced avocado.

Chili serving ideas:
Here at Delish, we love to serve our bowls of chili alongside (or on top of!) some homemade cornbread. Trust us—it’s a combo made in heaven. Go classic, or switch it up with Southern-style cornbread, jalapeño popper cornbread, or homemade biscuits if you're not feeling cornbread. Like we said, chili is more than just a simple weeknight dinner, so feel free to get creative in your serving. Use this recipe in our chili cheese dog casserole, with , or in our cornbread casserole recipe. Truly, the options are endless.

One of our favorite things about chili? It tastes even better the next day. If you have any leftovers, store them in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.

Have you made this recipe? Rate it and leave a comment below.

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6 serving(s)
Total Time:
40 mins


  • 1 tbsp.

    extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2

    large whiteonion, chopped

  • 3

    cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 2 tbsp.

    tomato paste

  • 1 1/2 lb.

    ground beef

  • 1 1/2 tbsp.

    chili powder

  • 1 tsp.

    dried oregano

  • 1 tsp.

    ground cumin

  • 1/2 tsp.


  • 1/4 tsp.

    cayenne pepper (optional)

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1

    (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes

  • 1

    (15-oz.) can kidney beans, drained

  • Shredded cheddar, sour cream, and sliced scallions, for serving


    1. Step1In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add tomato paste, stirring to coat vegetables. Add ground beef and cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Drain any excess fat.
    2. Step2Add chili powder, oregano, cumin, paprika, and cayenne (if using); generously season with salt and black pepper. Pour in tomatoes and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors have melded and liquid is slightly reduced, about 20 minutes; season with salt and black pepper, if needed.
    3. Step3Ladle chili into bowls. Top with cheese, sour cream, and scallions.

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Lauren Miyashiro

Freelance Contributor

Lauren Miyashiro is the former Food Director of Delish. She graduated culinary school in 2016 and mastered the art of the Crunchwrap in 2017.

Our Chili Recipe Will End Your Search For The Best Of All Time (2024)


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