Homemade Classic Chilli Recipe

Chili is a timeless classic, beloved for its hearty, filling nature and its ability to warm you up from the inside out. Whether you’re cooking for a crowd or just craving a comforting meal, homemade chili is the perfect choice. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll show you how to make the best homemade chili, packed with flavor and simple to prepare.

The Key to Flavorful Chili: Spice Selection

A good chili is all about the spices. To achieve that rich, complex flavor, we recommend using a combination of chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, and paprika. These spices work together to create a depth of flavor that will have your taste buds singing.

Tips for Perfect Homemade Chili

1. Thicken it Up

If your chili is thinner than you’d like, avoid using thickeners like flour or cornstarch. Instead, let it simmer over medium-low heat until it reaches your desired consistency. This not only thickens the chili but also intensifies the flavor.

2. Deepen the Flavor

For a rich tomato flavor, take the time to cook down your tomato paste. Cook it for 2 to 3 minutes before adding the beef, allowing it to darken and stick to the pot. This will concentrate the sweetness of the tomato and eliminate any tinny flavors.

3. Salvaging Burnt Chili

If your chili starts to burn, immediately transfer it to another pot, being careful not to scrape the burnt parts. Add extra liquid if necessary and bring it back up to a simmer. To remove any burnt taste, consider adding a pinch of ground cinnamon.

4. No Need to Cover

For quicker-cooking chili, do not cover the pot. Allowing the liquid to reduce with the lid off is essential for achieving the desired consistency. If simmering for a longer time, partially cover the pot to prevent the liquid from evaporating too quickly.

5. Beef or Not to Beef

While beef is a classic choice for chili, you can easily swap it out for ground turkey or chicken if you prefer a lighter option. For a vegetarian version, try our 3-bean chili recipe.

6. The Great Bean Debate

Beans are a hot topic in the world of chili. While traditional Texas chili is beanless, many love the added texture and flavor beans provide. We use kidney beans in this recipe, but feel free to experiment with black, pinto, or white beans.

Topping Ideas for Your Chili

There are endless possibilities when it comes to topping your chili. We love to load up our bowls with cheese, sour cream, and scallions, but don’t stop there. Add some hot sauce for extra heat, crunch up some crackers, or add sliced avocado for a creamy twist.

Serving Suggestions

Chili is incredibly versatile and can be served in a variety of ways. Serve it alongside some homemade cornbread for a classic pairing, or get creative with chili cheese dog casserole, mac & cheese, or cornbread casserole. The options are endless!

Storage Tips

One of the best things about chili is that it tastes even better the next day. Store any leftovers in the fridge for 3 to 5 days for a quick and easy meal option.

Recipe: Homemade Beef Chili


  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large white onion, 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. paprika
  • 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. In 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.
  2. Add ground beef and cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Drain any excess fat.
  3. Add 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.
  4. Ladle chili into bowls. Top with cheese, sour cream, and scallions.

Enjoy your homemade chili with friends and family, and savor the rich, flavorful taste that only a homemade dish can provide.


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