The best chili recipe I have ever made! It’s packed with ground beef, bacon and 3 kinds of beans with just the right combination of spices for the perfect flavor! Top it off with a little sour cream and shredded cheese, Yum!
You all have been loving our award winning Instant Pot chili for quite some time now, but this one is better. I can’t believe I’m saying that because the Instant Pot version is the bomb, but this is THE BEST!
Now, I’ve actually never been a chili fan. Spicy is not my thing and growing up I didn’t like ground beef and wasn’t a huge bean fan so chili was definitely not my favorite. But then I became intrigued, and all from one story…
My sister once called me later at night and I was juuust about to go to sleep. I knew she’d just been on a date so I answered to hear the details. No. No this was not a, “best date ever” call, but a “you will not believe the awkwardness” call.
He had called last minute and asked if she could pick him up. “Oh sure” she replied, totally not worrying about it as they were nearing the end of college and maybe his car was out of luck. So she picks him up and he tells her he actually doesn’t have a car, or a job, nor is he actually in school. Instead he’s pursuing breakdancing.
Best Thing I’ve Ever Eaten
Which is fine, there’s probably some good ones out there, but as he later showed her, he wasn’t one of them. But I’m distracted. So this kind boy tells her, I’m taking you out for the very best thing I’ve ever eaten. “You’re going to love it,” he says. Right up at the light, then head straight down main, take a left at this light and straight down until it’s on the left hand side. Wendy’s.
Well again, she’s so kind and gives him a chance. They get inside and he orders two baked potatoes with chili. Whhhhhaaaaaa? This is the BEST thing you’ve ever eaten? Ahhhhh that date didn’t end up going anywhere, haha, but it sure sparked something in me! I vowed to discover the best chili ever and while it started as a funny joke I ended up falling in love with chili! Jokes on me!
What Ingredients Do I Need to Make the Best Chili?
So I thought I had found the best chili even in our Instant Pot chili recipe, but then I made this stove top version, and this is the absolute best. If you are familiar with our IP version, the ingredients are similar with just a couple of additions for this recipe. This is what you will need:
- Ground Beef
- Kidney Beans
- Pinto Beans
- Black Beans
- Fire Roasted Tomatoes
- Tomato Paste
- Red Onion
- Red Bell Pepper
- Beef Stock
- Cocoa Powder
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
- Smoked Paprika
- Chili Powder
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Sour Cream
The measurements for each ingredient can be found in the recipe card down below.
How to Make the Best Chili Recipe
Making this homemade chili is so simple and the depth of flavor fabulous. I’m so obsessed! Here are the basic steps:
- Cook the bacon until crisp in a large pot, then remove to a plate lined with a paper towel.
- Add the onions and pepper and cook until tender.
- Add the ground beef and cook until browned.
- Drain any grease.
- Add the remaining ingredients and 3/4 of the bacon stirring everything to combine.
- Let it simmer over medium low heat.
- Serve with your favorite chili garnishes and side of skillet cornbread!
All the details can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.
Does Chili Have To Have Beans?
Some chilis, such as Texas chili, actually forbid the use of beans.
Other chili recipes call for beans. I love the heartiness that beans add!
How Long Will Chili Keep?
Chili will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Can Chili Be Frozen?
Cool chili completely.
Place in container with a tight fitting lid, or in freezer bags and freeze for 4-6 months.
What is the Difference Between and Yellow Onion and a Red Onion?
A red onion has a slightly more mild flavor than a yellow onion when served raw and can help to mellow out a tomato based dish instead of the more bold yellow or white onion.
So no one ever needs to take a date to Wendy’s for the “best thing you’ve ever eaten” because you can just make the best chili recipe right at home and it’s so simple! Now excuse me while I go work on my breakdancing moves and work off that second bowl of chili I just ate! Lol!
Here are some more CHILI RECIPES that you’ll love:
- Award Winning Instant Pot Chili
- Instant Pot Turkey Chili
- Brisket Chili
- Ground Beef Enchilada Chili
- Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili
- Pumpkin Apple Cider Chili
- White Chicken Chili
- Surprise Chili
- White Bean Turkey Chili
- Dr Pepper and Chocolate Chili
- Healthy One Pot Chili Mac
- All our Chili, Soup, and Stew Recipes here!
Best Chili Recipe
- 1 1/2 Pounds Ground Beef
- 6 Strips Bacon, good quality, chopped
- 1 Can Kidney Beans, 15 oz., drained
- 1 Can Pinto Beans, 15 oz. drained
- 1 Can Black Beans, 15 oz. drained
- 1 Cans Tomatoes, 15 oz. Fire Roasted with juice
- 1 Can Tomato Paste, 6 oz.
- 1 Red Onion, chopped
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced *optional
- 2 Cups Beef Stock
- 1 Tablespoon Oregano, dried
- 2 teaspoons Cumin
- 1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
- 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper, ground
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
- 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced
- Sour Cream
- Cheese, shredded
- In a large pot, cook the bacon until crisp, stirring often to cook evenly.
- Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate.
- Add the onions and peppers and cook until tender.
- Add the ground beef and cook until browned.
- Drain off any excess grease, we just tilt the pot and use a large spoon.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients and 3/4 of the bacon and stir to combine.
- Cook for a minimum of 45 minutes. If you have the time, it is best if it simmers all day or as long as possible.
- Serve with sour cream, cheese, cilantro and the remaining bacon.
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I will be making this again for Super Bowl. My family really enjoys this chili recipe. The only thing I do different is I add a can of Rotel spicy diced tomatoes instead of the plain fire roasted as the Rotel brand already has the minced jalapeños in it so it saves a step. It’s really delicious and a our favorite topper is a handful of oyster crackers and some shredded cheddar. Super yummy!
Hi Suzan! That sounds so perfect! I’m so glad you enjoy this recipe!
I like this recipe for the ingredients, the ratio of beans to beef and broth, and the sweet/savory mix of fire roasted tomatoes/cocoa powder, but I really think this needed more seasoning. The beef itself was pretty bland, but I think that could have been prevented by adding the seasoning to the beef when it’s almost done cooking. We added twice the chili powder, smoked paprika and garlic, plus a little onion powder as well and enjoyed it much more. **I did not try any jalapeño, since I don’t care for their flavor profile… that may have changed it for the better.
Hi Meagan! Thank you so much for the feedback! You can definitely add the seasoning to the beef if that’s what you prefer. And you can definitely amp up the seasonings if you want more flavor!
Maybe I’m crazy, but this tasted pretty bland.
Even after adding the optional jalepeño.
I let it simmer for 18+ hrs, but the flavor just never arrived. I added another 1/4tsp of salt and a 1/4tsp cayenne pepper, started to taste like something. Let it simmer for a few more hours… still felt like omg this just taste like ground beef and beans, so I mixed up a half batch of all the other seasonings, including more cayenne, minus the salt, put them in a shaker bottle and added a little at a time until I could taste something, hand to g-d I started worrying that I had Covid because I couldn’t believe how bland this was, I thought surely I’d lost my sense of taste. I’ll try this recipe again in the future, but maybe I need to season the beef first next time? Unsure where it went wrong.
Hi Christine! That does sound pretty dang crazy with the flavor packed ingredients in it and all the spices. I’m so sorry you were disappointed. I’ve never had someone say it was bland before. If you try it again, I’d love to hear how it goes!
Yah, I brought this to a chili cookoff and it came in LAST place! Literally dead last 😫😭
I’m going to try it again, but season the beef ahead of time and add some hot ground sausage and a teaspoon of cayenne and go from there. As soon as I tasted the other chilis there, I knew I was in trouble 😳
For some reason it would let me reply this- but in came in LAST place in a chili cookoff 😭. I’m going to try again with seasoning the beef and adding hot ground sausage and go from there. However, the white chicken chili on here was 👌🏻 delish.
Thanks for the feedback Christine!
Absolutely delicious. Followed the directions exactly as written and it was a hit. I made it the day before and let it simmer for hours then the next day let it simmer another couple of hours before serving. Fantastic. Thank you so much. This will be my go-to recipe and it was so easy.
Super!! Thank you so much for taking time to leave a comment Meg!
Sadly, was not a crowd favorite. Had potential but lacked a sweetness….
Thank you for the feedback!
This was a hearty, delicious chili! I made it according to the directions and even started early so it was able to simmer for around three hours, which I think enhanced the flavors. Definitely one I’ll be making again!
Yay! Thank you so much Helen!!
Real Chili don’t have beans in it.
New favorite chili recipe 🙂 and super easy to make.
Thank you so much Becca!
Maybe my new favorite chili recipe! Like using the Instant Pot for this as it’s one pot and quick. Made as is except didn’t use bacon (didn’t have), used only 1 can of beans (didn’t have any more), used coriander instead of cumin (didn’t have cumin), didn’t use the jalepeno, but it still had a nice bite to eat and tons of flavor!!! Thank you.
Thank you so much for the feedback Carrie! So glad you enjoyed this chili and I love how you improvised with what you had on hand! This recipe really is flexible and forgiving!
This is almost identical to my chili recipe – and you are right – it is THE BEST! The only extra thing I add is about 1/2 tsp on cinnamon. It is one of those ingredients – that adds so much flavour – but – you can’t always place what it is.
Yay! Thanks Michelle! Now I’m craving a bowl of chili!