Homemade Beef Chili - The World's Best Recipe! (2024)

4.8 from 104 votes

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Aug 26, 2019 Feb 2, 2024

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You’ve just discovered the World’s Best Chili, but don’t take my word for it. This hearty beef chili recipe has been pinned over 140,000 times, has tons of 5-Star ratings, and the video has been viewed on Facebook over 4 million times. It is even award-winning at several chili cook-offs.

It’s a mouthwatering chili with stew meat, ground beef, bacon, beans, and just the right blend of spices. Let it simmer on the stovetop, then get ready to enjoy a bowl with all of your favorite toppings and fixings.

Homemade Beef Chili - The World's Best Recipe! (3)

Table of Contents

  • Why You’ll Love This Chili Recipe
  • Chili Ingredients
  • What You’ll Need
  • How to Make the Best Chili Ever
  • Homemade Chili Tips
  • Topping Ideas
  • Can You Make This Beef Chili Recipe Ahead?
  • How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
  • Make it a Meal
  • Get the Recipe
  • More Chili Recipes To Try

Why You’ll Love This Chili Recipe

I first tried this recipe many years ago and I can tell you one thing – I will be making this amazing beef and bean chili for the rest of my life. It is so good! In our house, we call it “the world’s best chili,” and I really believe it is.

Okay, okay so what makes this beef chili recipe just SO spectacular? Let me tell you a few reasons…

  • Easy with incredible flavor: This recipe is so much more than just a basic chili. It is simple, yet hearty. By letting the ingredients cook together as long as possible, all of the flavors develop and blend together. Each ingredient adds something to the overall flavor and texture that really makes it the World’s Best.
  • Uses ground beef, stew meat, and bacon: There is always the debate of whether you use just ground beef, just stew beef cubes, or a combination of both. This recipe uses both to get the depth of flavor and the different textures. Plus there is bacon for salty, smoky goodness.
  • Includes beans, but they are optional: The bigger debate with chili is beans or no beans. This is chili with beans, but leave them out or swap kidney beans for black beans, if you like. It’ll still be delicious. The beans are definitely an inexpensive option to be able to feed more people with this one recipe.
  • Makes enough chili for days: This recipe makes a ton. Whether you are having leftovers the next day or pulling the extra chili out of the freezer, it reheats well, and in fact, might taste even better the second time around.

Delicious Details

  • Cuisine Inspiration:American
  • Primary Cooking Method:Stovetop
  • Dietary Info:Gluten-free, Dairy-free
  • Skill Level:Easy

And listen to what others have to say…


This is by far the best chili ever!!! I’ve made it several times already and everyone that’s had it says how incredible it is. -Agostino

I’ve made it so many times! Never disappoints! – Kristina

After reading all of the fabulous reviews, my husband and I made this for a Halloween party/Chili cook off. We added a tiny bit of Cholula hot sauce for some extra heat. We won 1st place out of 14! Thanks for sharing this award winning recipe! – Kelly

My go to chili since the 1990s was a recipe from Bon Apetit magazine. One day last year I ran across this recipe. I’ve not made the Bon Apetit recipe since. I love this chili recipe. In fact it’s simmering on my stove right now. Thanks for the great recipe! – Gail

Looking for another comforting beef recipe? Try my easy beef stew recipe too!

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Chili Ingredients

I wouldn’t say there is one secret ingredient. Each one truly adds something to this chili, so I don’t think you should leave anything out. It seems like a long list, but the ingredients fall into four basic categories that are essential to developing the flavors. See the recipe card below for the full quantities.

  • Meat – This recipe uses both ground beef and cubes of stew meat. Plus there is bacon for that salty, smoky goodness.
  • Vegetables and aromaticsOnion, red bell pepper, and garlic are sauteed with the meat to add layers of flavor. Canned chopped green chiles give it a bit of heat, and the saucy stew base is a mixture of canned whole tomatoes and tomato paste.
  • Herbs and spices – The (no longer) secret blend of spices includes chili powder, dried mustard, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.
  • Beans (or no beans?) – This beef chili has kidney beans. You can always leave them out or swap them for black beans. However, adding beans is a budget-friendly option to be able to feed more people with this one recipe. But for a great low carb option, try a no bean chili(this one cooks on the stove or in the Instant Pot).
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What You’ll Need

Here are a few kitchen tools that will help you when making and serving this chili recipe.

  • DUTCH OVEN: When letting something simmer for a long time, you really want a heavy-bottomed pot, such as an enameled cast iron stock pot or Dutch oven.
  • SLOW COOKER: I like to use my crockpot to keep chili warm for a crowd or if I don’t want to tend to it on the stove. But you’ll need a big one, at least 6 quarts.
  • WOODEN SPOON: I like to use a wooden spoon to break up the meats and stir everything together.
  • CHILI BOWLS: Nice, big, heavy bowls are best so you have plenty of room to load on toppings. The ones I have in the photos aren’t available anymore, but you can find something similar.

How to Make the Best Chili Ever

While the cooking time seems long, it’s only because you want to let it simmer for a while so the flavors can fully develop. The time you actually spend at the stove really isn’t that long. All the details are in the recipe card, but here’s the overview.

  • Cook the meat and vegetables: Heat the a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add all of the meats, along with the pepper and onion. Cook until the meat is browned and the veggies are tender. Drain and grease, then add the garlic and cook for another minute.
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  • Add the seasonings: Sprinkle the chili powder, dried mustard, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper over the top and give everything another stir.
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  • Add the remaining ingredients: Stir in the canned tomatoes (do not drain them), tomato paste, kidney beans (after they have been drained and rinsed), and about two cups of water. Bring it to a simmer.
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  • Let it simmer on the stove: Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more water, as needed, to achieve your desired consistency
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Homemade Chili Tips

The wonderful thing about this beef chili recipe is that it’s very flexible and forgiving.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind, as well as ways to customize it.

  • Control the spiciness: If you don’t want it too spicy, use less chili powder. But if you love the heat, you can add more, try some cayenne pepper, or toss in chopped jalapenos when you cook the onions and peppers with the meat.
  • Simmer in a crockpot: If you don’t want to worry about tending to it on the stove, transfer to a crockpot for the simmering time. But use about half the water to start, and add more if needed. You can also make it ahead and just keep it warm in a crockpot for a party or as one of your favorite potluck dishes. It tastes even better reheated the next day!
  • Simmer longer: 2 hours is the minimum amount of time I’d recommend for simmering this chili. However, the longer you let it simmer, the more the flavors will meld together. Just keep an eye on the water level and add more as needed.
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Topping Ideas

Wondering what toppings to add to your homemade chili? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • Chopped raw onion or sliced green onions or scallions
  • Sliced avocado or avocado crema
  • Crushed tortilla chips. Buy a bag or make your own Baked Tortilla Chips with flour or corn tortillas.
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Can You Make This Beef Chili Recipe Ahead?

This ground beef chili recipe makes a lot. So you can definitely make it ahead to feed a crowd at a party, or heat up your leftovers the next day. In fact, it tastes better the second time around.

Or transfer it all to a crockpot (make sure you get a large one, like this 6-quart slow cooker) after it is cooked just to keep it warm or to reheat it. This is especially helpful for a party. If you allow it to simmer in the slow cooker, I’d recommend starting with about half the water and add more if needed.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

  • Fridge. Let your chili cool and then transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge. It will keep for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer. To freeze your beef chili, allow it to cool completely then transfer to an airtight container or freezer ziploc bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge.
  • Reheat in the microwave. To reheat, place the chili in a bowl and cover it with another plate. Heat for a few minutes until warmed. I recommend pausing the microwave halfway through to give the chili a stir and make sure the food in the middle of the bowl gets warm too.
  • Reheat on the stovetop. You can also reheat this chili on the stovetop. To do this, ladle the desired amount into a pot and heat over medium-low until warmed through. You may want to add a splash more water, if it has thickened.
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Make it a Meal

Wondering what to serve with your bowl of homemade chili? These easy ideas will make a super satisfying meal!

  • Have some corn bread like this Gluten Free Cornbread or even somecorn pudding casserole.
  • Instead of a bowl, you can serve it as stuffed acorn squash or try gluten free bread bowls.
  • Need some veggies? Try a slaw, likeMaple Dijon Apple Cole Slaw.
  • Toss a simple salad and set outGreek Yogurt Ranch DressingorCreamy Greek Yogurt Maple Dijon Salad Dressing.

    Homemade Beef Chili - The World's Best Recipe! (16)

    4.8 from 104 votes

    The World’s Best Beef Chili Recipe

    You've just discovered the World's Best Chili recipe. It's a mouthwatering beef chili with stew meat, ground beef, bacon, beans, and just the right blend of spices. Let it simmer on the stovetop, then get ready to enjoy a bowl with all of your favorite toppings and fixings.

    Prep: 15 minutes mins

    Cook: 2 hours hrs 20 minutes mins

    Total: 2 hours hrs 35 minutes mins


    • 2 pounds lean ground beef
    • 1 pound stew beef, cut into about one inch chunks
    • 1/4 pound bacon, diced in small pieces
    • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic minced (or 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic from a jar)
    • 2 Tablespoons chili powder, or to taste
    • 1 teaspoon dried mustard
    • 1/2 Tablespoon crushed red pepper
    • 1 1/2 Tablespoons cumin
    • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • 4.5 oz chopped green chilies
    • 28 oz whole canned tomatoes (I used Tuttorosso Peeled Plum Tomatoes)
    • 12 oz Tomato Paste (I used two 6 oz cans Tuttorosso Tomato Paste)
    • 48 oz canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    • 3 cups water (use more or less, as needed)

    Optional Toppings:

    • shredded cheese
    • sour cream
    • diced onion
    • tortilla chips


    • Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the ground beef, stew meat, bacon, pepper, and onion, and cook until the meat is browned and the vegetables are tender. Drain any collected grease and liquid, if desired.

    • Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.

    • Stir in the chili powder, dried mustard, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.

    • Add the chilies, tomatoes, tomato paste, kidney beans, and about two cups of water, and simmer on low for at least 2 hours, or put into a crockpot on low for at least 4 hours. Add additional water, as needed to achieve desired consistency.

    • Serve with desired optional toppings.


    This chili freezes well, or can be made the day before and reheated.

    Nutrition Facts

    The World's Best Beef Chili Recipe

    Amount Per Serving (1 g)

    Calories 420Calories from Fat 99

    % Daily Value*

    Fat 11g17%

    Saturated Fat 4g20%

    Cholesterol 82mg27%

    Sodium 895mg37%

    Potassium 1384mg40%

    Carbohydrates 40g13%

    Fiber 12g48%

    Sugar 8g9%

    Protein 40g80%

    Vitamin A 1280IU26%

    Vitamin C 23.9mg29%

    Calcium 98mg10%

    Iron 8.8mg49%

    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

    Author: Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips

    Course: Dinner, Main Dish

    Cuisine: American

    Homemade Beef Chili - The World's Best Recipe! (17)

    Did you make this?

    Leave a rating below and tag @cupcakesandkalechips on Instagram and hashtag it #cupcakesandkalechips

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    • Crock Pot/Slow Cooker
    • Diet
    • Dinner
    • Family Friendly
    • Gluten Free
    • Mains
    • Recipes

    More Chili Recipes To Try

    Don’t have time or need quite this much?

    • Quick and Easy Chipotle Turkey Chili is ready super fast.
    • Slow Cooker Aloha Chili gives the perfect blend of sweet heat.
    • Cauliflower and Quinoa Vegan White Chili is a hearty veggie-packed vegetarian chili.
    • Pineapple Black Bean Crockpot Turkey Chili gives you an option with ground turkey.

    More of my most popular recipes made with ground beef:

    • Lasagna is always a family favorite, and this one is the best.
    • Shepherd’s Pie or Cottage Pie, whatever you call it, it’s delicious.
    • Beefaroni also has a million different names, but it’s a family favorite ready in a flash.
    • Beef Egg Roll Bowl is a one-pan dinner ready in less than 20 minutes.
    Homemade Beef Chili - The World's Best Recipe! (2024)


    What is the secret to really good chili? ›

    Only Add Flavorful Liquids

    Instead of adding water to your chili, add some more flavor with chicken or beef broth, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, or even beet or wine. Each one of these options brings out different notes and levels of sweetness that will enhance your culinary creation.

    What is the number one chili in the world? ›

    FEAR the reaper...

    The Carolina Reaper is officially the Worlds Hottest Pepper as ranked by Guinness Book of World Records. It's hot, and by hot, we mean HOT! The Carolina Reaper can top-out at 2.2 Million SHU!

    What is the most important spice in chili? ›

    Most Common Chili Spices. Cumin, Chile Powders, and Paprika are the most common spices in chili followed by garlic, onion, coriander, Mexican oregano, and bay leaves. These ingredients can be combined to create a savory and well-balanced pot of top notch comfort food.

    How do you increase the flavor of beef in chili? ›

    Brown Your Meat First

    To enhance the flavor of your chili, brown the meat before adding it to the pot. This step not only caramelizes the meat, but gives your chili more texture, adding a depth that cannot be achieved by simply simmering it in the chili.

    What liquid is best for chili? ›

    Chili cooks low and slow, so you need enough liquid to tenderize the meat and keep everything from drying out. That liquid should also add flavor to the chili, so use chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or beer.

    What is the most flavorful meat for chili? ›

    What is the best meat for chili? The best meat for chili depends on the type you're making, but professionals generally use a combination of ground chuck, brisket, short ribs, or diced tri-tip sirloin mixed with bacon and sausage to layer multiple textures and flavors.

    What can I add to chili to make it better? ›

    Cocoa powder, bacon, cinnamon, ground coffee and tomato paste will all add a rich sweet & salty flavors that are sure to surprise and delight. Warming spice blends, like Garam Masala, Ras el Hanout or Baharat are another simple and delicious way to add layered flavors to this simple one-pot meal.

    What is the best beef for chili? ›

    Beef Chuck Roast: A cut of meat that becomes tender and flavorful when cooked slowly. It adds body and a rich beefy flavor to the chili. Bacon: Provides a smoky element that enhances the overall depth of flavor. Yellow Onions, Garlic Cloves, Jalapeño Chiles: This trio forms the aromatic base of the dish.

    How do you make chili taste richer? ›

    A cup of strong, brewed coffee will work wonders for your pot of chili, imparting a deep, roasted flavor that will make the chili taste like it simmered away all day long. For maximum flavor, reduce the coffee along with a blend of tomato paste, aromatic veggies and spices like we do in our Spicy Vegetarian Chili.

    What are the best beans to use for homemade chili? ›

    The best beans for chili are pinto, kidney, and black beans, like in this easy and tasty recipe. This 3-bean chili freezes great for meals later in the week. If you prefer thinner chili, add an extra can of tomato sauce. The green chiles are not hot and add a wonderful flavor, so don't be afraid to use them.

    Do you cook onions or meat first for chili? ›

    In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onions, garlic, and red pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the beef and increase the heat to high; cook, stirring with wooden spoon to break the meat into ¼-inch pieces, until the beef is browned, 10 to 12 minutes.

    Does chili need tomato paste? ›

    Tomato sauce is not a strong a taste as tomato paste. Also, sauce will increase the liquid content of your chili ever so slightly. Tomato paste has a more full, rich, tomato taste and smell. Using either one is appropriate, but you will need to tweak your seasonings to suit your personal tastes, anyway.

    What spice brings out flavor of beef? ›

    Beef tastes great when seasoned with oregano, rosemary, sage, garlic or a combination of these seasonings. Poultry gets an added burst of flavor with spices like paprika, lemongrass and saffron. Fish can be made more flavorful with dry mustard powder, thyme and turmeric.

    What spices make beef taste better? ›

    Spices like onion and garlic, with their inherent pungency, are some of the first that come to mind when it's time to season beef. They are savory and strong, and also easy to come by! Black Pepper goes wonderfully with beef, with its slightly hot bite and the piney aroma. Cayenne is a terrific spice to use with beef.

    Why is my chili not flavorful? ›

    Change up the beans. Use black beans, pintos, or a combination of beans to give more flavor. Cook the chili! If you don't cook it long enough (or put in a pressure cooker to speed up the process), it won't taste quite right.

    How do you make chili taste stronger? ›

    If you want more of a smoky flavor, add cumin, Spanish paprika, ancho chili powder, or a combination. If you are looking for more heat, add cayenne, crushed red pepper, or Hungarian paprika. If it's too spicy add a little brown sugar and some sweet paprika.

    Why would you put vinegar in chili? ›

    With only about 1 tablespoon per pot added toward the end of the cooking process, the vinegar will make the flavors more vibrant without overwhelming the dish with its biting tang. Through just a splash, everything becomes a little brighter, and the chili's flavors are more balanced.

    Does sugar make chili taste better? ›

    Now for the piece de resistance: 1-2 heaping Tablespoons brown sugar. The chili tastes completely different without the brown sugar so if you like a subtle sweetness in your chili then you've just got to go for it! Trust me, it will not make your chili taste like candy.

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