All-American Beef Chili

All-American Beef Chili

When the weather begins to turn at the end of October and the air gets crisp and cool, there are a few things that I begin to crave…

Hot chocolate.
Spaghetti and meatballs.
Beef stew.
Chili.

A big bowl of piping hot chili topped with shredded cheese and sour cream is one of my ultimate cold-weather comfort foods. It’s something that I’ve loved since I was a kid, and I still can’t get enough of it. As you can probably tell based on how many chili recipes there are on this site, I can’t resist trying new chili recipes when I come across them. While I’ve tried quite a few classic-style beef chili recipes, I still hadn’t managed to fine “the one”. I’m happy to report that the search is officially over because this is, hands-down, the best chili recipe I’ve ever made. It is worthy of lamination and a permanent home in my recipe rotation.

All-American Beef Chili

Most chili recipes are made up of the same basic ingredients: beef, onion, spices, beans and some type of tomato product. The differences usually reside in the quantities used, how the dish is cooked, and for how long. This recipe strikes the perfect balance of textures, flavors and spice; the resulting chili is thick and tender, not soupy, and a phenomenal blend of flavors. I urge you not to rush the cooking process. The wait is definitely worth it!

I know that I’ll likely get asked which of the chili recipes I’ve shared on the site to date is my favorite. If you’re looking for an easy, classic beef chili recipe, this one is a must-make. It’s my favorite of the bunch. That being said, I also really love the Favorite (“Hardcore”) Chili Recipe. It’s quite a different recipe, with varying flavors and textures, so if you want to try a chili recipe with a unique flair, I highly recommend that one.

If you crave warm bowls of comfort food during the winter months, this chili has your name all over it!

All-American Beef Chili

One year ago: New England Clam Chowder and Granola Cookies
Two years ago: Cashew Chicken
Three years ago: Chocolate-Chocolate Chunk Muffins
Five years ago: Homemade White Bread

All-American Beef Chili

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

An easy recipe for classic beef and bean chili.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
¼ cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt, divided
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds ground beef (85-90% lean)
2 (15-ounce) cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree

Directions:

1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until it is shimmering. Add the onions, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, cayenne and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

2. Add the beef and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Stir in the beans, diced tomatoes (with their juice), tomato puree and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat so it maintains a slow simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes.

3. Remove the lid and continue to simmer for an additional 45 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste before serving. Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream, if desired. Leftover chili can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The chili can also be frozen for up to 1 month (let the chili thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours before reheating).

(Recipe from America's Test Kitchen Family Cooking magazine)

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77 Responses to “All-American Beef Chili”

Comment Pages 1 2
  1. Jo on January 10, 2013 at 1:14 am

    I don’t see cumin listed in the ingredient list, but is referred to in the directions???

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 10th, 2013 at 11:05 am

      Hi Jo, My apologies for that omission. I have corrected it; it should be 1 tablespoon cumin.

      Reply

  2. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on January 10, 2013 at 3:18 am

    OK I am not even a chili person but this looks amazing! For some reason I can’t get over the look and texture of the kidney beans.

    Reply

    • David on January 10th, 2013 at 9:41 am

      You don’t have to use kidney beans. Others like pinto, black beans, white beans, etc can all work very well. Or you could omit the beans entirely and still have very good chili.

      Reply

    • Sarah on January 29th, 2013 at 9:29 am

      I have the same issue, so I purée the kidney beans in the blender with some of the tomato sauce or purée that you are using in the recipe. You’ll get the flavor and health benefits of the beans without the texture.

      Reply

  3. Coleen's Recipes on January 10, 2013 at 4:39 am

    PERFECT dinner for this cold weather!! (great photos)

    Reply

  4. Janet Bridges on January 10, 2013 at 4:40 am

    I can’t wait to make this, but as the other fan stated, cumin isn’t listed in the ingredients. Please help. It looks way to good to guess on anything! And thank you for being such an amazing cook!

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 10th, 2013 at 11:06 am

      Hi Janet, My apologies, I just fixed it, but the correct amount is 1 tablespoon ground cumin.

      Reply

  5. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on January 10, 2013 at 7:34 am

    I love chili! It’s such a comforting fabulous meal and it always tastes better the next day!!! Yum! Your recipe sounds delish!!

    Reply

  6. Ellen @ The Baking Bluenoser on January 10, 2013 at 7:36 am

    You just can’t beat the comforting feeling that chili will bring to you. It’s a great meal on a cold winter’s night, and this recipe looks absolutely superb. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  7. Lori on January 10, 2013 at 7:37 am

    Michelle – This is so timely….I made a batch of chili thi week which was met with raves but my youngest said, it needed just a little bit more of a kick. Here’s hoping this is the one! I am going to make it straight away!

    Reply

  8. Paul L on January 10, 2013 at 9:12 am

    What’s the right amount of cumin??? I want to make this NOW!

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 10th, 2013 at 11:07 am

      Hi Paul, My apologies for the error, I have fixed it, but it is 1 tablespoon cumin.

      Reply

  9. Allison on January 10, 2013 at 9:39 am
  10. Christina M on January 10, 2013 at 10:21 am

    This looks delicious!! Very similar to my mom’s chili recipe, only hers uses whole stewed tomatoes to give it those big hunks of tomato too. I want to try this as is, definitely with the cheese and sour cream on top!! :)

    Reply

  11. marie @ little kitchie on January 10, 2013 at 10:47 am

    never can have enough chili recipes! these looks great, and so so good for the chilly weather!

    Reply

  12. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts on January 10, 2013 at 11:15 am

    So thick – just the way I like my chili. Sounds great for these cold winter nights!

    Reply

  13. Steph in Lex on January 10, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Chili and football are so intertwined in my mind that I often end up making my first batch of chili when it’s way too warm out–like still in the 70s–just because it feels right to be eating it when there’s football on! So I know what you mean about craving it as soon as fall seems like it’s coming on…

    Reply

  14. Katie @ Blonde Ambition on January 10, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    I love thick, hearty chili! No soupy stuff for this girl. Though the chili recipe you linked to is pretty tempting too – I love putting beer in my chile, and the homemade chile powder/paste sounds so good!

    Reply

  15. Mandie @ Oh So Decadent on January 10, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    I have been looking for a good chili recipe for years, thank you for this! I’ll definitely give this one a try, especially since you say it is the absolute best! So excited :).

    Reply

  16. Margot C on January 10, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    What brand of Chili Powder do you use?

    Some say that Gebhardt is the stuff to buy (from Walmart, alrighty then), but it contains something called Silicon Dioxide; what on earth is that and do we care about it? More to the point what on earth do they mean by the cryptically mentioned ‘natural flavor’? I’m not a complete nut about ingredients; Red Dye #2 is a major nutrition source in my house – so my real question is what is the best Chili Powder to use?

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 11th, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      Hi Margot, I usually use either McCormick or Penzeys.

      Reply

      • Margot C on January 11th, 2013 at 5:40 pm

        Ah Penzeys, That catalog is like porn to me (better!); I sit in bed reading all of the descriptions of all of the spices. That reminds me that I should order some new stuff from them. You should get them to do a giveaway with you so that more people know about them, they are the best.

        I am definitely making your chili though, I’ll just use the McCormick stuff (which is always consistent at least). I think I’m going to try doing it in the crock-pot though. I’ll report back.

        I like that you don’t have that ‘brown the beef then pour all of the stuff off’ step. I hate that – yes, I want all of that fat and flavor please. It’s not that much fat once amortized over the whole dish and it’s miles better tasting. For the crock-pot version I’ll brown the meat and dump the entire thing in the crcock-pot.

        Reply

  17. Keisha on January 10, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    I could eat a big hot bowl of this with a giant chunk of buttery cornbread or on top of a good juicy hot dog on a buttery toasted bun…i think I just made myself hungry! This chili look sooo good!

    Reply

  18. GrannyJean on January 10, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    This sounds delish, but real chili doesn’t have beans. If we have guest from someplace other than Texas we serve rice and beans on the side so they can mix it like they want. I’ve tried it with beans, but after eating Texas chili all these years it just doesn’t taste right to me or my family.

    I do enjoy your recipes, and have saved several for future use and made a few recipes already. Keep up the good work.

    Reply

  19. Kara D on January 10, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    This is my go-to chili recipe as well! It’s turned family and friends who did not previously like chili to become fans and make it themselves!

    Reply

  20. Shelby on January 10, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Michelle, just wondering how you felt ( if you have tried) a hot and sweet chili,which is my family’s favorite. It contains lots of spices, dark brown sugar and dark beer.

    Reply

  21. Jessica on January 10, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    This chili looks so hearty and warming! I make chili every year but haven’t gotten around to it this season. I’ll have to give yours a try!

    Reply

  22. Aly on January 11, 2013 at 12:27 am

    I made this one, and posted it this week, too! :D It’s really yummy!

    Reply

  23. Purabi Naha on January 11, 2013 at 4:28 am

    I’ll have to save this recipe since this is tried and tested. This is absolute visual treat !! I am sure this must have tasted fabulous! http://cosmopolitancurrymania.blogspot.in/

    Reply

  24. Shelly on January 11, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Oh, a perfect choice for our football viewing pleasure! Might not be able to wait until Sunday’s playoff game to make this.

    Reply

  25. Christin Yuppa on January 11, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Would tomato puree be the same as tomato sauce or tomato paste? I’d like to make this for our church on Sunday….everyone is bringing chili and I’ve been looking for a new recipe!

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 11th, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      Hi Christin, Tomato puree is different from both tomato sauce and tomato paste. If you are unable to find puree, it is a closer match to tomato sauce if you absolutely need to make a substitution.

      Reply

  26. Emily on January 12, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    I made this last night for dinner and it’s absolutely delicious!! Perfect in every way–a *tiny* bit of kick from the cayenne, but not so hot that the kids couldn’t eat it. :) The only change I made was to cook it in my electric pressure cooker on high for 30 minutes, then let the pressure release naturally.

    Reply

  27. Ginny on January 13, 2013 at 8:49 am

    This chilli looks A-Mazing!! There’s nothing better than a good bowl a chilli, especially in the winter! Great post and I’ll definitely be giving this a whirl! x

    Reply

  28. Dee on January 14, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Brilliant! I have made many chili recipes and never used tomato puree. Makes it so thick and yummy. Thanks for solving my issue of never having thick enough chili. Thumbs up from my husband too.

    Reply

  29. Jayne on January 14, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    mmm… nice chunky chilli. I love mine with a good amount of beef and body.

    Reply

  30. Sarah on January 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Any major changes to making this in a slow cooker?

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 18th, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      Hi Sarah, Not that I can think of. I would prepare it on the stovetop as described in steps 1 and 2, then transfer to a slow cooker to “simmer”.

      Reply

  31. Kenny on January 21, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    I’ve been craving chilli ever since I left the states and for my first time making it I gotta admit it was pretty darn good. Thanks for this amazing recipe.

    Reply

  32. Liz on January 21, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    This looks delicious! Do you think turkey can be substituted for beef or would it not turn out as well?

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 22nd, 2013 at 10:10 am

      Hi Liz, I personally always think that ground beef tastes better than ground turkey, but if you’re not a red meat eater, then I think you could certainly substitute ground turkey. It definitely won’t taste the same, but I don’t think it would be a failure.

      Reply

      • Marlin on February 12th, 2014 at 9:59 am

        I have recently realized that adding bacon to ground turkey makes it taste significantly better. Pork bacon tastes best but turkey bacon works well also. Just cut it into tiny pieces and crisp it in the pan with a little veggie oil before adding the turkey. Everyone in my family loves this!

        Reply

  33. Shiloh Barkley on January 27, 2013 at 10:41 am

    That looks really thick!

    Reply

  34. Take It from Meg on January 31, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Might I suggest adding a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce? I find it’s the secret to my chili.

    Reply

  35. Twyla on February 2, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Do you not drain the ground beef? I’ve pinned several of your recipes. I’m a big fan of your site!

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 2nd, 2013 at 4:25 pm

      Hi Twyla, No you do not need to drain the beef. Enjoy!

      Reply

  36. Milena on February 11, 2013 at 3:49 am

    Happy birhtday, BEB! I love the All-American Beef Chili! And the whole blog! Keep it up!

    Reply

  37. The Healthy Apple on April 4, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    LOVE this recipe! Making this tomorrow for clients and can’t wait! Thank you! I’m shopping online for tomato puree but can’t find it…is there anything I can replace this with? Perhaps diced tomatoes? Thanks!!

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 5th, 2013 at 11:48 am

      Tomato puree is usually found with all of the other canned tomato products, so if you have access to those, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t be able to find tomato puree. Don’t substitute diced tomatoes; tomato puree is smooth like tomato sauce (but thicker). That would probably be your best substitution (crushed tomatoes would be your next option).

      Reply

  38. Heidi on April 8, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Does anyone know the carbs in one serving? I have to do this gestational diabetes diet, and I’m so tired of calculating carbs:)

    Reply

  39. Walesca on May 2, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I just finished making it and WOW it is delicious. <3

    Reply

  40. Government Contract on May 6, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    Great write-up, I’m standard website visitor of the website, preserve inside the excellent function, and it is going to be a regular guest for a lengthy period.

    Reply

  41. Megan on May 20, 2013 at 12:47 am

    I didn’t know chili shimmered. :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 22nd, 2013 at 12:23 am

      Chili doesn’t shimmer, but oil shimmers when it gets very hot, which is how best to tell that it’s hot enough to add the ingredients to the pan. I assume you’re referring to the first sentence in Step #1.

      Reply

  42. Lauren on June 17, 2013 at 10:04 am

    I just made this and it is SO hot that I couldn’t eat it – which is a shame because the less sensitive/wimpy member’s of my family said it was delicious! I will definitely be making this again, but omitting about half the chili powder. I’m off to get another glass of milk…. :)

    Reply

    • Lauren on August 11th, 2013 at 7:25 am

      Made this again with less chili and it was great! It’s now on regular rotation at out dinner table – thanks for another great recipe!

      Reply

  43. Carolyn on September 11, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Hi there! Have you done this in a crockpot or have suggestions for that method?

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 12th, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      Hi Carolyn, I haven’t done it in a crockpot, but I have made it in a Dutch oven and then placed it (covered) in an oven on “warm” setting (165 degrees F) to keep for about 4 hours. I think you could make it and then pop it into a crockpot to keep warm for serving.

      Reply

      • Carolyn on September 12th, 2013 at 7:18 pm

        Thank you!

        Reply

  44. Jenn on September 22, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Started fall right with this delicious chili. It was very very good and I am looking forward to the leftovers. Thank you.

    Reply

  45. Amanda on October 13, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Just made this it is DELICIOUS! The perfect chili recipe. I halved it because it’s just me and my hubby. I used green bell pepper instead of red and tomato sauce instead of purée- still perfect!! Next time I might just make all if it because it is so yummy.

    Reply

  46. Walter Russell on November 11, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Do I really use 1/4 cup of chili powder, seems a little excessive. Am I wrong?
    Thanks

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 12th, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      Hi Walter, Yes, ¼ cup of chili powder is correct. It’s a good amount for the amount of chili this dish makes. It’s not all that different from a lot of other chili recipes that I’ve seen.

      Reply

  47. BurMarie on November 12, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    My ol man n I are cooking it now as we speak! So far it tastes bomb diggity!! I can’t wait for the finished product! Thank you for this great recipe Michelle!!!

    Reply

  48. Stacy on January 1, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    I made this last week and it has been a HUGE hit! My husband rarely eats left overs – until this chile recipe – he has eaten this for dinner three nights in one week. Thanks for a great recipe!!! It’s a keeper!!!!

    Reply

  49. rudii on February 7, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Super recipe! My husband couldn’t stop eating it. I added an extra can of pinto beans, 1 minced jalapeño and 1/4 cup brownsugar for an extra sweet & spicy kick

    Reply

  50. Andrew Pennebaker on April 8, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Nice, easy recipe for a first time chili maker. Though I was surprised how it taste-tested through the process:

    1. Smells very tomatoey/nasty for the first hour.
    2. Tastes like incredibly bland chili for the next hour.

    Finally, I added another pinch of salt and 1/8th cup of chili powder, cooked for thirty more minutes, threw shredded sharp cheddar cheese on top, and it became passable, gaining compliments from two of my roommates.

    Reply

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