Thick and Hearty Chili
While this chili is absolutely delicious, I’ve since posted my all-time favorite chili recipe. It’s the one I make all fall and winter long, so I invite you to check it out!
Although it’s been rather spring-like here lately (oddly enough, it doesn’t quite feel fall-like), the bare trees and leaves littering the grass had me in the mood for a warm bowl of chili. I have somewhat of a love/hate relationship with chili. I love, love, love to eat it. But I hate trying to find recipes that I like. I never seem to find anything that knocks my socks off, and after doing another round of searching I finally decided to go with my gut and created my own recipe based on what I know I like and don’t like. I suppose that technically this would be considered Chili con Carne with beans (although chili powder is used in place of actual chili peppers). I love beans in my chili, so that’s a staple, and I really like the texture to be thick and hearty. If a spoonful can sit on top of a piece of bread without running off, then it’s a winner. I think I finally put together a recipe that incorporates all of my favorite aspects of chili; it has earned a permanent place in my recipe book, and I will certainly be making it again and again.
Like most soups and stews, chili tastes the best when it is cooked low and slow for a few hours, so the flavors really have an opportunity to meld together and intensify. One of the things that I have always had a problem with regarding chili was getting it to thicken up nicely, and I have finally found the solution. I remembered reading that cornmeal can be used as a thickening agent (after all, it does make a mean polenta!), so I added it to this chili and it made all the difference!
Thick and Hearty Chili
- 3 lbs. (1.36 kg) ground beef
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 15 ounce (425.24 g) can tomato sauce
- 2 cups (480 ml) beef stock
- 15 ounce (425.24 g) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 30 ounces (850.49 g) canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 Tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) cumin
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup (39.75 g) cornmeal
- 1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef with the onion and garlic over medium heat. Once browned, remove any extra liquid in the pot and return the beef to the pot.
- 2. Add the tomato sauce, beef broth, beans, seasonings and cornmeal, stirring well. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
I used ground turkey instead of ground beef, added 1/2 teaspoon on onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, and a 1/2 of smoked paprika. I also used a slurry, since I didn’t have any cornmeal, and it turned out great! Awesome recipe, thank you😊
Made this tonight and added a poblano pepper and a can of tomatoes and chilis. Great recipe that can accommodate additions easily.
Rock Em sock Em chili time. I made minor adjustments, adding diced poblano pepper. I cooked it on low just a little longer. This is real chili.
I hope all the people who’ve commented on how delicious your chili looks actually have made it. It’s fabulous! I used just 2 lbs of ground beef and maybe just 1/4 – 1/2 tsp less chili powder (ran out). Otherwise, just as written. I served it over home-baked cornbread and there’s now a new favorite in the what’s-for-dinner rotation. Thanks so much for this recipe!
Can you do this receipt in a crock pot, and if so, how long would you slow cook it?
Hi Katie, Yes absolutely! 4 to 6 hours on low should be good!
If I may make a suggestion, instead of draining off the beef, add the cornmeal to the drippings as you would with flour in a roux. Mix it together well and let it toast a bit before adding the stock and tomato sauce. It really does give it a depth of flavor to an already great recipe.
I made this chili last night, my husband said it was the best chili he has ever had! I paired it with your cornbread muffins from last week – also delish!! It was a dinner win for me last night :) Thanks for all of the awesome recipes.
Making this chili right now….simmering on the stove as I write this. The aroma is making my mouth water. For the chili powder, I bought whole dried New Mexican chili peppers which I ground up in the food processor. Woke up this morning craving some really good, thick chili and I’m pretty sure this recipe is going to satisfy my craving. Thanks!!
This looks so delicious! Have you ever tried to make this in a slow cooker? Do you think this recipe would work the same way or would I need to make modifications?
I have never been disappointed in any of your recipes. My go-to site for every meal!
Hi Nicole, I have not tried making this in a slow cooker, but I think you could without an issue. I would brown the meat before putting it in the slow cooker.
I know you posted this a while ago but I just wanted to tell you that this recipe is AMAZING!! I’ve made it at least ten times already. Thanks for posting :)
I love chili, but I have a problem with liking it too hot for the rest of the family. This should be fine for the family since there aren’t any extra fresh hot peppers. I have always used a lean pork roast for meat. Dice it to about the size of your pinky finger tip and it will really make it tasty. I also add a bit of Chocolate to smooth out the bitter from the Jalapeño and Habanero peppers. It goes great with a Jalapeño corn bread. I will have to make a batch for the family and spice it a little extra for myself.
This is EXACTLY what I have been looking for. This is fantastic, perfect for eating with a baked potato. Thank you so much for the recipe!!!
This has been my go-to chili recipe for my family for the last 3 years. My picky daughter even asks me to make this! I cook the beef on the stove but throw all the other ingredients in a crock pot for 6 hours on high or 8 hours on low (depending on how much time I have in the day to prep) . The next day the flavors are even better! I also add 1 can of corn to it. My husband loves this.
Made this tonight and my husband loved it!!!
I absolutely love this recipe and my 2 year old daughter is addicted to it. I find I’m making chili more and more often now. Since I am also watching my calorie intake I was wondering if you have nutritional information for this recipe… thank you :)
Michelle, So between this one and your “Chili… On a Chilly Fall Day”, which one do you think is better? Both sound really good.
Hi Holly, I definitely prefer this version. Enjoy!
I love chili, but I hate beans. what would you recommend so I can make this fabulous recipe?
Hi Meredith, If you hate beans, I would just leave them out. It’ll still taste great!
I have been making this recipe for years and I make it with an without the beans also have cooked it on stovetop and slow cooker it’s an amazing chili highly recommend it thanks for sharing it
if your chili taste as good as it looks…oh my lord!
This looks really great! Since I don’t eat beef though, can you recommend what other meat this might work well with these ingredients? Perhaps lamb or chicken with chicken broth?
I’ve never used ground chicken or lamb, but for sure ground turkey would be a good substitute.
Great recipe, even though I messed it up a bit. I bought the wrong bean cans, and ended up putting in two cans kidney beans instead of the three cans listed in the recipe. However, my family, including 8 and 10 year old girls just devoured it and immediately went for seconds.
I think my error might have produced a chili that would work particularly well on hot dogs. I’ll have to give that a try. :-)
John – Yum for chili dogs! I’m glad your clan dug it even though you used a different combo of beans. Love chili in the fall!
I was craving those Corn and Pepper Muffins you posted a couple weeks ago, and made the chili in the middle of summer to go with it…. OMG, best chili and corn muffins ever. Thank you so much. I love your site and am cooking from it at least twice a week….
LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe! As easy as it is delicious! Made it a month or so ago…and doing it again tomorrow! Thank you for sharing :)
I just made this chili tonight — oh.my.god. DELICIOUS.
I LOVE chili. This looks a bit similar to my husband’s chili, but he doesn’t add cornmeal. I’m intrigued!
Cornmeal as a thickener…I’m going to have to give that a try! The chili looks fantastic!
I love your pictures!
There is nothing better then a GREAT chili on a cold cold day! Another great post!!
Yum… I love chili. Yours looks wonderful!
lovely picture for a hearty dish!
This looks amazing! I love the addition of the cornmeal at the end. Congrats on top 9 today!
The best thing about making chili is that you can add just about anything, I usually substitute green beans for kidney beans.
Thanks for sharing your recipe.
I don’t believe it. A “pretty” chilli! It looks so delicate in your photo, the colours of the red onion and cheese look like it is garnished with petals at first glance. It looks really tasty, just the job for cold weather.
Looks fabulous! I’m the same way, needs to be nice and thick. I have been making a homemade chili seasoning for many years now. I make several at a time and store them in zipper bags, then wrap them all in foil and keep them in the cabinet. That way I an just throw in my canned tomatoes, browned beef and kidney beans along with the seasoning. So fast :)
this reminds me that it’s been a while since I made chili. Just waiting for it to cool off a liiiiiittle more. Your chili looks great
I love beans in my chilli too! Good tip on the cornmeal. Thanks
love the photo…it really is thick and delicious looking…like the added cornmeal as a thickener…I use mesa with mine…this is really a great recipe…
An amazing looking chili!
Great picture! Yumm!
Looks delicious! This is one of those meals I cook yearlong regardless of the weather…I live in sunny south Florida.
oooh this looks and sounds good. I have the same issue with chili, nothing ever is crazy good enough. I will try this one for sure, but I will add corn to mine…love the crunch! Thanks!
This looks SO good. I’m with you, I like chili nice and thick. This looks perfect. Thanks for sharing. :)
Love thick chili!