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A big bowl of classic beef chili topped with shredded cheddar and sour cream.

Classic Chili Recipe

This classic chili recipe is extremely easy, does not require any fancy ingredients, and freezes exceptionally well. Perfect cold-weather comfort food!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 2 hours 10 minutes
Total 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 348 kcal
Author Michelle


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 yellow onions medium, 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
  • 30 oz can dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 28 oz can tomato puree


  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 Notes

  • To make in the slow cooker, prepare through step #2 up until simmering, then transfer to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Leave the lid ajar and cook on high for the final hour of cooking to allow the chili to thicken.
  • You can omit the beans if you choose.

Nutritional values are based on one serving

Nutrition Facts
Classic Chili Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 348 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 70mg23%
Sodium 810mg35%
Potassium 1384mg40%
Carbohydrates 33g11%
Fiber 9g38%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 32g64%
Vitamin A 1150IU23%
Vitamin C 42.3mg51%
Calcium 107mg11%
Iron 7.4mg41%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.