Ground Beef Chili Recipe

This Ground Beef Chili Recipe is our everyday, all the time, favorite chili! A mild, beef chili that you can keep as is or spice up as you like. An easy dinner for everyday meals, game days or holidays. Make a big batch for the week, leftovers are even better.

beef chili in white bowl with spoon

Why You’ll Love This Ground Beef Chili Recipe

  • Easy To Make: All you need is about 15 minutes to get this chili ready to simmer.
  • Mild Flavors: Unlike many other chili recipes, our recipe has bold flavors but the spice level is mild so everyone can enjoy it.
  • Make Ahead Meal: Make a big batch and enjoy it throughout the week, leftovers are even better.
  • Freezer Friendly: Beef chili freezes wonderfully and can be defrosted and heated up for an easy meal.

We’re so excited to share this Ground Beef Chili recipe with you, and we have lots of helpful tips to make this chili look and taste it’s best.

However, if you’re ready to dive right into making this recipe, scroll down to the recipe card or click the “jump to recipe” button above the first photo.

close up of ground beef chili in bowl with cheese

Ingredients You’ll Need

Please scroll down to the recipe card at the end of the post for complete list of ingredients and quantities.

  • Ground Beef: Choose a leaner ground beef so that the chili isn’t greasy. We like an 85% lean.
  • Onions: Sweet, yellow onions.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic is best.
  • Tomato Sauce: 2 large, 28 ounce cans. Can also substitute 1 can of crushed tomatoes for a chunkier texture.
  • Kidney Beans: Kidney beans or pinto beans are traditional, but black beans or white beans will also work.
  • Chili Powder: We use a mild chili powder to keep the spice level down.
  • Cumin: Ground cumin for a smoky flavor.
  • Flour: Used to thicken the chili.
  • Brown Sugar: Adds a bit of sweetness, not too much.
  • Hot Sauce: Any brand that you like, choose a more mild hot sauce if you’re trying to keep the heat down
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Rounds out the flavor, adds a depth of flavor.

How To Make A Ground Beef Chili

Start by cooking down a lot of diced yellow onions in a dutch oven or soup pot. We’re going to let these onions cook for a good ten minutes to let them soften and caramelize.

Next add in the ground beef, browning and breaking up as it cooks. Don’t break down the crumbles too small, we like to have some beefy pieces in this chili.

  • Cook the Onions and Garlic: Cook down yellow onions until they are soft and sweet, then add fresh garlic and cook another minute.
  • Add the Ground Beef and Season: Add ground beef to the pot and cook while breaking up into crumbles. Drain any drippings from the pot and then season with salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and brown sugar.
  • Add Tomato Sauce and Beans: Pour in 2 large cans of tomato sauce and 2 cans of kidney or pinto beans. Simmer for at least an hour or up to two hours.

Tips For Success

Again, we are keeping this ground beef chili recipe very basic. It’s not one of those recipes that you’re going to need lots of different kinds of roasted or smoked chilis or a lot of different spices.

We wanted to create a basic, but show-stopping chili recipe that will become a family favorite for years to come. But even with a basic recipe, we do have some tips for making the best chili ever!

pot of chili with ladle
  • Drain The Ground Beef: It’s important to drain any grease or drippings from the pot after the ground beef cooks.
  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Fresh garlic is best, jarred garlic won’t give you the pop of flavor that we love. Make sure that your spices are ll fresh as well and not expired.
  • Low and Slow: The longer that you simmer this ground beef chili, the better depth of flavors you’ll end up with.

Can I Use Ground Turkey For Chili?

Of course! We love swapping our ground turkey to make turkey chili, too! So like we discussed, ground turkey is even leaner than ground beef, you can buy 99% fat free ground turkey, as opposed to the leanest ground beef which is usually 95% lean.

That means you definitely need to simmer the chili for a solid hour, or longer, the let the flavors blend together. When making turkey chili, we usually opt for a 93% lean ground turkey.

chili in a bowl with shredded cheese on top

Topping Ideas For Chili

What’s even better than the most delicious chili recipe ever sitting in your bowl? Topping it with tons of delicious chili toppings! Some of our favorites are listed here…

  • Sour cream
  • Cheese
  • More hot sauce or sriracha
  • Tortilla chips, Fritos, Doritos – crushed on top or for dipping
  • Guacamole or sliced avocado
  • Lime
  • Pico de gallo or salsa
  • Pickled jalapeño peppers
spoon in bowl of beef chili with cheese

Looking For More Chili Recipes?

beef chili in white bowl with spoon

Ground Beef Chili Recipe

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x

Our Ground Beef Chili recipe is loved by all! Not too spicy with big, bold flavors. Make a big batch for the week because the leftovers are even better!



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups diced yellow onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 1/2 pounds 85% lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 (28 oz. cans) of tomato sauce
  • 2 (15 oz. cans) of kidney beans
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


  1. Add the oil to a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook for 10 minutes until the onion has softened, then add the garlic and ground beef to the pot.
  3. Break up the ground beef and cook until the beef is no longer pink inside. Drain the grease from the pot.
  4. Season the beef with the salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin and brown sugar, stirring to mix together with the beef. Sprinkle in the flour, stir and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the tomato sauce, kidney beans, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce and then stir to combine.
  5. Let the chili simmer for 1 – 1/2 hours (or longer if desired) partially covered, stirring often. Alternately, you can pour the chili into your slow cooker and set on high for 2 hours, or low for 4-6 hours.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

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14 Responses
  1. Valerie

    Can i use 2 28oz can of crushed tomatoes in place of tomato sauce or anything else in place of the sauce? I don’t have any tomato sauce.

  2. Angela

    Great recipe. I modify it to my liking but it’s a great base recipe. I had never thought to add brown sugar but it really makes a world of difference. Thanks for sharing :-)

    1. Dan

      Thanks Angela- I think thats what you should do with all recipes! Everyone’s tastes are a little different. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Yvonne

    Thank you for the great recipe, not an experienced chili cook so I stumbled upon this and thought it looked easy and delicious…it is simmering on my stove right now and tastes delicious! I followed the recipe exact

  4. Carly

    This is delicious! Cooking it now. Only thing is that I didn’t see anywhere in the instructions on where to add the worcestershire sauce?? Did I miss something? I ended up not using it and it still turned out great.

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