Ground Beef Chili Recipe

This Ground Beef Chili Recipe is our everyday, all the time, everyone loves it chili recipe! A mild ground beef chili that you can spice up as much as you like! We like to keep this chili on the mild side so that everyone can enjoy it, then put out our favorite hot sauces for those who like it spicier!

chili in a bowl with a spoon and cheese

Easy, Hearty Ground Beef Chili

This Ground Beef Chili Recipe is so easy to make, we like to call it our “everyday” chili! Everyday, meaning that you most likely have the ingredients stashed in your cabinets or in the refrigerator, so you can make it any day that you get a chili craving.

Our kids actually like spicy foods now that they’re older, but when we first started making this chili recipe they were just little guys so we kept it on the mild side.

Set out hot sauce or sriracha for anyone who wants to spice it up, along with all of your favorite chili toppings!

chili in a bowl with cornbread muffins

Ingredients To Make Chili

Since this is a ground beef chili recipe, the main ingredient is lean ground beef. Make sure to drain your ground beef after browning, especially if you use a fattier blend of beef.

See the recipe card for a full list of ingredients and quantities.

  • Ground Beef: Choose a leaner ground beef so that the chili isn’t greasy. We like at least an 85% lean, but prefer using 90% lean.
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Kidney Beans
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Flour: Used to thicken the chili
  • Brown Sugar: A little 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

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.

Season the ground beef and onions with salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin and a touch of brown sugar. Sprinkle in flour to help thicken the chili and then pour in the tomato sauce and beans.

Let the chili simmer for an hour or up to 3 hours for maximum flavor. You can also transfer this chili to a slow cooker to continue cooking or to keep warm for a party.

What Is The Secret To Good Chili?

Again, we are keeping this ground beef chili recipe very basic. It’s not one of those chili recipes that you’re going to need 10 different kinds of roasted or smoked chilis, or a ton of other ingredients.

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

chili in a bowl with a spoon and cheese

Do You Drain The Ground Beef For Chili?

For this chili recipe, the answer is yes. Greasy chili just isn’t my thing, so we do recommend that you drain the grease off the ground beef before proceeding with this chili recipe.

As we mentioned before, this is especially important when you’re starting off with a fattier blend of ground beef, but even the leaner beef usually needs to be drained off.

What Gives Chili The Best Flavor?

Some people like putting cinnamon into their chili recipes, or even coffee or chocolate. Since we’re keeping this recipe simple, those ingredients aren’t on our ingredient list but you can certainly add them.

We think the best flavoring for this chili recipe comes from the blend of spices and sauce that we use, and of course, starting with good quality ground beef.

Does Chili Get Better The Longer It Cooks?

100% yes. This recipe simmers for about an hour, but you can go even longer if you like. Alternately, you can transfer this chili into a slow cooker and let it cook even longer, or keep it warm during a party.

For even better results, make this ground beef chili the day before to let the flavors blend in the refrigerator before serving.

chili in a pot with ladle

Which Ground Beef Is Better For Chili?

So like we mentioned, we like using a leaner blend of ground beef. Anything 85% or higher will work best for making chili. Some will argue that you don’t want a blend that too lean like a 95% but we beg to differ.

Since the chili simmers for and hour, the flavors and spices will blend into the meat wonderfully. Conversely, turkey chili is a whole thing that people love and ground turkey is even leaner!

ground beef chili in white soup bowl

Can I Use Ground Turkey For This Chili?

Of course! We love swapping our ground turkey to make turkey chili, too! So like we discussed, ground turkey is even leaner than the leanest 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 meld together. When making turkey chili, we usually opt for the 92% or 93% lean ground turkey.

bowl of chili with spoon and cheese

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
  • Avocado
  • Lime
  • Pico de gallo or salsa
  • Pickled jalapeño peppers

Looking For More Chili Recipes?

Everyday Chili is a chili recipe that's easy enough to make during the week for dinner

Ground Beef Chili Recipe

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x

This Ground Beef Chili Recipe is our everyday, all the time, everyone loves it chili recipe! A mild ground beef chili that you can spice up as much as you like! We like to keep this chili on the mild side so that everyone can enjoy it, then put out our favorite hot sauces for those who like it spicier!



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons 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 ground beef and garlic 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.
  5. Sprinkle in the flour, stir and let the flour cook out for 1 minute. Pour in the tomato sauce, kidney beans, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine.
  6. Let the chili simmer for 1 – 1/2 hours (can go 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

Keywords: ground beef chili, chili recipe, recipes with ground beef, easy recipes, easy chili recipe, best chili recipe

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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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