Classic Chili Recipe

This Classic Chili Recipe may just be the best you have ever tried! Classic chili is the ultimate cold weather comfort food that comes together so quickly in one pot, I can guarantee you will enjoy it! I know I do! This recipe is a perfect weeknight meal and it freezes wonderfully even if you want to make it ahead of time for meal prep. It’s so easy that literally the only thing you will have to chop for this recipe are the onions!

How to make Chili:

  • saute onions
  • cook beef
  • add the rest of the ingredients
  • simmer
  • enjoy!

All about the beans:

The best kind of beans to use this classic chili recipe are either pinto or kidney beans. I prefer kidney beans because they are slightly larger and are a little bit mushier in texture then pinto beans, however, you can use whatever you’d like. Another option is using using chili beans. Chili beans are canned beans sold that are seasoned, thus giving extra flavor. This classic chili recipe will have plenty of amazing flavor that you are not required to add chili beans.

Preparing the beans:

You can use canned beans for this and save yourself SO much time. Drain and rinse the beans before adding them into your chili recipe. This will get rid of extra starches from the beans as well as extra sodium. 


There are many chili seasoning mixes on the market but I truly believe that the key to the perfect classic chili is making your own. Homemade chili seasoning comes together in just a minute without the additional sodium and additives that are included in store-bought chili seasoning mixes. I also don’t add sugar to my classic chili recipe because the tomato sauce and tomato paste provide just the right sweetness, that no more is needed.

How to freeze:

If there is one meal I love to make ahead and freeze for a cold lazy day, that would be this classic chili recipe. It is incredibly easy to freeze because you can portion it in containers of your choice and have it ready to go for either lunch or dinner. To defrost, either leave it in the refrigerator overnight or microwave it. Keep in mind, depending on how much chili is in your container, it may not completely defrost in the refrigerator overnight. 

Adjusting the consistency:

Letting the chili simmer will allow the liquid to reduce, making it thicker. However, if you’d like to speed up this process, you can add about 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to the chili to make it thicker. If you are adding cornstarch, I recommend mixing the cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of water in a small place, and then adding the mixture to your chili. This will prevent from lumps of cornstarch throughout your chili. Only add cornstarch if you are not letting the chili simmer until desired consistency is reached.  


Do you agree that chili tastes so much better when you add toppings? Some of the most common toppings for classic chili are :

  • cheddar cheese
  • sour cream
  • fresh parsley or celantro
  • green onions (my favorite)
  • oyster crackers
  • avocado


  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves (grated)
  • 1 medium sweet onion (diced)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2- 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 (16 oz.) can red kidney beans- drained
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1-2 Bay leaves


  1. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat and add chopped onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent than add garlic and cook for 1 more minute, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the ground beef to the pot. Break it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.
  4. Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Stir then add the drained beans into the pot. Stir until well combined.
  5. Add the bay leaf to the chili mixture.
  6. Bring the liquid boil.
  7. Then, reduce to low heat. Allow the chili to simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Remove the pot from the heat. Before serving, Let the chili rest for 5-10 minutes.
  9. Add your favorite toppings- Enjoy!


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