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White shallow bowl filled with the best chili recipe and topped with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and green onions.
4.77 from 409 votes

The Best Chili Recipe

Learn how to make the best chili recipe with this easy to follow recipe and enjoy year-round topped with gooey melted cheese, sour cream, and green onions.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 564kcal


  • 1 pound bacon - chopped into small pieces
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 medium onions - diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt - plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans red kidney beans - drained (not rinsed)
  • 2 cups broth - (beef broth, bone broth, chicken, vegetable) plus more as needed
  • Optional Toppings - sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, Tabasco sauce


  • Cook the bacon - Add the chopped bacon to a large Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Once the bacon is hot and sizzling, reduce heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Cook low and slow, stirring occasionally. Once the bacon pieces are golden, remove the lid and allow your bacon pieces to cook until the desired doneness is reached. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons of leftover bacon grease.
  • Brown the ground beef - over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of reserved bacon grease back to your Dutch oven, and add the ground beef. Brown the ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Transfer beef to a clean plate and set aside.
  • Cook the onions - Add the remaining tablespoon of bacon grease to your pot and set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Sprinkle with salt, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, and sugar. Mix well to combine. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes over medium heat, stirring continuously. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce and bring to a simmer.
  • Return the beef and add some beans - As soon as your onion and tomato mixture reaches a simmer, return the bacon and ground beef to the pot. Stir in the kidney beans and add 2-3 cups of low-sodium broth (beef, bone, chicken, or vegetable broth). Mix well to combine.
  • Simmer - Allow your chili to simmer for 15-20 minutes before serving. Add additional salt, pepper, or spices, if needed, and add additional broth if your chili is too thick.
  • Serve - Serve with all your favorite toppings including sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, and Tobasco sauce, if desired.


  • Beef: I recommend using 85-90% lean ground beef.
  • Bacon: Unless you don't eat pork, don't skip the bacon! Such a flavor game-changer. If you prefer not to include it as part of the chili, feel free to serve it on the side as a topping.
  • Beans: I added red kidney beans as they are (in my opinion) the classic chili bean. Black beans are another popular bean choice. You will also notice that I drained, but did not rinse my beans - this was intentional as that bean liquid does come with some great flavor. This is completely optional, so feel free to rinse those beans if preferred.
  • Seasonings: The chili powder used in this recipe is not spicy. If you want some heat, add 1-2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper. Also, start with just 1 tablespoon of cumin. Cumin easily overwhelms the other flavors. Finally, if preferred, swap the garlic powder for 5-6 cloves of fresh minced garlic.
  • Broth: add a low-sodium broth instead of water. Choose your favorite store-bought version or try my homemade chicken stock or bone broth recipe.
  • The longer you allow your chili to simmer, the more time the flavors will have to mix with each other. This is a good thing! So unless you're in a hurry, let your chili simmer a while (note on this- cover your pot and reduce heat to the lowest possible setting).
  • As written, this recipe is gluten-free (although, you may want to double-check the packaging on the bacon to be extra safe)
This recipe was originally published on January 10, 2020


Calories: 564kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 1044mg | Potassium: 564mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 544IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 3mg
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