Traditional Beef Chili Recipe

You’re in for a mouthwatering treat with this Traditional Beef Chili recipe. Made with succulent beef, aromatic spices, and a medley of vegetables, this hearty dish is sure to satisfy your cravings. Whether you’re looking to warm up on a chilly evening or impress your family and friends at a gathering, this chili recipe is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. So grab your apron, gather your ingredients, and get ready to embark on a culinary adventure that will leave you with a bowl full of deliciousness. Let’s dive right in!

Traditional Beef Chili Recipe


To make a delicious and satisfying batch of traditional beef chili, you will need the following ingredients:

Ground beef

Ground beef is the star of any good chili recipe. It adds a rich and meaty flavor that perfectly complements the other ingredients.


Onions are a staple in many recipes, including chili. They provide a savory and slightly sweet flavor that enhances the overall taste of the dish.


Garlic is another essential ingredient that adds depth and complexity to the chili. Its aromatic flavor infuses the dish and gives it a delightful kick.

Bell peppers

Bell peppers not only add vibrant color to the chili but also provide a subtle sweetness and crunch. They balance out the other flavors and add a refreshing element to the dish.

Canned tomatoes

Using canned tomatoes in your chili recipe saves time and ensures that you have the perfect consistency for your dish. They provide a tangy and slightly acidic flavor that complements the other ingredients.

Tomato paste

Tomato paste is a concentrated form of tomato flavor that adds richness and thickness to the chili. It rounds out the taste and gives the dish a hearty texture.

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Kidney beans

Kidney beans are a classic addition to chili recipes. They add a creamy and buttery texture and provide a good source of fiber and protein.

Beef broth

Beef broth is the liquid base of the chili. It adds moisture and richness to the dish, taking the flavor to the next level.

Chili powder

Chili powder is the key spice that gives chili its signature kick. It adds heat and depth of flavor to the dish.


Cumin is a warm and earthy spice that enhances the overall flavor profile of the chili. It adds a subtle smokiness and depth to the dish.


Paprika provides a mild and slightly sweet flavor that complements the other spices and ingredients in the chili.


Oregano adds a vibrant and herbaceous taste to the chili. It pairs well with the other spices and adds a touch of freshness to the dish.

Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper are essential seasonings that help to bring out the flavors of the other ingredients and balance the taste of the chili.

Optional toppings

You can customize your chili with a variety of toppings. Some popular choices include shredded cheese, sour cream, sliced jalapenos, diced onions, and fresh cilantro.


Before diving into the cooking process, it’s important to prepare and organize your ingredients. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you make the perfect traditional beef chili:

Step 1: Sauté the ground beef

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat some oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook until it’s browned and no longer pink. Make sure to break up any clumps as it cooks. Once cooked, remove the beef from the pot and set it aside.

Step 2: Cook the onions, garlic, and bell peppers

In the same pot, add the diced onions, minced garlic, and sliced bell peppers. Sauté them until they become soft and fragrant, usually taking about 5 minutes. The onions should be translucent and the peppers slightly softened.

Step 3: Combine ingredients

Once the vegetables are cooked, add the cooked ground beef back into the pot. Stir everything together to evenly distribute the flavors.

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Step 4: Cook the chili

Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, kidney beans, and beef broth to the pot. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. The mixture should be thick and hearty.

Step 5: Simmer

Reduce the heat to low and let the chili simmer for about 30 minutes to an hour. This allows all the flavors to meld together and develop a rich and flavorful chili.

Step 6: Adjust seasoning

After simmering, taste the chili and adjust the seasonings according to your preference. Add more salt, pepper, chili powder, or any other spices you desire. Remember, it’s always easier to add more seasoning than to take it away, so start with a little and gradually build up the flavor.

Step 7: Serve

Once your chili is perfectly seasoned, it’s time to dish it out and serve it up. Ladle it into bowls and garnish with your favorite toppings, such as shredded cheese, sour cream, diced onions, jalapenos, or fresh cilantro.

Traditional Beef Chili Recipe


If you’re looking to switch things up and add a twist to your traditional beef chili, here are a few variations you can try:

Vegetarian option

For a vegetarian version of chili, you can swap the ground beef for plant-based protein alternatives such as textured vegetable protein (TVP) or cooked lentils. The rest of the ingredients and steps remain the same.

Spicy version

If you prefer your chili to have a spicy kick, you can adjust the amount of chili powder or add additional hot spices such as cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes. Be mindful of your spice tolerance and add these ingredients gradually to achieve the desired heat level.

Slow cooker adaptation

To make your chili in a slow cooker, follow the same steps to sauté the ground beef and cook the vegetables. Then, transfer everything to your slow cooker, along with the remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. This allows the flavors to develop slowly and creates a rich and tender chili.

Traditional Beef Chili Recipe


Here are some helpful tips to enhance your traditional beef chili recipe:

Choosing the right ground beef

Opt for ground beef that has a higher fat content, such as an 80/20 ratio, as it adds more flavor and juiciness to the chili. Leaner ground beef may result in a drier chili.

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Adding depth of flavor

To add an extra layer of depth to your chili, consider adding a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder or a square of dark chocolate. This enhances the richness and complexity of the dish.

Adjusting the spiciness

If you’re unsure about the level of spiciness in your chili, start with a smaller amount of chili powder and gradually add more until you reach your desired heat level. Remember, you can always add more, but it’s hard to reduce the spice once it’s already mixed in.

Storing and freezing

If you have leftovers, let the chili cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Alternatively, you can freeze the chili in individual portions for up to 3 months.


To reheat your chili, simply heat it on the stovetop over medium heat until it’s warmed through. You may need to add a splash of water or broth to thin it out if it has thickened in the fridge or freezer.

Traditional Beef Chili Recipe


Here are some frequently asked questions about traditional beef chili:

Can I use different beans?

Absolutely! While kidney beans are the most commonly used beans in chili, you can experiment with other varieties such as black beans, pinto beans, or even a mix of different beans. Feel free to choose the beans that you enjoy the most.

Can I make it in advance?

Yes, you can make chili in advance to save time and have it ready for a quick meal. Simply follow the recipe as directed, let it cool, and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Just remember to properly reheat it before serving.

Can I substitute the ground beef?

If you’re looking for alternative options, you can substitute the ground beef with ground turkey, chicken, or even a plant-based protein option. Keep in mind that the flavor and texture may vary slightly, but it can still result in a delicious chili.

How long does it last in the fridge?

Properly stored chili can last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. If you want to extend its shelf life, freezing is a great option.

Can I freeze the leftovers?

Yes, you can freeze leftover chili for later consumption. Make sure to let it cool completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container or freezer bags. To thaw, simply place it in the refrigerator overnight or use the defrost setting on your microwave.

Traditional Beef Chili Recipe


Now that you have all the necessary information and steps, you’re ready to make a hearty and flavorful batch of traditional beef chili. Whether you stick to the classic recipe or customize it with your favorite variations, you’re sure to create a dish that will satisfy your cravings and warm your soul. So grab those ingredients, get cooking, and enjoy a delicious bowl of homemade chili!