Home Recipes Homemade Chili Recipe

Homemade Chili Recipe

This, I kid you not, is the best bowl of chili I have ever had in my life! 

Packed with juicy beef, kidney beans, plenty of spices, and cheese, it’s one hearty bowl. Forget all the others, this one will win the chili kickoff for sure!

Bowl of Chili With Beans, Cheese and Onions
Enter your email below & we'll send it straight to your inbox.

Best Bowl of Chili

What makes this the best bowl of chili ever?  

It has just the right amount of heat, flavor, and consistency. The combo of well-seasoned beef, tomatoes, spices, and beans is phenomenal.

But the cheese and sour cream on top take it to the next level. Plus, it contains a secret ingredient you may not have thought of — beer!

It’s a snap to make, meal prep-friendly, and ready in an hour. This truly is, hands down, the best chili recipe!


Want to know what goes into the best chili recipe? Here are all the secret ingredients:

  • Ground BeefAs it’s a primary ingredient in chili, use good-quality ground beef, such as lean Angus or brisket. Also, you may want the meat to fat ratio to be 85:15, otherwise, your chili will be too greasy.
  • Onion and Garlic – For aroma and flavor.
  • Chili Powder, Cumin, Oregano, Cayenne Pepper, Tabasco – It’s not called chili for nothing! These herbs and spices will add a nice kick to your chili.
  • Canned Kidney Beans – I prefer red kidney beans, but you can also use pinto or black beans.
  • Diced Tomatoes in Can – The flavor base of the soup.
  • Tomato Paste – Acts as a thickener and a flavoring agent as well.
  • Jalapenos – For even more heat. Add or lessen according to taste.
  • Sugar – Do not skip the sugar, as it counteracts the acidity in the tomatoes and the heat from the spices. If your diet prohibits granulated sugar, use Splenda instead.
  • Beer – The secret ingredient! The starches in beer help thicken the chili. It’s also there for flavor, so use one you actually like. I highly recommend Modelo Negro and Newcastle Brown Ale.
  • Cheese – It turns chili from delicious to delectable. You can use either cheddar or Mexican mix cheese.
  • Sour Cream – For a cool and creamy contrast to the hot chili. 

Tips for the Best Chili 

Take your chili from good to great with these tips:

  • Control the heat. A lot of people ask me how to make chili less spicy, and I find the best way is to make your own spice blend (or use mild taco seasoning). That way, you can add more or less heat as you see fit.
  • Swap the meat. If your diet doesn’t allow you to eat beef, use ground chicken or turkey.
  • Skip the beer. If you don’t have beer on hand, swap it with a mixture of vodka, coke, and brown sugar.
  • Make extra and freeze it for later. Chili freezes beautifully, so pop individual portions in the freezer. It’s a great way to meal prep and get dinner on the table at the same time.
Homemade Bowl of Chili with Cheese, Ground Beef, Beans and Onions

Chili Toppings 

No bowl of chili is complete without the toppings! So here are some ideas for customizing your bowl:

  • Tone down the heat. If you find your chili too spicy, here’s a quick fix: add a splash of lime or lemon juice. The acidity from the fruit dials down the heat from the chili, resulting in a perfect balance of flavors.
  • Dollop with Greek yogurt. Want sour cream but trying to watch your diet? Enjoy a bowl without all the guilt by using Greek yogurt instead. 
  • Top with bacon sour cream. If you don’t mind the calories at all, go all out with bacon-infused sour cream! 
  • Serve with cornbread. In the mood for a southern classic? Cornbread is the way to go.
  • Drizzle with honey. Can’t get enough of a sweet and salty combo? Me too! I like to drizzle some honey over this chili. It’s a definite must-try!
  • Give it a Tex-Mex touch. Top your chili with salsa and guacamole for a drool-worthy mash-up of southern and Tex-Mex cuisines.
  • Add some crunch. Add an element of crunch to your all-tender chili: whether it’s croutons or crackers, you can’t go wrong.

How To Thicken Chili

Chili too runny? Don’t give up! There are tons of ways to thicken up that thin soup.

Here are a few methods to choose from:

  • Simmer without the lid. Do so for 20 to 30 minutes. This will help evaporate excess liquid from the chili, resulting in a thick consistency.
  • Add more beans and mash them. Breaking beans up will release their natural starches, causing the soup to thicken.
  • Mix in cornstarch of flour. Spoon a bit of chili into a bowl and mix in 1 to 2 tablespoons of cornstarch or flour. Place the mixture back into the pot and stir constantly until thick.
  • Add more tomato paste. What I love about this technique is apart from helping with the consistency, it also adds flavor and color to the chili. If your chili starts to taste bitter, counter it with a bit of sugar. 
  • Serve with cornbread or cheese. If the chili is already out of the pot, just serve it with cornbread and more shredded cheese. This will thicken up the stew nicely.

How to Store Chili

Leftover chili is one of the best things to have on hand for a quick cozy meal.

I like to double the batch and freeze half. So I get dinner and a week’s worth of meals in one!

To Store: Transfer the cooled leftovers to an airtight container. Refrigerate for 4 to 5 days.

To Freeze: Place the cooled chili into airtight containers. Divide into single servings if desired. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Enter your email below & we'll send it straight to your inbox.

To Reheat: Reheat on the stove or in the microwave until it fully warmed. Be sure to thaw frozen chili in the fridge overnight.

More Chili Recipes You’ll Love

Wendy’s Chili Recipe
Texas Roadhouse Chili
Chili Toppings

Homemade Chili



Prep time






  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef

  • 1 large yellow or white onion, chipped

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

  • 2 (15.5-oz) cans kidney beans, undrained

  • 1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained

  • 1 (6-oz) can tomato paste

  • 1 (4-oz) can chopped jalapenos, undrained

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 cup dark beer

  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican mix cheese

  • 1/2 cup sour cream


  • In a large frying pan over medium heat, cook the ground beef until brown and cooked through, about 7 minutes. Stir constantly to break the beef into crumbles.
  • Add the onion, garlic, chili powder, salt, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and tabasco sauce. Keep stirring until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the beef mixture into a large pot. Add the kidney beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, jalapenos, sugar, and beer. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the chili simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered. Stir occasionally to avoid scorching at the bottom.
  • Ladle the chili into bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle generously with cheese.
Best Bowl of Chili

Did you like the recipe?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.8 / 5. Vote count: 13

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.


Share on social media:

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

Leave a Comment