This is the Chili Recipe! Filled with all the classic ingredients, like beef, pork, beans, chili seasoning, tomato sauce, and more, it’s hearty, flavorful, and filling. It’s so easy to make a big batch for a crowd, or just for a cozy family dinner. A bowl of this will satisfy every craving!
What’s in this Easy Chili Recipe?
This classic chili recipe is filled with both beef and pork, beans, and lots of other ingredients that create the most delicious dish. It’s mostly pantry staples so your shopping list won’t be too long!
- Pork Sausage Meat: Look for ground sausage meat in a roll without the casings. If you can’t find it, you can buy pork sausages and remove the casings.
- Yellow Onion: Adds an earthy flavor and a touch of sweetness. If you like red onions, I recommend saving them for a topping instead.
- Garlic: Adds an earthy flavor and a pungent aroma. If you love garlic, feel free to add more than 1 clove.
- Ground Chuck: Has more fat than ground beef, so it adds much more flavor. However, you can substitute the latter if you prefer.
- Tomato Sauce: This is the base of the saucey component.
- Diced Tomatoes: Add texture and additional flavor to the broth.
- Water: Helps thin the broth to the right consistency.
- Beans: This chili uses a combination of black beans and red kidney beans.
- Vinegar: The acid in vinegar helps to balance everything out and brighten up the flavor for a finishing touch. You can use any kind of vinegar or cider vinegar.
- Worcestershire Sauce: This is tangy, salty, and sweet all in one, so it adds a nice overall flavor.
- Chili Seasoning: Make your own chili seasoning if you don’t have any on hand. It’s a mix of chili powder, paprika, cumin, red pepper flakes, and a few other herbs and spices.
- Ketchup: This is a great way to enhance the flavor, as it contains both sugar and vinegar (sweet and acidic).
- Yellow Mustard: Mustard adds tanginess to the flavor.
- Salt + Pepper: Enhances the natural flavors of the dish.
Pro Tip: Don’t skip the vinegar! It really makes this chili pop!
Variations on Homemade Chili
The great thing about chili is how endlessly adaptable it is! There are so many different kinds of chili, and different cultures make it differently. This is my personal favorite recipe, but try some of these popular variations to make it your own.
Try swapping out the beef and pork for turkey and/or chicken for a healthier, lighter option. For vegetarian chili, omit the meat and add more beans, lentils, or even tofu! Or get adventurous and try chili made with buffalo meat or seafood!
In my opinion, the secret to perfect chili is to choose high-quality meats and add a splash of vinegar to round out the flavor!
I like to use ground chuck because it’s fattier and more flavorful than regular ground beef. Pork sausage adds a nice depth of flavor, but you can use all beef if you prefer.
We want our chili to be nice and thick! So keep simmering until it really thickens up. If it’s still too watery and thin after about an hour, add a flour or cornstarch slurry to thicken it up. To do this, mix cornstarch or flour with cold water, and then mix that into the pot of chili.
I used black and red (kidney) beans, but pinto beans are also a great choice!
Yes, you definitely want to drain the beans first. Otherwise all that extra liquid will thin out the chili too much.
Vinegar brightens up the final product, rounding out the taste. You won’t taste the vinegar, but you’ll definitely notice a difference when you add it!
Let chili simmer with the lid off. This allows liquid to escape as it cooks down and thickens. The lid would keep extra moisture in, which could lead to watery chili.
The longer chili simmers on the stove top, the thicker it will get and the more the ingredients will meld together. That means, yes, a longer cook time means more flavor. But usually an hour is plenty of time, or until it reaches your desired consistency.
How to Store and Reheat
Let the beef chili cool to room temperature before storing. Then, place it in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. The flavor really intensifies as it “marinates” in the fridge, so it’ll taste even better the next day.
Reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring often, until warmed through.
How to Freeze
Place leftovers in airtight, freezer-safe containers (or a freezer-safe resealable bag to freeze flat). It will keep in the freezer for 4-6 months. Thaw it in the fridge and then reheat it to eat!