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The Best Simple Chili

chili con carne bowl

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The best simple chili recipe has the perfect balance of zest and spice. It’s fast and easy to make and has an incredible depth of flavor. This recipe includes it all! Top it off with mild cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and a handful of scallions for the perfect crunch. 

Rabo Encendido

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Table of Contents

Top Tips

The key to the best chili is to make sure the beef is not overcooked. Overcooked ground beef loses consistency and substance-feeling crumbly and dry. Not very tasty. 

Brown the ground beef on high heat, add the tomato sauces and let simmer.

Chili in a bowl

Ingredients and Substitutions


The ground turkey can be swapped for ground beef in this recipe, and if you’re looking for a vegetarian ingredient, you can swap ground beef for diced portabella mushrooms.

What is cumin?

Cumin has a rich, earthy, and hearty flavor with a citrus undertone. It’s a spice used in stews, rice dishes, barbecue sauces, and chili recipes.

Cumin can be overpowering and overtake a dish; use in moderation and add to develop flavor.


Can I use ground turkey?

Turkey is also an excellent option for this chili recipe. Turkey is a similar flavor profile and is ideal for sauteing. 

What to serve with this chili?

The best simple chili is perfect on a movie night with corn tortilla chips, restaurant-style.

If you’re in the mood for pasta, then ziti pasta is perfect, and if you’re eating gluten-free, then spaghetti squash, known as nature’s spaghetti, is an excellent choice. This spaghetti squash recipe is a huge time saver. Hint. You don’t need to cut through an entirely raw squash. 

Storage and Reheating


Chili can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. If you want to save for the following week, you can freeze it for a week or two.


Warm a serving in a pot for a few minutes until thoroughly reheated, and serve with warm rice. If the chili is too thick, add a small amount of water or broth to reheat.

Equipment for this recipe

The Best Simple Chili

The Best Simple Chili

Print Recipe
Warm beef chili with zest and spice
Course Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Chili, Dinner, gluten-free, Lunch
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Servings 6 people
Calories 215


  • 1 2 qt. Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
  • 1 Wooden Spoon
  • 1 Small Bowl
  • 1 Chef Knife
  • 1 Cutting Board


  • 1 lb 80/20 or 85/15 ground grass-fed beef
  • 2 whole Bay leaves
  • 14.5 oz Diced and fire-roasted tomatoes with organic green chiles (1 can)
  • 8 oz Tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1 whole Medium onion
  • 1/4 cup Grated mild cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1 tbsp Chopped scallions (optional)
  • 1 tbsp Sour cream (optional)


  • Step 1
    Prep: Dice the whole onions.
    Preheat the dutch oven, slowly increase to medium heat and add the diced onion and ground beef. Use the wooden spoon to break down the meat into medium chunks. Brown the meat.
  • Step 2
    Add the spices, garlic paste, bay leaves, salt, and oregano. Continue to stir until the meat is browned - about 10 minutes.
  • Step 3
    Add the tomato sauce and incorporate well. Continue to stir and reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow the flavors to develop, and the tomato sauce to reduce. Season to taste.
  • Step 4
    Remove the bay leaf, and serve while hot. Coat with a generous portion of shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and a handful of diced scallions. These, of course, are all optional, but well worth it.

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