This Chili recipe is so delicious, made with bacon, ground beef, vegetables, beans, and a perfect combination of spices to make chili seasoning. This perfectly comforting and classic dish makes a great weekend dinner. Make a big batch of it because chili is even better reheated than it is freshly made.
Chili is also a great dish to serve at football parties and my Boozy Chili is a perfect choice for that. Turkey Chili is a great healthy option for a protein loaded and lean dinner. No matter what chili you make, don’t forget to serve some homemade cornbread with it.
Why It’s Best Cold Weather Food
Would anyone be surprised if I said that beef chili is my kid’s favorite dish? I am still surprised, especially since it is baby girl’s absolute favorite thing to eat. Yes, my 16-month old loves chili more than anything.
I am more than happy to spend a couple of hours making a big batch of chili for the family. Chili is a healthy dish because it’s made with lean meat, vegetables, and beans. It’s loaded with protein, fiber, and iron.
Besides tasting great, I like adding beans to my chili because it does have great nutritional value. So if you’re debating whether to add beans to chili or not, I say go for it!
Now, my Texas friends, don’t come after me for putting beans in the chili. I know that the original Chili Con Carne is made with meat and chilis and many Texans stay true to the original chili recipe. On the other hand, the idea of putting beans in the chili has been around for a long time now and in a way, it’s just as classic as the original way.
Tradition or not, when it comes to cooking for yourself and the family, we all do what we like best. And of course, what tastes the best.
1. Sear the bacon and ground beef. Sear diced bacon first, until it’s mostly done and add ground beef. Beak it up as much as you can and mix and cook until most of the meat had turned dark. Take it all out of the pot and set aside.
2. Sauté veggies. Add a little more oil if needed and sauté onions and peppers until mostly softened. Once softened, make room for minced garlic and sauté until garlic is fragrant. Mix everything and add back the meats.
3. Beans, tomatoes, and seasoning. Drain beans and add them to the pot. Add can of diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and all the seasoning. Mix everything very well and stir in the beef stock.
4. Cook! Bring the chili to a low boil and then lower the heat to low. Cover with a lid but leave a small crack for the steam to escape. Cook on low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remember to stir from time to time!
How To Make It In A Crock Pot
Slow cooker lovers will be happy to know that chili recipe can just as easily be made in a Crock Pot.
Begin by browning bacon in a cooking pan, over medium heat. Add ground beef, break it all up, and cook until beef is browned. Transfer beef and bacon mixture into a Crock Pot.
In the same pan where you cooked beef, add onions, peppers, and jalapeno. Sauté veggies until softened and add smashed and minced garlic. Sauté until garlic is fragrant and transfer veggie mixture onto the Crock Pot as well.
Add tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, broth, and seasoning to the Crock Pot. Stir everything well, cover, and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or on LOW for 6 hours. (Open and stir about once an hour.)
Tips and Trick For The Best Results
There are a few things you can add to make your chili taste great.
- First of all, the chili seasoning. Chili seasoning is basically the spices and herbs that go into chili. Be generous with chili powder and make sure to add cumin, oregano, and paprika. I recommend smoked paprika for a smoky taste in chili.
- To help regulate spice level in chili, you can add jalapenos or other spicy chili peppers. Adding spicier chili peppers can increase the spice level dramatically and if you add seeds from those peppers, that will bring up the heat even more.
- I prefer to make chili ahead of time and eat it the next day. It really does taste best when it gets a chance to sit in the fridge overnight.
You will be happy to know that you can easily freeze chili.
After chili is cooked, you will want to cool it as quickly as possible if you plan to freeze it. This will give bacteria less chance to build and extend the shelf life of food. The best way to cool chili quickly is to place the pot of chili into a larger container filled with ice and make sure to stir it from time to time as it cools.
Once it cools, portion it into smaller freezer bags, let all the air out, and close it well. Remember to label and date. Lay the bags flat on the cutting board and freeze. Chili can be frozen for up to 6 months.
To Thaw: Make sure to slow-thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Creating a Chili Bar
1. If you’re making chili for a game day, creating a chili bar is an awesome idea. Chili bar is basically a spread of awesome chili and an array of toppings that people can use for their chili.
2. Make sure to keep chili warm, so keeping it in a Crock Pot is a good idea even if you didn’t cook it in it.
3. Set out plenty of bowls and extra spoons so each topping option can have its own spoon.
4. There are many topping options like:
- sour cream
- diced jalapeno peppers, onion, avocado, cilantro, lime wedges, green onions
- crackers, tortilla strips, pretzels
- dried chick peas
Variations You’ll Love:
Meat – you can use just ground beef or mix ground beef and ground pork. You can also go for a leaner meat and just use ground turkey.
Spicier – Love it spicy? Use spicier peppers like serrano or habanero. Your chili will also be spicier if you keep the seeds in jalapenos or other peppers.
Add more veggies – feel free to load your chili with veggies like carrots, more bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, and avocado for topping.
The Best Chili Recipe
- 8 oz raw bacon
- 2 lbs ground beef 85%-15% lean to fat ratio
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 bell peppers – various colors
- 2-3 jalapeno peppers
- 2 tomatoes
- 4-6 large garlic cloves
- 14 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 4 oz tomato paste
- 16 oz can low sodium pinto beans or other beans you love
- 16 oz can low sodium kidney beans
- 1 cup beef stock or broth
- 2 1/2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp ancho chili powder
- 1 tbsp salt more or less to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Prepare ingredients ahead of time by dicing bacon, onion, tomatoes, and peppers. Measure the stock and seasoning, drain the beans, and mince garlic
- Preheat a 2.5-3 quart pot over medium heat and add a little bit of oil.
- Add diced bacon and cook until browned and most of the fat is rendered.
- Add ground beef, season with some salt, and cook, breaking up all the clumps of meat as much as possible. Continue to cook until the meat is mostly brown. Take meats out of the pot and set aside.
- Add diced onion, jalapenos, and bell peppers to the pot and sauté until softened.
- Make some room in the middle and add minced garlic. Sauté until garlic is fragrant and mix it into the veggies.
- Add meats back to the pot, stir, and add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, and seasoning. Stir everything well and pour in beef stock.
- Bring the chili mixture to a low boil and then lower the heat to low. Cover with a lid but leave a crack for the steam to escape.
- Cook for about 1.5-2 hours and make sure to stir from time to time. Take the lid off half way through and cook the rest of the time uncovered.
This is by far the best recipe I have ever tasted, just the right balance of flavours and so easy to make ,thank you.
The 2 nd time I made this I added a tbsp of BBque sauce to give it that Smokey BBque flavours
I am out of all bell peppers can I just omit it? Or what should I substitute?
You can always omit them or you can add other veggies instead. If you want, you can look over my vegetarian chili to get some ideas on what veggies will taste good in it. Here is the link to that recipe. https://www.willcookforsmiles.com/vegetarian-chili/
I hope you enjoy it! 🙂
Great recipe it was delicious a little time consuming but worth the wait
Thank you! Glad you liked the recipe 🙂
What’s the best way to reheat if I am bringing this into a potluck the next day and do not have a Crock-Pot?
Hi, Staci! You can reheat it in a big pot on the stove or put individual bowls in the microwave 🙂
Delicious!!! I love chili and this is without a doubt the best recipe ever! My hubby loved it too! It is going on the top of my list for chili recipes, actually I can just forget all the others! LOL! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I went exactly by the recipe…it needs nothing else. Yummy!
Wow! Thank you so much! That’s very kind! I am so glad you liked it so much!
Emily Losee says
The was indeed the best Chili I’ve ever made!! Will be making this again!!
Thank you, Emily! That’s so nice to hear! 🙂
Do I drain the meat and bacon grease
Hi, Amber! I do drain the meat and bacon grease! 🙂
Could I add both kidney beans and pinto beans or would that be too much?
Hi, Samantha! You could definitely add both kinds of beans you may have to add a little more stock and tomato paste.
Do I drain the fava from the beans first or is the liquid needed?
Hi, Sue! I do drain the liquid from the beans 🙂
Is there any extra additional liquid that needs added??
Hi, Rachel! No additional liquid is needed! 🙂
I’ve been making the same super basic chili for years but wanted to mix things up. I found your recipe and it was amazing!! So flavorful! My husband isn’t a big spice fan and i LOVE spicy and somehow we both thought it was amazing. Thanks for the recipe!
Ps i made in a crockpot and it worked out wel!
Annalisa, that makes me so happy! Thank you!
I love this recipe in the crockpot! 🙂
Turned out wonderful! I don’t know how you are doing it, posting all these great recipes this often. Your website has become my go to for dinners! Bless you and your family.
Awe Thank you so much what a compliment! I love making new recipes, I am so glad you like them! 🙂