How to Make Chili
Chili is an all-American favorite--and one that lends itself to much interpretation. In fact, once you factor in the regional trends and personal tastes, there may be as many variations on how to make chili as there are people who make it. While most recipes use some combination of the same basic ingredients--meat, beans, peppers, tomatoes and spices--chili aficionados are particular about their tastes.

Texas chili, for instance, contains no beans and rarely other vegetables beyond chili peppers. Vegetarian chili, on the other hand, relies heavily on beans, as it's obviously meatless. White chili uses great northern beans instead of kidneys or pintos, tends to be a little sweeter and is often served over spaghetti. Other varieties of chili use chunks of pork or other meats. And the list of ingredients that people add to their own recipes includes everything from sweet corn, bourbon and molasses to peanut butter, cocoa and pineapple--and virtually everything in between.

A basic chili recipe, such as this one, gives you the framework with which to develop your own personal take on this robust dish.

Transcript
-Hey everyone! I'm Judith with recipe.com. And today, I'm gonna be showing you how to make chili, a beautiful stew to spice up any party. So what you are gonna need for this is 1 pound of ground beef. We have 1 can of tomato sauce, which is 15 ounces. We have 1 can of 14-1/2-ounce can of diced tomatoes. We have 1 can of kidney beans, 15 ounces, undrained. We have 2 to 3 teaspoons of chili powder. I've got about 2-1/2 in them. We have a quarter cup of chopped onions, 1 sweet greed red pepper which we have chopped into small pieces. We have 4 cloves of garlic, which we've minced; half a teaspoon of dried basil; half a teaspoon of salt; and a quarter teaspoon of ground black pepper. So, first thing's first. Put again our large saucepan on to a medium heat and we're gonna put it our ground beef, our onions, our garlic, and our lovely colorful green pepper. So that's all gonna go in there and we're gonna let that cook until the beef gets nice and brown. So our beef is browned nicely here and now it's time to add in the rest of our ingredient. So, let us put in our tomato sauce in here. In that goes. The diced tomatoes too. Now, we've left all the sauce from the can in there too as well as the kidney beans. They're going in there. Now, if you don't have kidney beans, you can also use pinto beans. They work great too. I mean, there's so many variations to chili to be honest. A lot of people add, you know, different herbs, spices, a little bit more spiced than herbed and all that, so you can really just play with it as you like. So, we'll add in the dried basil, the salt, and the pepper. And of course, let us not forget our chili powder. So if you like it really spicy, you can add more, but we've got about 2-1/2 here as I said. 2-1/2 teaspoons. That's going in there. We'll give it a nice mix. Oh and all those colors and flavors just look great. Alright, so now we're gonna simmer that for 20 minutes with our lid on. Well, our chili is done and thank goodness 'coz I cant wait to try this. It smells great and it looks even better. Let me give that a good stir. Wow! All those flavors are coming out. Lovely, colorful, nice, and thick. We'll put that in our bowl and this is perfect. You serve that maybe with a bit of sour cream. A little bit of cheese on top works well too. You can serve it with rice, with corn bread, with crackers, on a hotdog, you know. Your world's your oyster, but that is how you make chili. Well, thanks for watching everyone. For more great recipes and savings, go to recipe.com.
What You'll Need
  • 1   pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2  cup chopped green sweet pepper (1 small)
  • 1/2  cup chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 4   cloves garlic, minced
  • 1  15  ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1  15  ounce can red kidney beans, undrained
  • 1  14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 - 3   teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon dried basil, crushed
  • 1/4  teaspoon ground black pepper
  •  Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  •  Chopped onion (optional)
  •  Dairy sour cream (optional)
  •  Crushed red pepper (optional)


Step By Step
1
In a 3-quart saucepan cook and stir ground beef, sweet pepper, 1/2 cup chopped onion, and the garlic over medium heat until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off fat.
2
Stir in tomato sauce, undrained beans, undrained tomatoes, chili powder, salt, basil, and black pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. To serve, ladle chili into bowls. If desired, top each serving with cheese, chopped onion, and/or sour cream and pass crushed red pepper. Makes 4 main-dish servings.


Variation
  • Chili for Two: Prepare as above, except divide all ingredients in half.
Variation
  • Cincinnati-Style Chili: Prepare as above, except omit sweet pepper, basil, and optional garnishes. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper with the tomato sauce. To serve, place 1/2 cup hot cooked spaghetti on each of 4 serving plates; make an indentation in center of each portion. Top each serving with some of the chili, 1 to 2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese, 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped onion, and/or 1/4 cup additional kidney beans.
Looking for ideas for how to make chili in your own signature style? A good place to begin is by considering some substitutions--experiment with different types of beans or peppers, adjust the blend of seasonings and herbs, or add some unexpected nuances such as chopped or pureed sweet potatoes. Make your chili lean with ground turkey or chicken. Vegetarians might consider using tofu in place of the ground beef or foregoing the meat altogether.
More Recipes
Add cinnamon and other spices and serve this ground beef and bean mixture over spaghetti and you've got Cincinnati chili. Either way, it's fast and hearty.
If you like chili with beans, add some pintos to this spicy beef sirloin chili.
Chili Colorado, the basic red chili sauce of New Mexico, made with powdered chilies and tomatoes, is an all-purpose sauce used on dishes from huevos rancheros, enchiladas, and tamales to grilled meats and poultry.
Italian sausage, basil, and oregano season this slow cooker chili.
Combine round steak and beans for hearty game-day bowls of chili.
For a twist on traditional chili, try this healthy and satisfying recipe full of beans and pork.
This fragrant "white" chili is an unusual, delicious alternative to traditional tomato-based chilis. Serve with lime wedges and a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkling of cheese.
What makes this flavorful beef chili unique is that it's served over hot cooked noodles...give it a try - it just may become your favorite way to eat chili!
It takes very little time to make this chili that's big on flavor and features ground beef and kidney beans simmering in an onion and chili powder spiked tomato sauce.
Heat canned chili with frozen broccoli, then top with cheese and corn chips for a low-fat lunch or dinner.
A spicy jalapeno pepper heats up this classic chili recipe. The mild flavors of kidney beans and rice mellow the meal.
Lean beef and reduced-fat cheese cut fat and calories from this flavorful chili recipe.
Hot cooked macaroni helps mellow this super-spicy beef chili recipe.
Make this beef and bean chili for game day with friends or when you're expecting a crowd for dinner.
Loaded with vegetables and beans, this satisfying chili recipe will truly hit the spot on a cold winter night.

shop our favorite products