Having a classic chili recipe as a weeknight go-to is imperative. Especially one that can be fully cooked in about 30 minutes. This recipe has all the flavors of classic chili, and we like to serve it up with some homemade tortilla chips (for that extra crunch factor!).
This homemade classic chili is total comfort food. It makes a great quick lunch on the go and is perfect as a meal served with a delicious side of soaked grains, sprouted spelt biscuits, homemade tortilla chips, or skillet buttermilk cornbread.
We love this meal because it’s so quick to make, however, if you can let it simmer for longer, you’ll certainly be rewarded with an amazing depth of flavor and richer sauce.
What Makes This A Classic Chili Recipe?
Some might argue with me that this is truly a classic chili.
Die-hard chili enthusiasts might tell you that classic chili doesn’t include beans. They also might balk at the ground beef instead of cubed beef.
Furthermore, traditionally speaking, there is no tomato paste and the flavor should come from whole dried chilis that have been rehydrated then pureed… but we’re also trying to get a solid meal on the table in under an hour, so I think you can forgive us?
We’re coining this as a classic chili recipe because it has all the basic chili ingredients (at least, to the rest of us not-so-die-hard chili fans): beans, ground beef, tomato paste, garlic, onions, and seasonings.
We’re also not getting fancy with the cooking: just chop, brown, simmer, and serve for this chili recipe.
The best part about this recipe has to be the quick cooking time. Dinner on the table in under 60 minutes is a true win in my house. And this particular recipe is closer to 30 minutes, if you’re a fast chopper.
Because we’ve added a lot of seasonings, it doesn’t have to simmer all day to be delicious. (Although, letting it simmer longer never hurts… it’s also fantastic for leftovers the next day!)
What Beans Can I Use For Chili?
It’s up to you! Whether you like black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, or a combination of them all, the beans are completely interchangeable and all equally as delicious.
My favorite source of organic, dry beans is Azure Standard.
Sometimes I make this chili by sprouting the beans for a day or two, to the point where they sport barely a sprout. Like this, they can be added to a dish and will cook up very quickly — in about 20 to 30 minutes. See Sprouted Bean Chili.
This week, I did not sprout these black beans, but rather cooked them like normal (soaked them and then cooked for 12 to 18 hours on low in the Crock Pot until tender) ahead of time and then added them to the chili-in-the-making.
Can I Make Chili In A Slow Cooker?
Yes! Just follow the instructions below and instead of simmering on the stove top, put all ingredients in your Crock Pot and let it simmer on low for 4 to 6 hours.
How To Make Homemade Chili
The recipe couldn’t be easier, and it’s completely adaptable based on your preference.
- The first thing you’ll want to do is to gather all your fresh veggies. You don’t have to be specific here, just whatever you have on hand. We like to use onions, garlic, and all four colored bell peppers (optional).
- Give all your veggies a good dice. Add some avocado, coconut, or olive oil to a large stockpot then add the onion, garlic, and peppers and let them cook down while you gather the rest of your ingredients.
- In a second pan, brown the ground beef until no longer pink. Add all the seasonings and stir well.
- Next combine the water (chicken or beef broth are delicious, too) and tomato paste in a small bowl and whisk until it’s like a runny tomato sauce. Add this to the meat mixture along with the beans.
- Add in the cooked vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes to allow all the flavors to come together.
- Adjust seasonings, then dish up with your favorite toppings.
This is a very mild chili, which makes it great to serve for kids. We didn’t use all of the typical chili seasonings.
If you’d like a spicier chili you can add jalapeño peppers, chili powder, add a few pinches of cayenne pepper, or substitute the spices for 2-4 tablespoons of 2 Minute Easy Taco Seasoning Mix. A few splashes of hot sauce once served is also yummy!
You really can’t go wrong with chili toppings. When you start with something that’s delicious on it’s own, it can only get better with these toppings.
Pick your favorites, mix and match, or add them all!
- Grated cheese
- Sour cream
- Diced onion
- Diced or pickled jalapeño
- Homemade tortilla chips
What should I serve with chili?
As I mentioned above, chili is perfectly acceptable to eat all on its own, which makes anything you pair with it an added bonus. Some of our favorite items to pair with chili are:
- Homemade Sourdough Tortilla Chips (pictured below)
- Sprouted Spelt Biscuits (pictured above)
- Soaked Buttermilk Biscuits
- Sourdough Bread
Classic Chili Recipe
This classic chili recipe is perfect for busy weeknight dinners and is wonderful served leftover for lunch the next day. Dish it up with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
- 1 onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic diced
- 1 bell pepper any color
- 1 tablespoon oil avocado or coconut oil
- 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
- 4 cups beans of choice cooked, black beans pictured
- 1 can tomato paste 6 ounce
- 4 cups pure water or bone broth, + additional as desired for consistency
- 2 to 3 teaspoons sea salt plus additional to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper plus additional to taste
- 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons ground cumin or to taste
- 1 tablespoon paprika powder or to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- sour cream
- onion diced
- fresh cilantro chopped
- cheddar cheese shredded
- avocado diced
Dice onion, bell peppers, and garlic.
Add oil to a heavy bottom pot and cook onions, bell peppers, and garlic over medium to medium-high heat until soft.
In a separate pan, brown ground beef and add all seasonings.
Combine the tomato paste and water in a 4-cup measurer, and whisk until smooth.
Add to the meat mixture.
Add the beans and the veggie mixture.
Bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat and let cook for 20 to 30 minutes to develop flavor.
Serve with desired garnishes.
- Chop all veggies ahead of time and set aside until needed.
- Can cook ground beef the day before to save time.
- For a spicier chili, choose from the following additions: jalapeno peppers, chili powder, ceyenne pepper, pickled jalapenos to top and a few splashes of hot sauce.
- This recipe is great served leftover the following day.
- You can freeze the leftovers. Allow chili to cool completely and store in a freezer safe container. Defrost completely, then reheat on the stovetop to serve.
Looking for more chili or ground beef recipes? Try These!
- 30-Minute Instant Pot Green Lentil Chili (GAPS, Paleo)
- Basic Sprouted Bean Chili(use fat-free broth and ultra-lean ground meat for THM:E)
- Pumpkin Chili (Stove Top, Instant Pot, or Crock-Pot)
- Creamy Chicken Chili (Easy 30 Minute Dinner!)
- 20 Best Chili Recipes (Instant Pot, Crock-Pot, Stove Top)
- 25+ Ground Beef Recipes for Easy Meals
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Chili are so wonderful for the winter time. So hearty and filling and warming.
Thanks for sharing your recipe as part of the carnival. Your recipe looks delightful.
.-= Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet´s last blog post… Pennywise Platter Thursday 9/17 =-.
This sounds delicious! I’ve never thought to sprout my beans before cooking…I am definitely going to try it. We love chili here too…now if only the weather would cooperate with us!
.-= Kara ´s last blog post… The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. Ever. Really. =-.
Kara – I believe the sprouting/cooking of beans is mentioned in Nourishing Traditions. But I want to say (and should have said before) that I got the idea of using them in chilis, stews, etc. from Laryssa at Heaven in the Home: http://www.heaveninthehome.com/2009/05/15/sprouting-beans/ She did a really nice job explaining it all. 🙂
We eat chili often in the winter. I like to add a few other things to mine; green peppers, mushrooms, some basil. I have to agree that black beans are very nice in chili. My guys prefer spicier too so they add crushed chilis to their bowls afterwards. I’ll have to try adding cumin and using some garnishes. 🙂
.-= Marg´s last blog post… Places a kitten will sleep =-.
Lindsey in AL says
Pickled peppers are incredibly easy to can, if not the most traditional food in the world. My grandparents like to add them to chili to spice it up. They usually add a whole half-pint jar to a pot but I imagine a few of the peppers minced and thrown into individual bowls would do the job nicely as well. It’s also a nice way to use up those miscellaneous peppers that i plant and then don’t know what to do with 🙂
If we lived where we used to live (NW Wash.) instead of where we now live, I might be able to give you some of mine 😉
.-= Lindsey in AL´s last blog post… Cake decorating 101 =-.
Looks and sounds delicious! I am going to have to make chili soon. We like it spicy, so I will add a little more kick to it, but thanks for the idea and the recipe.
Wardee, that looks sooo good. Yum! Can’t wait to try it…
.-= Bethany´s last blog post… Quick Big Picture of Classical Education =-.
I have been craving some black beans and your recipe looks great! Thanks for sharing it.
.-= Debbie´s last blog post… I will dance =-.
lol…what a wonderful recipe..I have a confession to make, the first time i read it i didn’t have my glasses on and I thought it said that Jeff would like a spider chili, lol..lol..I thought boy he is brave and she is brave for making it!
Needless to say, i got it right with my glasses on..thanks for sharing..warm loving hugs
Peacewing – you’re too funny! Actually, he might like spider chili! 🙂
Linda Z says
I tried the chili recipe yesterday and the flavour was great, except I misread the recipe and I soaked the beans for almost 2 days, and then didn’t cook them before adding the other ingredients. I thought the extra soaking was enough. So my chili ended up being crunchy black bean, but my family gracefully ate it, but they loved the flavour, so I am trying again today.
I just made this last night. I had a frozen bag of chicken stock that sprung a leak in the freezer so I used that in place of the 4 cups of water. It was out of this world! Thank you for sharing!
Leigh Anne says
Sounds delicious 🙂
Would this be fine to make it then freeze it?? (I’m trying to get together some freezer meals for post-baby)
Leigh Anne — It freezes beautifully. Congratulations on your upcoming birth!