This is the BEST Chili Recipe! Made with bacon (and the option to omit if necessary) and ground beef and simmered on the stove for just 30 minutes, this is my family’s go-to cold weather comfort food. It’s even better when paired with a side of buttermilk cornbread!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20minutes
Total Time: 30minutes
Servings: 6 servings (this recipe makes 10 cups total, so one serving is approx 1 ⅔ cup)
- 5 strips uncooked bacon chopped¹
- 1 large yellow onion diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 red pepper diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 Tablespoon)
- 1 lb ground beef (455g) (I use 90% but any will work)
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder²
- 1 Tablespoon ancho chili powder²
- 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¾ teaspoons ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper³
- 1 ¼ cup beef broth (295ml)
- 15 oz can dark red kidney beans lightly rinsed and drained (425g)
- 15 oz can black beans lightly rinsed and drained (425)
- 14.5 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes undrained (411g)
- 7- oz can fire roasted green chilis (198g)
- ¼ cup tomato paste (66g)
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Preferred toppings particularly sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and corn chips
- Place chopped (uncooked) bacon in a large pot or Dutch oven and cook over medium heat until crisp and cooked through. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate and drain all but 1 ½ Tablespoons of grease.
- Add onion and pepper and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
- Add beef, breaking apart with a spatula as you cook. Once meat is partially (about 50%) browned, add sugar and all spices (chili powders, paprika, cumin, onion powder, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper) and stir well.
- Add all remaining ingredients — beef broth, beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, chilis, and Worcestershire sauce — and your cooked bacon and stir well.
- Bring to a boil and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 30 minutes to allow flavor to really develop.
- Serve with preferred toppings (sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and corn chips are a must!)
¹For best flavor, DO NOT OMIT THE BACON. However, as someone who spent 23 years not eating bacon I wanted to include tips for those of you who might have the same restrictions. if you wish to make this recipe without bacon you *can* do so by skipping the first step, heating 1 ½ Tablespoons of oil over medium heat, and then beginning from step 2. On the other hand, if you want additional bacon for garnishing, cook it now and reserve.
²You can substitute one chili powder for the other and use just traditional chili powder or just ancho chili powder, but I personally like the blend of the two.
³This gives the chili a mild spice, if you like more heat increase to ¼ teaspoon for a moderate spice. Add additional cayenne pepper at your own risk!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I freeze this chili recipe?
Yes, leftovers can be frozen in an airtight container for at least 3 months.
Can I make this in a crockpot?
Kind of. For best flavor, you will still need to follow steps 1-4 of the recipe as written, then you can transfer everything to the crockpot and heat it there (I don’t add the bacon back in until I’m ready to serve). Cook on low until ready to serve.
Can I leave out the bacon?
The bacon imparts an incredible flavor and is the secret ingredient that makes this chili the best chili recipe and an award winner. If you’re entering a cook-off, use it! However, you can leave it out if you absolutely must. Please see the notes in the recipe for instructions on making this chili bacon-free.
Can I use a different type of meat?
I most often use 90% lean ground beef but any percentage will work just fine (I’ve used all of them, but usually end up draining some grease if I use 80%). Ground turkey or chicken or really any ground meat will work here, but keep in mind the flavor will be slightly altered!
What Goes Well with Chili?
- Buttermilk Cornbread (a must!)
- Homemade Biscuits
- Dinner Rolls
- Homemade Bread
Obviously, bread is my chili side-dishes of choice. Because this chili is so hearty and filling on its own, a slice of cornbread makes for a sufficient side for chili.
Enjoy, and make sure to check out my other easy dinner recipes!! And make sure you let me know what you think when you try this! I love hearing about the cook-offs it wins and if you really agree that it’s the all-time BEST chili recipe!
Serving: 1serving (not including toppings) | Calories: 611kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 1315mg | Potassium: 758mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 30IU | Vitamin C: 72mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 20mg