This Classic Chili recipe is made with beef, kidney and pinto beans, and simmered in a red sauce with lots of seasonings. This easy chili recipe is cooked in a slow cooker and always the first pot of chili to go.  

classic chili recipe

BEST CHILI RECIPE

When I’m looking for the best classic chili recipe I want something with the right ratio of meat, beans, spices, and kick. This has all of those things and has so much flavor. 

INGREDIENTS

  • GROUND BEEF – I love using organic lean ground beef but any beef will do. 
  • YELLOW ONION – These are a little sweeter than a white onion.
  • DICED CELERY – This is the best secret ingredient that makes this taste like homestyle chili.
  • PINTO BEANS
  • RED KIDNEY BEANS – You can use any kind of beans, light or dark.
  • TOMATO SAUCE
  • DICED GREEN CHILES – These add a little kick and spice.
  • PETITE DICED TOMATOES – I like petite diced tomatoes because they are less chunky.
  • GROUND CUMIN
  • CHILI POWDER

classic chili recipe

TOPPINGS FOR CHILI

We all know that any good chili has all the toppings. My favorite toppings are:

  • SHREDDED CHEDDAR CHEESE
  • SOUR CREAM
  • GREEN ONIONS
  • CORN CHIPS OR TORTILLA CHIPS

WHY YOU SHOULDN’T RINSE YOUR CANNED BEANS?

Most people think you should rinse your canned beans but America’s Test Kitchen says you should keep the liquid because it acts as a thickening agent.

classic chili recipe

WHAT TO SERVE WITH THIS?

I love serving this with homemade cornbread.

OTHER CHILI RECIPES

classic chili recipe

Classic Chili recipe

4 from 40 votes
This Classic Chili recipe is made with kidney and pinto beans, simmered in a red sauce with lots of seasonings. This traditional chili recipe is a great recipe with the perfect amount of spice level. Serve with a side of cornbread for the ultimate chili recipe.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 4 hrs
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground beef, (I like to use 85% lean beef)
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup diced celery , (about 1 large celery stalk)
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans with liquid, (see note)
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans with liquid, (see note)
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • (optional) pinch of sugar, (this cuts the acidity of the tomatoes)

Toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, green onions

    Instructions
     

    • In a large skillet, brown the beef over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and sautee until soft. Drain any liquid.
    • In a 6-8 quart slow cooker, add the beef mixture along with all the remaining ingredients except the water. Add the water to your desired consistency. If you like a thinner chili add all of it. If you like thick chili don't add any of it. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.
    • Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and green onions.
    • Store leftover chili in an airtight container in the fridge.

    Notes

    Most people think you should rinse your canned beans but America's Test Kitchen says you should keep the liquid because it acts as a thickening agent.
    Cuisine: American
    Course: All Recipes, Main Course
    classic chili recipe