In this quick and flavorful Easy Beef Chili Recipe, sautéed ground beef and onions simmer with beans in a perfectly chili-spiced tomato sauce. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, grated sharp cheddar cheese and sliced green onions – we like Fritos or corn chips too! Serves 6 in under an hour.
Making chili is basically effortless.
My whole life I thought chili took hours simmering away on the stove top. Only because it tastes like it does. In reality, all you need is a few ingredients and about 45 minutes. That is why this my go-to beef chili recipe. Not only is it super easy to make but it’s also hearty, filling and so comforting. I can only hope that it becomes your go-to recipe as well.
To Make This Easy Beef Chili Recipe You Will Need:
- extra light olive oil or olive oil spray
- yellow onion
- lean ground beef
- chili powder
- celery salt
- tomato sauce
- pinto beans
- light or dark red kidney beans
- optional toppings like; plain nonfat greek yogurt, sour cream, green onions and extra sharp cheddar cheese.
Spray a dutch oven or deep sided pot with olive oil spray before adding in 1 medium diced yellow onion with a pinch of kosher salt. Stir and sauté for 5 minutes.
Once the onions have softened, add in the 1-1/2 pounds of lean ground beef. I use either 92/8 or 90/10 lean to fat ratio.
When the ground beef is no longer pink, drain off all the fat and discard. Then measure and add in 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin and a few shakes of celery salt and cayenne pepper to the cooked beef.
Stir and cook for a minute, to open up those spices.
To this add in 2 (15 ounce) cans of tomato sauce. I also add a little water to each empty can, swirl it around to catch any extra sauce clinging to the inside of the can and add that in as well.
Next add in 2 cans (drained and rinsed) pinto beans and 1 can red kidney beans, also drained and rinsed. Along with 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. Adding the sugar offsets the acidity of the tomato sauce.
Stir well to combine.
Then cover and simmer on medium-low to low for 20 to 30 minutes or until hot.
This is the BEST chili, but every chili recipe needs some toppings. Am I right?
Optional Beef Chili Toppings:
- sour cream or plain nonfat greek yogurt
- shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
- sliced green onions
- hot sauce
- tortilla chips or fritos
- diced avocado
How To Freeze Chili And Reheat Later:
- COOL: make sure the chili is completely cool before freezing. Never place hot or very warm items in the freezer (or fridge!) as it can thaw and negatively affect the nearby food.
- PORTION: when cool, divide chili into portions. Whether it’s a single serving, two or four, portion the cooled chili into either freezer safe bags or air-tight containers. I prefer using freezer safe bags and removing as much air as possible, this helps with storing.
- FLATTEN: once portioned, lay flat on a rimmed baking sheet and freeze for a few hours. Like in this post.
- STORE: stack the flat frozen chili portions vertically or horizontally saving so much freezer space. Store chili in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- REHEAT: I prefer to thaw frozen chili overnight in the fridge. However you can soak in a sink of lukewarm water for 20 to 30 minutes – flip every so often and change out the water at least once or twice. You can also defrost in the microwave until thawed. Lastly, add thawed chili to saucepan or dutch oven and heat until thoroughly heated throughout.
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Easy Beef Chili Recipe
- olive oil spray
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1½ pounds ground beef, I like to use 90% lean / 10% fat
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 shakes cayenne pepper, or more to taste
- 2 shakes celery salt, (optional)
- 2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans (light or dark), drained and rinsed
- 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- sour cream or plain non-fat greek yogurt, optional see notes
- shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, optional see notes
- sliced green onions, optional see notes
- hot sauce, optional see notes
- fritos corn chips or tortilla chips, optional see notes
- diced avocado, optional see notes
- Spray the bottom of a dutch oven with olive oil. Add the diced onions with a small pinch of kosher salt and sauté for 5 minutes or until soft.
- Add in the ground beef and use a wooden spoon to break it up into crumbles. Cook fully until no longer pink. Drain and discard fat in the bottom of the pot.
- Measure and add in the chili powder, cumin, celery salt and cayenne. Stir to combine.
- Next add the tomato sauce. I also add a little water to the nearly empty can and swirl it around to catch any extra sauce and add that in as well.
- Add the beans, salt and sugar. Stir, cover and simmer over medium-low for 20 to 30 minutes or until hot.
- Ladle into bowls and top with desired toppings.
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