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Best Chili Recipe – Oh Sweet Basil

The best chili recipe I have ever made! It’s packed with ground beef, bacon and 3 kinds of beans with just the right combination of spices for the perfect flavor! Top it off with a little sour cream and shredded cheese, Yum!

You all have been loving our award winning Instant Pot chili for quite some time now, but this one is better. I can’t believe I’m saying that because the Instant Pot version is the bomb, but this is THE BEST!

Now, I’ve actually never been a chili fan. Spicy is not my thing and growing up I didn’t like ground beef and wasn’t a huge bean fan so chili was definitely not my favorite. But then I became intrigued, and all from one story…

My sister once called me later at night and I was juuust about to go to sleep. I knew she’d just been on a date so I answered to hear the details. No. No this was not a, “best date ever” call, but a “you will not believe the awkwardness” call.

He had called last minute and asked if she could pick him up. “Oh sure” she replied, totally not worrying about it as they were nearing the end of college and maybe his car was out of luck. So she picks him up and he tells her he actually doesn’t have a car, or a job, nor is he actually in school. Instead he’s pursuing breakdancing. 😬

A large bowl of the best chili topped with sour cream and grated cheese. Another bowl for chili is in the background and there are a few pieces of cornbread next to the chili.

Best Thing I’ve Ever Eaten

Which is fine, there’s probably some good ones out there, but as he later showed her, he wasn’t one of them. But I’m distracted. So this kind boy tells her, I’m taking you out for the very best thing I’ve ever eaten. “You’re going to love it,” he says. Right at the light, then head straight down main. Take a left at this light and straight again until it’s on the left hand side. Wendy’s.

Well again, she’s so kind and gives him a chance. They get inside and he orders two baked potatoes with chili. Whhhhhaaaaaa?

This is the BEST thing you’ve ever eaten?

That date didn’t end up going anywhere, haha, but it sure sparked something in me! I vowed to discover the best chili ever and while it started as a funny joke I ended up falling in love with chili! Jokes on me!

A bowl of Best Chili topped with grated cheese and cilantro.

What Ingredients Do I Need to Make the Best Chili?

So I thought I had found the best chili ever in our Instant Pot chili recipe, but then I made this stove top version, and this is the absolute best. If you are familiar with our IP version, the ingredients are similar with just a couple of additions for this recipe. This is what you will need:

  • Meats: Ground Beef (90% lean ground beef or 85% works too) and Bacon
  • Beans: Kidney Beans, Pinto Beans and Black Beans
  • Veggies: Fire Roasted Tomatoes, Tomato Paste, Red Onion, Red Bell Pepper, Jalapeno and Garlic
  • Liquids: Beef Broth and Worcestershire Sauce
  • Spices: Oregano, Ground Cumin, Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, Smoked Paprika, Coriander, Chili Powder
  • Cocoa Powder

The measurements for each ingredient can be found in the recipe card down below.

Two bowls of the best chili. The chili is made with beans, ground beef and herbs and spices. It is topped with sour cream and grated cheese.

For Garnish

  • Sour Cream
  • Cilantro
  • Cheddar Cheese (or any type of cheese your family loves)

These are our favorite toppings, but you could honestly do anything your family enjoys. Other options might include: tortilla chips, Fritos, green onions, black olives, avocado, corn, tomatoes, etc.

How to Make the Best Chili Recipe

Making this homemade chili is so simple and the depth of flavor is fabulous. I’m so obsessed! Here are the basic steps:

  1. Cook the bacon until crisp in a large pot, then remove to a plate lined with a paper towel.
  2. Add the onions and pepper and cook until tender.
  3. Add the ground beef and cook until browned.
  4. Drain any grease.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and 3/4 of the bacon stirring everything to combine.
  6. Let it simmer over medium low heat.
  7. Serve with your favorite chili garnishes, including the extra bacon, and side of skillet cornbread!

All the details can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.

A bowl of the best chili. There is ground beef, three kinds of beans, spices, sour cream and grated cheese on top.

What Ingredients Deepen the Flavor of Chili?

We carefully considered each ingredient when making this chili recipe, but we found as we tested that certain ingredients really deepened the flavor. Cocoa powder, bacon, and tomato paste all add to the depth of flavor, especially the longer it simmers. It’s actually even better the second day!

Does Chili Have To Have Beans?

Some chilis, such as Texas chili, actually forbid the use of beans.

Other chili recipes call for beans. I love the heartiness that beans add!

What is the Difference Between and Yellow Onion and a Red Onion?

A red onion has a slightly more mild flavor than a yellow onion when served raw and can help to mellow out a tomato based dish instead of the more bold yellow or white onion. 

A bowl of the best chili. It has a spoonful of sour cream and shredded cheese on top. You can see the ground beef and beans in the chili, and a piece of cornbread is on the edge of the bowl. Another bowl of chili is in the background.


Protein: change up the protein and using ground chicken or turkey (though if you want to go a little lighter, you should try our Instant Pot Turkey Chili) or use swap 1/2 pound of sausage for some of the ground beef

Spiciness: add heat with a dash of cayenne powder or red pepper flakes

Veggies: toss in some green beans, corn, zucchini or squash for extra nutrients

Quantity: make a double batch to feed a crown and serve of baked potatoes for a baked potato bar

How Long Will Chili Keep?

Chili will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Can Chili Be Frozen?

Chili freezes extremely well. Cool chili completely.

Place in container with a tight fitting lid, or in freezer bags and freeze for 4-6 months.

Let it thaw in the fridge overnight and then warm up on the stove top or in the microwave (for individual servings).

A bowl of the best chili. A spoon is in the bowl. There are beans and ground beef in a rich sauce and the chili is topped with sour cream and shredded cheese.

So no one ever needs to take a date to Wendy’s for the “best thing you’ve ever eaten” because you can just make the best chili recipe right at home and it’s so simple and tastes incredible! Now excuse me while I go work on my breakdancing moves and work off that second bowl of chili I just ate! Lol!

Here are some more CHILI RECIPES that you’ll love:

Servings: 10 people

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


The best chili recipe I have ever made! It’s packed with ground beef, bacon and 3 kinds of beans with just the right combination of spices for the perfect flavor! Top it off with a little sour cream and shredded cheese, Yum!

  • 6 Strips Bacon, good quality, chopped
  • 1 Red Onion, chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 1/2 Pounds Ground Beef
  • 1 Can Kidney Beans, 15 oz, drained
  • 1 Can Pinto Beans, 15 oz, drained
  • 1 Can Black Beans, 15 oz, drained
  • 1 Can Tomatoes, 15 oz, Fire Roasted with juice
  • 1 Can Tomato Paste, 6 oz.
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced *optional
  • 2 Cups Beef Stock
  • 1 Tablespoon Oregano, dried
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper, ground
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • In a large pot, cook the bacon until crisp, stirring often to cook evenly.

    6 Strips Bacon

  • Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate.

  • Add the onions and peppers and cook until tender.

    1 Red Onion, 1 Red Bell Pepper

  • Add the ground beef and cook until browned.

    1 1/2 Pounds Ground Beef

  • Drain off any excess grease, we just tilt the pot and use a large spoon.

  • Add all of the remaining ingredients and 3/4 of the bacon and stir to combine.

    1 Can Kidney Beans, 1 Can Pinto Beans, 1 Can Black Beans, 1 Can Tomatoes, 1 Can Tomato Paste, 1 Jalapeno, 2 Cups Beef Stock, 1 Tablespoon Oregano, 2 teaspoons Cumin, 1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder, 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt, 1 teaspoon Black Pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika, 1/2 teaspoon Ground Coriander, 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder, 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce, 1 Tablespoon Garlic

  • Cook for a minimum of 45 minutes. If you have the time, it is best if it simmers all day or as long as possible.

  • Serve with sour cream, cheese, cilantro and the remaining bacon.

    Sour Cream, Cilantro, Cheese

Chili can be frozen for 4-6 months.
Want it spicier? Try adding 1/4-1 teaspoon cayenne

Calories: 331kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 20gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 866mgPotassium: 770mgFiber: 6gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1055IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 61mgIron: 4mg

Author: Sweet Basil

Course: 50 of the Best Easy Soup Recipes for Families

Cuisine: American

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A bowl of chili. The chili has ground beef, beans and a rich sauce. It is topped with sour cream and shredded cheese and a piece of cornbread is on the edge of the bowl.


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