Perfect Hearty Chili Recipe

Sep 27, 2019

This Perfect Hearty Chili recipe brings together just the right balance of sweet and spicy. Packed with meat and beans, this chili is, hands-down, my family's favorite homemade chili! 

Need more comfort food? Check out this Ground Beef Stew and this list of Beefy Slow Cooker Recipes!

Bowl of chili with tortillas and lime

Hearty Chili Recipe

Chili is one of those foods you can enjoy year-round, but everyone seems to have a preference for when they make it. Some consider it a summer food, while others enjoy it in the fall. 

For me, chili is an autumn food. It's right up there with my Grandma's ground beef stew recipe for perfect fall and winter foods.

This is a thick, hearty chili. If you like a more soupy type, just add 3-4 cups of broth or water. Not only is it hearty, it has just the right blend of spicy and sweet, in my opinion. It does lean on the spicy side, but for the younger kids, we just add sour cream and that tends to balance it out.

I've been making this chili for years because it's a winner with everyone. I'll bet your family will love it, too!

top view of a bowl of chili with tortilla chips

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How to Make Chili 

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and saute until they are tender. Add green peppers, red peppers, garlic. Cook and stir until vegetables are tender.
  • Add beans into a large pot, and set to low heat. Brown the ground beef, then add vegetables and tomatoes.
  • Season with salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, oregano, vinegar and hot pepper sauce. Bring to a boil.
  • Stir and reduce heat low; simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

side view of a bowl of chili garnished with lime

Can you freeze chili?

Yes, you can freeze chili. I recommend freezing it in small batches; then you can reheat it at needed.

Freeze in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. Properly stored, chili will be at it's best quality for 4-6 months. However, it's still safe beyond that time.

How to thaw frozen chili:

Cooked chili that has been thawed in the refrigerator can be kept for an additional 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator before cooking. Chili that was thawed in the microwave or in cold water should be eaten immediately.

Once reheated, any remaining should be thrown away.

Hand scooping up chili with a tortilla chip

What to serve with Chili

This one will probably depend on your family, culture, or geographic location. Here in the South, a favorite is cornbread. Of course, there are many good pairings for chili. A few ideas are:
  • Cornbread
  • Quesadillas
  • Nachos
  • Loaded potato skins
  • Sweet potato or regular fries
  • Breadsticks
  • Crackers
  • Tortilla chips

Vegetarian Chili Option

There are several options for making making this a vegetarian chili.
  • Simply leave out the beef. VoilĂ ! Vegetarian!
  • Replace the beef with 8 oz. of cubed firm tofu. (I'd pan fry it first but you don't have to.)
  • Replace the beef with meatless version of beef.

Scooping a spoonful of chili from bowl

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