Classic ground beef chili with tomatoes and kidney beans spiced with chili powder cooked with beer for added flavor.
I love making this warm meat and bean filled ground beef chili on Saturdays or Sundays in the fall while my family watches football. After all, what is football season without chili? The hearty soup is perfect for serving a larger group of people during cooler temperatures.
This recipe combines ground beef with tomatoes, kidney beans and pinto beans for a classic version of soup. I always serve it topped with sour cream, Cheddar cheese, avocado, jalapeños and with a side of either Fritos for dipping or chunks of warmed cornbread.
Beef – I use a blend of 80% lean/ 20% fat ground beef. The fat adds flavor to the chili which I season with my own spice blend, developing deep flavors.
Baking soda – Tossing the meat in baking soda prior to sautéing it helps to keep the meat moist.
Beans – I use a mix of dark kidney beans and pinto beans in this chili recipe. Rather than taking the time to soak the beans I opt for canned beans. Be sure to rinse and drain the beans before adding them to the pot.
Spices – Rather than using a store-bought spice mixture I make my own using a few simple spices. The flavor of the chili comes from a blend of chili powder, cumin, basil, oregano and thyme.
Worcestershire – This fermented condiment adds a lot of concentrated flavor – a little goes a long way. The flavor of Worcestershire comes from a mix of vinegar, molasses, anchovies, garlic, tamarind extract and chili pepper.
Beer – I use a stout beer to add a more complex flavor to this recipe.
How to Make Classic Beef Chili
For the classic beef chili
Add beef to pot. Heat a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Toss the ground beef in the baking soda then add the beef to the pot.
Brown the beef. Sauté until the meat is evenly browned, about 8 minutes. Then add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is soft, about 6 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients. Next, add the tomatoes with their liquid and the beans to the pot, stirring to combine. Stir in the Worcestershire, chili powder, cumin, basil, oregano, thyme, beer and 1 cup of water.
Cook the chili. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened, about 2 hours.
Ladle into bowls. Ladle the chili into warmed bowls.
Garnish and serve. Top with a dollop of sour cream, Cheddar cheese, green onion, avocado and Fritos®.
Tips and Tricks For This Recipe
How to Make Chili in a Crockpot
This recipe can easily be made in a crockpot. Cook the onion and brown the beef then add all ingredients to the slow cooker and heat on low heat for 7 to 8 hours or high heat for 4 to 5 hours.
Easily swap the ground beef in this recipe for ground turkey for a lightened up version.
Add vegetables like chopped carrots or sweet potatoes for added sweetness.
Don’t rush the cooking process! Cooking the chili over a long period of time allows deep flavors to develop.
If you prefer chili on the spicier side, add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder to the chili along with the other spices.
Other Recipes to Try
If you enjoy this classic beef chili recipe, I recommend checking out some of these: