(the best!) Classic Chili

With so many variations of chili, the classic version often gets overlooked. Not this one! Thick, rich, loaded with tomato flavor, lots of beef, and plenty of beans. It’s sweet, warm, spicy (in flavor not heat πŸ™‚ ), and so perfect with some sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.

(the best!) CLASSIC CHILI | www.togetherasfamily.com

With so many different chili variations out there, it’s always nice to have a classic, simple, perfect recipe for plain ol’ chili. I hesitate saying ‘plain’ because this classic chili is anything but. Full of beef & beans that simmers for hours (stove top or slow cooker) in a super flavorful, rich, hearty tomato sauce.

CLASSIC CHILI | www.togetherasfamily.com

I’ve contributed my fair share of chili variations:Β white bean turkey chili and texas taco chili are some of my faves.

But, there is something about classic chili topped with sour cream and cheddar cheese. Please, whatever you do, do not skip the garnishes on top πŸ™‚

CLASSIC CHILI | www.togetherasfamily.com

Be sure and let this simmer (if cooking on stove top) for at least 2-3 hours. I always cook mine in the morning and let it simmer on low heat on the stove top all day. My slow cooker tends to cook at a high heat, even on low, so I prefer simmering this on the stove top.

Don’t let the ketchup scare you. It adds a sweetness and thickness that you couldn’t get with anything else. This coming from a ketchup hater. Yes, me. The smell, the weird red color, the texture….. it all terrifies me. But, I use it in this chili and love it πŸ™‚

I hope you love this one like we do. Try it with this BUTTERMILK CORNBREAD. Trust me, it will be the Best. Meal. Ever!

(the best!) Classic Chili

Do not confuse tomato juice with vegetable juice (like V8). They look similar but you want the plain tomato juice (the brand I saw was Campbell's). You can find the tomato juice in the juice aisle.


  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 large onion (or 2 smaller), finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 large cans (29 oz each) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bottle (46 oz) tomato juice
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional (I never add this)


  1. In a large skillet pan over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef with the onion and salt until no longer pink and cooked through. Drain grease and set aside.
  2. In large pot combine the remaining ingredients, sir together. Add in the cooked meat, stir again.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, while stirring occasionally. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer, partially covered with a lid, for at least 2 hours (or up to 4). Stir every so often.
  4. Serve with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.
  5. To make in the crock pot: Brown ground beef according to instructions above. Combine the remaining ingredients in the crock pot, add in the cooked meat and stir together. Cook on low heat for 4-5 hours.
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    • Together As Family says

      Hi Deb! Chili + cornbread +fall is pretty much my idea of perfection! I’m excited for chili season, but most importantly football. We’re big fans in this house. Thanks for stopping by.


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