This Easy Chili Recipe is delicious comfort food at its finest! This humble and hearty dish only requires 5 ingredients and 20 minutes.
I adapted this easy chili recipe from Trevor’s Aunt Judy. She made us chili once and, when I asked for the recipe, she said, “What, this? It’s just ground beef, tomato soup, beans, and brown sugar.”
I was shocked…and obsessed. I decided to just wing it and see if I could recreate it. And I think I got it. This easy beef chili is simple comfort food at it’s finest!
This humble chili recipe is made with only 5 ingredients, but feel free to play around with additional spices and ingredients (onion, garlic, bacon, etc.) if you want to kick it up a notch!
- Ground Beef – use lean ground beef to keep this from being greasy.
- Beans – I like pinto beans for flavor and texture, but feel free to use any bean you have on hand like kidney beans!
- Condensed Tomato Soup – adds a nice, concentrated tomato flavor.
- Brown Sugar – balances out the acidic tomatoes with a rich, molasses sweet flavor.
- Chili Powder – made up of sweet paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, oregano, and cumin; chili powder really gives that smoky, sweet, and spicy flavor we all know and love.
- Salt – enhances other flavors.
- Shredded Cheese, Sour Cream, and Tortilla Chips or Crackers – optional, but highly recommended toppings.
This is a very easy, very basic, humble chili recipe, but this is what Trevor and I grew up eating in the Midwest. If you’re looking for a chili with a little more pizazz, be sure to check out my Easy Instant Pot Chili!
How to make
All made in one bowl and no chopping required, this beef chili recipe really could not be easier.
- Cook your ground beef in a large stockpot, then drain off the fat.
- Add in beans, soup, water, brown sugar, chili powder, and salt. Stir to combine.
- Let the mixture simmer until hot and thickened, then serve with your favorite toppings!
How long does it take to cook?
This chili takes 15 minutes to cook on the stovetop. With about 5 minutes of prep, this easy chili recipe takes just 20 minutes to make from start to finish. So quick, so easy, and so yummy!
What do you top chili with?
Toppings take your chili from great to amazing! Here are some of my favorites:
- Cheese: I love shredded sharp cheddar for flavor and creaminess, but any cheese will do . . . pepperjack anyone?
- Sour cream: cuts the richness of the chili with a creamy tang!
- Tortilla chips or crackers: adds a salty flavor and crunchy texture!
You could also try jalapeño slices, cilantro, avocado, or black olives!
How to season chili
This chili recipe just uses salt and chili powder for seasoning. Chili powder is a delicious blend of sweet paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, oregano, and cumin.
If you’d like to amp it up a bit, try adding in additional flavors and spices such as worcestershire sauce, pepper, ground cumin, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes!
How do you thicken homemade chili?
If your chili is thinner than you’d like, try simmering the chili a bit longer (uncovered). If it still isn’t thick enough, try whisking in a cornstarch or flour slurry. You could also bulk it up with more (drained) beans.
This chili is thick as is and you really shouldn’t need to thicken it.
How do you thin homemade chili?
If your chili ends up thicker than you like, try stirring in broth or water. Add small amounts at a time so it doesn’t become too thin. Taste and re-season, as necessary.
- Spice it up. Try adding green chiles, diced jalapeño, a little hot sauce, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, or cayenne pepper.
- Use a different meat. Try it with ground chicken or turkey instead. Check out this turkey and vegetable chili recipe!
- Make it vegetarian or vegan. Swap the ground beef out for more beans or a meatless “meat”. You could also check out my crockpot vegetarian chili recipe or my instant pot vegetarian chili.
- Make it Tex-Mex. Toss in a little bit of taco seasoning.
- Add more veggies. Try it with zucchini, bell pepper, corn, carrots, red or green onions, or even sweet potato!
What to serve with chili?
Chili is packed with delicious and filling ingredients but I LOVE to serve it up with some yummy sides as well:
How to store
This easy chili recipe can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
Can you freeze chili?
Place completely cooled chili into a sealed airtight container, then freeze for up to 3 months.
To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Easy Beef Chili Recipe
Equipment for this recipe
Easy Beef Chili
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 (15 oz) can beans drained and rinsed - I actually used romano beans but you could also use kidney beans or pinto beans
- 1 (10 oz) can condensed tomato soup + one can's worth of water
- 1/4 cup brown sugar packed (more to less to taste)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder more to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt more or less, to taste
- shredded cheese
- Sour cream
- In a large saucepan or stock pot, cook beef, breaking it up as you go, over medium heat.
- Once cooked, drain off fat.
- To the drained beef, add in beans, condensed soup, 1 soup can's worth of water, brown sugar, chili powder, and salt.
- Stir to combine then bring to a simmer.
- Simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until hot and slightly thickened.
- Serve with alone, or with cheese, sour cream, crackers, chips, cornbread, etc!
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.
This post has been updated to provide more detailed content.