The only “work” involved in this easy chili recipe is really just cooking the meat and then opening cans! It’s so easy! In fact, this would be a great recipe for teaching kids to make!
The basic ingredients you’ll need are ground beef, onion, chili powder, a bunch of canned goods (tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beans), and a large pot to cook it all in. The onions and ground beef cook first, then you dump everything else in and let it all simmer. SO easy!
There’s a little active cooking and stirring time needed while you brown the beef. But otherwise, this isn’t something you need to toil over at the stove – which is another reason chili is such an easy recipe.
This particular chili recipe is definitely a little more on the soup side than a really thick hot dog topping. In fact, sometimes we actually call it “chili soup”. The liquid comes from all the canned tomatoes and tomato sauce in the recipe. So, one variation is to use one can less of the tomatoes and/or tomato sauce. Here’s some other variations you can consider:
- Ground Turkey: You can easily sub out the ground beef for ground turkey if you’d like a non-red meat meal!
- Vegetarian Chili: Leave out the meat altogether and double the amount of beans. With this option, I’d recommend choosing at least two different types of beans – like kidney and pinto.
- Additional Veggies: Many chili recipes call for green bell pepper. It’s not something we personally enjoy in chili, but if you like green peppers, you could definitely add those. You could also add more onion and even celery. In fact, you can sometimes find diced or stewed tomatoes that come with peppers and celery too. So, that’s a great option! Carrots, chopped zucchini, and/or chopped mushrooms could all make good vegetable additions too.
- Spicier Chili: This chili recipe is very mild as is. In fact, some may want to add more chili powder to it (along with salt & pepper to taste). If a spicier chili is more you’re flavor, you can try adding some cayenne powder or red pepper flakes. You can also add a dash of hot sauce or even a can or two of diced jalapeños!
Variations is one of the beauties of an easy recipe like this – there are MANY things you can change, depending on your personal tastes and ingredients on hand! I’ve often used different types of diced or stewed tomatoes (fire roasted, with garlic, with jalapeños, with celery & peppers, etc). You can also use different beans – chili beans, plain pinto beans, a mix of beans, etc.
More Easy Soup Recipes:
If you’re looking for even more easy & delicious soup recipes, here’s a few other favorites around our house:
- Slow Cooker Ham & Bean Soup
- Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Soup
- Easy Creamy Vegetable Soup
- Skinny Broccoli Cheese Soup
Easy Chili Recipe
Here’s the simple printable recipe for our classic, easy chili! If you give it a try, please give it a rating! ENJOY!
Easy Chili Recipe
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 4 16oz cans diced tomatoes
- 2 15oz cans tomato sauce
- 4 15.5oz cans kidney beans drained
- 3 Tbsp chili powder
- salt & pepper to taste
- Put olive oil in a large pot and start cooking the onions, stirring occasionally.
- After about 5 minutes, add the ground beef. Make sure to break into small pieces. Cook until browned.
- Stir in all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Then cover and simmer over low heat for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Serve warm & enjoy!
*This post originally appeared in January 2011. Post & photos have been updated since then!