My Mom’s Classic Chili Recipe

My Mom’s Classic Chili Recipe

Chili recipe

It’s chili seasonnnnnnnnn 💃💃 Here’s my go-to classic chili recipe.

Chili recipe

Chili recipe

I think this chili recipe was one of the first things my mom ever taught me to make, and although I’ve added a couple of spices, the ingredients have stayed pretty much the same. Why mess with perfection?

Because this chili recipe makes enough for around 6 meals and freezes like a dream, it’s my fave batch cooking meal. It also defrosts quickly in the microwave, and of course, it’s delicious. I make it with straight beef, but have used a beef-pork combo, as well as turkey. And once it’s done, you can multipurpose this chili recipe to use on baked potatoes, in burritos, even in breakfast bowls!

And if you want to make this chili recipe vegan, just sub in crumbles for the meat. And don’t hesitate to throw some extra vegetables in there – winter squash, carrots, and sweet potato are only a few suggestions that work well here, but feel free to use your imagination.

This is a very loose recipe, measurements can be adjusted – especially for the spices, because honestly? I don’t measure my spices. I just throw them into the pot. Is that bad? Nah.

I use ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, and cinnamon to give depth to the flavour of the dish. Cinnamon is my secret ingredient in Mexican-style cooking…it’s incredible, trust me.

The chili is ready as soon as the ingredients are combined and everything is heated through, but the longer it cooks, the better it is. So feel free to grab some right from the pot, and then enjoy it later, too!  My favorite toppings for this chili recipe are avocado, hot sauce, cilantro, cheddar, and sour cream. Add a side of tortilla chips, and you’ve got a filling, protein-rich meal. Plus, the kidney beans add a hit of fiber and extra protein.


Classic Chili Recipe
Prep Time
45 mins

This classic chili recipe is my favorite batch-cooked meal.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili recipe, meal prep
Servings: 6 main course
  • 4 pounds ground beef
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 large cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans red kidney beans drained
  • 2 yellow onions chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat oil in a large heavy pan or pot.
  2. Add onions and garlic and cook on medium heat for around 5 mins, until onions are translucent.
  3. Add spices and cook for another 1-2 mins.
  4. Turn heat to high and add ground beef, cooking until meat is browned.
  5. Add the beans, tomatoes, and tomato paste.
  6. Simmer chili for 20-30 mins, until excess liquid cooks off.
  7. Serve with cheese, sour cream, avocado, cilantro, and hot sauce 👍

Looking for a holiday recipe? Try my herb-roasted turkey!


How To Freeze Chili

Once cooled, store this chili recipe in an airtight freezer safe container or freezer safe ziploc inside the freezer. Freeze for up to 5 months.

How To Thaw Frozen Chili

Thaw this chili recipe for 24-48 hours in the fridge and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave. Or you can use the defrost option on your microwave if you are in a hurry.

Substitutions For This Chili Recipe

The variations of this chili recipe is endless! Don’t want to use beef? Use ground pork, chicken, turkey, etc. Got extra vegetables in the fridge that needs to be used up? Throw them in!

This chili recipe is also naturally gluten-free. If you want to change it up some more, like making it vegetarian or vegan friendly, you can use crumbles, chickpeas, lentils, etc.