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The Ultimate Chili Recipe

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Prepping for game day or seeking warmth on a cool day? Give my chili recipe a whirl—it’s everything a classic beef chili should be and more.

The Ultimate Chili Recipe

This chili recipe is my tried-and-true favorite—to me, it’s the very best version of a classic chili. Hearty and brimming with deep flavors, it delivers just the right spicy kick to chase away the chill. Whether paired with fluffy cornbread, spooned over rice, or served with crunchy tortilla chips for scooping, this chili never fails to please. It’s perfect for game days, casual get-togethers, or just a comforting meal on a cold day. Plus, it freezes beautifully, so consider making a double batch to stash some away for another day.

“We’re Texans and love your chili! Try this! It is so well flavored without being hot. The hint of cinnamon and molasses balance out the spice. ❤️ Thank you for another great recipe!”


For the best and most tender chili, I have a few tricks. First, mash the beef with a bit of baking soda and let it sit while you prep the other ingredients. This raises the pH of the beef, which locks in moisture and accelerates browning, resulting in a more flavorful, tender chili. Second, opt for 85% lean ground beef. The fat enriches the meat, enhancing the dish’s overall flavor and texture. And don’t stress about the fat—post-cooking, it’s easy to skim off any excess. Wondering about beans? I don’t add them to my chili since my family tends to eat around them, but feel free to add a can of your favorite drained beans during the last half hour of cooking. Finally, for those who like a sweeter chili, try adding a touch of molasses and cinnamon for a delicious twist.

Chili Recipe Ingredients

chili ingredients

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by combining the ground beef, salt, baking soda, and water in a large bowl.

how to make ground beef chili

Using your hands, mix until evenly combined. Let the beef mixture sit for 20 minutes. The baking soda raises the pH of the meat, helping to lock in moisture and accelerate browning. (I borrowed this tenderizing trick from Cook’s Illustrated; it works like a charm.)

how to make ground beef chili

Meanwhile, chop the veggies.

chopping vegetables for chili recipe

I use a food processor to speed this up, but it’s fine to chop by hand too.

finely chopped vegetables in food processor

In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil and add the onions, garlic, and red pepper.

finely minced vegetables in pot

Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes.

softened vegetables

Add the beef and increase the heat to high.

stirring in the beefCook, stirring with wooden spoon to break up the meat, until the beef is browned, 10 to 12 minutes.

browning the beef

The beef will release a lot of fat and liquid — do not drain it; you’ll skim the fat off at the end. Add the ancho chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, smoked paprika, and cinnamon (if using).

browned beef with spices

Cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, until well combined and fragrant. Add the cornmeal, beef broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and molasses (if using).

adding tomatoes, tomato paste, broth, and cornmeal

Bring to a boil.

simmering chili

Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Skim any excess fat off of the surface of the chili — there will be quite a bit.

chili after simmering for two hours

Stir in the lime juice, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve with accompaniments and enjoy!

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Video Tutorial

The Ultimate Chili Recipe

Prepping for game day or seeking warmth on a cool day? Give my chili recipe a whirl—it’s everything a classic beef chili should be and more.

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 2 Hours 30 Minutes
Total Time: 3 Hours


  • 2.5 pounds 85% lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion (or 2 small), minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (optional, for a sweeter chili)
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon molasses, such as Grandma's Original (optional, for a sweeter chili)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from 1 lime

For Serving (optional)

  • Cilantro, lime wedges, sour cream, cheese, scallions


  1. In a large bowl, combine the beef, salt, baking soda, and 1 tablespoon of water. Using your hands, mix until evenly combined. Let the beef mixture sit on the counter for 20 minutes.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onions, garlic, and red pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the beef and increase the heat to high; cook, stirring with wooden spoon to break the meat into ¼-inch pieces, until the beef is browned, 10 to 12 minutes. (The beef will release a lot of liquid -- do not drain it; you'll skim the fat off at the end.)
  3. Add the ancho chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, smoked paprika, and cinnamon (if using); cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, until well combined and fragrant.
  4. Stir in the cornmeal, broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and molasses (if using); bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 2 hours.
  5. Skim any excess fat off the surface of the chili. (There will be quite a bit; don't worry about getting all of it, as it adds flavor.) Stir in the lime juice, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. For a thinner chili, you can add a bit of water. To thicken the chili, continue simmering, uncovered, until desired consistency is reached.
  6. Make Ahead: Cool slightly, and then refrigerate uncovered until cold. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  7. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The chili can be frozen for up to 3 months. Before serving, defrost it in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat until hot.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 655
  • Fat: 44 g
  • Saturated fat: 15 g
  • Carbohydrates: 28 g
  • Sugar: 15 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 39 g
  • Sodium: 1711 mg
  • Cholesterol: 134 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • Hi Jenn, this Chili to me is absolute perfection! I add one can of rid kidney beans and two cans of corn at the last 30-40 min and it’s just so great. I’m serving this to guests for a casual lunch next weekend. Are these any pairings of soup or salad or grilled veggies that you would suggest work here?

    Thanks for another phenomenal recipe

    • — Mlak on September 17, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Mlak, so glad you like this! This would be nice with this avocado salad. Also, I’m not sure if you’re aware, but I have a feature on the website– for all main dishes, I suggest one or two sides (in this case, cornbread and guac) that I think would pair nicely with them. To see what I’ve suggested, scroll down to the bottom of the recipe. Immediately under the recipe, you’ll see the dishes that I’ve suggested. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on September 18, 2023
      • Reply
  • Made the Chili. We won’t be eating till around 7:00 pm. When do I had the lime juice?

    • — Dorothea on September 17, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Dorothea, I would add it when you reheat it, right before serving. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 17, 2023
      • Reply
  • I decided to make chili tonight, I began throwing some stuff in a pot and after having a quick taste realized I needed someone to save it! I grabbed my phone turning to Once Upon A Chef hoping I could find a chili recipe. You did and my chili is saved. This recipe is insanely good- I can’t wait to begin with it next time! Your recipes are just incredible from breakfast- to dinner and everything in between! Simply amazing! Thank you.

    • — Dana Everhart on September 11, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is definitely a recipe worth keeping and adding to your meal rotation. My husband and his friend rated it the best chili they have ever tasted – and I agree!

    I added in one can of pinto beans and one can of red kidney beans. I also used 3.5 pounds of meat (roughly 2.5 pounds of ground chuck and 1 pound of ground pork). I served this garnished with a lime wedge and scallions with white rice and homemade cornbread.

    Just a note if you have kids – my teenage son likes the taste of it, but says it’s too spicy. My husband and I love spicy food, so we get all the chili to ourselves!

    • — Erinn on August 10, 2023
    • Reply
    • I forgot to mention that I used the optional 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and only 2 teaspoons of the molasses. Perfect mix of sweet and spicy.

      • — Erinn on August 13, 2023
      • Reply
  • This chili is on point!!! I think it’s the only one I’ll make ever again.

    A couple notes from my kitchen:
    I cooked my onions down at the beginning for about 20 minutes. I think it adds a very subtle sweetness doing it this way. That being said, I didn’t use cinnamon or molasses.

    I usually need to make minor adjustments when I cook, based on what I have. I didn’t have ancho chili powder or chipotle powder, so I used the chili powder that I did have in the house: Molido powder (California Mild Chili). This worked well!

    I also added 1 chicken and 1 beef bouillon cube to the pot as it was simmering. I read somewhere doing so adds a small element of extra flavor.

    This recipe will be saved for sure– I’m going to make it again for my stepson’s birthday party in a couple weeks.

    Thank you Jenn! Amazing! 🙂

    • — Tara Thompson on July 20, 2023
    • Reply
  • This recipe is fantastic–been making it for about 2 years now and feel it’s time I rate this deliciousness. I’ve made it with all-meat (as-is), as well as adapted with half meat/half beans. And finally, since we’ve gone more plant-based this year–all vegetarian. For the vegetarian version, I sub out the meat with about 2 cups of additional chopped veggies (orange bell peppers, zucchini or mushrooms, corn, carrots and celery–whatever I have on hand) and then 1 can each of pinto and black beans, adding more broth if needed or simmering off more if I want it thicker. I still use the beef broth since we’re not vegan. But I would bet the Better Than Bouillon brand of vegetable or mushroom base would work well. Always a winner, this recipe. Thanks!

    • — Dana on May 1, 2023
    • Reply
  • The best chili I ever had!! I tweaked it a little but by far the seasoning combo was absolutely tremendous and had the greatest taste!!! Thank you and we’ll done!!!!

    • — Dave H on April 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • I have been using this recipe, with modifications, for over 4 years. My late husband totally loved it as it is. I have needed to modify it for my new husband, who hates spicy-hot foods. I removed the chili flavors and doubled the smoked paprika and wow, it’s SO GOOD! I usually pair it with the cornbread muffins, substituting einkorn flour for the wheat flour because of my wheat allergy. Total winner!

    • — Dori on March 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • Love this recipe. If I were to substitute beans rather than beef. Which beans would you recommend and how much…

    • — Michael Wadzinski on March 5, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Michael, So glad you like this! As the chili has so much beef, I don’t feel confident it would translate well to all beans. I think you’d have better luck looking for a vegetarian/bean-based chili. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on March 6, 2023
      • Reply
  • Mine turned out super spicy–even my husband who likes things spicy said it was too hot. I am not sure I will be able to eat it and I am wondering what went wrong. I did use only one pound of ground turkey instead of the full 2.5 pounds of beef, and added two cans of kidney beans instead. Other than that (which may be a big change), I followed the recipe exactly. Do spices vary in their heat? I made a point to buy and use the ancho and chipotle chili powder called for. Or is it because I used less meat and added beans? I have made many of your recipes and have always had success.

    • — Wendy on February 25, 2023
    • Reply
    • Wendy, sorry to hear this came out too spicy for you! I’d add some sour cream into your bowl as dairy helps to temper some of the heat. Regarding spices, there is some variation depending on the brand you buy, but I don’t think it would be that significant. You asked about the beans possibly making a difference; I think not having the fat from the beef may have contributed slightly to making the chili a bit spicier. If you make it again, I’d try subbing some regular chili powder in for some of the chipotle, chili powder. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on March 1, 2023
      • Reply
  • This is an excellent chili, as other reviewers have said. I reduced the ground beef to l lb. and served this over whole-wheat spaghetti (could do spaghetti squash or zoodles, too). Because it is a tomato-forward chili, this worked really well. If you are eating it over spaghetti, the recipe really stretches to several meals for the freezer. Thanks for another great recipe.

    • — Lori Loeb on February 13, 2023
    • Reply
  • Do you use Mexican oregano?

    • — Kathy Douthit on February 11, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Kathy, I just use regular dried oregano.

      • — Jenn on February 13, 2023
      • Reply
  • Yum! Can I do some Mexican chorizo in place of the ground beef? (¼-½lb?) Thank you in advance Chef!

    • — Alexandria on February 11, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on February 11, 2023
      • Reply
  • Sorry if I’m asking a question already asked, but can I make this in a crockpot?

    • — Theresa on February 11, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yep, that will work.

      • — Jenn on February 13, 2023
      • Reply
  • My GO-TO!! I use this recipe every time, adding black, garbanzo, and kidney beans since I have a family of big eaters–makes it stretch farther. I have a question:
    I use the Costco 6 lb pack of ground beef. Do I adjust the baking soda mixture to scale or keep the original quantities?

    • — Mel on February 11, 2023
    • Reply
    • Glad you enjoy it, Mel. I would adjust the baking soda to scale. 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 11, 2023
      • Reply
  • Have made this many times over the years and it continues to be a family favorite. Just wanted to say thanks for the incredible recipe!

    • — Mark on January 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • This chili was excellent. My family loved it. I just used ingredients I had at home, and unfortunately I only had conventional chili powder so I used that and added a little cayenne pepper to spice it up. I also didn’t have molasses, so I added just a pinch of sugar and 2 squares of baker’s chocolate. The only real change I would make is to brown the meat separately and drain the fat; trying to spoon it off after the fact was a pain and certainly less effective. Great chili though! Next time I’ll make sure to have some ancho chili powder!

    • — Shelly on January 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • Jenn,

    Could this be made in a slow cooker?


    • — Jack on January 18, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Jack, It could be but I’d still cook the veggies and meat on the stovetop first. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 19, 2023
      • Reply
  • Does seasoning need to be adjusted if I add a can of beans and a cup of corn? Also any tips on how to make it in an instant pot?

    • — Sohnia on December 15, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Sonia, no, no need to adjust the seasoning if you’re adding the beans and corn. Just make sure to drain and rinse the beans before adding. And I don’t have an instant pot but another reader used one and said the following: I followed everything but just sautéd and boiled in the instant pot and used the chili setting, which is 30 minutes on high. I used natural release for 10 minutes. Hope you find it useful and enjoy the chili!

      • — Jenn on December 16, 2022
      • Reply
  • I made this tonight as part of my ‘Treat Day’ contribution for the staff at my school. So I didn’t follow recipe exactly, but I did use all the seasonings/spices (except for the cinnamon — I’ll use that next time when I’m making the chili for my family); I did improvise a wee bit. Can you explain to me please, Jen, what is the purpose of the cornmeal? I have never seen this in a chili recipe. Is it meant to thicken the chili? I did use it and will see what it adds to the recipe on Friday when we enjoy our Treat Day! It does have quite a bit of heat but I love the flavour of the seasonings!

    • — Lori on November 23, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Lori, Glad you like the chili. Yes, the cornmeal helps thicken the chili a bit and also adds nice flavor.

      • — Jenn on November 24, 2022
      • Reply
    • I was thinking the same thing. I dont have corn meal. Is there anything I can sub this with? It is hard to find corn meal in Korea.

      • — Cloud on February 10, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Cloud, You can use finely crushed tortilla chips or simply leave it out. Hope that helps!

        • — Jenn on February 11, 2023
        • Reply
  • This is the BEST chili I have ever made!!!
    Didn’t have the Ancho Chili Powder, so added a chopped jalapeno.
    Did not use beans but could.
    Definitely spicy hot, just the way I like it.
    Will be my go-to for chili!!!
    Thanks for sharing.

    • — Kristyn on November 12, 2022
    • Reply
    • One other thing, I did not use low sodium broth.

      • — Kristyn on November 12, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    Do you know approximately how many cups one batch of chili makes?
    Thank you!

    • — Carolyn on October 22, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Carolyn, I’d guesstimate a serving is about 2 cups. Hope you enjoy if you make it!

      • — Jenn on October 24, 2022
      • Reply
      • 2 cups? That feels like a typo.

        • — Shan on October 30, 2022
        • Reply
        • Hi Shan, thanks for pointing that out! I was thinking about serving size when I responded. This should make about 3 quarts give or take.

          • — Jenn on October 31, 2022
          • Reply
  • Love this chili! It is by far the best!!! I have a crazy question to ask and wasn’t sure if you have a good taco soup recipe? If not, no worries but craving a tex mex soup this winter!

    • — staci on October 20, 2022
    • Reply
    • So glad you like it! Not a crazy question — I have a chicken tortilla soup and a Southwestern Corn Chowder on the site. Neither of which are exactly what you’re looking for, but maybe could satisfy your craving until you find a good taco soup recipe. 🙂

      • — Jenn on October 20, 2022
      • Reply
  • Made the Classic Beef Chili for my brother as he loves chili. The consistency was great and it had great flavor but this was VERY hot from the spice. How can I cut the heat? I added extra lime juice. I really love your recipes, and have made several. Keep up the great recipes!

    • — S Stewart on October 18, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sorry that you found this to be too spicy! Next time you make it, you can replace the chipotle chili powder with an additional tablespoon of ancho chili powder as this is primarily where the heat comes from. If you have some chili left, you can mix some sour cream in before eating — dairy helps to temper spicy food. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on October 19, 2022
      • Reply
  • I made this on Sunday and we had it for dinner last night. It was delicious Jenn. Glad I added the molasses as I believe it tamped down the heat some. I did forget to add the two tablespoons of water to the uncooked beef 🤬 but not the soda and salt. I love that it makes a large amount, I’ll get three meals out of it. I served it over mashed potatoes, an old depression trick that stretches the meat I’ll be making this again for sure.

    • — Dorothea on October 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this chili for the first time tonight for my ladies Bible study group. I’m not big on heat, so I reduced the ancho powder, subbed out brown sugar for the molasses and added some kidney beans. I also used cornstarch to thicken it up. I loved it, and it got amazing reviews. It was made with your cornbread muffins which I have made many times, and the apple crisp for dessert, also a first. I love every recipe you put out. Thanks so much!

    • — Melissa M on October 12, 2022
    • Reply
  • So, baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, just another form of salt. Unfortunately I didn’t remember this before adding almost 1 tsp per 2.5 lbs of meat for a 10 lbs of meat batch of chili, per these instructions. Plus the 2 tsp of salt it also recommends. I’m disabled so cook large amts then freeze for individual meals so I won’t need to cook every day. It did tenderize the meat. However I noticed severe swelling & couldn’t figure out what was going on w my body. Finally i realized it was the very large quantities of sodium I was eating in every serving of chili. What a bummer because I am going to either have to give it all away or throw it away, because I literally can’t eat it. I tried adding more low-sodium veggies, but all the sodium is deeply cooked into the meat so it doesn’t seem to have helped the situation. I hope my comment helps warn others about the extremely high levels of sodium in this recipe. Please see the nutritional info, 1711mg per single serving. Our total daily sodium intake shouldn’t exceed 2300mg. I don’t have the means to lose this much food this month. It is what it is, but just remember baking soda is salt lol. Best of luck & happy cooking.

    • — Amy on September 2, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sodium isn’t your issue, it’s the table salt you use, that is doing harm to your body. Table salt is a manufactured form of sodium called sodium chloride. It also has synthetic chemicals added: everything from manufactured forms of sodium solo-co-aluminate, iodide, sodium bicarbonate, fluoride, anti-caking agents, toxic amounts of potassium iodide and aluminum derivatives. Table salt is not only unhealthy, it is downright damaging. Google “dangers of table salt” to learn more. And switch to a high quality sea salt, which you can enjoy in whatever quantity you’d like.

      • — Angelina on October 6, 2022
      • Reply
    • Hi Amy,

      I read your comments some time ago. What surprises me about your post, are a couple of things…by reading the entire post, you’ll understand why baking soda is used here. But if sodium sensitivity is something you’re managing, there is so much information easily & readily available via the Internet. Jenn doesn’t claim to be a dietitian, nor is her site (or books), one of the many traditional “diet” books easily available today. However,if tweaking a recipe or substituting ingredients are needed, it isn’t all that difficult or time consuming.

      Cooking large quantities is something I think many of us engage in today, all the more reason to have completely read recipes & know what changes might be required.


      Another 5 Star recipe 😊

      • — Lisa on December 28, 2022
      • Reply
  • Great chili. The tip for “conditioning” the beef with soda is really good. The texture is much nicer.

    • — Cindy on August 10, 2022
    • Reply
  • Jenn, the Beef Tenderizing trick is a game changer. Incredible tip. Thank you! I wonder–can it be used to also tenderize ground turkey and chicken? Would love your expert opinion.

    • — Diane on July 27, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Diane, Glad you found it helpful! I’ve never tried it on turkey or chicken. so I’m not sure if it would make a difference. Please LMK what you think if you try it!

      • — Jenn on July 28, 2022
      • Reply
      • Thanks, Jenn. Promise to let you know. Was telling a friend about this tenderizing tip–made her wonder if it would also work when preparing hamburgers for the grill or skillet, etc. My guess is it’s only good for ground beef as I didn’t see it mentioned in any of your burger recipes…Would love your thoughts.

        • — Diane on August 9, 2022
        • Reply
        • Hi Diane, Because I usually use something else in hamburgers to tenderize them (for example a mixture of bread and milk in this recipe), I haven’t tried the baking soda method with them.

          • — Jenn on August 10, 2022
          • Reply
          • Got it. Thanks for letting me know. Will use your burger recipe and communicate this info. If we ever try the baking soda on them instead, I’ll let you know the results. Thanks Again, Jenn. Always learning from you. 🙂

            • — Diane on August 10, 2022
      • I was a professional chef for almost 30 years, and have my own chili recipe that I developed for Southwest style Chicken Chili. It’s delicious but not “a bowl of red”, and my husband finally asked me to make “traditional” Chili. I found this recipe and it’s temderizing trick, and with a few personal tweaks, it is the only Chili I’ve made for years. It is SO good, and SO easy. It is also extremely adaptable, so whatever turns you on in terms of flavor, this recipe handles it beautifully. (I roast a whole head of garlic and mix it in, because yum, roasted garlic!) It’s also a nice, easy, uncomplicated recipe for someone who might be a beginner! Two thumbs up, this Chili absolutely rocks. Thank you!!

        • — Ariadne on September 27, 2022
        • Reply
        • Other than the garlic, do you do anything else?

          • — Jackie on December 21, 2022
          • Reply
  • Ok, where are the beans in this recipe? Isn’t chili all about the beans?

    • — Caesar on July 22, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Caesar, feel free to add a can of your favorite drained beans for the last half hour of cooking, if you like. 🙂

      • — Jenn on July 23, 2022
      • Reply
    • Hello Caesar,
      if you’d read the recipe, you would see where Jenn includes when to add beans.

      But, just a kind FYI, NO, according to many lovers of chili, including my cowboy/horseman husband, REAL Chili doesn’t have beans. His colleagues share the same sentiment.
      As a former professional chef who spent time in Montana, Wyoming & Colorado, my chefs did not include beans in their chili recipes.
      I do know there is a debate over whether or not to include beans.
      But back to your question, that’s why it’s a good idea to read the whole recipe. Your question is answered. And btw, Jenn’s recipes always include complete instructions, in fact, she’s one of the few to do such an outstanding job providing everything you need to replicate her recipes at home.

      Jenn, thank you 🙏 thank you for another great recipe! My husband and his buddies inhaled it after a cattle sorting-
      Was sooooo good!


      • — Lisa on October 15, 2022
      • Reply
  • Does salt affect anything but the taste? You’ve sold me on the need for baking soda to ensure moist hamburger, but I have to reduce total sodium given hubby’s heart condition. We’ve gotten used to the taste of un- or under-salted food and guests know to add their own salt.

    • — Macsmom on July 9, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi, the salt won’t impact anything other than the taste so feel free to reduce as needed. 🙂

      • — Jenn on July 10, 2022
      • Reply
  • Excellent. This is our new favorite chili. Perfect consistency and flavor. Thank you.

    • — Patticakes in Palos Verdes on April 19, 2022
    • Reply
    • Does it really need to cook for 2 hours? Thanks. Most other recipes seem to be ready in an hour or less unless using dried beans.

      • — Justin on October 20, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Justin, While technically, the chili will be cooked before two hours time, simmering it, low and slow helps to thicken the texture and deepen the flavors, so for the best results, I’d recommend sticking with that.

        • — Jenn on October 23, 2023
        • Reply
  • I really like this chili no matter what name you put on it 😉.
    Love to hear from folks that screwed with the recipe by adding beans. I’m thinking of Pinto Beans myself. I going to rinse the beans and add one can the first time around, and then add another if I think I’d prefer it that way. I’m going to start by putting the beans in for in for the last half an hour and see if that’s enough.

    Sure would like to hear some advice in advance…

    • — Michael T. on March 13, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Michael, I think that pinto beans are a great option for chili. You actually can put them in just for the last few minutes of cooking time so they get heated through. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on March 14, 2022
      • Reply
  • We’re Texans and love your chili! Try this! It is so well flavored without being hot. The hint of cinnamon and molasses balance out the spice. ❤️ Thank you for another great recipe!

    • — Mimi on February 24, 2022
    • Reply
  • Oh no. I don’t have molasses. Should I run out and get it or is their a sub?

    • — Amy on February 21, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Amy, It’s totally fine to leave it out. If you’d like a little sweetness, a pinch or two of sugar will work.

      • — Jenn on February 21, 2022
      • Reply
    • I always substitute light brown sugar for the molasses. I don’t like the strong flavor of molasses, but the thing that makes brown sugar brown IS molasses. So I get the subtle sweetness without being overpowering (for my palate.) Try some brown sugar!

      • — Ariadne on September 27, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! This is one of my very favorite chili recipes – it is delicious! This weekend, I will be making it for a group of hungry college kids and want to double the recipe. How will that change the cooking time? Thanks so much – I just LOVE your blog and both of your cookbooks!

    • — Jill on February 20, 2022
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoy it, Jill! I think the cook time should be about the same, maybe 15 to 20 min longer. I would just cook it til the consistency looks right and the meat is nice and tender.

      • — Jenn on February 20, 2022
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  • One of my winter ‘go to’ recipes- my guys love it. Two are allergic to beans so when I first tried it and they loved it, well, there just isn’t a better feeling. Thanks so much Jen. You always come through!

    • — Mary on February 17, 2022
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  • Hi Jenn,
    I’ve always used a chili mix before, but never again. This was yummy, just the perfect balance of spices. I usually like things on the very spicy side, but I followed your recipe exactly. Delish as is.
    My friends that I shared some with now want the recipe, even my friend that doesn’t cook.
    Thanks again for another superb recipe.

    • — Miriam Sulfaro on February 14, 2022
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  • Outstanding recipe, as always, Jenn. Like many other followers, I added beans and upped the spice level, but that’s just about personal preferences. In my opinion, the ancho and chipotle chili powders, and the cumin, are essential. My new go-to chili recipe. Thanks for a keeper.

    • — Pam on February 14, 2022
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  • I should have known that this recipe would be just plain awful: who puts chili over rice (gross)
    uses vegetable oil, cinnamon, no beans?? I had to keep adding more chili powder and other spices..it is bland..I added kidney beans to try to salvage it.

    • — Gail on February 13, 2022
    • Reply
    • I’ve been making and eating chili this way for 25 years: no beans and served over rice. I like to kick up the heat and top it with some sour cream. The rice and sour cream both temper the heat. I haven’t made this specific recipe yet but I prefer this style. Different strokes. Bon Apetit!

      • — Karen on October 15, 2022
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    • Gail..

      what a way with words. You come across as so angry.
      BTW, depending on where in the U.S. you live, it is not uncommon for chili to be served over rice. I don’t care for it, but it is popular in various regions.

      But back to the chili, perhaps you missed a step or your chili powder wasn’t fresh.

      This is very, very good chili!

      Maybe try it again….good luck.


      • — Lisa on October 15, 2022
      • Reply
    • Gail,
      For those with ulcerative colitis, and perhaps other medical issues, beans are a GI nightmare!! We loved finding a recipe without beans and complex flavorings.
      As with any recipe, tweak it to your liking.

      • — Stacy on October 19, 2022
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    • Good grief Gail. If you want beans in your chili, then add them. If you don’t want it served over rice, then don’t serve it over rice. If you knew this recipe was so “awful” why did you make it? My guess is that you just wanted something to complain about.

      Very adaptable chili. And the tenderizing method was a game changing tip!

      • — Scott on February 25, 2023
      • Reply
  • I wish I could give this recipe 3.5 stars. I wasn’t crazy about it, though it was a very good quality chili. I will say that I did not have ancho chili powder so I used regular and that might have been the problem. I had to keep adding more spices because I found it not “chili” tasting enough and it was a bit too beefy for me (in taste). I did add kidney beans because for me, I NEED kidney beans in my chili. I will try this recipe in the future a few times before I decide it’s not my favourite chili recipe, adding ancho and seeing if it changes things. I did make Jenn’s cornbread recipe which is an absolute MUST to accompany this chili. Also: after a day it tasted a lot better.

    • — Julie Godwin on February 10, 2022
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  • Jenn, will it make a big difference in the taste if I just use regular chili powder instead of the ancho & chipotle? I know chili powders can vary a lot.

    • — Debbie C on February 8, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Debbie, it’s fine to replace the ancho and chipotle chili powders with regular chili powder. The ancho chili powder adds a little heat, so feel free to add a pinch or 2 of cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on February 9, 2022
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  • Made it for dinner and was sooooo delicious!!! Added a can of black beans for more fibre. Everyone loved it! Thanks for the recipe!

    • — Edith on February 7, 2022
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  • How many Cups is 1 serving?

    • — Remi on February 7, 2022
    • Reply
    • I would guesstimate a serving is about 2 cups. 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 9, 2022
      • Reply
  • This is by far the best chili I have ever had. My husband said “Now THAT tastes like chili!”. Thank you so much for this recipe. I didn’t change a thing, just added beans.

    • — Becky Barrett on February 7, 2022
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  • Yowza! This one made it onto my wife’s Facebook page. Again with the perfect spice balancing. You rock with sparkles! Using the Test Kitchen technique really delivered the tender.

    I enjoy improvisational, intuitive cooking. Not reliable, but fun. I’ve also come to enjoy my wife’s pleasure and relaxation when she knows I’m following one of your recipes. Thanks again for helping this husband-homemaker advance toward Certified HearthMaster status.

    • — Glenn Simpson on February 6, 2022
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  • Wow! I’ve finally found my go-to chili recipe–the best I’ve ever tasted! I love the complex flavors (cinnamon and molasses, oh yes!) the richness, and the thickness. Lime juice at the end adds brightness and just takes it all over the top. Spice level is perfect too. Now, please excuse me now as I go toss out all my other chili recipes 🙂

    • — Susan on February 6, 2022
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  • We had family over for football last weekend, so I made a pot of this chili and added a poblano and a can of mild chili beans that I had in the pantry. It turned out great! My husband usually makes chili without a recipe and is rarely happy with it…lol. I served the chili with various toppings and a pan of cornbread. Everyone thought it was delicious!

    • — Jody on February 4, 2022
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  • love, love and love this recipe. I made this last night for picky stinky people. 🙂 they loved it and I will only make this version of chili from now on and forever. thank you so much for giving my family the best of all tastiest meals ever. I never go wrong cooking from your page, it’s always a success.

    • — Shirola on February 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hey Jen,
    I cannot find any chipotle chili powder. Any suggestions for a substitute? Please advise when you have a chance!

    • — Staci on February 4, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Staci, You can replace the chipotle chili powder with regular chili powder. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 4, 2022
      • Reply
    • I get mine from The Spice House. They have lots of chili powder options!

      • — Jody on February 4, 2022
      • Reply
    • Staci,
      If you can’t find chipotle powder try looking for chipotle sauce in a can. It’s usually in the ethnic/hispanic aisle in a small can. A little goes a long way so can keep remaining in the fridge for many mths.

      • — Diane on January 13, 2023
      • Reply

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