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Ground Beef Chili Recipe

This hearty ground beef chili is the perfect comfort food to keep you warm and satisfied. The recipe boasts a robust blend of flavors, thanks to a mix of aromatic spices, a variety of vegetables, and tender ground beef. A touch of molasses adds a hint of sweetness that perfectly balances the heat from the chili powder. Perfect for a family dinner or a gathering with friends, this chili is sure to be a hit.

Ground Beef Chili Recipe
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Most of the ingredients for this recipe should be readily available in your local supermarket. However, ones that may need a bit of hunting include ancho chili powder and chipotle chili powder, both of which provide a unique depth of flavor to the chili. Ancho chili powder is made from dried, ground poblano peppers, and chipotle chili powder is made from smoke-dried jalapeños. These chili powders are typically found in the spice section.

Hearty Ground Beef Chili Ingredients

Ground beef: The base of the chili, providing a rich and hearty texture.

Yellow onion: Adds a layer of sweetness and flavor to complement the spices.

Garlic: Brings a pungent, savory depth.

Red bell pepper: Adds a slight crunch and sweetness.

Ancho chili powder and Chipotle chili powder: These provide the heat and smokiness in the chili.

Cumin, oregano, coriander, smoked paprika, and cinnamon: This combination of spices lends complexity and warmth.

Cornmeal: Helps thicken the chili.

Beef broth: Enhances the beefy flavor of the chili.

Crushed tomatoes and tomato paste: Add tanginess and also contribute to the body of the chili.

Molasses: A touch of sweetness to balance the heat.

Lime juice: Brings acidity to brighten the flavors.

One reader, Holli Weston says:

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This hearty ground beef chili recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are rich and robust, and the meat is perfectly tender. It's a crowd-pleaser and perfect for cozy nights in. The blend of spices is spot on, and the leftovers taste even better the next day. A definite must-try!

Holli Weston

Techniques Required for Making Hearty Ground Beef Chili

How to brown ground beef: In a large pot over medium heat, cook the ground beef, breaking it into ¼-inch pieces with a wooden spoon, until it is browned, about 10 to 12 minutes.

How to adjust seasoning: Taste the chili and adjust the seasoning as necessary, adding more salt, chili powder, or other spices to achieve the desired flavor.

How to skim excess fat: After simmering the chili, skim any excess fat off the surface using a ladle or spoon. It's okay to leave some fat for flavor, but remove any excess.

How to make ahead: After cooking, allow the chili to cool slightly, then refrigerate it uncovered until cold. Once cold, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

How to freeze: The chili can be frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze, allow it to cool completely, then transfer to airtight containers or freezer bags. Thaw in the refrigerator for 12 hours before reheating on the stovetop until hot.

How To Make Ground Beef Chili

Hearty ground beef, two types of chili powder, and tender vegetables makes up this sweet-spicy and fully loaded ground beef chili meal!

Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total: 3 hours



  • lbground beef,85% lean
  • 2tspsalt
  • ¾tspbaking soda
  • 2tbspvegetable oil
  • 1large yellow onion,minced
  • 4garlic cloves,minced
  • 1red bell pepper,minced
  • 2tbspancho chili powder
  • 1tbspchipotle chili powder
  • 1tbspground cumin
  • 1tspdried oregano
  • ½tspground coriander
  • 1tspsmoked paprika
  • ¼tspcinnamon,optional
  • 2tbspcornmeal
  • 3cupsbeef broth
  • 28ozcrushed tomatoes,(1 can)
  • ¼cuptomato paste
  • 1tbspmolasses
  • 1tbsplime juice,fresh

For Serving:

  • scallions
  • cilantro
  • lime wedges
  • sour cream
  • cheese


  1. In a large bowl, combine the beef, salt, baking soda, and 1 tablespoon of water. Using your hands, mix until evenly combined.

  2. Let the beef mixture sit on the counter for 20 minutes.

  3. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onions, garlic, and red pepper; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 6 minutes, until softened.

  4. Add the beef and increase the heat to high; cook, stirring with wooden spoon to break the meat into ¼-inch pieces, for 10 to 12 minutes, until the beef is browned.

  5. Add the ancho chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, smoked paprika, and cinnamon; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, until well combined and fragrant.

  6. Stir in the cornmeal, broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and molasses; bring to a boil.

  7. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Skim any excess fat off the surface of the chili.

  8. Stir in the lime juice, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. For a thinner chili, add a bit of water. To thicken the chili, continue simmering, uncovered, until desired consistency is reached.

  9. Serve warm, and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Make Ahead: Cool slightly, and then refrigerate uncovered until cold. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • Freezer-Friendly: The chili can be frozen for up to 3 months. Before serving, defrost it in the refrigerator for 12 hours and then reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat until hot. 


  • Calories: 651.31kcal
  • Fat: 44.08g
  • Saturated Fat: 14.89g
  • Trans Fat: 2.27g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 20.53g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.40g
  • Carbohydrates: 26.79g
  • Fiber: 6.19g
  • Sugar: 12.99g
  • Protein: 39.28g
  • Cholesterol: 134.19mg
  • Sodium: 1239.95mg
  • Calcium: 145.65mg
  • Potassium: 1522.16mg
  • Iron: 8.20mg
  • Vitamin A: 149.61µg
  • Vitamin C: 47.17mg

Technique Tip for Enhancing Hearty Ground Beef Chili Flavor

When preparing your chili, it's important to remember that the flavors will develop and deepen over time. This is why it's often recommended to make chili a day or two in advance. The spices meld together and the overall flavor profile becomes more robust. So, if you have the time, consider preparing your chili ahead of time. After it's cooked, let it cool and then store it in the refrigerator. When you're ready to serve, simply reheat it on the stove. This will give you a chili with a richer, more complex flavor.

Time-Saving Tips for Making This Chili Recipe

Prep ahead: Chop vegetables and measure out spices the night before to save time during the cooking process.

Use a slow cooker: Consider using a slow cooker to simmer the chili while you attend to other tasks, allowing the flavors to develop without constant attention.

Double the recipe: Make a larger batch and freeze the extra portions for quick and convenient future meals.

Utilize canned ingredients: Opt for canned tomatoes and beans to save time on preparation and cooking.

Invest in a food processor: Use a food processor to quickly chop onions, garlic, and peppers, saving time on manual chopping.

Opt for pre-ground spices: Using pre-ground spices can save time and effort compared to grinding whole spices.

Substitute Ingredients For Ground Beef Chili Recipe

  • 85% lean ground beef - Substitute with ground turkey: Ground turkey is a lean alternative to beef and can be used as a healthier option in the chili recipe.

  • vegetable oil - Substitute with olive oil: Olive oil can add a rich flavor to the chili and is a healthier alternative to vegetable oil.

  • ancho chili powder - Substitute with regular chili powder: Regular chili powder can be used as a substitute for ancho chili powder, providing a similar flavor profile with a slightly different heat level.

  • chipotle chili powder - Substitute with smoked paprika: Smoked paprika can add a smoky flavor similar to chipotle chili powder, but with a milder heat.

  • beef broth - Substitute with vegetable broth: Vegetable broth can be used as a substitute for beef broth, especially for those looking for a vegetarian or vegan option.

  • sour cream - Substitute with Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt can be used as a healthier alternative to sour cream, providing a similar creamy texture and tangy flavor.

  • cheese - Substitute with nutritional yeast: Nutritional yeast can be used as a dairy-free alternative to cheese, adding a cheesy flavor to the chili without the dairy content.

Best Way to Present Hearty Ground Beef Chili

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting this hearty ground beef chili, focus on creating a visually appealing plate. Use a wide, shallow bowl to showcase the chili, allowing the vibrant colors and textures to shine through.

  2. Garnish with precision: Add a touch of finesse by garnishing the chili with thinly sliced scallions, a sprinkle of fresh cilantro, and a wedge of lime. These elements not only enhance the visual appeal but also add a burst of freshness to the dish.

  3. Incorporate a cheese element: Grate a high-quality aged cheese over the chili just before serving. The richness and depth of flavor from the cheese will complement the robustness of the chili, adding a luxurious touch to the presentation.

  4. Offer a side of sour cream: Present a small dollop of sour cream on the side of the bowl, allowing guests to customize their chili experience. This adds a creamy element and a pop of contrast to the dish.

  5. Attention to detail with lime wedges: Slice the lime wedges with precision, removing any seeds, and arrange them neatly on the edge of the bowl. This not only adds a decorative element but also hints at the bright acidity that the lime brings to the chili.

  6. Consider the vessel: Choose a vessel that complements the rustic nature of the chili, such as a ceramic bowl or a cast-iron cocotte. The vessel should enhance the overall presentation without overshadowing the star of the dish.

  7. Balance and harmony: Ensure that the presentation reflects the balance and harmony of flavors within the chili. Each element should contribute to the overall visual appeal while staying true to the essence of the dish.

Essential Tools for Making Chili

  • Cutting board: A flat board used for cutting and preparing ingredients.
  • Chef's knife: A versatile kitchen knife used for slicing, chopping, and dicing.
  • Large pot: A deep cooking vessel used for preparing soups, stews, and boiling pasta.
  • Wooden spoon: A kitchen utensil used for stirring, mixing, and serving.
  • Skimmer: A tool with a perforated bowl used for removing foam or impurities from liquids.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Utensils used for accurately measuring ingredients.
  • Can opener: A tool used for opening cans and tins.
  • Ladle: A long-handled spoon with a deep bowl for serving soups and stews.
  • Tongs: Kitchen utensils used for gripping and lifting hot pots, pans, or food.
  • Grater: A kitchen tool used for grating cheese, vegetables, and other ingredients.
  • Saucepan: A small, deep cooking vessel used for heating and preparing sauces and liquids.
  • Immersion blender: A handheld blender used for blending and pureeing ingredients directly in the pot or container.
  • Meat thermometer: A tool used to measure the internal temperature of cooked meat and poultry.
  • Colander: A bowl-shaped kitchen utensil with perforations used for draining foods such as pasta or rinsing vegetables.
  • Oven-safe Dutch oven: A heavy-duty, thick-walled pot with a tight-fitting lid, suitable for both stovetop and oven use.

How to Store and Freeze Hearty Ground Beef Chili

  • Let the chili cool completely before storing or freezing. This allows the flavors to meld and prevents the formation of condensation, which can lead to freezer burn.

  • For short-term storage, transfer the cooled chili to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days. This is ideal if you plan on enjoying leftover chili within the week.

  • When freezing, portion the chili into individual serving sizes or family-sized portions using freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. This allows you to thaw only what you need for future meals, minimizing waste.

  • If using freezer bags, remove as much air as possible before sealing to prevent freezer burn. Lay the bags flat in the freezer for easier storage and quicker thawing.

  • Label the containers or bags with the date and contents, so you can easily keep track of your frozen chili inventory.

  • Frozen chili can be stored for up to 3 months without significant loss of quality. However, for the best flavor and texture, aim to consume it within 2 months.

  • To thaw frozen chili, transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw overnight. Avoid thawing at room temperature, as this can promote bacterial growth.

  • Reheat thawed chili in a pot on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). You can also reheat it in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds to ensure even heating.

  • If the reheated chili appears too thick, add a splash of beef broth or water to achieve the desired consistency. Adjust the seasoning as needed, as flavors may change slightly after freezing and reheating.

How to Reheat Chili Leftovers

  • The best way to reheat leftover chili is on the stovetop. Transfer the chili to a pot and heat it over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it's heated through. This method allows you to control the temperature and prevent the chili from burning or drying out.

  • If you're short on time, you can also reheat the chili in the microwave. Place the chili in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a damp paper towel to prevent splatters. Heat the chili in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until it's heated through. Be careful not to overheat the chili, as it can cause the beef to become tough and rubbery.

  • For a hands-off approach, you can reheat the chili in a slow cooker. Transfer the chili to the slow cooker and heat it on low for 1-2 hours, or until it's heated through. This method is great if you're reheating a large batch of chili for a crowd.

  • If you want to add some extra flavor to your leftover chili, try adding a squeeze of fresh lime juice or a sprinkle of chopped cilantro before serving. You can also top the chili with some shredded cheese, sour cream, or sliced scallions for added texture and flavor.

  • If your leftover chili is too thick, you can thin it out with a bit of beef broth or water. If it's too thin, you can thicken it up by simmering it on the stovetop for a few minutes until it reaches your desired consistency.

Random Fact About Hearty Ground Beef Chili

Chili powder is made from a combination of dried, ground chili peppers, cumin, garlic, and oregano.

Is This Chili Recipe Economical for Home Cooking?

This hearty ground beef chili recipe is a cost-effective option for a household. The combination of ground beef, vegetables, and spices makes it a budget-friendly and filling meal. With a rating of 8/10, this recipe offers great value for money. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $20, making it an affordable and satisfying choice.

Is This Chili Recipe Healthy or Unhealthy?

The hearty ground beef chili recipe is a comforting and flavorful dish, but it may not be the healthiest option due to some of its ingredients and preparation methods. Here's an analysis of the recipe:

  • The recipe uses 85% lean ground beef, which is a good choice compared to fattier options. However, red meat consumption should be moderated due to its potential health risks.
  • The use of baking soda and salt to treat the meat may increase the sodium content of the dish.
  • The recipe includes a variety of spices and herbs, such as chili powders, cumin, oregano, and smoked paprika, which can provide beneficial antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • The addition of onions, garlic, and red bell pepper contributes to the dish's vitamin and mineral content.
  • The recipe calls for a significant amount of beef broth, which may increase the sodium content of the chili.
  • The use of cornmeal as a thickener adds a small amount of fiber to the dish.
  • The molasses and tomato paste provide some added sugar, which should be consumed in moderation.

To make this chili recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Opt for a leaner ground beef option, such as 90% or 95% lean, to reduce the overall fat content of the dish.
  • Reduce the amount of added salt and consider using low-sodium beef broth to control the sodium content.
  • Increase the amount of vegetables in the recipe by adding more bell peppers, carrots, or celery to boost the fiber and nutrient content.
  • Use a smaller amount of tomato paste and molasses to reduce the added sugar in the chili.
  • Consider serving the chili with healthy toppings like low-fat sour cream, reduced-fat cheese, and plenty of fresh cilantro and scallions for added flavor and nutrients.
  • Pair the chili with a side salad or roasted vegetables to increase the overall nutrient density of the meal.

Editor's Thoughts on This Hearty Ground Beef Chili Recipe

The hearty ground beef chili recipe is a robust and flavorful dish that promises to satisfy any appetite. The combination of spices, including ancho and chipotle chili powders, cumin, and smoked paprika, creates a rich and complex flavor profile. The addition of molasses and lime juice adds a delightful depth of sweetness and acidity. The use of cornmeal as a thickening agent gives the chili a hearty texture. This recipe is versatile and can be made ahead or frozen for future enjoyment. When served with scallions, cilantro, lime wedges, sour cream, and cheese, it becomes a truly comforting and memorable meal.

Enhance Your Ground Beef Chili Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Bread: Create a delicious garlic bread with a twist by adding roasted garlic and parmesan cheese for an extra kick of flavor.
Loaded Baked Potatoes: Make loaded baked potatoes with all the fixings, including crispy bacon, cheddar cheese, and a dollop of sour cream for a hearty and satisfying side dish.
Cornbread Muffins: Whip up a batch of homemade cornbread muffins with a hint of honey for a sweet and savory accompaniment to your hearty ground beef chili.

Other Chili Recipes Similar to This Hearty Ground Beef Version

Savory Beef Stew: This hearty beef stew is packed with tender chunks of beef, carrots, potatoes, and celery in a rich and flavorful broth.
Zesty Chicken Fajitas: These zesty chicken fajitas are made with marinated chicken, bell peppers, and onions, and are perfect for a quick and delicious weeknight dinner.
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup: This creamy tomato basil soup is made with ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and a touch of cream for a comforting and satisfying meal.

Suggested Appetizers and Desserts to Serve With This Chili Recipe

Savory Stuffed Mushrooms: Start your meal with these delectable savory stuffed mushrooms, filled with a flavorful mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs. The perfect bite-sized appetizer to tantalize your taste buds before the main course.
Crispy Coconut Shrimp: Indulge in the crispy goodness of these coconut shrimp, served with a zesty dipping sauce. The crunchy exterior and succulent shrimp inside make for a delightful appetizer that will leave your guests craving for more.
Decadent Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth texture and intense chocolate flavor will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Velvety Lemon Tart: Treat yourself to a tangy and refreshing lemon tart with a buttery crust. The zesty lemon filling is perfectly balanced with a hint of sweetness, creating a delightful dessert that is both elegant and delicious.

Why trust this Ground Beef Chili Recipe:

This hearty ground beef chili recipe is a trusted classic, carefully crafted to deliver rich, bold flavors. The combination of ancho chili powder, chipotle chili powder, and aromatic spices creates a depth of flavor that will tantalize your taste buds. The addition of molasses adds a touch of sweetness, while fresh lime juice brightens the dish. With a balance of savory and smoky notes, this recipe promises a satisfying and comforting dining experience. Trust in the expertise behind this recipe to elevate your chili game and impress your guests.

Share your thoughts on this Ground Beef Chili Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum section. Let's discuss any tweaks or variations you would make to this chili!
How long does it take to make this hearty ground beef chili recipe?
It takes approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes to make this hearty ground beef chili recipe, including preparation and cooking time.
Can I make this chili ahead of time?
Yes, you can make this chili ahead of time. After cooking, let it cool slightly, then refrigerate it uncovered until cold. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Can I freeze this chili?
Yes, you can freeze this chili for up to 3 months. Before serving, defrost it in the refrigerator for 12 hours and then reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat until hot.
How can I adjust the consistency of the chili?
If you prefer a thinner chili, you can add a bit of water. To thicken the chili, continue simmering it uncovered until the desired consistency is reached.
Can I use a different type of ground meat for this recipe?
Yes, you can use a different type of ground meat, such as turkey or chicken, if you prefer. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly based on the type of meat used.

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