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The Best Chili Recipe (Award Winning)

The Best Chili recipe is a simple homemade beef chili that’s loaded with flavor. This recipe can feed a crowd.

A center brown bowl heaped with chili that\'s garnished with cheddar cheese. The chili sits in front of the second bowl of chili and jars of cheese and soup crackers.

 Why isn’t chili called soup or stew? Chili is chili and that’s just the way it goes. There are probably as many homemade chili recipes as there are the people who make it. Once you make the Best Chili Recipe, it will become your favorite chili!

Growing up chili was always tomato-based and made with ground beef and beans.

These days there is tomato-based, white chili, beef, chicken, or vegetarian.

You can have as many varieties as there is imagination. One thing that sets people against one variety versus another is whether it’s beans or no beans.

The chili my mother made included tomato juice, ground beef, kidney beans, onion, and the spice packet from the grocery store. I loved it. That is until I tried this chili at a party we attended years ago.

The recipe is still written on a scrap of paper and doesn’t have a name but it’s The Best Chili recipe I’ve ever had.

Top-down photo of two bowls of chili topped with shredded cheese in brown bowls next to small jars of cheese and soup crackers, and a spoon sitting on a slate tile.

This chili for a large group recipe can be made ahead and made just as spicy as you want. You can also just put it in a large crockpot and let everyone serve themselves!

I made this great chili recipe and entered it into our neighborhood chili contest.

I needed a delicious chili recipe that would feed a crowd, and while we love it, I wasn’t sure what everyone else would think.

It was the winner hands down and my “Best Chili Recipe” is now the recipe that my neighbors make for their families.

What is the difference between Chile and Chili Powder?

Chili Powder is actually a blend of dried chile pepper and other spices such as oregano, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, peppercorn, coriander, and cayenne according to Southern Living.

It’s different according to the brand you buy. There’s also a big difference between Mexican Chili Powder and Indian Chili Powder. I learned that the hard way!

Chile Powder is pure dried chile peppers even though the type of chile peppers can be different. They’re often sold under the name of the chile such as Ancho, Guajillo, Chipotle, Jalapeno, among others.

three-quarter view of a bowl of chilli topped with shredded cheese in front of small jars of soup crackers and shredded cheese. Small soup crackers are scattered around the bowl.

What’s the difference between dark red chili powder and light red chili powder.

The PepperScale states that dark chili powder often contains more of the chili pepper (like ancho) with a darker color and the spices are often roasted for longer periods.

This leads to a seasoning blend that’s often earthier, smokier, sweeter, and spicier than the lighter powder.

Don’t have time to make it now? Pin it for later!

3/4 angle view of a bowl of chili garnished with cheese with soup crackers scattered about.

Oh and there is a secret ingredient…..1 tablespoon of yellow mustard.

Believe it or not, it’s a game-changer. A friend of mine said she doesn’t like yellow mustard but after making this has a bottle in her fridge just for this recipe.

We’ve both tried it without and it makes a difference!

Chili Ingredients

  • ground beef
  • stewed tomatoes
  • tomato juice
  • Chili Beans
  • onion 
  • green pepper
  • ketchup
  • prepared yellow mustard
  • Chili Powder to taste 

A few items you may need to make this Homemade Chili recipe:

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12-qt Stockpot – This is such a nice stockpot for the price. I can use it for large recipes and the clean up is so easy! You can cook chili in a large slow-cooker.

Some more award winning Chili recipes!

While I believe that this is the Best Chili EVER, I have to admit that John’s Downhome Chili No-Beans recipe and the Spicy Chili Con Carne recipes are amazing.

If you’re looking for something a little less traditional, Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili or the Green Chili Pork recipes might be right up your alley.

Tips & Variations to make The Best Chili Recipe:

  • This is a thick beef chili recipe. You can use a combination of ground beef varieties or mix it up by using ground pork or sausage.
    • If you like a thinner chili, you can add more tomato juice.
  • We don’t skimp on the chili powder and we like pure red chili powder, not a pre-mixed chili seasoning. We test it by taste but also for a deep red color.
    • It’s best to add your spices through the entire cooking process instead of all at once. Adding spice and letting it cook into the chili will tell you if you need more but will also keep you from adding too much.
  • We chop up the stewed tomatoes to remove the large pieces in a food processor.
  • Allow the chili to simmer until you can no longer detect any flavor from the cans. 30 minutes to several hours, whatever time you have.
    • Heat the chili over medium-high heat and then immediately lower the temp to a simmer on the stovetop or in a slow cooker.
  • Feel free to substitute the beans for black beans beans or another variety that you like.
  • Freeze chili in reclosable bags or airtight containers. Leave space at the top for expansion.

Chili freezes great! I fill zip-lock bags and lay them flat to freeze. Using a cookie sheet works well. Once frozen you can remove the pan and keep them flat or store them vertically. It’s a great way to save freezer space.

What to make with leftover chili?

Chili is a complete meal but when I cook something savory I like to complement it with something sweet. A great muffin, homemade apple sauce or cheddar cornbread are my go-to’s.

If you like this recipe, we would appreciate your comment and a 5-star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review!

The Best Chili Recipe

Author: Hostess At Heart
The Best Chili recipe is a simple homemade beef chili that's loaded with flavor. This recipe can feed a crowd.
4.78 from 9 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword: Best Chili, Chili recipe
Servings: 32 servings


  • 6 lbs ground beef
  • 3 quarts stewed tomatoes 6-9 cans**
  • 2 quarts tomato juice
  • 30 oz cans Mrs Grimes Hot Chili Beans (2 cans)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 7 oz ketchup 1/2 bottle
  • 1 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup Chili Powder to taste or more if you like spice


  • In a large skillet or dutch oven, brown hamburger with onion and yellow mustard. Brown in batches if necessary. Drain excess grease.
  • Combine meat and all of the remaining ingredients in a large stockpot or a crockpot.
  • Simmer until all flavors are combined, stirring occasionally.



  • **I process the stewed tomatoes to remove the large pieces.
  • I allow my chili to simmer until I can no longer detect any flavor from the cans. 30 minutes to several hours, whatever time you have.
  • This chili can be simmered for several hours on top of the stove or in a slow cooker.
  • Chili may be frozen in reclosable bags or airtight containers.


Calories: 294kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 18gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 574mgPotassium: 770mgFiber: 4gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1564IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 74mgIron: 4mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.

Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

There aren’t any contests now. I make this chili and we all eat it. It makes such a large batch that I put some in my freezer. It’s like money in the bank. When I don’t want to cook I know I have some chili just waiting for me.

  What’s your favorite chili topping?

  • Cheese
  • Crackers
  • Sour Cream
  • Jalapenos
  • Tortilla Straws

Don’t forget to Pin It!

Two photo collage of bowls of chili topped in shredded cheese with small jars of cheese and soup crackers sitting beside them. The recipe title separates the two photos.
Recipe Rating


Sunday 12th of January 2020

ha! Your secret ingredient was a variation on the one we use! I've always used hot mustard powder--- but I remembered your recipe when I was out yesterday for our game day dinner. I must admit---- yours was so good. We didn't have even one bowl left today for leftovers! Going to keep this for the future!

Julie Menghini

Monday 13th of January 2020

Mustard powder? How interesting! I'm glad that our recipe worked for you!


Thursday 21st of November 2019

1. Chili does not have beans. 2. Ketchup is never an acceptable ingredient for anything. It's a condiment and should never be used in cooking --especially in chili.


Sunday 24th of November 2019

Tex is right if you were talking about Texas Chili which you are not. In Texas this would be classified as Meat sauce and served over spaghetti. We put no tomato products and no beans in our chili. Typically we don’t use ground beef small cubes of steak or roast and it is thickened with masa and is loaded with cumin. But... we are not talking about Texas chili we are talking about the Best Chili outside of Texas. Outside of Texas, chili is just a dish you cook for football games but in Texas it is our National Dish.

Julie Menghini

Saturday 23rd of November 2019

Wow, Tex I'm glad that I don't have these food rules. I could probably drive you crazy with some of my creations! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you'll find something you enjoy.

Dolores Miranda

Saturday 16th of November 2019

I absolutely love chili and this recipe sounds amazing!Definitely will give it a try!

Julie Menghini

Sunday 17th of November 2019

Thank you Dolores! I just made another batch this week!

Shelby P.

Saturday 16th of November 2019

So excited to make this! I’ve been looking for a new chili recipe.

Julie Menghini

Sunday 17th of November 2019

We love this one Shelby! I just made a big batch this week and put it in quart containers for the freezer. I love having it on cold nights for dinner.

Jennifer A Stewart

Monday 23rd of October 2017

I have heard of putting chocolate in the chili but never mustard! I am a huge fan of that vinegar-y tang of mustard so I can only imagine how good it tastes in chili!


Saturday 12th of November 2022

@Julie Menghini, mustard has vinegar which tenderizes the meat. I slather my meats that I’m smoking in it, I use it in chili and sloppy joe!

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 24th of October 2017

Thank you, Jennifer! Believe it or not, it isn't tangy. I can't even say what it does but it does....

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