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  • Writer's pictureNina Dudko

Classic Beef Chili

My brother Mark visited me this past weekend and we cooked up a storm. The entire weekend was spent exploring DC, playing video games, and cooking. There was some sleep too, but my apartment smelled great the entire weekend. I have oodles of recipes that I will be sharing with you in the next few weeks, but the one I’m most excited about is CHILI!

I love chili. It’s one of my favorite things to make in the fall—well actually I love to make it year round, but it seems extra appropriate for fall. It’s just so cozy and perfect to snuggle up with a fresh bowl of chili topped with sour cream and melty cheese.

I love sticking with this classic recipe for chili though for the sake of this blog and my own adventurous food desires I will definitely be trying some fancier versions. Like pumpkin chili. It is probably extremely delicious and I’m sure the plethora of food bloggers out there have recipes for it. I just need to find time to make it—just waiting for the perfect rainy weekend to experiment.

I make this chili at least every few months and it could probably feed an army. So when I’m riddled with leftovers, I pawn them off to my friends (who hardly seem to complain since I’m giving them free food). My friends love this chili though. When I tell them I’m making chili this weekend and if they would like some, they become loud with excitement.

Here are a few reasons why this chili is my favorite. First, it’s not that time consuming. The most important part of chili is giving it time for the flavors to develop and mature. That’s probably why a lot of chili is made in a slow cooker. You have that time component that allows you to really make those flavors as robust as they can.

Second, it’s not that expensive to make. Ground beef when bought on sale can be pretty cheap and it yields pretty hefty servings. Produce can get a bit spendy depending on where you live, but this recipe is roughly $3.00 per serving.

Third, the flavor and texture are just so darn good! I like mine a bit spicier than most so I add an extra jalapeño and some cayenne pepper to boot, but there’s a phenomenal heartiness to this chili that makes you eagerly go for a second (or third) helping. This chili is very tender and thick and not very soupy. And with all the vegetables in here, it's healthy too!

I like topping my chili with sour cream and cheese, but you can get creative with your toppings! Feel free to add avocado or tortilla chips or saltines if you’d like.

This recipe is perfect for an impending snowpocalypse, a potluck dinner, a tailgate, or just for yourself for weeknight dinner. The reasons to make this recipe are essentially limitless. It’s so tasty though I doubt you’ll only make this once.


Classic Beef Chili​


Serves 8

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 lbs ground beef

2 jalapenos, finely chopped

1 green pepper, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 medium onion, diced

1 large carrot, diced

1 large celery stalk, chopped

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

3 tablespoons tomato paste

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 15-ounce can of kidney beans (dark red or light red, or both!)


Sour Cream



  1. In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef and use a wooden spoon to break up the meat. Brown the beef, about 10 minutes. Do not drain fat.

  2. Add in the peppers, carrot, onion, and celery and cook until the vegetables are tender and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.

  3. Add in the crushed tomatoes, the tomato paste, and the spices and stir until well combined. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and let the chili simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Drain and rinse the beans. Add the beans to the chili mixture and cook for an additional 10 minutes, until the beans are tender.

  5. Serve with your preferred chili toppings and nom away!

You can store leftover chili in an airtight container and is good in the refrigerator for 5 days. You can also freeze the chili for up to 4 months. Let the chili defrost completely in the refrigerator for 24 hours before reheating.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy chili?

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