Mix-and-Match Chili

Create your own signature chili recipe using Food Network Magazine's expert formula.

Beef and Kidney Bean Chili with Ranch Dip and Fried Onions

Beef and Kidney Bean Chili with Ranch Dip and Fried Onions

1: Make the Base

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 each chopped onion and bell pepper or poblano; add 3 cloves minced garlic and/or 1 to 2 minced jalapenos. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

2: Add Seasonings

Stir in 2 tablespoons tomato paste. Add 1/4 cup chili powder (classic or ancho) and 2 teaspoons each ground cumin, coriander and dried oregano. Add one of the following, if desired, and cook, stirring, until brick red, 1 to 2 minutes.

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (sweet or hot)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 chopped chipotle chile in adobo

3: Choose Your Ground Meat

Add 2 pounds ground meat to the pot (pick one kind below); season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes.

  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Bison

4: Pick Your Beans

Stir two 15-ounce cans of beans or hominy into the pot. Don’t drain them — you’ll want the starchy liquid in your chili.

  • Kidney beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Black beans
  • Pink beans
  • White beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Hominy

5: Cook the Chili

Add three 14.5-ounce cans crushed tomatoes to the pot. Stir in 1 cup water or beer, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 3 bay leaves.

Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are soft and the chili has thickened, adding more water if needed, 35 to 45 minutes. During the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking, add 1 to 2 cups frozen vegetables (corn, sliced okra or chopped kale or collards), if desired.

Remove the chili from the heat and season with salt and pepper. (For extra flavor, stir in 1 teaspoon chili powder, cumin or cocoa powder, a few dashes of hot sauce or a splash of vinegar or lime juice.)

6: Add Toppings

Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with your choice of toppings.

  • Sliced radishes
  • Fried onions or tortilla chips
  • Chopped jalapenos shredded or crumbled cheese
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Chopped scallions
  • Sour cream or ranch dip


Recipe developed by Steve Jackson and Melissa Gaman for Food Network Magazine.

Photograph by Christopher Testani.

Subscribe Today!

Food Network Magazine is America's best-selling food magazine — and every home cook's essential handbook. Each issue is full of bright, colorful photos that bring the magic of Food Network right into the kitchen, reminding readers that food is fun, and that anyone can cook like a star.

Next Up

Mix-and-Match Wings

Design your own game-day recipe!

Everything You Need to Throw an MVP-Worthy NBA All-Star Game Viewing Party

You can watch Team LeBron and Team Giannis go head-to-head Sunday, February 19th only on TNT.

These 3 Massive Sandwiches Are Made for Tailgating

Whether you're tailgating or watching the game from home, these sandwiches are a win-win.

15 Easy Game Day Recipes with a Kick

Mix and match Eddie Jackson’s favorite crowd-pleasing finger foods for the ultimate football party.

What to Make for Game Day If You Can’t Find Chicken Wings

You might find wings too tricky find (or too pricey to buy) this year. Here’s what to serve your party guests instead.

The Best Store-Bought Buffalo Sauces, Tested by Food Network Kitchen

Get those chicken wings and cauliflower florets ready!

Game-Day Recipes You Can Make with Your Family

Even the kids can help make this winning lineup.

5 Fun Ways to Eat Chili on Game Day

Keep the whole team happy with these creative eats.

Touchdown Touches

The Kitchen hosts share some football-inspired finishing touches for your game day party décor that are sure to be a touchdown with your guests.