The Best Chili

  • Level: Easy
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
  • Total: 1 hr 30 min
  • Active: 25 min


1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 pound ground beef chuck, preferably coarse grind (see Cook's Note) 

1 large yellow onion, diced 

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced  

4 cloves garlic, minced 

2 tablespoons chili powder 

1 tablespoon ground cumin 

1 tablespoon paprika 

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

2 teaspoons tomato paste 

1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth 

One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed 

Two 15.5-ounce cans kidney beans, undrained 

Sour cream, shredded Cheddar and sliced scallions, for serving 

Tortilla chips, for serving 


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until just browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly golden, about 10 minutes.  
  3. Add the jalapeno and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
  4. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently, until coated and fragrant, about 1 minute. 
  5. Stir in the beef broth and crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the cooked ground beef and any accumulated liquid, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer the chili, partially covered, until the beef is tender and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.  
  6. Stir in the beans and their liquid and simmer uncovered until the beans are softened and the chili is thickened, about 30 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. 
  7. Top with sour cream, Cheddar and scallions. Serve with tortilla chips. 

Cook’s Note

Coarsely ground beef gives this stew a heartier texture than regular ground beef does. It’s worth asking your butcher to coarsely grind the meat for you.

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Joann Flexer

I like smoked paprika and using sausage (chili and smoked paprika) makes recipe amazingly delicious!

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