Best Chili Ever: The Only Chili Recipe You’ll Ever Need

bowl of chili

Bowl of chili |

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Fall and football season are here, which means it’s also time for chili. Whether you’re hosting a crowd to watch the big game or are looking for a warm and filling meal to feed your family on a cool evening, chili fits the bill.

Plenty of cooks already have a favorite chili recipe or have created their own versions of the popular meal,but if you’re a chili novice, choosing a recipe can be difficult. There are entire cookbooks devoted to the one-pot dish, and a quick Google search turns up millions of different variations of the combination of meat, chili peppers, and other ingredients.

What makes the perfect bowl of chili is a long-standing and heated debate. Texans insist true chili doesn’t contain beans, while people in Cincinnati serve their concoction over spaghetti. There’s white chili made with lighter-colored beans and turkey and meatless chili for vegetarians. Some people put beer in chili, while others add red wine. A chef might stir in some Mexican chocolate to add flavor and balance the spiciness, and some people thicken their sauce with masa harina.

The sheer variety means picking the best chili recipe is an exercise in futility. The perfect chili recipe is the one that tastes good to you. But if you’re new to chili making, you need to start somewhere, which is where this easy chili recipe from Gimme Some Oven comes in. This version distills chili down to the essentials: meat, beans, tomatoes, and spices. It doesn’t require hours of cooking time or a shopping list a mile long. And because this dish is so simple, it’s easy to adapt and tweak to your tastes.

5-Ingredient Chili Recipe

Chopped onions in a frying pan

Cooking onions for chili |

This five-ingredient chili recipe from Gimme Some Oven is simple to prepare and easily adaptable. Feel free to use your favorite store-bought chili powder, or you can also try making your own. The chili powder recipe below is from Once prepared, this dish will serve 4 to 6.


  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 3 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans beans, drained (such as black beans or kidney beans)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • Optional toppings: Shredded cheese, chopped green onions, sour cream, cilantro

For the chili powder

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1½ teaspoons cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)

Directions: To make the chili powder, add all the ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine.

Add the ground beef or turkey to a large stock pot. Cook over medium-high heat until browned, stirring frequently. You’ll also need to add a drizzle of oil if you’re working with turkey.

Once meat is browned, transfer it to a bowl or plate using a slotted spoon. Drain the fat from the stock pot, leaving 1 tablespoon of grease behind. If your pan looks dry, add a bit of oil.

Add the chopped onion to the pan. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onion is soft. Add the tomatoes, beans, and cooked meat. Stir in the chili powder. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Ladle chili into bowls. Serve with your preferred toppings, such grated cheese, sour cream, and cilantro, and a side of corn bread.

Chili recipe tips

can of black beans

Black beans for chili |

Making this chili recipe is easy, but there are few things to keep in mind. If you’re using ground turkey or another meat without much fat, be sure to add some oil to the pan before cooking. Also, the green chilies in the canned tomatoes provide some necessary heat. If you can’t find tomatoes with chilies, you’ll probably want to add some Anaheim peppers when cooking the onions (use jalapeños if you like your food on the spicier side).

Because this dish is so simple, it’s easy to customize. Add chipotle peppers for a smokier flavor, substitute soyrizo for the meat to make a vegetarian meal, or cut back on the chili powder if you like a less spicy dish. If you don’t have kidney or black beans on hand, you can use pinto beans, navy beans, or even chickpeas. Add corn or red pepper to get some extra veggies, or try using a different type of meat, such as ground venison or bison.

If you like, you can prepare this chili in your slow cooker. To do so, brown the meat as instructed, then add it to the slow cooker with all the other ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Follow Megan on Twitter @MeganE_CS