Classic Chili – This means beans!

I know that a lot of chili’s, especially in certain parts of the states, consider beans to be sacrilegious. And probably ground meat too, but to me, a chili isn’t a chili without a boat load of kidney beans.

This is a really nice, basic, easy chili to make, but I’ll throw in a few optional tweaks at the end if you want to kick it up a bit. As is, it’s basically a meal you can cook out of your pantry and freezer. Fantastic right?

Speaking of freezer, this is another big one, which means that I’m getting two freezer meals out of it too! I makes about 12 servings worth of chili. If you do portion some of it out to freeze, just put it in zip-lock freezer bags, suck as much air out as possible with a straw (this ensures NO freezer burn, do it with everything you freeze!), and lay flat to freeze.

Alright, let’s get to it!

Get out everything that you’ll need: diced peppers, onions and tomatoes (not I only had one can of diced tomatoes, and one can of whole tomatoes. This is a pain in the ass to break up later, use diced!), kidney beans, ground beef, beef bouillon, tomato paste (not pictured), beer (not pictured), chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, oregano, cumin, hot sauce, basil, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, chili powder and brown sugar. Honest, this is the basic version!


Throw the meat into a large pot and cook until well browned, then drain off as much of the excess fat as possible. Try not to pour a crap load of it down the drain like I did.


There’s that beer I forgot in the main picture! Just showing a little home country pride, lol! And remember, you only need ½ cup from this bottle, what you do with the rest, well that’s up to you.


There, meats looking good.


Here comes the hard part. Put everything else in the pot. Yep, everything. You may have noticed that the pot has changed. This is because every time I make chili I think it will fit in that stainless pot, and it never does. Just go big from the beginning.


Stir it up.


Cover it. Now walk away, for two hours. You heard me right, that’s it, we’re done. You’re house will slowly start to smell delicious and all you have to do it wait it out a bit.


Dish it up, top it with a bit of grated cheese (sour cream and broken up fritos are also a nice touch some days too), and you’re good to go! This is great left to sit in the fridge over night before eating too, so you can always cook it a day in advance if you need to.


Alright, I promised some ways to kick it up, so here they are, options:

Add 1 pound of Italian sausage, casings removed, and brown with the beef. This is usually standard for me to do, I just didn’t have any on hand.

If you want it to have some real spicy kick to it, add this in: 2 green chili peppers, seeded and diced, up the cayenne to 1 tsp and the chili powder to ¼ cup, replace one can of the kidney beans with chili beans in a spicy sauce.

Lastly, add a bit of bacon, not a ton, only about 3 tablespoons chopped up after being cooked, it’ll add a nice, smoky flavour.

Here’s your printable:

Classic Chili – This means beans!

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Serving Size: 1 cup

Classic Chili – This means beans!


  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 4 (15oz) cans kidney beans in their sauce
  • 2 (28oz) cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 (6oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers (any color), diced
  • 4 cubes beef bouillon
  • ½ cup beer
  • 1½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp hot sauce (Frank's Red Hot)
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper


  1. Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat and cook the beef until well browned. Drain off any excess fat.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, then cover and let simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. After 2 hours taste and adjust the salt, pepper and chili powder seasoning if necessary. The longer this chili sits, the better it tastes, so you can always remove from the heat and refrigerate it for the next day.
  4. Optional:To add more kick and flavour to this recipe, feel free to add any of the following
  5. 1 lb Italian sausage, casing removed, browned with the beef
  6. 2 green chili peppers, seeded and diced
  7. 3 tbsp crumbled cooked bacon
  8. Increase chili powder up to ¼ cup
  9. replace 1 can of kidney beans with chili beans in spicy sauce
  10. increase cayenne pepper to 1 tsp
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One comment

  1. elsa espinola

    Try to mix some frozen corn in the chili.ask Nana if she liked.

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