Easy Ground Beef Chili made with light red kidney beans, tomatoes, onion, and garlic is extra meaty, hearty, and super flavorful. Undoubtedly one of the best chili recipes ever, this bowl of goodness is seasoned with both chili powder and ground cumin, adding a bit of flavor complexity.
On your table in just 30 minutes, Ground Beef Chili is not only a quick and easy weeknight dinner, it makes enough to feed a crowd — think Super Bowl party!
Make it a complete spread with chili toppings like cheese, sour cream, jalapeños, diced scallions and tortilla chips — or my favorite, Mexican Cornbread.
Easy Ground Beef Chili
What’s a Super Bowl party without a big pot of chili, right? With the big game right around the corner, if you’re looking for a delicious thick and meaty chili recipe, look no further!
A surprise ingredient, the brine from a jar of pickled jalapeños, adds the acidity needed to perk up the flavors in this beefy chili, while a tablespoon of brown sugar balances it all out.
If you don’t have a jar of jalapeños on hand, substitute apple cider vinegar instead.
Also, this recipe is on the milder heat side, so you may wish to adjust the amount of chili powder and cumin to reach your desired heat index!
How to get the most flavorful chili in just 30 minutes!
Certain ingredients and methods of cooking are better than others when it comes to building big flavor in a short amount of time. Here are my tips for making the best chili recipe in just 30 minutes:
- Using a mix of ground beef with differing fat ratios cuts down on the amount of fat that renders out, leaving more flavor in.
- After browning the meat, blooming the spices — in this case, chili powder and ground cumin — in the rendered fat enhances their potency and adds a delicious depth of flavor to the chili.
- Sauté the diced onions in the bloomed spices with a pinch of kosher salt before adding the ground beef back to the pot. Note: If the mixture seems too dry, add a bit of canola oil.
- Season the ground beef when you return it to the pan (after it has been browned). If you salt it before or during cooking, it draws out the moisture and restricts the flavor you get from browning the meat.
- Using canned beans and tomatoes shaves off plenty of prep/cooking time.
- The last secret: Add a small amount of the brine from pickled jalapeños and brown sugar at the end for a punch of flavor and brightness.
Ground beef chili FAQs
I like using a pound each of ground chuck and ground sirloin. Ground chuck has a breakdown of 80 percent lean beef and 20 percent fat, while ground sirloin is 90/10. Combining the two means less fat renders out, leaving more flavor. Instead, you may substitute all ground round, with an 85/15 ratio.
Remember, the fat is where most of the beef flavor comes from, so avoid the temptation to drain the cooked ground beef. If you find there is too much fat for your taste, at the end of cooking you can spoon off any grease that rises to the top. However, using the mix of ground beef as I suggest will reduce the amount of fat that renders out.
Ground Beef Chili is a meaty, hearty soup that has less liquid than some other chilis, like this White Chicken Chili. That being said, in general beef chili should be thicker and more robust.
Normally, I cook my chili uncovered so that is cooks on the thicker side. Cooking with a lid on will preserve the moisture and make it a bit more soupy. If you feel your chili has too much liquid, uncover it and let it cook until the desired consistency and it if seems too thick, put a lid on it.
The flavors in chili will continue to meld the longer it cooks and the leftovers may even taste better the next day. Regardless, chili will still be flavorful if you only have a few minutes to let it simmer.
Whenever I use canned black beans or red kidney beans for chili, I always drain and rinse them for two reasons: 1) rinsing makes them easier to digest, and 2) the canning liquid is starchy and full of sodium.
To make easy taco salads with leftover chili, place chopped iceberg or romaine lettuce in a bowl and top with leftover chili, salsa, diced tomatoes, sliced scallions, shredded cheddar cheese, and a dollop of sour cream.
Serve with corn chips or tortilla chips and you have a delicious lunch or dinner the next day.
- 1 pound ground beef chuck
- 1 pound ground beef sirloin
- 2 - 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 ½ cups diced onion (one large onion)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 (16-oz.) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 (16-oz.) can tomato sauce
- 3 (15-oz.) cans light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons pickled jalapeños brine
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- Into a large Dutch Oven over medium high heat, crumble the ground beef. Cook and stir for 8 minutes, breaking up any large clumps, until the meat is no longer pink. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat to a plate, reserving the drippings.
- Add the chili powder and cumin to the Dutch oven. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add the diced onions along with a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes. If the mixture seems too dry (not enough fat left to cook the onions), add a tablespoon of canola oil and continue cooking until the onions are tender.
- Return the ground beef to the Dutch oven and season with 2 teaspoons salt.
- Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beans. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Add the jalapeño pickle brine and brown sugar, then simmer for 5 minutes or until ready to serve.
This recipe is on the milder heat side, so you may wish to adjust the amount of chili powder and cumin to reach your desired heat index!
Make easy taco salads with leftover chili:
Place chopped iceberg or romaine lettuce in a bowl and top with heated leftover chili, salsa, diced tomatoes, sliced scallions, shredded cheddar cheese, and a dollop of sour cream. Serve with corn chips or tortilla chips.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 292Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 667mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 27g
Sheila Thigpen, author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook, is a recipe developer, food photographer, and food writer. She spent 20+ years as a business manager in the publishing industry before she retired in 2018 to focus on her passions — cooking, photography, and writing. Living near the beautiful Smoky Mountains, Sheila and her husband have two adult daughters and two fine sons-in-law, are active in their church, love to travel, and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. Follow Sheila on YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!