EASY Homemade Red Chili

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 Fix it and forget it! Prepare this easy recipe for Homemade Red Chili and let it simmer in the slow cooker while you play!

A bowl of Homemade Red Chili on a table

The first snowfall of the year is a pretty big event in the South. To tell the truth, any snowfall is a pretty big event down South. The weatherman mentions snow and we all flock to the grocery store to stock up on bread, milk, and essential snacks in hopes that we will actually be “snowed in” for a day or two. Once I heard the word “snow” I decided I just had to make a big ‘ole pot of Homemade Red Chili, and apparently everyone else did, too—not only were the grocery milk and bread shelves near-empty, the spice aisle had no chili powder!

I think homemade chili was probably one of the first things that I learned to cook. My grandmother cooked a pot of pinto beans and cornbread for supper at least once a week when I was growing up on the farm. During the Winter months, she would use leftover pinto beans and a quart of home canned tomatoes to make chili. Now that I’m a “city girl” I take a few shortcuts with my chili recipe, but it’s still a hearty, delicious meal on a cold, snowy day.

Ingredients for chili on a wooden table, with spices, garlic, onion, and beans

Ingredients for Easy Red Chili

  • Lean ground beef
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Canned crushed tomatoes
  • Canned pinto beans 
A close up of an iron skillet filled with Homemade Red Chili

How to make Easy Red Chili

I still follow the same basic method that I learned from my grandmother — she was an excellent cook and teacher!

  1. First, make the chili by cooking the ground meat with the onion and garlic until meat is browned and the onions are tender.
  2. Add the crushed tomatoes, chili powder, and other seasoning and heat the mixture until it begins to bubble.
  3. Reduce the heat and let this simmer for 5-10 minutes. At this time, taste the chili and adjust the salt and chili powder to your taste.
  4. Add the chili mixture to the canned beans in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Heat until the mixture is hot and bubbly.
A close up of an iron skillet filled with Homemade Red Chili

Tip: The longer the chili simmers, the more the flavors will continue to bloom. If you’re in a hurry, add the beans and serve immediately. Otherwise, transfer the chili to a slow cooker to keep it warm until time to eat. This is especially handy for snowy days—warm chili is all ready once the sledding is over!

Another funny snow story

Our friends from the North think we’re absolutely ridiculous and overly cautious when it comes to snow in the South. I don’t think that’s a fair assumption, but I do have to agree with them that the local media can go a little overboard with their snow reports—just watch this hilarious video about the local media and snow reports!

Easy Red Chili

Once the chili has simmered and is nice and hot, serve it plain, with crackers, or with a top-your-own-chili-bar of cheese, tortilla chips, Fritos, sour cream, salsa, avocado, and scallions. With my shortcuts, this chili is ready to serve within 30 minutes, but it can also simmer in a crock pot for a few hours if that is more convenient for you.

A bowl of Easy Homemade Red Chili on a table

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Easy Homemade Red Chili | Life, Love, and Good Food

Easy Homemade Red Chili

Fix it and forget it! Prepare this easy recipe for Homemade Red Chili and let it simmer in the slow cooker while you play!
4.50 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Soups & Stews
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 401 kcal


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 ½ tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 14 oz. cans cans pinto beans
  • 2 tablespoons masa harina or corn flour
  • GARNISHES: cheddar cheese sour cream, scallions, avocado, crispy tortilla strips, tortilla chips, or Fritos


  • Cook ground beef and onions in a large skillet over medium high heat until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are translucent. Drain off any grease, then return to the skillet.
  • Add crushed tomatoes and spices. Heat until mixture starts to bubble; reduce heat and simmer 5-10 minutes.
  • Pour chili into a slow cooker or soup pot and stir in beans and masa harina. Simmer until chili is heated through.


Serving: 1gCalories: 401kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 29gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 751mgFiber: 14gSugar: 6g

Life Love and Good Food does not claim to be a registered dietician or nutritionist. Nutritional information shared on this site is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

Keyword chili, homemade chili
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
A bowl filled with Homemade Red Chili

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  1. Pretty good recipe but it should be thickened with a tablespoon or so of masa harina to have just the right texture.

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