Why you’ll love this recipe:
A no-fuss chili that’s BIG on flavor but super easy! This simple chili recipe is loaded with ground beef and beans, then simmered in a tomato-based broth.
The secret ingredient? Salsa! It’s a one-ingredient flavor booster because it contains tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, vinegar, and spices.
- Easy – No chopping or mincing necessary. Just brown the meat, add your ingredients, and simmer! This easy chili requires virtually no prep work and only one pot.
- Versatile – Customize it to fit your tastebuds. You can make it spicy or chunky with just one ingredient swap, and use any type of beans you like!
- Quick – Most chili recipes take at least an hour to make. This one is ready in 30 minutes from start to finish!
It’s perfect for a busy weeknight or a lazy Saturday. Even my picky kids devour it! I like to top it with shredded cheese, sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips.
Key Ingredient Notes:
- Ground beef – If you use 90/10, you don’t need to drain the excess fat. One less step! If you use a higher fat percentage, just drain the fat before you add the spices. You can swap the ground beef with ground turkey if you like.
- Spices – Cumin, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, and salt season the meat perfectly. For a bit of heat, you can add chipotle powder.
- Crushed tomatoes – If you like bigger chunks of tomatoes, use diced tomatoes instead.
- Salsa – The secret ingredient that adds a ton of flavor! You can use whatever variety you like the best. Mild, medium, or spicy!
- Beans – Use any variety you like! You can’t go wrong here.
- Water – Water or beef broth both work great!
How to make this recipe:
This basic chili recipe is super simple with these easy-to-follow steps!
- Brown the beef – In a large dutch oven or heavy duty pot, brown the beef over medium-high heat until it’s no longer pink. Drain any excess fat.
- Add spices – Add the seasoning and cook with the beef until fragrant and mixed in, about 1 minute.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes and salsa – Adding the liquids first prevents burning the beef.
- Then add the beans. – Drain the beans and rinse them under cold water before adding them to the pot.
- Finally, pour the water or broth in. I like to rinse the can from the tomato with the water.
- Simmer the soup for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve – Carefully taste the chili, then adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Drain and rinse the beans. This removes the liquid they come in, which is very salty. I prefer to control the amount of salt in my chili.
- Don’t skip the simmer! It’s tempting to just combine the ingredients and call it a day, BUT the simmer is the most important step. It gives the flavors a chance to mingle.
- Meat – Feel free to use any fat percentage and drain the extra fat. Or for a healthier alternative, try ground turkey.
- Spicy – Turn up the heat with spicy salsa or two teaspoons of chili powder. You could also add minced jalapeno.
- Veggies – Chili is a great catch-all for veggies or extra produce. Try bell peppers, onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, celery, potatoes, or mushrooms. Just dice them up small and sauté for a few minutes first.
Best Chili Toppings:
One of my favorite parts about chili is the toppings! You can use whatever you have on hand or buy a few extra ingredients to take this chili over the top. Here’s a few topping ideas to get you started:
- Sliced avocado
- Pickled jalapenos
- Shredded cheese
- Sour cream
- Crackers, tortilla chips, or saltines
- Sliced green onions or diced red onion
- Store leftover chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Reheat individual sized portions in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave until hot and bubbly. Or reheat a large portion in a pot on the stovetop over medium heat.
- Freeze in a freezer-safe airtight container or Ziplock bag. Let the chili cool completely before you freeze it. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat in a pot on the stovetop until hot.
The secret is in the simmer! When you let your chili simmer, all the ingredients and flavors mingle and combine to create a better flavor than before. It’s important not to skip this step!
Yes, you can make chili with water or any type of broth, including chicken broth. Chicken broth tastes a little bit lighter, but the difference is hardly noticeable due to all the other ingredients.
Chili is traditionally thick, but this is a personal preference! If you like a very thick chili, add a few tablespoons of tomato paste to thicken up the broth.
30 Minute Chili
- dutch oven
- 2 pounds ground beef Note 1
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika Note 2
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 3-4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (16oz) jar salsa Note 3
- 4 (16oz) cans variety of beans red kidney, black beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans, Note 4
- 3 cups water or broth
- In a large Dutch oven (5.5 qt), brown the beef, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon, over medium-high heat until no pink is visible.
- Add the seasonings and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes, salsa, and beans.
- Pour the water in and simmer it for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Adjust salt and seasoning to taste.
– Store leftover chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
– Reheat individual sized portions in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave until hot and bubbly. Or reheat a large portion in a pot on the stovetop over medium heat.
– Freeze in a freezer-safe airtight container or Ziplock bag. Let the chili cool completely before you freeze it. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat in a pot on the stovetop until hot.
* Disclaimer: All nutrition information are estimates only. Read full nutrition disclosure.
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