Perfect Beef Chili

Who doesn’t love a perfect classic meat chili for game day, or just anytime. this recipe makes a big pot to serve to a crowd or just have as leftovers through the week. Sometimes I even make it and freezer some in quarts to have something in the freezer in a pinch.


adapted from Cooks Illustrated

serves 6-8


  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper, as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and small diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds 85% lean ground beef
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans red kidney beans
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree, no salt added


  1. Combine chili powder, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, oregano, 1 teaspoon of salt, and cayenne in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. add onions and bell pepper with a pinch of salt and cook until softened, 8-10 minutes. stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the spice mixture and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in half of the beef, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, util no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. repeat with remaining beef. Stir in beans, diced tomatoes with their juice, and tomato puree and bring to a simmer. cover, reduce heat to a gentle simmer (low), and cook, stirring occasionally for 1 hour.
  4. Uncover and continue to simmer gently until beef is tender and the sauce is dark, rich and slightly thickened, about 30 minutes longer. (If at any time chili begins to stick to bottom of pot or looks too thick, stir in water as needed). Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
  5.  Garnish ideas- sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped scallions, chopped cilantro, tortilla chips, raw chopped onion.