This easy weeknight chili comes together in as little as 30 minutes!
There’s few things as satisfying as a bowl of warm chili on cold evening, am I right? We’re quickly approaching soup season and this quick and easy chili recipe and I are ready to greet it with open arms.
I’ve been on the hunt for a good chili recipe for a while now, but every time I went searching I was discourage by long ingredient lists with so many spices, or weird additions I wasn’t familiar with. Wasn’t chili supposed to be easy and straightforward? At least that’s always what I want when I set out to make it. So after some of my own trial and error, here’s a chili recipe I’ve settled on that I feel really good about sharing with you.
This chili takes just a minute or two of prep to chop the onions and garlic, and the rest comes together in about 30 minutes over the stove.
You may notice that my ingredient list is still a little long, but all items can be easily (and affordably) found at the grocery store if they’re not already in your kitchen and pantry. I didn’t want to sacrifice flavor just for the sake of minimalism, and since almost half of the ingredients are canned goods that you open and dump, I didn’t think you’d mind that much. This is a simple chili that packs a big punch!
Top it with some sour cream, cheese and green onions, and serve it with a side of cornbread and you have complete meal!
How to brown meat the right way
When you “brown” meat it should actually turn brown! Brown meat means flavorful meat, and while none of the following tips are necessary, following them will produce a tastier chili.
- Let ground beef come to room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
- If it appears very moist, place meat on a paper towel during that time to soak up excess moisture. Too much moisture can prevent caramelization and browning.
- Do not overcrowd that pan. The meat will release juices as it cooks and too much meat means there’s too much liquid, which again, prevents browning. If you’re working with a pound of ground beef or more, cook in 2 batches.
- Once you’ve added the meat to the pan, don’t touch it for several minutes. Give it a chance to sear and brown. Once browned, use a spatula to break up large chunks and stir for even cooking.
Make it a meal
Add these sides to make it a complete meal!
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Easy Weeknight Chili
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
- 1 lb ground beef (I use 85% fat)
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup (or 1 14-oz can) beef broth
- 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
- 1 15-oz can pinto beans, drained
- 1 15-oz can red kidney beans, drained
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
- Sour cream
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Sliced green onions
- Preheat a large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add oil or butter. Add ground beef, season with half of the salt and all of the pepper, and cook until well-browned, about 3-5 minutes. Depending on the size of your pan, consider browning in batches (see tip above in post). Transfer meat to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
- Reduce heat to low and add onions. Season with the rest of the salt. Cook until onions have softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute more.
- Add beef broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, pinto and kidney beans, chili powder, cumin and brown sugar.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, until thickened. Add more salt to taste if needed.
- Serve with desired toppings.