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4.92 from 12 votes

My Husband's Best Stove Top Chili Recipe

Let's be clear. My husband doesn't make chili. I do. Every year, he begs me to make it, hoping it will taste like the stove top chili recipe he remembers as a kid. I finally nailed it! Thick and hearty.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time1 hour 50 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings (change as needed): 6
Author: Cheryl


  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced (4 teaspoons)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (remove seeds then finely chop)
  • 3 tablespoon chili powder (or more to taste)
  • 0.5 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin powder
  • 1 can tomato paste (6 ounces/168 grams)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 ounce)
  • 4 cups beef stock or broth (plus 1 cup water)
  • 2 cans kidney beans (15-ounce X 2) undrained


  • SAUTE ONIONS AND GROUND BEEF: In large pot, heat oil to medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add ground beef, breaking up with wooden spoon. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until meat is brown all over, about 4-5 minutes.
  • ADD SPICES ETC: Lower heat to medium heat. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook for 2 minutes. Add chili powder, salt, cumin and tomato paste. Stir to mix well.
  • ADD LIQUIDS AND COOK: Add tomatoes, broth and water. Bring to boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour 10 minutes without the cover. Stir occasionally.
  • ADD BEANS TO FINISH: Add beans. No need to rinse unless you want to reduce the salt. The liquid will help thicken the chili. Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer for another 20-30 minutes, uncovered, until the chili is the consistency (thickness) you like. If not thick enough, cook a bit longer (chili will thicken quite a bit on sitting or in the fridge). Taste and adjust seasonings (chili powder, cumin, salt).
  • SERVE: Ladle into bowls and serve with your favorite toppings. Note 1


  1. Topping options: homemade croutons, Cheddar cheese or Parmesan cheese, homemade cornbread, sour cream, green onions, corn chips or warm crusty bread.
  2. Variations: 
    • Spice level: Add more heat by leaving in some of the jalapeno seeds, adding another jalapeno, increasing the chili powder, adding diced canned green chilis or a pinch of cayenne pepper.
    • Extra nutrition: If you like, add chopped green pepper, corn, mushrooms, carrots or butternut squash - and sauté them along with the onions.
    • Ground meat substitute: Instead of ground beef, you can use ground turkey, chicken, pork or even a plant-based meat like Beyond Beef.
  3. Slow cooker method: Brown ground beef and onions in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add to crock pot with remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 5-7 hours. 
  4. Instant Pot method: Set to Sauté function. Brown meat and onions. Pour out grease if needed. Stir in seasonings and beans. Add liquids. DO NOT STIR. Set to high pressure for 10 minutes. Do a natural release. 
  5. Make Ahead: Keeps in the fridge 4-6 days. Or freeze in a sealed container for 3 months. 
Nutrition values are estimates and do not include optional toppings. 
Calories: 456kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 1729mg | Potassium: 1776mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1745IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 9mg