We eat chili so much I could make it in my sleep. It is the perfect go to meal when I want something easy, brainless, and cheap. I even admit to making it in the dead of summer because of how scrumptious it is. Everyone has their own version. I have made it with ground turkey, Italian sausage, and even with just beans. But my favorite is a simple but hearty ground beef chili that has just the right amount of heat. This recipe can be made stove top, in the slow cooker, and even frozen. It really is a one pot wonder!
Part of the reason I make chili so much is because it is my son Joshua’s favorite. His eyes will bug out and his tongue will wag when he finds out what I’m cooking. As you can see, it’s been a bit cold here in Knoxville. This picture was taken when it snowed last. It only snows a couple of times each winter. But that didn’t stop Joshua! He was out sledding down our hill on a trash can lid. I lasted outside for about 3 minutes and then watched him from the warmth of the living room. 😉
Start by dicing a medium sized onion and sauteeing it in 2 tablespoons of light olive oil. Cook the onion until it is soft and tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Then I add in a pound of ground beef and cook it until it is brown.
Next, add in a can of diced tomatoes with chiles and 2 tablespoons of chili seasoning. I usually make my own homemade chili seasoning, but if I’m out I use Lawry’s chili seasoning packets.
Mix all these ingredients together. It should be nice and thick.
Now, add in a can of great northern beans, dark red kidney beans, and regular chili or pinto beans. Don’t drain the beans because you will need all that liquid to make the chili simmer.
If you like some heat, pour in a tablespoon of hot sauce. I use Tapatio as it is my husband’s favorite, but any hot sauce will do. Stir it all around and cook on medium-high until it starts to boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Stir it occasionally so that the chili doesn’t stick to the bottom.
If you want to make this hearty ground beef chili in the Crockpot, simply cook the onion and ground beef as directed and then move it to the slow cooker. Pour the spices and canned goods into the Crockpot and set it on LOW for 5-6 hours. Top each bowl full with some sharp cheddar cheese or light sour cream. It’s heaven in a bowl!
I guess I’m kind of boring when it comes to sides for my chili. I only ever make Skillet Cornbread with Creamed Corn or Traditional Fluffy Yeast Rolls. We like to use the bread to wipe our bowls clean of all that delicious broth!
If I need to stock up on freezer meals or I know I may want to take dinner to a friend over the next couple of days, I will make a double batch and freeze the second portion. I freeze it in Ziplock gallon bags. To thaw it, I either leave it in the refrigerator overnight or run warm water over the bag until I can pour it out in the pan.
If you think you’d like this chili but want to go meatless, use more beans, add in a diced zucchini, or try my 3 Bean Vegetarian Chili version. Happy cooking y’all!
Hearty Ground Beef Chili
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 Tbsp light olive oil
- 15 oz can diced tomatoes with chiles
- 2 Tbsp chili seasoning or 1 chili seasoning packet
- 1 15 oz can each of great northern beans pinto beans, and dark red kidney beans
- Optional: 1 Tbsp hot sauce like Tapatio
- Topping: shredded sharp cheddar cheese or light sour cream
- Saute the diced onion in the oil until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the ground beef and cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add in the tomatoes and chili seasoning.
- Stir to combine. The mixture should be thick.
- Pour in the 3 cans of beans, undrained.
- If you like hot sauce, add it here.
- Stir well and cook over medium-high heat until the chili boils.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes.
- Stir occasionally in order to prevent burning on the bottom of the pan.
- Serve warm topped with cheddar cheese or sour cream.
- In the Crockpot:
- Cook as the onion and ground beef as directed above and move to the Crockpot.
- Add in all the other ingredients and stir.
- Cook on LOW for 6 hours.
- To Freeze:
- Let chili cool before packaging.
- Package in gallon ziplock bags or airtight containers.
- To thaw, let it sit in your refrigerator overnight or run warm water over the ziplock.
- Heat in a large pan until warm and bubbling.