Chili is a family favorite and a meal that goes back to my childhood. Yet chili has many great debates. I fall on the side that states chili with beans isn’t chili, it’s stew. Anyone that uses beans in their chili is really just adding a filler to avoid using more meat in the chili itself. And chili should be jam-packed with meat. 

I spent a great deal of time playing around with various recipes for chili. I wasn’t really satisfied with anyone of them until one evening I was desperate for chili powder I didn’t realize was gone and threw in a random cajun mix that didn’t get used the night before. It worked out. So I took two recipes and merged them. It seemed to work out again. From there I have tweaked the spice mix and various ingredients in this recipe until I had a consistent flavor and taste satisfaction.

This recipe hasn’t really been tested outside my home yet. My recipe tester flaked out on me and claimed that she had a better recipe (though she never coughed that up for me to put to the test either so take that as you will). 

As an aside here, this recipe works fairly well with ground turkey. I’m not particularly fond of it that way, but in testing it held up pretty well and was graciously received by those that ate it. 


2 pounds ground beef (your choice, the leaner the better)
1 yellow (or white) onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans diced tomatoes, (14.5 ounces)
1½-2 tbsp tomato paste
2-3 cups beef broth

Spice Mix

4 tbsps chili powder
2 tbsps ground cumin
2 tbsps smoked paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
cayenne pepper, optional, to taste


First, add diced onions to large pot with a tablespoon of oil. Sweat the onions until soft; about 3-5 minutes. Do not overcook them. 

Add garlic and stir for 30-45 seconds. I tend to use even more garlic than the recipes calls for, but I also use minced garlic out of a jar rather than mince cloves. Either way works just fine. 

Once you have a good smell of onion and garlic going on here, add ground beef, break apart large pieces, and brown. This takes about about 6-7 minutes. Make sure to watch it. I have a gas stove and it cooks faster than normal. 

Stir the Spice MIx into meat mixture until l completely mixed into ground beef.

Add the tomato paste. Stir until completely mixed into spiced beef.

Add beef broth and diced tomatoes (with juice). Stir well.

Bring chili to a slow boil. Reduce heat (low to medium; I turn my all the way down to the lowest setting) and gently simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes while stirring occasionally.

Remove pot from heat and let stand for 5-10 minutes to thicken.

If not thick enough (which is rare but can happen depending on several different factors), add a teaspoon of cornstarch or a flour/water mixture to thicken.

Serve this up with crackers or tortillas.