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Family Favorite Chili

This Family Favorite Chili is made with hearty ingredients and simple flavors. It’s budget-friendly and perfect for a quick and easy meal.

There are some recipes that are just perfect for family dinners. This Family Favorite Chili is one of them – it’s hearty, flavorful, and loved by everyone. Whether you make it on a cold winter night or even during the summertime, this chili is always a hit.

Two bowls of chili topped with sour cream and cheese.

This recipe is filled with tomato-ey, spicy goodness that will satisfy even your pickiest eaters. It’s great on its own or topping a hot dog fresh off the grill.

Now, before somebody starts to explain how this is not “real” chili, I just want to say that I know that. I understand that “real” chili does not contain any beans or tomatoes.

However, there’s a whole big world of cooks out here, and we all have different ideas about recipes. That’s why I haven’t called this recipe Real Texas Chili. Or Authentic Texas Chili. Or anything remotely like that. Just so we’re clear.

This is my own version of chili, and it bears no resemblance whatsoever to chili cooked by authentic cowboys, trail bosses, or others associated in any way with Texas. Whew!

❤️What You’ll Love About This Chili Recipe

  • Budget Friendly. This recipe uses some of the least expensive items in the grocery store – ground beef, canned tomatoes, and beans.
  • Feeds a Crowd. If you have a large family, you’ll really appreciate the quantity that this recipe makes. It can easily feed eight people or can stretch even further.
  • Adjustable. You can adjust the spices to suit your own tastes.

🛒 Ingredients Needed to Make Easy Family Chili

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  • Ground Beef (I prefer chuck (or 80-20) ground beef because it has more flavor than lower fat hamburger meat. Choose whatever fits your budget best.)
  • Green Pepper, Onion, and Garlic (These veggies add terrific flavor to your chili. Increase or decrease any of them as you like.)
  • Pinto Beans (Lots of cooks use red kidney beans for chili, but I just prefer pintos. You can even double or triple the amount of beans to stretch the recipe further. To make the recipe super inexpensive, consider cooking dried pintos to use in your chili.)
  • Spices (I’ve specified the spices we like best. They’re all fairly inexpensive and may cost even less if you purchase them from the “ethnic” foods section.)

The complete ingredient list with detailed measurements is included in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

🥄 How to Make Family Favorite Chili

Browning beef in a deep skillet.
  1. In a large deep pot or Dutch oven, brown the beef over medium-high heat. Remove the browned beef from the pan and set it aside to drain.
Cooking peppers, onions, and garlic in the skillet.
  1. In the same pan, add the olive oil, green pepper, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until just tender.
  2. Return the drained beef to the pan.
Add tomatoes, beans, water to the skillet.
  1. Add the tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, and water. Stir well.
Seasonings measured into a small bowl.
  1. Add the seasonings. Stir well.
Chili simmering in a deep skillet.
  1. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or more.
Two bowls of chili topped with sour cream and cheese.
  1. Serve with garnishes of sour cream, cheese, cilantro, and Tabasco.

My Favorite Dutch Oven

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
  • Colorful exterior enamel is shock-resistant to prevent chipping and cracking.
  • The dome-shaped lid locks in flavor by promoting continuous circulation of heat and moisture.
  • Sand-colored interior enamel has a smooth finish that promotes caramelization, prevents sticking, and resists stains.
  • Stainless steel knob is safe at any oven temperature.
This post contains affiliate links. Lana's Cooking is reader-supported and earns a tiny commission at no extra cost to you when you shop from our links.

🍚 Storing Leftovers

Leftover chili stores very well in the refrigerator for about three days. Honestly, it’s even better after it sits for a while and the flavors really meld together. You can also freeze it for up to three months. I often freeze it in single servings to thaw for a quick, filling lunch.

Lana Stuart.

Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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A quick and easy, traditional chili recipe. Though not an authentic Texas chili, this has been our family's favorite for years! https://www.lanascooking.com/not-texas-chili/

Family Favorite Chili

Our Family Favorite Chili recipe. Although it's not "authentic" it's the one we enjoy best!
5 from 5 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Soups and Stews
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 323kcal
Author: Lana Stuart


  • 1 ¼ pounds ground beef
  • 1 large green pepper chopped
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 30 ounces canned diced tomatoes with their juice (2 cans)
  • 30 ounces canned pinto beans drained and rinsed (2 cans)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin


  • Sour cream
  • Grated cheese
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Tabasco


  • In a large deep pot or Dutch oven, brown the beef over medium-high heat. Remove the browned beef from the pan and set it aside to drain.
  • In the same pan, add the olive oil, green pepper, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until just tender.
  • Return the drained beef to the pan.
  • Add the tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, and water. Stir well.
  • Add the seasonings. Stir well.
  • Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or more.
  • Serve with garnishes of sour cream, cheese, cilantro, and Tabasco


  • Leftovers keep very well in the refrigerator for about three days, and the flavors improve over time. May be frozen for up to three months.

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 323kcal | Carbohydrates 25g | Protein 19g | Fat 17g | Saturated Fat 6g | Trans Fat 1g | Cholesterol 50mg | Sodium 989mg | Potassium 831mg | Fiber 8g | Sugar 5g | Vitamin A 862IU | Vitamin C 25mg | Calcium 120mg | Iron 5mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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5 from 5 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Hi Lana!
    Made this several times already… it’s awesome and who cares if it has beans or not. One thing I do differently is use beef stock in place of water. I like either pintos or light red kidney beans . Thanks so much for this fine recipe.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! We always like beans in our chili and it makes the recipe go so much further at very little cost.

  2. B. Pettit says:

    While I have been impressesd with your recipes in the past & now, when you call this Chili that would denote NO Beans, this is chili & beans. Real chili is chili con carne, as in Meat not beans. I will try this one without beans. I like chili on spaghetti, beans won’t work then. Keep up the work tho thanks

    1. Had you bothered to actually READ the post, you would have seen that I state in the first few paragraphs that I understand that “real” chili does not contain beans. I truly wish I had nothing better to do than troll the internet pointing out my superiority to others.

  3. Paul Edwards says:

    5 stars
    Hi Lana,
    That recipe is remarkably like my recipe.
    I use green bell pepper but red kidney beans. I also use 2T of ketchup instead of paste. I’ve marked it 5* because I know it tastes good
    Regards Paul.

    1. Thanks, Paul. I’ve used kidney beans in the past but switched to Pintos several years ago simply because we like the texture better. And yes, it does taste good!

  4. This is the chili with which we grew up – – Texas or not Texas. Funny thing is that we both made it Sunday night, without prior discussion, in the middle of August with temperatures so high the sidewalks are melting!

    If the weather is considered too hot, serve it over lettuce with all of the condiments, for a wonderful “taco salad.” Delish!

    1. I’m still laughing about us both making chili in 100 degree August weather :-)

  5. Finally!??

    Someone that does chili right. Pretty much the way I make it, just a few ingredients different.

    Thank you.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Yes! Easy, quick, and delicious. I’d love to know what other ingredients you include?

    2. Betty Pirtle-Ridgwell says:

      From Missouri, I make it slightly different. Use tomato juice and brown the beef tho.

      1. Lana Stuart says:

        Sounds good to me!

  6. pansy spoulos says:

    the instructions call for adding water with the tomatoes, beans etc; but the recipe does not tell you how much water

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      It’s not a set amount. You should add enough water to make the chili the thickness that you like. I usually start with about 1/2 cup and may add more as it cooks down and the water evaporates.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    Am I the only one who can’t figure out how much water to add? Help!

    1. I usually add between 1 and 1 1/2 cups. It depends on how thin or thick you like your chili. It’s one of those things that you can’t really give a definite measurement for.

  8. Hi! I made this chili last week and have reviewed this recipe on my blog. You can check it out

    I followed the recipe word-for-word and it was delicious!

  9. It is snowing here and I just got a pot on to simmer. We are having taco salad for supper.

    1. That sounds delicious, Pat. I haven’t made taco salads in quite a long time. We’re overdue for some :-)

  10. This is too real chili! There are as many chili recipes and types as there are pasta recipes. I think of it like bbq. Tennessee bbq, Texas bbq, and Memphis bbq are all different, but just as equally deserving of the title bbq (unlike the New England version of bbq which is nothing but hamburgers and hotdogs). Chili with beans and tomatoes may not be Texas Chili, but just as deserving of the title Chili. AND, all of this from someone that just did a post on Texas chili without beans!

    1. Now, barbecue is a touchy subject among Southerners for sure. Everyone has his or her own way of doing it and there are as many recipes for the sauce as there are cooks making it. Real or not…this is just our favorite bowl of chili. I do still want to try my hand at making a “Bowl of Red” one day!

      1. You’re telling me! With a mom from southern Georgia, a dad from northern Alabama and with us living in Texas for the better part of two decades, barbecue can bring on a full-fledged Hatfield v. McCoy hissy fit in my family. In the end, I’ll eat any of it as long as it tastes good. Same with chili. I love really good chili without tomatoes and beans; my years in Texas make it my preference. But, as others have mentioned, even in Texas you get chili with beans and tomatoes (we just don’t like to talk about it!) Your chili looks just about as good as any other, Texas or not.

  11. This looks great to me!! (no matter what you call it)

    1. It’s our favorite. More beans and veggies than meat, really. And seasoned just the way we like it.

  12. Nancy@acommunaltable says:

    I love chili in ALL its forms – Texas style, with beans, cincinnati style – you name it! My fave has a little unsweetened cocoa powder and black beans in it – definitely NOT “traditional” but definitely good!

    1. I love chili, too, Nancy. Even though it’s not authentic, it’s one of the most soul-warming things you can make on a cold day.

  13. A woman after my own heart :) I love my chili with kidney beans, though my husband’s digestive tract can’t handle the green pepper :-( This looks delicious!

    1. Amanda – I find that the red, yellow, and orange peppers are just as good and seem to be easier to handle for folks with sensitive digestion. Just an idea.

      1. Daughter has an allergy to green pepper. But at a party all the dips were in different colors of peppers. So she had a potato chip that she dipped in a yellow pepper. Attractive display but she had to leave the party because of her reaction to get her meds. She’s also allergic to pork so cooking is a real challenge.

        1. This recipe would still be very good without the green peppers. You might give that a try.

  14. nest of posies says:

    yet again we are going to have some cold days this week & nothing sounds better than your chili recipe! YUM!

    1. It’s cold here, too! I just might have to make another pot full of this chili for dinner.

  15. Looks like real chili to me! And I would love to have some to warm me up in this freezing Boston weather right now… Happy spring! :)

    1. Wish I could ship a bowl full right up to Boston for you.

  16. Cookin' Canuck says:

    This chili is real enough to me, and it sounds absolutely fantastic!

    1. Thanks Dara. It’s real enough for us, too :-)

  17. Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles says:

    We’re still cold and snowy here…boo-hoo. Perfect for chili, no matter what you name it! Love this, Lana!

    1. Thanks Brenda! All our trees and some flowers are in bloom and then this morning…again…it’s freezing!! I’m so ready to see the backside of winter.

  18. icakepops says:

    What a great post, Lana! Funny, entertaining and yummy!

  19. Ok, just so that everyone will know, this is about the same as the chili on which we were raised. We did not sprout horns in the middle of our foreheads, nor suffer any other horrible curse. We ate it, we loved it, we still do. And, if there is cornbread in the near vicinity, the circle of love is complete. Ahhhhhh.

    Miss P

    1. Oh yes, cornbread just about makes it perfect!

  20. I’m from Texas and you can call it chili if you like, I gotcher back. I never thought I’d live to see the day where *some* of my fellow Texans got to be so snobbish and uptight that they raked someone over the coals because they defined a simple dish differently than how they think it should be. It’s a matter of taste, that’s all…and speaking of such, I prefer KC BBQ to Texas style. N. Carolina style is good for a change-of-pace. A lot of things ARE bigger in Texas, but sometimes I think the egos are TOO big.

    Me? I don’t put beans in MY chili but I like to put chili in my beans, go figger.

    1. So glad to know I’ve got a real Texan watching my back! I guess we should think of something else to call this type of stew with beans and chili and then everybody would be happy :-)

      1. I missed the water amount in the recipe. Can you tell me how much water to add? Thanks

        1. Lana Stuart says:

          I add about a cup. Just depends on how thick you want the chili. Add a little bit at a time until you get the thickness you like.

  21. Now I want chili and cornbread for dinner:)

  22. Barbara @ Barbara Bakes says:

    Looks like a perfect weeknight meal.

    1. Weekday…weekend…we love it any time!

  23. Diane {Created by Diane} says:

    looks delicious! I think we may get rain later in the week and this would sure be yummy if we do :)

    1. Perfect for a chilly, rainy day Diane!

    2. Roland Brandon says:

      When I was growing up in south Texas we ate more beans than meat. Meat was expensive. I mostly grew up on deer meat. I have cooked a lot of chili and a lot of beans over the years and would suggest that both would benefit from seasoning with coriander, cumin, chili powder and cayenne to taste. Nuff said. God bless chili and those that cook it.