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Award Winning Chili

  • Serves: 10
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 8 hrs
  • Calories: 461
a bowl of chili with ground beef, beans, tomatoes, cheese and sour cream

Beef, pork, three kinds of beans and spices to spare conspire to make this hearty, stick-to-your-ribs chili your family’s new game day go-to.

The Best Homemade Chili

With a serious (eight-hour) simmer time, this hearty homemade, award-winning chili recipe invites us to spend the a day cozy in the kitchen, close to the stove. Don’t you just love when the universe conspires to allow you to spend a whole entire day, lazy at home? Stirring occasionally while the house fills up with heady, savory smells—with all of your favorite people nearby, under foot, on the couch, or helping in the kitchen.

And when that big, delicious pot of the best homemade chili you’ve ever tasted is finally done and everyone gathers around with their bowls at the ready? Just kick back, and let the compliments roll on in.

Large pot of homemade chili.
Award winning chili in a pot

Wait. Is This Really An Award-Winning Chili Recipe?

YES! This is not a case of “chili so good it deserves an award”. Oh no. This is legitimately a two-time award-winning chili. In fact, given the opportunity, Natalie's Dad would gladly tell each and every one of you all about every detail of both of his chili award wins. And rightly so! After all, it’s his recipe.

For those who are worried, yes! We definitely did ask his permission to share it, and got the official OK. However, he did request that none of you use it to enter any chili competitions. Dad is a world-traveler, and you never know where he—and his killer chili—might be a contestant.

topping for beef chili cilantro, shredded cheese, avocado and sour cream

What Ingredients Go in Homemade Chili?

Making the best chili from scratch requires the best chili ingredients—of course—and the approach here is MORE is MORE. Here are the eight ingredients that have made this family chili recipe an award-winner:

  • Pork. Lending a unique depth of flavor, pork anchors this chili with its savory richness.
  • Beef. Pork AND beef? Yep! Like we said earlier, our homemade chili recipe philosophy is basically that MORE is more.
  • Red enchilada sauce. A simple way to add lots of flavor, we always have enchilada sauce in the pantry. We especially love La Victoria brand.
  • Spices. A good dash of both cayenne and cumin—and, as always, be sure your ground spices are as fresh as can be.
  • Tapatio. Because you know that red enchilada isn’t enough. That sprinkle of cayenne? Still not quite enough. This little extra kick, friends, is how you take a regular chili recipe and make it an award-winning chili recipe. You could certainly use whatever hot sauce you have on hand, but my Dad swears by Tapatio, and we defer to his expertise—after all, he’s the award-winner.
  • Garlic. Four cloves! That long, slow simmer will soften garlic’s sharp pungency into a gorgeous, almost-sweetness that is one of the things that makes this chili recipe so ridiculously good.
  • Three kinds of beans. Black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans are a classic chili recipe trifecta. More is more is more!
  • Sugar. Sugar? Yep! Just a little bit of sugar, which both enhances and tempers all of the acidic ingredients—canned tomatoes, enchilada sauce, Tapatio. Just a few teaspoons of sugar brings all of the ingredients into harmony with each other—don’t skip it!
close up of award winning chili recipe

How Do You Make the Best Chili?

You make the best chili by making THIS recipe! Follow it to a T and it won’t let you down. Here are a few tricks for making sure it turns out perfectly every time:

  1. Take your time. Crazy-good, award-winning, show-stopping, homemade chili is not a recipe for a weeknight, and that’s OK! We love quick and easy weeknight meals as much as the next guy, but we also love when we have the chance to let cooking a meal be the thing that slows us down. This homemade chili is one of those meals. Let it slow you down.
  2. The best chili is always going to be the one that suits your own tastes, so after the chili has had its long simmer, adjust the seasonings as you please! Add a little more cayenne, or a dash more Tapatio.
  3. Garnish, garnish, garnish! A big warm bowl of slow-stewed, meaty, tomato-y chili just screams for bright, cooling, contrasting toppings like a dollop of sour cream, creamy avocado, or vibrant diced green onions. We like to offer a platter of toppings and let everyone make their own bowl into the chili of their dreams.
Beef and pork chili in two bowls topped with cilantro, sour cream, cheese and avocado

Why This Chili Recipe is Easy (Even Though it Takes Eight Hours)

We’ve talked a lot about how long this recipe takes, but we haven’t mentioned how easy it actually is! It takes eight hours of slow simmering to achieve perfection, but the active time—the time you actually spend dicing, slicing or sautéing—is really quite short. All you have to do is:

  1. Sauté the ground beef and pork with the onions, peppers and garlic until the meat is cooked through.
  2. Open all of the cans—tomatoes, beans, enchilada sauce.
  3. Add the canned ingredients and spices to the pot, and let that low, slow simmer do the rest.

Tools You Need.

two bowls of award winning homemade chili recipe

And On the Side?

A great pot of chili deserves some great side dishes. A few of our favorites:

Homemade beef chili in a bowl with avocados and cheese

Who Did You Win Over?

We really hope you make this award-winning chili and if you do, we’d love to hear about it! Be sure to snap a photo, add it to your Instagram feed or stories and tag us @themodernproper and #themodernproper if you do. Also, feel free to leave a comment on the post and tell your friends where you discovered the recipe.

Award Winning Chili

  • Serves: 10
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 8 hrs
  • Calories: 461


  • 1 lb Ground beef, 80/20
  • 1 lb Ground pork
  • 1 Large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 Green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 Large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp Sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can Black beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can Kidney beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can Pinto beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 (28 oz) can Diced tomatoes
  • 1 (19 oz can) Red enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 cup Chili powder, milld
  • 2 tsp Tapatio hot sauce, optional
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Cayenne, optional
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • Cilantro, chopped, optional
  • Green onions, chopped, optional
  • Sour cream, optional
  • Grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese, optional
  • Avocado, sliced optional


  1. In a large dutch oven (or soup pot) set over medium-high heat, cook the beef, pork, onion, peppers, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until meat is cooked through, 8-10 minutes.
  2. Add the beans, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, chili powder, Tapatio, cumin, cayenne, bay leaves and sugar. Add in just enough water to cover beans. (About 1-2 cups.) stir to combine.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and allow simmer for 8 hours, stirring often to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.**
  4. Adjust seasoning to taste. Garnish with cilantro, green onions, sour cream, cheese and avocado.

**Note: If you only have an hour, it's still delicious, but the more time the better!

Slow Cooker Method:

  1. In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, cook the beef, pork, onions, peppers, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until meat is cooked through, 8-10 minutes.
  2. Transfer the meat mixture, along with the beans, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, chili powder, Tapatio, cumin, cayenne, bay leaves and sugar to a large crock pot. Stir to combine. Set on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Adjust seasoning to taste. Garnish with cilantro, green onions, sour cream, cheese and avocado.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories 461
  • Protein 34 g
  • Carbohydrates 51 g
  • Total Fat 14 g
  • Dietary Fiber 15 g
  • Cholesterol 65 mg
  • sodium 627 mg
  • Total Sugars 8 g

Award Winning Chili

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Melissa James

    Do you drain the meat mixture after browning?

    Nope. I like to use 90/10 beef. If yours is really fatty, then you can drain it, but we don't!

  • Ash

    For the slow cooker method: does the cooking time change if I’m making 1/2 the amount? I’m new to this 😅

    Yes, it might get done a little earlier. But it won't hurt it to stay in the same amount. Enjoy!

  • Jeannie

    I just put all of this into my crockpot about an hour ago and the smell in this house is amazing!! How ever will we last another 7 hours?? Lol. I really struggled with believing the 1/2 cup of chili powder, but I decided to trust it and tossed it all in! If this tastes anything like it smells, my Husband of 31 years will probably propose again!

    Hope you loved it! I know its a lot of hili powder, but that is what gives it its smokiness!

  • Tim

    Which Red Enchilada Sauce do you like to use with this recipe?
    Thank you.

    La Victoria.

  • Dee

    The above recipe states that they love a particular brand of enchilada sauce but that brand name was removed apparently. I would like to know the brand name? also how do you get 10 servings with only 1 to 2 cups of water?

    The chili isn't liquidy, it is thick and hearty. It makes a huge pot! And will definitely serve 10. La Victoria is the brand we get. I'll link it now.

  • Jennifer Lopez

    Another crazy great recipe from your site! I followed your instructions and had thee best chili I’ve ever had. I tasted periodically throughout the day and you’re right! 8 hours was worth the wait while still good at the half way mark.

    Thank you SO MUCH Jennifer, that is quite the compliment! We are so happy you loved it so much!

  • Mark Breon

    Seriously!!! This is hands down the best chili recipe I’ve ever made!! And the only I’ll ever make agin. Over and over again!! Wow!!

    Amazing! Thank you Mark!

  • Madeline Hart

    Delicious! This recipe has become my go-to Chili recipe, thanks!

    Love that! Thanks for letting us know Madeline!

  • Emily

    This chili was hands down the best we have ever had! A 5 star winner as far as everyone at my dinner table was concerned! The chili powder may seem extreme, but only in that it’s extreme(ly) good!!

    Yessss! So glad you all loved it!

  • sam f

    Didn't win any awards with this, but it is legitimately great. Will definitely make this again!

    Ha! Yes! It's one of our favorites for good reason!