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February 21, 2024

Award Winning Chili

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

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a bowl of homemade chili made with beef, pork, kidney, black and pinto beans topped with cheese, sour cream and avocado
Photography by Gayle McLeod

Even More Chili!

The Best Homemade Chili

With a serious simmer time, our award-winning chili recipe invites us to spend a cozy day in the kitchen, close to the stove. Stirring occasionally while the house fills up with the savory scent of chili. When Natalie’s dad gave us his recipe for the best homemade chili you’ve ever tasted, we knew we had to share it here. Serve with our chive biscuits, cornbread, or spoon bread.

beef, pork, kidney, black and pinto beans, bell pepper, onions, spices, cheese, sour cream and avocado in prep bowls

Homemade Chili Ingredients

  • Pork and 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. Our chili recipe calls for ½ cup of mild chili powder. It adds a bit of smokiness, but doesn’t add heat.

  • Tapatio. Because you know that red enchilada sauce isn’t enough. That sprinkle of cayenne? Still not quite enough. You could certainly use whatever hot sauce you have on hand, but Natalie's 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 sweetness.

  • Three kinds of beans. Black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans are a classic chili recipe trifecta.

  • Sugar. Just a little bit of sugar, which both enhances and tempers all of the acidic ingredients—canned tomatoes, enchilada sauce, and Tapatio. Just a few teaspoons of sugar brings all of the ingredients into harmony with each other—don’t skip it!

ground beef, ground pork, diced onion, bell peppers, garlic, salt, and black pepper being cooked in a large soup pot
browned ground beef, pork, onion, peppers, garlic, salt, and pepper being cooked in a large soup pot
beef, pork, onion, peppers, garlic, spices, black, kidney and pinto beans being cooked in a large soup pot
homemade chili in a soup pot made with beef, pork, black, pinto and kidney beans, onion, bell peppers and spices

How To Make This Easy Chili Recipe

  1. Cook the ground beef and pork with the onions, peppers and garlic until the meat is browned.

  2. Open all of the cans—tomatoes, beans, enchilada sauce. A good can opener is very handy here.

  3. Add the canned ingredients and spices to the pot, and let that low, slow simmer do the rest.

homemade chili in a soup pot made with beef, pork, black, pinto and kidney beans, onion, bell peppers and spices
a bowl of homemade chili made with beef, pork, kidney, black and pinto beans topped with cheese, sour cream and avocado

How to Store Leftover Chili + Tips

  • Leftovers: Once cooled, leftover chili can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days, or up to three months in the freezer.

  • Take your time. 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.

  • 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. Need a little more spice or smoke? Grab some chipotle or ancho chilies.

  • Don't’ forget to garnish! A big warm bowl of chili just screams for 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. Did someone say Fritos?

  • We’ve got plenty more beef and soup recipes to make it through the winter: 30 Best Ground Beef Recipes, Black Bean Soup, all of the Soup and if you’re planning for the Super Bowl have a look here.

homemade chili in a soup pot made with beef, pork, black, pinto and kidney beans, onion, bell peppers and spices
a bowl of homemade chili made with beef, pork, kidney, black and pinto beans topped with cheese, sour cream and avocado

More Stews And Soups To Warm Your Bones

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Award Winning Chili

  • Serves: 10
  • Prep Time:  20 min
  • Cook Time:  8 hrs
  • Calories: 376

Ingredients

  • 1 pound 80/20 ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (19-ounce) can mild red enchilada sauce
  • ½ cup mild chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons Tapatio hot sauce (optional)

For Serving (optional)

  • Chopped cilantro
  • Chopped green onions
  • Sour cream
  • Grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  • Avocado, pitted and sliced

Method

  1. Heat a large Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add the beef, pork, onion, peppers, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 8-10 minutes.

  2. Add the beans, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, chili powder, cumin, bay leaves, sugar and cayenne and hot sauce, if using. Add in just enough water to cover beans (about 1 to 2 cups) and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least 1-2 hours, up to 8 hours for the best flavor.

  3. Adjust salt to taste. Divide chili between bowls and garnish with cilantro, green onions, sour cream, cheese, and avocado, if using.


Slow Cooker Method:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef, pork, onions, peppers, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 8-10 minutes.

  2. Transfer the meat mixture to a slow cooker. Add the beans, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, chili powder, cumin, bay leaves, sugar, and cayenne and hot sauce if using. Stir to combine. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Adjust salt to taste. Divide chili between bowls and garnish with cilantro, green onions, sour cream, cheese, and avocado, if using.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories376
  • Protein25 g
  • Carbohydrates33 g
  • Total Fat17 g
  • Dietary Fiber10 g
  • Cholesterol61 mg
  • sodium681 mg
  • Total Sugars7 g

Award Winning Chili

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • Ariel

    A few questions regarding the enchilada sauce. Can green enchilada sauce be substituted for red? Also, if the only option is a can of hot enchilada sauce would it work, and what modifications if any to balance it all out again would there be? Any advice is appreciated!

    It would change the flavor a lot using green instead, so with that in mind you can certainly try it. If you use hot enchilada sauce we'd recommend omitting the cayenne. You could start with less chili powder as well and add more to taste. Hope you enjoy!

  • Beth

    Hi! Is the 1/2 cup of chilli powder correct?

    Hi Beth, yes it is!

  • Nefer

    What could you substitute the enchilada sauce with?

    We wouldn't recommend substituting it.

  • Izlia

    Is it white or brown sugar?

    white. hope you enjoy Izlia!

  • Laura

    Do you drain and rinse beans or just add the whole can?

    drained and rinsed. Hope you enjoy Laura!

  • Doug

    Totally love this! My new favorite chili recipe. Thank you!

    Thanks Doug, we are so happy you loved it!

  • Shane

    We love this recipe, it's a staple in our home!

    YAY! That's so great to hear. Thanks Shane!

  • Kas

    Really loved this recipe though had to made a few adjustments.
    Enchilada sauce is unavailable to me so (Netherlands) I used a packet of Seasoning Mix for Enchilada and I didn't have enough chilli powder so I used what I had (~1-1.5 tbsp) and it was more than enough!
    Used both the pan & crockpot methods as I didn't have a way to fit it all, and both worked fine!

    Definitely will make this again.

    Thanks Kas, so glad you enjoyed it!

  • Laurie

    Chalk up another win with this recipe! It came in 1st out of 19 entries in our annual chili cookoff -- thanks!!

    AMAZING! So happy to hear that!

  • Lindsey

    This chili is awesome! My husband confirmed it's the best one I have made yet. I used the crockpot method so it was as easy as can be. Didn't change a thing, it's perfect.

    I've made so many of your recipes and they have all been winners. Thank you for keeping things simple yet elevated!

    Thanks so much Lindsey, we are so happy you loved it!