Stovetop Beef Chili

The Spruce
Ratings (63)
  • Total: 35 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1063 Calories
15g Fat
163g Carbs
73g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

There's nothing better on a cold winter day than sitting down to a bowl of hot and spicy chili. And although many of us have gotten used to making our chili in the slow cooker, there is something nice about a simmering pot of comforting chili on the stovetop. You also have a bit more control over the dish, giving it a stir once in a while and making sure the meat isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan.

This simple recipe for stovetop beef chili has a lot of flavor since the onions and ground beef are cooked together creating the base of the dish. The beef absorbs some of the onion flavors, and the liquid from the onions helps keep the beef moist and tender.

This easy version of chili is hearty and filling, and nourishing too. It is also economical as it stretches a pound of ground beef to feed six people. Serve with a nice cold beer for the adults and milk for the kids. Add a crisp green salad or a cold fruit salad, and some hot cornbread or homemade cheese crackers for a complete meal.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 cup water (or beef stock)
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (8-ounce) can taco sauce
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 2 or 3 (15-ounce) cans red kidney beans (rinsed and drained)

Steps to Make It

  1. In a heavy stockpot, sauté the ground beef with the onion and garlic until the beef is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender, stirring frequently to break the meat into small pieces.

  2. Sprinkle the flour over the beef mixture; cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes.

  3. Add the can of diced tomatoes, water or beef stock, tomato sauce, taco sauce, chili powder, ground cumin, dried oregano, and the red kidney beans. Bring to a boil.

  4. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently until the flavors are blended and the chili is slightly thickened.

  5. Serve immediately with choice of toppings.

Tips and Variations

Chili is one of those dishes that can easily be changed to your liking by adding or altering the ingredients. For example, you can make this recipe as mild or as spicy as you'd like. If you like spicy food, add a can of diced green chiles or some diced jalapeños along with the tomatoes. You can also include some cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes.

If you are trying to cut down on red meat, you can use ground chicken or turkey, or even ground pork sausage, in place of the ground beef. And for a change of pace, substitute canned black beans in place of the red kidney beans—or use a mixture of both. This recipe is also the perfect base for adding diced bell pepper, mushrooms, and corn.

Chili is ideal when served with a variety of toppings, such as sour cream, salsa, shredded Cheddar, Parmesan, or Monterey Jack cheeses, and sliced olives, scallions, and avocado. The kids will love crushed up tortilla chips sprinkled on top or even Saltine crackers served alongside. 

Fun Ways to Serve Chili

Chili doesn't need to only be eaten in a bowl! Having this delicious dish on hand opens up so many options for easy dinners on the fly. Consider using chili as a filling for tacos, burritos, and enchiladas, or as an ingredient for loaded nachos. Set up a baked potato bar with a variety of toppings including cheeses, sour cream or yogurt, chives, bacon, and of course chili. At your next barbecue, offer chili as a condiment for hot dogs or place a spoonful on a plate of crispy French fries. You can even turn your chili into a comforting casserole, top with biscuit batter, and bake until golden.