Stovetop Chili

By Polly Conner
October 13, 2021

Need a down-the-pipe, great chili recipe? One that is made with pantry ingredients, is flavorful enough for adults, but not too spicy for kids? Our Stovetop Chili checks all the boxes and more. Not only that, but it works well as a freezer meal. Yes, you can freeze chili! We’ll show you how.

Or, use this Instant Pot Chili recipe to make it in the pressure cooker.

Stovetop chili in a white bowl with toppings

This chili recipe originally came from my mother-in-law. It was handed down from her mother! As with most recipes, adaptations have been made over the years. But, I’m convinced the tweaks and changes have resulted in a fabulous Stovetop Chili Recipe. I’m excited for you to have it in your home!

How to Make Stovetop Chili

Chili can be made using several different methods. We use the slow cooker for our Turkey Chili and Steak Chili. We also have used the Instant Pot for similar recipes like our Mexican soup. While we love our cookers (I mean we did write a cookbook based around them), today we are talking about making chili on the stove top.

The perks of making chili on the stove are:

  • You only use one pot.
  • It’s done in 30 minutes from start to finish.
  • It makes your home smell amazing.

All you do is saute the onions and ground beef in the pot, add the rest of your ingredients, and let it simmer. It’s seriously THAT easy.

Ground beef for chili being cooked in a pot

What Ingredients Do I Need?

Great chili has to have depth of flavor. That doesn’t come with just a few ingredients. Don’t be intimidated by this long list, though. You likely have the majority in your pantry!

  • Cooking oil (we prefer avocado oil)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ground beef (sub: ground turkey)
  • Kidney beans
  • Black beans
  • Tomato sauce
  • Beef broth (sub: chicken broth)
  • Tomato paste
  • Petite diced tomatoes (sub: regular diced or crushed tomatoes)
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper
A ladle scooping chili

Can You Make Chili Without Beans?

When researching all things chili, a common question came up: Can you make chili without the beans?

The answer is YES! In fact, I had an aunt who made beanless chili for the kids anytime it was on the menu. As a kid, I always went for that recipe instead of the classic chili. Now, as an adult, the beans don’t bother me too much but you can for sure leave the beans out.

If you exclude the beans, we’d suggest either cutting the broth in half (just use 1 cup) or add in another 1/2 -1 pound of browned ground beef. That way the chili will still be thick and hearty.

A spoon scooping chili out of a bowl

Can You Freeze Chili?

It’s no secret we are big fans of freezer meals around here. In fact, we have 2 freezer meal cookbooks1 Hour Freezer Prep Sessions, and even a roundup with 70+ freezer meal recipes that you will love!

So, it should come as no surprise that we have freezer meal instructions for this recipe.

Freezing soups is one of my favorite ways to save my future self time. Chili is no different. Here’s how to make it a freezer meal:

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-3. Freeze the uncooked chili in large freezer bag(s) or container(s). Alternatively, you can fully cook and cool the soup and then freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw completely. Follow Steps 4-5. If the soup was fully cooked, then all you need to do is thaw it and warm it up on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Here’s what our vegetarian Pumpkin Chili looks like before freezing (and what your Stovetop Chili will look like, too)…

Chili in a freezer bag

What to Serve with Chili

When it comes to what to serve with chili, it feels like the options are endless! Some even go as far as creating a chili bar. However, unless I am serving a group of people, I tend to keep things pretty simple in my house. Here are some fixings that go great with chili.

Topping Ideas:

  • Diced avocado
  • Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Crushed corn tortilla chips (or Fritos)
  • Thinly sliced green onions

Side Dish Ideas:

Print

Stovetop Chili

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Need a no-brainer, great chili recipe? One that is made with pantry ingredients, is flavorful enough for adults, but not too spicy for kids? Our Stovetop Chili checks all the boxes and more. Not only that, but it makes a great freezer meal. Yes, you can freeze chili! We’ll show you how. P.S. Or, use this Instant Pot Chili recipe to make it in the pressure cooker.


Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 (28 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Once the oil is shimmery, add in the onions and saute until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute another 30-60 seconds. 
  2. Add ground beef to the pot and cook until no more pink is visible. Drain excess fat if necessary. (Tip: Place a metal colander over a large bowl and drain the meat. Then discard the cooled grease into the trash later.)
  3. Stir in the kidney beans, black beans, tomato sauce, broth, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  4. Bring to a boil, stirring almost constantly, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring regularly to avoid scorching the bottom.
  5. Taste and adjust salt and pepper amounts. Serve topped with your favorite chili toppings, like shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, green onion, or any other favorite toppings.

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-3. Freeze the uncooked chili in large freezer bag(s) or container(s). Alternatively, you can fully cook and cool the soup and then freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw completely. Follow Steps 4-5. If the soup was fully cooked, then all you need to do is thaw it and warm it up on the stovetop or in the microwave.


Notes

Use this Instant Pot Chili recipe to make this same version in the pressure cooker.

Want More Soup Recipes

We LOVE equipping you with great soup recipes. Here is a roundup of 10+ of our favorites soups!

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