Classic beef chili is an easy one pot dinner. A warm bowl of homemade chili is perfect when topped with sour cream, onions, and plenty of shredded cheddar cheese.
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What is the best chili recipe?
An easy chili recipe is something that everyone has. I’ve tried a lot of different chili recipes over the years. Chili recipes are as varied as people are. Some people love chili with beef and beans. Others want to find the best chili recipe with no beans.
This chili recipe is meaty and saucy and has a spicy, rich chili sauce that is out of the world. The fresh peppers add layers of flavor that take this chill recipe to the next level. Cocoa powder is the secret ingredient in my chili — cocoa powder add a rich flavor element to this chili. Sort of like a Mexican mole sauce.
What to serve with 5 Alarm Chili.
Serve with tortilla chips or corn chips. Or you can serve this with fluffy cornbread. I grew up eating chili on a big bowl of white rice, so that is another option.
Can you make chili with no beans?
Yes, you can make chili without beans. Chili with no beans is usually called Texas Chili or Chili Con Carne. I am a huge fan!
You can even make this recipe with and leave out the beans if you prefer to have a no bean chili.
What ingredients do you need to make 5 Alarm Chili?
- 3 lbs grass-fed ground beef (or cubed chuck roast)
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 anaheim peppers
- 1 pasilla pepper
- 2 serrano peppers
- 2 jalapeno peppers
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 white onion
- 3 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp coconut or panela sugar
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp of Foodology Geek Brand Taco Seasoning Blend (See Notes for the recipe)
- 26 oz strained tomatoes
- 26 oz chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 30 oz kidney beans (optional)
- 15 oz black beans (optional)
What kind of beef is best for chili?
- Coarse Ground Beef is an excellent choice if you need your chili recipe to be on the table quickly. Ground beef cooks quickly so you won’t have to simmer your chili for a long time to get the meat tender. I like to use coarsely ground beef. You can usually find this in the meat counter. If you don’t see it, you can ask your butcher if you can get some coarse ground chuck.
- Chuck Roast is the best option if you have a little more time or if you are making your chili in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker. On the stove top, chuck will take about 90 minutes of simmering to get nice and tender. Chuck is the cut of meat that is most often used in a classic chili con carne.
- Brisket and Short Ribs are other options that will also work well in chili. Again these cuts of meat require a longer simmering time, but they are super flavorful.
How to make the best chili sauce.
Chili sauce is the foundation of the best chili recipes. No matter what kind of chili you are making, there is no argument that the chili sauce needs to be fantastic. Chili is a classic, comfort food recipe. Once you learn how to make a delicious chili sauce, then you can make this chili in three different ways with just a few modifications.
- Classic Beef and Bean Chili (AKA 5 Alarm Chili)– make the recipe as is.
- Chili Recipe No Beans – follow the recipe as is but leave out the beans.
- Vegetarian Chili – Follow the recipe as is but skip the meat.
The chili sauce in this recipe is the perfect blend of crushed tomatoes, fresh peppers, and spices. I like a spicy chili recipe. You can reduce the amount of cayenne if you want to keep your chili milder.
How long does it take chili to cook?
Depending on what kind of meat you are using a pot of chili can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours.
Ground beef will cook the fastest. You can have a pot of chili on the table in 30 minutes or less.
Other beef cuts like chuck will take at least 90 minutes to get tender. Brisket and short ribs will take even longer than that. You can speed this process up by making your chili in an Instant Pot.
How to cook the best Chili.
I most often make my chili in my favorite Staub dutch oven. If you aren’t ready to shell out the money for a Staub I recommend the 6 quart Lodge Enameled Dutch Oven. Lodge is a solid brand that really knows what it’s doing when it comes to cast iron cookware.
How to make chili in an Instant Pot.
- Use the sauté setting, on high to brown the meat, then add the onions and other veggies. Sauté for a few more minutes until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the remaining ingredients and set to high pressure.
- Cook for 20 minutes if you are using ground beef.
- Cook for 35 minutes if you are using cubed chuck.
How to make chili in a slow cooker.
Many people wonder if you have to brown the meat before you add it to a slow cooker. The answer is YES! You should always brown meat before you add it to your slow cooker. Browning the meat gives you a much better flavor.
Brown the meat in a sauté pan. Add the onions and other veggies and continue to sauté until they are tender. Add the beef and vegetables to your slow cooker with the remaining ingredients — cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.
Chili is the perfect One Pot meal to make for meal prep.
This beef chili recipe is high in protein and low in calories. Chili is great for meal prep because you make a large batch of it. It is easy to pack in reheatable containers and store in the fridge. Chili also freezes well.
Chili with corn chips! Crunchy saucy bliss!
How long does chili last in the fridge?
Chili will last for about 3 to 4 days in the fridge. Make sure to bring it to a boil when you reheat it. If you want to keep it longer, you can freeze it.
How to freeze chili?
I like to freeze chili in individual serving size portions. Having individual portions makes it super easy for anyone in the family to take one out of the freezer and reheat it. These are the containers I use.
My second favorite way to freeze chili is to fill a large freezer bag about halfway full. Seal and lie flat. PRO-TIP: Seal the zip top closer 80 percent closed. The press the air out of the freezer bag before you lie it flat. This method is an excellent space-saving method if you have a drawer in your freezer.
How to reheat chili.
To reheat chili from the refrigerator:
- Remove it from the fridge, place in a saucepan.
- Heat on medium heat until it is bubbling, Approximately 5 minutes.
- Make sure you stir the chili frequently to prevent it from burning on the bottom.
To reheat chili from the freezer:
- Remove the container of chili from the freezer.
- Set it in the sink, or on a towel for 10 minutes to thaw slightly. (It will sweat as it thaws)
- To speed up the thawing process, you can place the sealed container is a bowl of warm water. The container does not have to be completely submerged.
- Place the thawed chili into a saucepan. The chili can still be partially frozen.
- Heat on medium until it is bubbling, Approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
- Make sure you stir the chili frequently to prevent it from burning on the bottom.
- Alternatively, you can microwave the chili for 3 to 4 minutes on high.
- Microwave temperatures vary so make sure you check yours.
If you’re in the mood for some more warm and tasty food, check out my other comfort food recipes:
- Chili Verde
- Easy Turkey Soup
- Vegetable Soup with Lentils and Wild Rice
- Vegan Lentil and Farro Stew
- Pumpkin Spice Soup
- Homemade Noodles with Broth
- Spicy Chorizo Soup
- Italian Pork Ragu
- Guinness Braised Short Ribs
- Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese
- Tomato, Garlic and Rosemary Foccacia
5 Alarm Firehouse Chili
- 1 Red bell pepper finely diced
- 1 White onion finely diced
- 2 Anaheim peppers finely diced
- 1 Pasilla pepper finely diced
- 2 Serrano peppers finely diced
- 2 Jalapeño peppers finely diced
- 5 cloves Garlic minced
- 3 tbsp Chili powder
- 26 oz Strained tomatoes
- 26 oz Chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp Tomato paste
- 30 oz Kidney beans Optional
- 15 oz Black beans Optional
- Heat the oil in a large stew pot or dutch oven.
- Add the beef to the pan, add salt and pepper and toss well.
- Brown well.
- Add the onions to the pan, sauté until golden in color.
- Add the peppers, continue to sauté for 3-5 minutes, until tender and fragrant.
- Add the garlic. Sauté for a few minutes.
- Add the chili powder and toss to coat.
- Add the tomato paste and toss to coat. Sauté to slightly caramelize the tomato paste.
- Add the tomatoes and bay leaves.
- Add the taco seasoning, sugar, and cocoa powder.
- Bring everything to a boil and then reduce chili to a simmer. Simmer for at least an hour. (Note: if you are using chuck roast you should simmer for 2-3 hours until the meat is very tender.
- Add the beans and simmer for another 20 minutes or so.
- Remove bay leaves before serving.
- sour cream
- chopped white onions and/or green onions
Foodology Geek Taco Seasoning MixMakes about 1/2 a cup. 5 tbsp chili powder
3 tsp kosher salt
3 tsp cumin
2 tbsp dried oregano
4 tsp onion powder
4 tsp coriander
4 tsp paprika
2-6 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper You can find my other spice mixes in this handy download.