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Quick and Easy Chili Recipe (45 Minutes!)

Serves 6-8     adjust servings

A super easy and quick chili recipe for busy weeknights! You can put it together in 45 minutes, or make it in the slow cooker. This homemade chili is packed with flavor and a secret ingredient that I wasn't prepared to like. But I'm a convert now! Minimal chopping required. Mostly it's just opening cans and dumping spices. My family loves this!


For the chili

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can (fire roasted) diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (7-ounce) can diced green chiles, not drained (fire roasted)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups beef broth*
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste, optional

Garnish ideas

  • sour cream
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • chopped green onions
  • chopped white onions
  • cilantro, for Tex-Mex flavor
  • lime wedges, for Tex-Mex flavor
  • tortilla chips, for Tex-Mex flavor


  1. In a large soup pot, add 1 pound ground beef and 1 chopped onion. Heat over medium high heat for 7-10 minutes, crumbling and breaking up the ground beef. Turn off the heat when the ground beef is all browned and the onion is translucent.
  2. Drain the grease from the pot. I usually just tilt the pan to the side and spoon the grease into a foil-lined bowl. (Then I refrigerate the grease until hardened and toss in the trash.)
  3. Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic to the pot and heat over medium high heat for about 1 minute until it is fragrant.
  4. Drain the jar of roasted red peppers and chop if necessary. Add the chopped red pepper, fire roasted diced tomatoes, two cans kidney beans, and fire roasted diced green chiles. (None of these ingredients have to be fire roasted, by the way! I just love the flavor it adds!)
  5. Add in all the spices: 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Stir it all together.
  6. Add 1/2 to 1 cup brown sugar. I did not think I would like this much sugar, but I was totally wrong. Try it.
  7. Add 2 cups beef broth, or more or less if you want a soupier or chunkier chili.
  8. Add in 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, if you like a thicker texture. I like to use this tomato paste that comes in a tube, so that I don't have extra waste from opening a can. You can usually find the tubes at the grocery store.
  9. Once all the ingredients are added, bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, with some slow bubbles coming up from the center. Let simmer for about 30 minutes, or longer if you have time, it's only going to get better. Stir every few minutes so it's doesn't stick on the bottom.
  10. Turn off the heat. At this point I like to cheat and add a big ol dollop of sour cream to the whole pot, and stir it in. Who can say no to a little creamy goodness? But you can also just serve the sour cream at the table (or do both. Live a little.) I usually add in a handful of shredded cheddar too. Totally optional.
  11. Top with sour cream, cheese, chopped green onions, chopped white onion. Serve with Sweet Cornbread!
  12. If you would like to take it in a Tex-Mex direction, top with all of the above plus cilantro, lime wedges, and crushed tortilla chips. HEAVEN. I don't serve this with cornbread if I do Mexican toppings usually, but you do you.

Slow Cooker Instructions

Follow instructions through step 3 (sautéing the garlic). Add the ground beef mixture and all other ingredients (not garnishes) to a slow cooker. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.