Best Thick Chili
This thick chili recipe is the best way to spice up game night with friends. Not only is this hearty dish packed with flavor, but it’s also super simple to make and easy to customize the way you like it.
Chili is one of my favorite dishes to serve for a football party or potluck.
Both of which are usually served buffet-style.
And that means more spills than usual.
So that’s where this thick chili recipe comes in handy.
It’s easy to make and easy to serve. Especially when people are helping themselves.
It also tastes better when it’s made the day before (which gives the flavors more time to meld).
And can be served in a crock pot to keep it warm.
The perfect party food!
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- meat: 1 pound ground beef
- vegetables: 1 cooking onion, 1 green bell pepper
- oil: 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- spices: 1½ Tablespoons chili powder, 1½ teaspoons garlic salt, 1 teaspoon onion powder
- canned goods: 3 (15 ounce) cans red kidney beans, 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes, 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- flavoring: ½ cup beef broth
- Optional toppings: sour cream, sliced jalapeno, minced parsley, tortilla strips, shredded cheese
- You can use ground turkey or chicken instead of the beef if you prefer.
- Add a couple of jalapeno peppers if you like spicier chili.
- For some variety, add pinto, great northern, kidney, or black beans. Just replace one of the three cans of red beans with any of these options.
- 28 ounces (or two 14 ounce cans) of diced tomatoes can be used instead of crushed tomatoes.
- To use fresh chopped tomatoes, you will need 4 cups (about 10 to 12 tomatoes). You will also need to add an extra 1 to 2 cups of water, depending on how thick you want your chili.
- You can replace beef broth with chicken or vegetable broth.
How to make thick chili
Dice the onion and green pepper (after removing the core and seeds).
Cook the meat
In a dutch oven or large pot, heat 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil over medium high heat.
Add the chopped onion and green pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 2 minutes.
Add the ground beef and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink inside.
Drain any excess grease.
Add the spices
Stir in 1½ Tablespoons chili powder, 1½ teaspoons garlic salt and 1 teaspoon onion powder.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and beans
Without draining them, add in the red beans, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and beef broth.
Stir everything together until well mixed.
Bring to a boil.
Then turn the heat down to low and simmer for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
The longer you leave it to simmer, the more the flavors meld and the thicker the chili will be.
Chili can be served on its own with bread.
Or topped with sour cream, sliced jalapeno, minced parsley, tortilla strips, and/or shredded cheese.
For parties, I like to put the chili in a slow cooker to keep it warm.
Leftover chili can be stored in an airtight container (or the pot with a lid on) in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Warm it up in the microwave or over medium heat on the stovetop.
For longer term storage, freeze in airtight containers for 3 to 4 months. I like to store it in serving-sized portions so I can take out exactly how much I need.
Thaw in the microwave or overnight in the refrigerator before re-heating.
Frequently asked questions
The best way to thicken chili is to let it simmer on low heat for a longer period of time. Some people like to add cornstarch or flour, but I don’t like the texture of chili that has been artificially thickened like that.
Absolutely! Put it in air-tight containers and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or in the microwave before re-heating.
Other recipes you might like
Best Thick Chili
- Chopping knife
- dutch oven or other large pot
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cooking onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1½ Tablespoons chili powder
- 1½ teaspoons garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 3 15-ounce cans red kidney beans, undrained
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, undrained
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- ½ cup beef broth
- Optional toppings: Sour cream, sliced jalapeno, minced parsley, tortilla strips, shredded cheese
- In a dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat, heat 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil.
- Add chopped onion and green bell pepper, and cook. stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, about 2 minutes.
- Add the ground beef and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until longer pink.
- Drain any excess grease.
- Then season the beef with chili powder, garlic salt, and onion powder.
- Lower the heat to medium and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add in the red beans, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and beef broth.
- Stir everything together until well mixed.
- Bring to a boil.
- Then turn the heat down to low and cook for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Serve warm with optional toppings such as sour cream, sliced jalapeno, minced parsley, tortilla strips, and/or shredded cheese.
- Substitute ground turkey or ground chicken for the beef if preferred.
- Similarly, you can use vegetable broth or chicken broth instead of the beef broth.
- The longer you let the chili simmer, the more the flavors meld and the thicker it will get.
- Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Or in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.