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Quick Beef Chili Recipe (Stove, Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)

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Made with both ground beef and beans, plus canned tomatoes and tomato sauce, and a homemade blend of chili seasonings, this is truly the Best Chili Recipe! Hearty, filling, and ready in under an hour, you can make this easy beef chili in the slow cooker or Instant Pot or on the stovetop.

A bowl of the best chili recipe, topped with sour cream

The Best Beef Chili Recipe

If you have ground beef, this classic chili recipe is a quick dinner idea! It’s filling and hearty, with a high-fiber content, thanks to the beans. This recipe is my go-to chili because it’s mild enough for the whole family and ready in less than 30 minutes. Plus, the leftovers freeze well. More chili recipes we love are this Chicken Taco Chili (a fan favorite!) and White Bean Turkey Chili. And if you prefer chili soup, try this Turkey Taco Chili Soup.

A bowl of easy beef chili topped with onions and cilantro

I modified this chili recipe from this recipe on the Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. website. I changed it by adding some tomato sauce and my own blend of chili spices. I think it’s the best chili recipe when you want a quick dinner, and it’s easy to modify for your family’s taste. It’s thick and hearty, without flour or cornstarch.

Why You’ll Love This Easy Chili Recipe

With so many different chili recipes out there, why is this one the best?

  • Quick and easy. Unlike some chilis that require hours to simmer, this recipe can be prepared in under 30 minutes. Perfect for those busy weeknights!
  • 3 ways to make it. You can make this beef chili on the stovetop, in the Instant Pot, or in the slow cooker. Instructions for all three methods are included below.
  • Versatile and easy to customize. You can swap the beef for ground turkey, add some jalapenos for a bit of heat, or use different beans. I keep it mild for the family but you’re free to spice it up too.
  • Makes great leftovers. The only thing better than chili for dinner is leftover chili for lunch! Leftovers last for several days in the fridge and freeze well too.

What’s The Secret To Great Chili?

A few things! Lots of spices like cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, etc. And the secret ingredient – beer!

Beer adds flavor to the chili. I use a light beer but you can try a local beer, an ale, or lager if you want something milder. Or an IPA or rich stout for a bit more flavor. If you prefer to make this without alcohol, feel free to substitute the beer with beef stock or broth!

What You’ll Need

This classic chili recipe is made with both ground beef and beans, plus tomatoes and a handful of spices. See the recipe card below for exact measurements.

  • Lean Ground Beef: You can use ground turkey if you prefer.
  • Vegetables: Chopped red bell pepper and onion add flavor to the chili recipe.
  • Black Beans: Black beans are a classic chili ingredient and add substance to the recipe. You can swap the black beans for red kidney beans or white beans if you prefer.
  • Tomatoes: I used canned mild diced tomatoes with green chilis and canned tomato sauce. You could also add some tomato paste in place of the canned tomato sauce.
  • Beer: I used Corona Light, but any light beer will work, or even an ale, IPA, or local beer. It is optional, so swap it for beef broth if you prefer.
  • Spices: Cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper all help create that classic chili flavor.

How to Make This Beef Chili Recipe

You can make this beef chili three ways: stovetop, Instant Pot, and slow cooker. The directions are similar for each method.

  • Brown the beef. For all methods, start by browning the beef in a pot or the Instant Pot until it crumbles.
  • Instant Pot. To make this chili recipe in the Instant Pot, saute the onion and bell pepper then add the remaining ingredients. Set on high pressure for 20 minutes and allow natural release.
  • Stovetop. Saute the onion and bell pepper until soft, add the remaining ingredients, and simmer for at least 60 minutes.
  • Crockpot. Add the browned beef to the crockpot then add all of the other ingredients. Stir and cook on low for 8 hours.
A wooden spoon stirring beef chili

What If My Chili Is Too Thin?

One of the things I love about this easy chili recipe is that it’s naturally quite thick and I’ve never had to thicken it. However, if you prefer your chili even thicker, you have a few options.

The easiest is just to let it simmer, uncovered, for a few more minutes. The other option is to create a cornstarch slurry (cornstarch + water) and stir that in. Both options will work!

Recipe Tips & Variations

This beef chili recipe is pretty versatile and easy to make. Here are a few suggestions for perfecting the recipe, as well as simple variations.

  • Which method is best? My favorite way is the pressure cooker – the lean ground beef comes out much more tender than it does on the stove. But if you don’t have an Instant Pot, don’t worry. The other two methods are great too!
  • Spice it up. Prefer your chili on the spicy side? Add some jalapeño or cayenne pepper and more chili powder.
  • Skip the beer. While I love the flavor the beer adds to this recipe, if you prefer to cook without alcohol you can either opt for an alcohol-free beer or use beef or veggie broth instead.
  • Use whatever beans you prefer. I like black beans but kidney beans and white beans also work well.
I love this quick and easy beef chili made with black beans, tomatoes, homemade chili spices and beer. This chili pleases all the palates in my house – not to too spicy (although you can kick it up if you wish), loaded with flavor, and ready in less than 30 minutes.

Chili Topping Ideas

What makes a chili complete, in my opinion, are the toppings. I like to offer a handful of different options so that everyone can customize their own bowl. A dollop of sour cream, some diced red onions, and fresh cilantro are a must for me!

Other chili topping ideas include:

  • Lime wedges
  • Green onion
  • Cilantro
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Avocado slices
  • Jalapeno slices
Avocados stuffed with beef chili and topped with shredded cheese

What to Serve with this Chili Recipe

This beef chili recipe can be a complete meal since it’s full of protein and fiber and has complex carbohydrates and veggies. Here’s a few ways to serve:

  • I like to add some corn or tortilla chips for dipping or crushed on the top as well.
  • If you’d like to pair a side dish with this, try a side salad or cornbread.
  • But beyond a classic bowl of chili, there are so many other ways to serve this too – especially leftovers!
  • I’m obsessed with cutting open a small avocado, removing the pit, and filling it with chili and some toppings. Folks, it is SO good!
  • You could also put it in acorn squash, baked potatoes, and stuffed peppers.
  • Make a chili dog and serve it over a turkey hot dog.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

Beef chili makes excellent leftovers! Here’s how to store them properly.

  • Fridge. Leftover chili can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer. To freeze, transfer the chili to a freezer-safe airtight container or bags and freeze for up to three months. To defrost, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheat. Individual servings of beef chili can be reheated in the microwave. Larger servings are easier to reheat on the stovetop.

More Ground Beef Recipes You’ll Love

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Quick Beef Chili Recipe (Instant Pot, Stove or Slow Cooker)

4.90 from 84 votes
5
Cals:312
Protein:31.5
Carbs:22.5
Fat:7
Made with both ground beef and beans, plus canned tomatoes and tomato sauce, and a homemade blend of chili seasonings, this is truly the Best Chili Recipe! Hearty, filling, and ready in under an hour, you can make this easy beef chili in the slow cooker or Instant Pot or on the stovetop.
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
chili in a bowl with sour cream.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Yield: 4 Servings
Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground Beef, 93% lean
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 15 ounce can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 10 ounce can mild diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
  • 1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup light beer such as corona light, Or swap for 3/4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth (check labels for GF)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • black pepper, to taste

Optional Toppings:

  • chopped red onions, cilantro leaves, lime wedges, sour cream, cheddar, avocado

Instructions

Pressure cooker chili recipe:

  • Press saute on the Instant Pot, brown the beef and season with salt. Cook breaking beef into 3/4-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.
  • Add the onion and bell pepper and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, beer and spices.
  • Cover and cook on high pressure 20 minutes to blend the flavors. Natural release. Taste for salt and adjust as needed, serve with toppings, as desired.

Classic chili recipe (stove):

  • Heat a large pot on medium-high heat, brown the beef and season with salt. Cook breaking beef into 3/4-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.
  • Add the onion and bell pepper and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, beer and spices.
  • Cover and cook low heat at least 60 minutes to blend the flavors, stirring occasionally. Taste for salt and adjust as needed, serve with toppings, as desired.

Slow Cooker Directions:

  • Brown the meat then cook on low 8 hours. Taste for salt and adjust as needed, serve with toppings, as desired.

Last Step:

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Notes

Alcohol-free: If you don’t like cooking with alcohol you can use an alcohol-free beer or swap with broth.
Variations: Swap the black beans for kidney beans or white beans. If you want to spice things up add jalapeno and use more chili powder.
How To freeze chili: Let the chili cool then transfer to a freezer safe container or freezer bag and freeze up to 3 months. To defrost, transfer the chili to the refrigerator to thaw overnight then reheat on the stove or microwave.
Refrigerate chili up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 1/2 cups, Calories: 312 kcal, Carbohydrates: 22.5 g, Protein: 31.5 g, Fat: 7 g, Saturated Fat: 3 g, Cholesterol: 71 mg, Sodium: 629.5 mg, Fiber: 8.5 g, Sugar: 2.5 g

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