The Ultimate Guide to Homemade Chili

Chili is the ultimate comfort food, a warm and hearty dish that satisfies the soul as well as the stomach. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a kitchen novice, our homemade chili recipe is a crowd-pleaser that’s easy to make and packed with flavor. In this blog post, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of creating the perfect bowl of chili, and we’ll provide tips, shortcuts, and variations to suit your taste. So, let’s dive into the world of chili-making and discover why this recipe is a must-try for everyone.

Who is This Recipe For?

Our homemade chili recipe is perfect for just about anyone. Whether you’re cooking for your family, hosting a game day party, or simply craving a warm and savory meal, this chili is a fantastic choice. It’s also a great option for those looking to meal prep, as it can be stored and reheated easily. Additionally, this recipe can be a lifesaver during those chilly evenings when you want something hearty and comforting.

Why It’s Great

So, why is our homemade chili recipe so great? Here are a few reasons:

1. Flavor Explosion

Our chili is a delightful blend of ground beef and pork sausage, combined with a medley of spices that create a symphony of flavors in every bite. The sweet notes of ketchup and brown sugar balance out the savory and spicy elements, resulting in a perfect flavor balance.

2. Versatility

Chili is highly customizable. You can adjust the level of spiciness to suit your taste by adding more or less cayenne. You can also swap out ingredients if you have dietary preferences or restrictions. This flexibility makes it a go-to recipe for many.

3. Easy to Make

Despite its complex flavor, homemade chili is surprisingly simple to prepare. With just a few steps, you’ll have a delicious pot of chili simmering on your stove. Even if you’re a beginner in the kitchen, you’ll find this recipe manageable.

Kitchen Equipment You’ll Need

Before we dive into the recipe, let’s ensure you have all the necessary kitchen equipment:

  • Large soup pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Bowls for serving

Now, let’s get cooking!

The Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 14.5-ounce can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, undrained
  • 16-ounce can kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (adjust for spiciness)
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Sour cream (optional)


  1. Start by adding the olive oil to a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the diced onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the ground beef and sausage to the pot. Break them apart into small pieces with a wooden spoon and cook until they are browned. Drain any excess grease.
  3. Pour in the red wine vinegar and cook for 1 minute. This adds a unique tangy note to your chili.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato juice, ketchup, pinto beans, kidney beans, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, and cayenne.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to combine all the ingredients. Then, reduce the heat and simmer over medium-low heat for at least one hour, or up to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. The longer it simmers, the more the flavors meld together.
  6. Serve your homemade chili in bowls with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of shredded Cheddar cheese for extra richness.

Serving Suggestions

Chili is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in various ways:

  • With Cornbread: A classic choice, cornbread complements chili’s flavors perfectly. The sweetness of the cornbread pairs wonderfully with the savory and spicy notes of the chili.
  • With Biscuits: Flaky biscuits are another fantastic option. They are great for soaking up the delicious chili sauce and adding a buttery texture to your meal.
  • With a Green Salad: If you’re looking for a lighter option, a crisp green salad provides a refreshing contrast to the richness of the chili.

How to Store Leftovers

Chili is one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day. To store your leftovers, follow these steps:

  1. Allow the chili to cool to room temperature.
  2. Transfer it to an airtight container, ensuring there’s some space at the top to allow for expansion.
  3. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  4. For longer storage, you can freeze your chili. Just ensure it’s completely cooled before transferring it to a freezer-safe container or zip-top bags. It can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.

To reheat, simply warm your chili on the stove or in the microwave until it’s piping hot.

Recipe Swaps and Variations

Want to make this chili your own? Here are some swaps and variations to consider:

  • Vegetarian Chili: Skip the meat and add more beans or use plant-based meat substitutes for a hearty and vegetarian-friendly option.
  • Extra Heat: If you love spice, increase the cayenne or add some diced jalapeƱos.
  • More Veggies: Experiment with additional vegetables like bell peppers, corn, or zucchini to enhance the flavor and texture.
  • Slow Cooker Method: Want a no-fuss approach? Throw all the ingredients into a slow cooker and let it simmer all day.


Q: Can I make this chili in advance for a party?
A: Absolutely! Chili is a great dish to prepare ahead of time. You can make it a day in advance and reheat it when your guests arrive. The flavors will have melded even more, making it even tastier.

Q: Can I freeze the chili?
A: Yes, chili freezes beautifully. Just make sure it’s completely cooled before freezing. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.

Q: How do I reduce the spiciness of the chili?
A: To make the chili less spicy, reduce or omit the cayenne pepper, and consider using a milder chili powder.

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