Classic Spicy Chili. Loaded With Toppings.

A classic spicy chili recipe with ground beef and beans to warm your belly on a cold night.  Unless you’re from Texas in which case putting beans in your chili could end in criminal charges.  At the very least neighbours will shun you.

There’s something deliciously comforting about a cold night and a warm bowl of chili. The minute the trees begin to rustle I start aching for the kind of food that warms you from the inside out. To me, chili is at its best when it has layers and layers of heat and flavour. Different chiles, spices, beans and slow cooking are the key to getting the best bowl of chili you’ve ever had.

I know. You ALREADY make the best chili. Here’s the thing. You probably don’t.  

K. Now that I’ve ruined our friendship, let’s continue on.

Trust me, there are good times and tips ahead for us. For one thing you’ll be gassy enough to make your pajama pants billow out, and that’s almost always fun.

Always, always, always make a big batch of chili the night before Halloween so you don’t have to worry about making dinner while answering the door and stealing candy.

karen bertelsen

How to chop an onion

Onions are the base of everything delicious except sugary breakfast cereal. Chopping an onion is easy enough, but here’s a reminder on the fastest and easiest way to do it.

As every hockey mom knows, chili is an easy thing to have for a rushed fall dinner because the prep work really only consists of chopping an onion and smashing some garlic.   Then you throw everything into a pot or slow cooker and wait for the house to smell delicious.  

Smashing garlic

Forget the garlic press, they’re hard to clean and take up drawer space. Lay your peeled garlic on a cutting board and smash it with the side of your knife.

Just place a wide knife over the garlic clove, then with the heel of your hand (or fist) smash down on the knife. This will flatten your garlic. Then you can mince.

Drain or don’t drain the fat?

Fat has flavour which means fat = better chili. However, if you’re counting calories drain that beef fat!

1 lb of lean ground beef typically has around 3 Tablespoons of fat.  That’s 345 calories you got rid of.  86 calories per serving.

Once you’ve cooked your beef (and drained it) all you have to do is add all of the ingredients into your most prized pot and let ‘er cook for a few hours.  


The other thing that makes this (or any!) chili irresistible is loading it with as many toppings as you can pile on.

Chili without toppings is like doing a crossword puzzle in pencil.  It’s for amateurs.

Wait. WHAT? You don’t put toppings on your chili???  You need to change that this second.

Topping Ideas for Chili

  • Sour Cream
  • Cheese
  • Cilantro
  • Crumbled Tortilla Chips
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Sliced Green Onions
  • Avocado
  • Hot Pepper Flakes
  • Pickled Jalapeños
  • Fritos!
  • Squeeze of lime
  • Croutons

Homemade croutons take all of 15 minutes to make, and 10 of those minutes are spent scrolling Instagram while you wait for them to cook.

After a couple of hours of simmering and bubbling, ladle it into a bowl, drop your toppings on, and enjoy.  The earthy aroma will fill the house. And possibly make your pajama bottoms dance.

I can’t even imagine a better night.

Chili Con Carne.

Belly warming Chili with beans and cheese for a cold night.
4.5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 7 1 cup servings
Calories: 279.52kcal
Author: The Art of Doing Stuff


  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes drained
  • 1 cup tomato sauce you can use canned spaghetti sauce if you have it in the cupboard
  • 1 28 oz. kidney beans can drained
  • 1 14 oz. can of baked beans in tomato sauce not drained – make sure the beans aren't in molasses. That's TOO sweet.
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 Tbsps. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. hot pepper flakes Or more to taste
  • 4 shakes hot sauce I use Tabasco
  • 2 marinated chipotle peppers mashed (the type from a can)
  • 1 chili pepper of your choice I use yellow banana peppers or jalapeño
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Big old grinding of fresh pepper
  • 1 bay leaf


  • Cut your hot pepper in half. Remove the seeds and membrane. Finely dice one half of the hot pepper. Reserve the other half.
  • Add ground beef, onions, garlic and diced hot pepper to pot and cook until onions are transluscent and beef is browned. Pull beef and onion garlic aside to make room at the bottom of the pot to toast the spices until you can smell them. 30 seconds or so.
  • Add remaining ingredients (including the reserved half pepper)
  • Bring to boil.
  • Simmer for 2+ hours with the lid off.


Taste your chili as it’s cooking and adjust it to your liking. If you want more chili flavour add more cumin and chili powder. Need it hotter? Add in more pepper flakes. Too thick? Add some more tomato sauce or the juice from the drained tomatoes.
Don’t forget the toppings!
  • Sour Cream
  • Cheese
  • Cilantro
  • Crumbled Tortilla Chips
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Sliced Green Onions
  • Avocado
  • Hot Pepper Flakes
  • Pickled Jalapeños


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 279.52kcal | Carbohydrates: 6.9g | Protein: 18.03g | Fat: 20.1g | Saturated Fat: 7.57g | Cholesterol: 69.02mg | Sodium: 543.85mg | Potassium: 488.79mg | Fiber: 2.57g | Sugar: 3.06g | Vitamin A: 1464.79IU | Vitamin C: 13.55mg | Calcium: 40.81mg | Iron: 3.18mg

What to Serve With Chili

My mother would say french fries because french fries go with everything.  However I would say … Serve your chili with a side of salad and a plate of buttered toast. 

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Classic Spicy Chili. Loaded With Toppings.


  1. LJ says:

    So……it appears from earlier comments, I am WAY late in the game – since some are from 2014 – so then there’s that. However, I utilized the recipe as is in 2021, & I really loved it. I am from Texas, & was recently lectured on how Texas chili does not have beans….but I am originally from the Texas Panhandle, which might be its own country….it’s REALLY cold & WINDY up there, so beans are welcome, if only a source of personal warmth (if you catch my drift 😉). Loved the recipe, love you.

    On another note of more importance, I did not get the pee pee post. I know there were issues with your site/provider (it’s hard to say that without comedy/puns)…….so, I will try to search w/in your archives…. & hope to find the pee pee post.

    • Karen says:

      Hi LJ! If you read about the pee pee post in the Brazilian wax post, I’ve linked to it there. Just click where I see pee pee, lol. It should contain a link that goes straight to it. ~ karen!

  2. Jessica Knutzen says:

    I hesitate to even write this because I’m sure your chili recipe is fabulous and I run the risk of ruining our friendship by suggesting an edit. But. For the sake of your enjoyment I’d like to suggest you add 1 can of run of the mill beer (I like Miller Light) to your recipe before simmering. It’s like magic. Every recipe I’ve tweaked with this small detail has resulted in a more creamy, almost malty result.
    Or it could be in my Wisconsin nature to add beer to everything….
    Merry Christmas!

  3. Christina Stark says:

    Always interesting to see how the colder weather triggers our food cravings. Loved the chili recipe! A friend recently chose the chicken chili route and I’m jonesin’ (sp?) for my mother’s lentil soup! I’m off to get a ham bone somewhere….

  4. Sabina says:

    How long in a crock pot? Low or High setting? Pork & Beans…the jury is still out on that one…

  5. Julie says:

    I’m just stunned that chili without beans is a thing? What is that?

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The Art of Doing Stuff