Rich, Thick and Hearty Chili

Chili – Thick, rich, meaty, really great chili. This hearty chili comes together quickly, simmers slowly for super flavor and tastes even better the next day.

bowl of chili

For some helpful tips before you begin, click here.

Makes 6 to 8 servings (about 12 cups).



  • 1.5 kg (3 lbs) ground beef
  • 6 g (1 teaspoon) MSG
  • 9 g (1 1/2 teaspoons) salt
  • 6 g (2 teaspoons) garlic powder
  • 6 g (2 teaspoons) onion powder


  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 head garlic, minced
  • 2 to 4 jalapenos, finely chopped (See tips)

Dry spices:

  • 27 g (3 tablespoons) chili powder
  • 9 g (1 tablespoon) ancho chili powder or 1 whole dried ancho chili, ground (See tips)
  • 12 g (2 tablespoons) paprika
  • 2 g (1/2 teaspoon) ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 g (1/2 teaspoon) ground black pepper
  • 12 g (2 tablespoons) cumin
  • 9 g (1 tablespoon) onion powder
  • 9 g (1 tablespoon) garlic powder
  • 6 g (1 teaspoon) MSG
  • 12 g (1 tablespoon) dark brown sugar
  • 6 g (1 tablespoon) dried oregano
  • 3 bay leaves

Wet seasoning:

  • 27 g (1 1/2 tablespoons) beef base or bouillon dissolved in 60 ml (1/4 cup) hot water
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) Worcestershire sauce

Canned tomatoes:

  • 1 794 g (28-oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 794 g (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes


1. Brown the ground beef.

– Brown the ground beef in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.
– Season with MSG, salt, garlic powder and onion powder.
– Remove from the pot, leaving a couple tablespoons of the excess fat from the ground beef. Set aside.

2. Saute the aromatics.

– Over medium-high heat, saute the diced onion, bell pepper, garlic and jalapeno until softened and beginning to brown.

3. Stir in the dry spices and the wet seasonings.

– Stir in the chili powder, ancho chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, MSG, dark brown sugar, oregano and bay leaves.
– Cook until the spices become warm and fragrant, about a minute or two..
– Stir in the dissolved beef base and the Worcestershire sauce.
– Scrape any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot as much as possible.

4. Combine with the ground beef and canned tomatoes. Heat until bubbling, then simmer for 2 hours.

– Add the ground beef back in along with the diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes.
– Stir to combine, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot.
– Heat until bubbling, then reduce heat to low. (The mixture may seem thick, but the chili will extract more liquid as it simmers.)
– Cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pot to make sure nothing is sticking.


– Serve with grated cheddar or pepper jack cheese, chopped green onion, sour cream, sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, and even corn chips.

To store:

– Cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate for up to 5 days. Or freeze for up to 6 months.

To reheat:

– Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, if frozen.
– Heat over medium-low heat until bubbling. Stir occasionally.

bowl of chili
Brighten up rich bowls of chili with fresh elements like fresh herbs, scallions, maybe even a squeeze of lime.

About this recipe

Chili is so warm and satisfying. Chili is full of depth and rich flavor, aroma and texture. It’s rich heartiness screams “cold weather meal” but chili finds itself out in the summer, too. It’s a family favorite for sure.

Chili actually comes together pretty quickly. It’s a one-pot meal full of meat, veggies and an overload of spices. But the real magic comes from just a little bit of TIME.

With everything going on in that one pot and so many ingredients contributing to pure flavor, a little time goes a long way in bringing it all together. Let it simmer on low on the stove for about 2 hours. It will be worth it.

  • Before and after 2 hours of simmering.


Here are 3 helpful TIPS:

1) The heat factor:


This chili runs between mild (2 jalapenos) to almost moderate (4 jalapenos).

  • Although I wouldn’t eat jalapenos straight up, after 2 hours of cooking, 2 chopped jalapenos, including seeds and ribs, will produce a chili with a mild heat.
  • If you want to go even milder (no heat whatsoever), just remove the seeds and ribs. You’ll get the flavor, but none of the heat.


  • Go beyond just adding more jalapenos (a relatively mild chili pepper) by also adding different types of other, much spicier chilies such as serranos, habaneros or Thai chilies. Stew them in early for a slow burn, or add them in at the end for an upfront attack of heat.
  • Use hot paprika instead of regular paprika. Or increase the amount of cayenne pepper and black pepper.


– To cater to differing levels of desired heat, leave the hot sauce and jalapenos on the table for people to garnish their own chili as they please. (Pickled jalapenos are especially nice with the extra bit of tang.)

2) How to grind dry ancho chilies:

Ancho chilies are mild. They add lots of flavor, very little heat.

– Sometimes it’s easier to find dry whole ancho chilies than it is to find a bottle of ancho chili powder. The dry chilies can often be found in the bulk spice section of grocery stores or in the ethnic aisles.

  • To grind the dry ancho chili, break off the stem and crumble the chili into a mini-food processor or a coffee/spice grinder. You can also do it manually using a mortar and pestle. Grind into a fine powder.

3) MSG?

– People who experience sensitivities to MSG can (and should) omit it from the recipe. But for those who don’t have those issues, MSG is pure umami and really enhances savory flavors in food. However, if it makes you nervous, just reduce the amount or skip it.

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These hotdog buns are soft and fluffy with a light crust and wonderful flavor.
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Did you know chili did not originate in Mexico? Here’s a link if you want a little history (some of it pretty darn amusing!) on chili:


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