Hearty and filling stovetop chili is the perfect dinner on blustery nights, and it goes from stove-top to table in less than an hour!
Why it works:
It's done in less than one hour; perfect for busy weeknights or even weekends when you just don't feel like hovering over the stove all night.
It uses basic pantry staple ingredients. It's very likely you already have what you need in your pantry to make this stove top chili. All the ingredients are extremely inexpensive, and can be found at any grocery store for under one dollar.
You don't need that pesky chili seasoning packet! Wave bye-bye to those annoying packets. The spice mix used in this recipe is so much more flavorful--and-- it's much better for you. Want chili seasoning always on hand in your pantry? Try my Homemade Chili Seasoning Mix.
You can adjust the spice level. Because this recipe uses pantry staple spices, you can kick the heat up or down to your family's liking.
Leftovers can be frozen for up to 4 months in zip lock freezer bags for an even easier dinner down the road.
How to make it
This is all done in one pot, and it's helpful to use extra lean ground beef if you can, so that you don't have to drain a bunch of liquid out. If you don't have lean, that's ok though.
Start by sautéing the ground beef, onion and garlic clove in a pot on medium high heat until the beef is browned and onions are soft (photo 1).
Add the spices, diced tomatoes, tomato paste (which is a great way to preserve fresh tomatoes), beans (undrained) and beef stock (photo 2).
Simmer everything on a medium to high simmer for 30-45 minutes, until thickened (photo 3).
Tips and Tricks:
- Use lean ground beef, so that you don't have to drain liquid out of the pot. Also, the more liquid you drain, the more flavor you're letting go.
- DO NOT drain the beans!!! This is what THICKENS THE CHILI. It's full of starch, and there's no point in draining the natural starches (thickeners) just to replace it with more starch like flour or cornstarch. That's just silly.
- A touch of sweetness, like the brown sugar, bumps up the flavor subtly, of an otherwise basic chili.
- This chili cooks quickly because the lid stays off, if you want to slow cook it (which always enhances the flavors) then simmer it on low with the lid on for up to 2 hours.
The chili can cook on a high simmer with the lid off for 30-45 minutes, or up to 2 hours on a low simmer with the lid on.
The longer that you simmer a chili, the more flavorful it will be, because it allows the spices and seasonings to develop further.
The best secret ingredient for chili is a fat pinch of brown sugar. This does not make the chili very sweet, but it gives it some background sweetness to counter the acidity of the tomatoes.
You can cover chili if you are not trying to thicken it up any further, or if it is splattering violently everywhere.
Adding additional acidity in the form of tomato paste, or sweetness like brown sugar can fix bland chili almost immediately. Also try adding more salt, chili powder, sweet paprika, onion and garlic powders. Always simmer for a minimum of 10 minutes whenever you add additional ingredients.
More cozy bowl and spoon recipes
Did you serve this chili with chips or corn bread? Crusty bread? How about toppings? Let me know in the comments; let's share ideas!
Stove Top Chili
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 small onion minced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 cup beef stock or broth see note on salt
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 15 oz can diced tomatoes or fresh diced- 1 cup
- 15 oz can light red kidney beans undrained
- 15 oz can pinto beans undrained
- 1 tbsp paprika sweet Spanish style
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper optional, omit for mild heat
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large stockpot, sauté ground beef, onions and garlic on medium high heat until beef is browned and onions become soft.
- Add stock, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, canned beans (don't drain) and remaining seasonings.
- Simmer on medium-high for 30-45 minutes, uncovered, until thickened.
- Do not drain the beans, as that liquid is starchy, and will serve to thicken the chili, rather than adding additional thickener.
- Use a lean ground beef, to avoid having to drain anything from the pot, as this will result in flavor lost.
- Omit cayenne pepper if your family prefers milder chili, or substitute black pepper.
- Chili may be cooked quickly with the lid off for 30-45 minutes at a medium-high simmer--OR--may be simmered on low heat with lid on for up to 2 hours.
- Leftovers may be frozen in freezer zip lock bags and stored for up to 4 months.