This easy homemade chili will warm even the chilliest of nights. It’s such an easy weeknight dinner, but it feels special enough for your fall entertaining.

This traditional chili is made with classic ingredients: ground beef, beans, seasonings and topped with fresh shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

Bonus – it only takes 10 minutes to throw together and is packed full of flavor.

A white bowl of chili topped with sour cream and cheese.
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You know my passion for effortless entertaining – and even more, I love a quick and easy meal that everyone enjoys. Whether it be a tailgate, game day party, or fall outing this easy chili is one of the best dinners and doesn’t require a side dish! That makes this recipe a surefire win in my book.

When you take a bite, you’d never know that this easy chili takes just 10 minutes hands on time to make. It’s even easier to serve! Click here for more 10 minute dinner recipes like these reader favorite Walking Tacos, and don’t skip my Easy Minestrone Recipe if this is your family’s favorite kind of dinner!

I personally was never a big chili fan until a few years ago – until I found the perfect  mix of seasoning, beef, beans, creme fraiche {or sour cream}, fresh shredded cheddar and chips to make it the perfect fall or winter dinner.

So many chili recipes call for long cook times, but my quick chili results in the same rich taste in a fraction of the time. We love to treat this simple chili recipe as a base, and throw in extra seasonings, veggies and beans depending on what we have on hand!

I think you’re going to love it too – let’s get started!

A quick and easy chili recipe, featuring a pan filled with beans and a wooden spoon.

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

  • So fast to throw together
  • Mostly pantry ingredients
  • Great for serving a crowd
  • Perfect for game day and fall and winter entertaining
  • Easily doubles

Shopping List

  • Ground Beef
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Dried Onion
  • Chili Beans
  • Beer (or sub with water or beef stock)
  • Toppings (cheese, sour cream, chips)


  • Substitute beer for water, vegetable stock or beef stock.
  • Add a little tomato paste (or tomato paste substitute) for a more robust tomato base.
  • For an overall leaner chili, go with the lowest fat ground beef you can find.
  • If you prefer your chili with a soup consistency, just add a 12 ounce bottle of beer in place of the water. The hoppier, the better, like an IPA.
  • For even more of a flavor pop, add a tablespoon of my favorite taco seasoning, fajita seasoning or Cajun seasoning.
A quick and easy chili recipe cooked in a pan, topped with melted cheese and stirred with a wooden spoon.


  • This recipe is easily doubled, so be sure to make a big batch for easy meal prep.
  • Feel free to add in any extra veggies you need to use up in the fridge, diced mushrooms and carrots work really well!
  • Use the best quality of ground beef you can find – it really makes a difference.
  • I also highly recommending taking a minute or two to freshly shred your cheddar cheese for a topping. Learn how to grate cheese here.
  • We tend to like our chili a little thicker, but you can add ¼ c water or up to a bottle of hoppy beer if you wish.
A person quickly dipping an easy tortilla into a bowl of chili.

Serving Suggestions

An easy and quick chili recipe garnished with sour cream and tortilla chips.

Make Ahead

As if this recipe couldn’t get any better, this quick chili is perfect for meal prep and I’ll often cook a double batch.

In fact, I think this chili recipe is even better on the second day. You can make it ahead of time on your stove top, pop it in the fridge to allow the flavors to mesh together, and then warm it back up (use a crockpot if you’d like) for the easiest entertaining!

Frequently Asked Questions

What liquid do you put in chili?

There are so many fun answers to this question! Obviously, every recipe is different. However, you can use beer, cooking stock, water, and more!

How do you make chili more flavorful?

Add a teaspoon or two of your favorite seasoning blend. You can also add things like tomato paste, fresh or canned peppers, onions, garlic and so much more!

An easy bowl of chili with cheese and sour cream.

How to Store

  • At Room Temperature – This chili can be left out for no more than two hours at room temp – add it to a crockpot to stay warm if serving over a period of time.
  • Refrigerate – refrigerate your chili in an airtight container for up to four days.
  • Freeze – Chili freezes well! Store in an airtight container with an inch of space at the top, leaving room for expansion. Store in freezer for up to six months, de-thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

More Easy Dinners

dinner & lunch
An easy chili recipe served with sour cream and tortilla chips.
5 from 13 votes

Homemade Chili

This easy chili will warm even the chilliest of nights. It's an easy weeknight dinner with classic ingredients: ground beef, beans, seasonings and topped with fresh shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 12 minutes
Servings: 4
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  • 16 ounces ground beef (one pound)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion (minced)
  • 16 ounces chili beans (one can)
  • 8 ounces beer (sub with beef stock) You can use up to 12 ounces.

To Serve

  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese shredded
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream sub with crema or creme fraiche
  • 2 cups chips


  • In a skillet over medium high heat, cook ground beef. Drain any grease, adding crushed red pepper and dried onion when there is very little pink remaining.
  • When nearly cooked, add chili beans. Continue to stir and reduce to medium low heat. We tend to like ours thicker, but it's personal preference. Add beer or stock to your taste at this point, to thin it out a little.
  • While the meat is cooking, shred cheddar and dice green onions for toppings. Top with sour cream, cheese and chips.

Julie’s Tips

  • This recipe is easily doubled, so be sure to make a big batch for easy meal prep.
  • Feel free to add in any extra veggies you need to use up in the fridge, mushrooms work really well!
  • Use organic, grass fed beef if you can.
  • Serve to the table with all of your favorite toppings.
Calories: 510kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 1022mg | Potassium: 832mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 335IU | Vitamin C: 4.3mg | Calcium: 261mg | Iron: 4.4mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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How to Make

This chili only takes 10 minutes to make!

  1. Make the Base – Brown beef with spices and add beer. Allow to simmer.
  2. When nearly cooked, add chili beans. Reduce to medium low heat. Add beer or stock to thin it out a bit if you’d like.
  3. Garnish – Top with fresh shredded cheddar, sour cream, green onions and serve with corn or tortilla chips.

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    1. Your easy chilly recipe has a confusing ingredient, namely red pepper; there are many kinds of red pepper. Which do you use?

      1. Hello Inetia,
        You are correct, that wasn’t very clear- our sincere apologies! This is an older recipe, and we weren’t always as concise as we try to be today.
        We’ve updated the recipe card this morning to make it more clear – it’s crushed red pepper flakes.
        I hope that helps, and I hope you enjoy!