I feel like I’m going to be punished for the title of this because in all honestly, it should be “Mama’s Homemade Chili”. This recipe was entirely curated by my dear mother. I made a few adjustments but 95 percent of it came from her. It’s hearty, spicy, comfort in a bowl goodness.
Let me give you a little backstory. This chili is THE BEST. The recipe has been in our family for years. Every year when the leaves begin to fall and the weather turns cool, my Mom goes on a canning spree and she sends us at least 4 mason jars full of this deliciousness. I love eating this on a cold winter’s night bundled up under a blanket. It’s comfort food at its best – warm, creamy and made with love.
At our wedding, we wanted to keep everything very simple. So we sent out this chili recipe to our closest family members and asked for them to bring a crockpot full of chili for our reception dinner. That’s it. We had chili and cornbread as our meal. It worked out great because that night was SO cold and it truly warmed our souls as we broke bread and ate together.
This meal is SO hearty, packed full of fiber and protein. Different varieties of beans, (aka dark red and light red kidney beanies and chili beans), different types of tomatoes (stewed + petite diced), fresh veggies (onion + garlic), and the ever popular Rotel <3 (aka tomatoes + green chiles). Not gonna lie, when you see Rotel, it always gives the queso recipe on the back of the can and I kinda also wanted to make the queso and then pour it in the chili. Chili cheese dogs anyone? Maybe that isn’t the best thing to be eating in the new year…
Also, my mom’s recipe called for a packet of chili seasoning mix. There is nothing wrong with using this. SUPER EASY AND QUICK. However, I had all of the spices on hand and I wanted to try and create my own spice mix – especially since we like ours extra spicy! Here were the cast of characters: chili powder (duh), cumin, salt, paprika, cayenne and pepper. I ended up adding more and more of these spices even after adding in the original amounts so my advice to you is to truly continue tasting as you cook and adjust the spices as needed. I can’t stress this step enough. Some prefer it less spicy, some prefer it more spicy. I ended up adding much more cayenne, chili and paprika. Oh and also salt. But it’s completely up to you!
Also, can we talk about the real MVP that has to go along with this meal? CORNBREAD! In the South, cornbread and chili go to together like PB&J. Or biscuits and gravy. You can’t have one without the other. And I’m not talking about the homemade kind….while homemade is the best ever, sometimes you just gotta grab a box of Jiffy and a stick of butter and relish in the simple greatness that is boxed cornbread. So sweet, so buttery, so moist. Crumble it up in the chili and you might as well stick a fork in me. I’m done.
This recipe is ridiculously easy. All you have to do is cook the beef (or omit the beef and make it vegetarian!) and then add in the cans of everything. Cook it on the stove top for an hour or so, or if you’re in a rush, leave it in the crockpot on low for a few hours!
Creamy, simple, packed full of fiber, protein and nutrients. How could you say no to this recipe? My favorite way to eat it is piled high with cheese, sour cream and green onions which provide a great crunch. Avocado is also a great topper for this. If you’re going the healthy route, you can sub greek yogurt in for the sour cream and omit the cheese. If you’re going my route, make sure and crumble at least one piece of cornbread into the chili and also have one on the side for extra dipping purposes.
Find the recipe below. Thanks for bringing this recipe into my life, mama. If you’re reading this (which you probably are), I love you!
Easy Homemade Chili
A warm, hearty, homemade comfort meal filled with protein and fiber.
- 1 medium diced yellow onion
- 2 cloves diced garlic
- 1 lb grass fed ground beef or ground turkey
- 2 tbsps chili powder
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cans light red kidney beans
- 2 cans dark red kidney beans
- 2 cans chili beans
- 1 can stewed tomatoes
- 1 can diced tomatoes
Add oil to a large pot and cook onion and garlic until fragrant and translucent (2-3 minutes).
Add ground beef and mix in well. Cook until done. Add in seasoning and mix well.
Add in cans of beans and tomatoes - make sure NOT to drain any of the liquid from the can - this is very important in making sure your chili doesn't turn out dry.
Cook on the stovetop high for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Remember to taste and add more seasoning if needed.
If in a rush, cook the veggies and beef in a separate pan and add cooked ingredients to a crockpot along with the cans of beans and tomatoes. Cook on low for 3 hours.
Top with cornbread, sour cream, cheese, green onions, or just eat it plain! Whatever floats your boat - just make sure you serve it hot!
You can omit the beef if you're vegetarian. You can omit the beef and the dairy toppings if you're vegan.
You can use a full plain packet of chili seasoning if you don't want to make your own.
Remember, if you do make your own to TASTE as you go and adjust seasoning as needed. I added much more chili powder and cayenne and even salt to make my extra spicy.
If you want cornbread, I recommend using Jiffy! It's quick and easy.