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Classic Chili

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I don’t know about you but I LOVE a good bowl of chili! And I don’t like funky chili variations. It just needs to be a great classic bowl of chili. And this classic chili is perfect to satisfy that craving!

I have to be honest, I have messed with a lot of chili recipes trying to find one that my husband liked. He is very picky traditional in his tastes. 🙂 So I’m happy to say, not only my husband, but my babies Coco and Ash love this one as well! I just make it mild for them. This chili is full of flavor and so hearty. It’s perfect for leftovers too! I usually make a large batch and eat it all week long!

So if you want a bowl of chili that taste like chili SHOULD taste, here it is!

(Note: I know this seems like a lot of ingredients but most of them are very inexpensive and this is super easy to make)  🙂 

Okay, here we go!

First heat your olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When you pan is hot, add in your meat and season it with 1 tsp of salt, and 1/2 tsp of black pepper.  Cook until it’s browned throughout. Classic Chili

While you are waiting for the meat to cook, you can chop your onion, green pepper, and garlic. Just don’t forget that your meat is cooking. Stir it around every few minutes. Now if you don’t have one of these food scraper/chopper things. Get one now! It’s one of those kitchen items that doesn’t cost much but you’ll use it ALL the time! Classic Chili Perfection

By the way, can we talk about how gigantic my garlic cloves were?! I know the recipe calls for 4 cloves but I only used 2 of these mutants. Classic Chili Perfection

Ok so once your meat is browned, remove it from the pot and set it aside. I used lean beef and turkey so I didn’t need to drain it but if yours is too greasy, go ahead and drain it as well. Classic Chili Perfection

In the same pot, over medium heat, add in your chopped onion and green pepper and sauté until translucent (about 5 minutes). You can add another tablespoon of olive oil if your pan is too dry. Classic Chili Perfection

Once your onions and peppers are translucent, add in your garlic and sauté for only another 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add in 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 tbsp cumin, 3 tbsp chili powder,  1/2 tsp cayenne pepper. (I didn’t add the cayenne this time since my kids were eating it)Classic Chili Perfection

Stir in your seasonings and then add your meat back in to the pot. Stir that together then add in all of your other ingredients which include: the cans of tomato sauce, both beans (drained), the fire roasted diced tomatoes, the cocoa powder, and oregano. I know cocoa powder seems like something super funky to put in here but you won’t taste any “chocolate”. It just gives the whole dish a rounded richness that takes this chili over the top! I also put a picture of the fire roasted tomatoes in here so you can know what to look for. 🙂  They have such a good charred flavor to them and they’re not spicy at all. Classic Chili Perfection

So now everything should be in your pot!Classic Chili perfection

Cover the pot, put it on low, and let it simmer for 2 hours. You could also make this ahead the night before and just don’t simmer it that night. Instead pop it in the crockpot in the morning on low for about 8 hours.

When your ready to enjoy it, serve it in a bowl and top it with shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream!

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Classic Chili


  • 2 pounds ground meat I use 1 lb. lean beef and 1 lb. turkey but use what you prefer
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper Just leave this out if you're making it for little ones
  • 29 oz can of tomato sauce
  • Another 15oz can of tomato sauce
  • 2 - 14.5 ounce cans of Hunt's fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 15.5 ounce can of red kidney beans drained
  • 15.8 ounce can of great northern beans drained
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder 🙂 trust me
  • 1 tsp dried oregano


  • Heat a large pot over medium high heat and add in your olive oil and then your meat.
  • Season your meat with 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper.
  • While your meat is browning, chop your onion, green pepper, and garlic.
  • Once your meat is cooked through, drain it if necessary and remove it from the pan. I just set it aside in a bowl.
  • In your same heated pot, add in your chopped onions and green peppers and cook for about 5 minutes or until translucent.
  • Add in your garlic and cook for 2 more minutes then remove from heat.
  • Once your garlic is cooked, add in 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 black pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper and stir together.
  • Add your meat back to the pan and add in the rest of your ingredients: Tomato sauce cans, diced tomatoes, beans, cocoa powder, and oregano.
  • Stir everything together to combine, reduce your heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours while stirring occasionally OR place in the crockpot on low for 7-8 hours.
  • Enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Leave a comment!

Classic Chili Perfection

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  • Reply
    Amanda Mason
    August 18, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    So funny that I ran across this recipe tonight! We had chili tonight at my house, but to be honest, I’ve been making the same recipe for years! I’m excited to try a new variation! Just printed this one out!! Thanks for the recipe!!

  • Reply
    Boastful Food
    August 18, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    Nice use of the “secret” ingredient. I’m sure that adds a nice layer of flavor to this already amazing looking chili.

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      August 19, 2016 at 9:20 am

      Thank you! It really does make it taste so good!

  • Reply
    August 18, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    hahaha – traditional vs. picky. Such a diplomatic thing to say 🙂 This looks like a fantastic recipe for chili. I agree with you. I just like plain old traditional chili. I will try this!

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      August 19, 2016 at 9:20 am

      hahah he has come a long way!! And thank you!

    • Reply
      H Jewell
      November 1, 2021 at 10:43 am

      How many does one batch serve? I’m planning on making this for a group. I don’t see anywhere on the recipe for how many it serves? Wondering if I need to double it?

      • Reply
        Coco and Ash
        November 2, 2021 at 9:08 pm

        It makes a good amount at least six full big bowls.

  • Reply
    Christina | Christina's Cucina
    August 19, 2016 at 12:30 am

    Not quite chili season/weather here in LA right now, but I would SOOO look forward to this sometime in January. Lovely recipe!

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      August 19, 2016 at 9:21 am

      Im in Florida so it’s definitely not “chili” weather here either but I still enjoy it. I just may have to crank the AC down a bit lol

  • Reply
    Brian Jones
    August 19, 2016 at 1:56 am

    That sounds delicious, and very similar to how I make my chili although I always add a little coacoa powder… It does not make it sweet or chocolaty, it kinda adds a mellowness and roundness to the dish 🙂

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      August 19, 2016 at 9:21 am

      Thank you! I definitely love the cocoa powder in this chili. You’d never know it was there…until it wasn’t 🙂

  • Reply
    November 9, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight, but I put it in the crock pot around noon on low (cooked for about 6 hrs)and it was SO GOOD! Thanks for another fabulous recipe.

  • Reply
    November 19, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    How many people would you say this feeds?

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      November 19, 2016 at 8:06 pm

      Hi Tasha! It makes a pretty large pot so I would say VERY comfortably 6-8 🙂

  • Reply
    January 25, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    Have made many variations of this chilli, so so good. Try putting some chopped up cooked bacon in this for another taste bud treat.

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      January 25, 2019 at 5:48 pm

      Ohhh bacon sounds amazing too! Thank you!

  • Reply
    February 7, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    So I can throw everything in the crockpot and it will cook perfect? I don’t have to cook the beef beforehand?

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      February 8, 2019 at 10:52 am

      Noooooo. Go to step 9, and then add to the slow cooker to simmer. 🙂

  • Reply
    The Complete Camping Food List for Planning, Packing and Cooking - Beyond The Tent
    January 11, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    […] Make-ahead Chili  […]

  • Reply
    December 15, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    Very tasty. But I’m not sure if I have chili powder on steroids at my house… I put 2 tablespoon and this was almost uneditable for how hot it was. I recommend others start with half a tablespoon and work they’re way up.

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      December 15, 2020 at 9:08 pm

      Oh wow! I’m a wimp when it comes to spice and I’ve never had that happen. Definitely try cutting it back next time 🙂

  • Reply
    December 16, 2020 at 10:25 pm

    I love love this recipe! Our go to and favorite! Making it for a Christmas party this weekend and now wondering how many in serves? Thanks!

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