The Best Homemade Southern Chili Recipe

Fall is near, and that means it’s time for the best homemade chili recipe! This southern chili is spicy, flavorful, and downright delicious!

homemade southern chili recipe

Classic Chili Ingredients

Most of the classic chili recipes have the same ingredients; ground meat, onions, cumin chili powder, and salt. Sometimes the recipes include beans. The beautiful thing about chili is how simple and versatile it can be.

My first time making chili, I was thoroughly surprised by how much of “chili” is simply developed from the seasonings and herbs. The best chili keeps it simple but make no mistake, this does not mean it lacks flavor!

How to Make Chili

Beef chili is pretty easy to make, you just need patience. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make my Southern chili recipe.

  1. Brown the ground beef.
  2. Remove the ground beef from the pot and saute the onions and peppers in olive oil.
  3. Add the ground beef back to the pot with the onions and peppers. Then add your minced garlic.
  4. Now it is time to add your spices to the pot. This is a Southern chili recipe, so that means we don’t skimp on the spices. Add cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and sea salt to the meat mixture.
  5. Next, add 3 cups of water and crushed tomatoes, then let everything cook together. First, bring the pot to a boil, cover with the lid, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Let the chili simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
  6. Finally, serve the chili with a ton of toppings.

Season to Taste

The key to a good chili recipe is TASTE, TASTE, TASTE! Honestly, this is a good tip for every cook! Taste the chili once you add the water to the pot and a few times throughout the simmering process. Although I listed how much salt to add, this is a preference.

The Best Homemade Southern Chili Recipe

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homemade southern chili recipe

The Best Homemade Southern Chili Recipe

  • Author: Johnniemay McDonald
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1520 servings 1x


The best homemade southern chili recipe, slightly spicy, flavorful, and downright delicious. Try this easy chili recipe with no beans.


Units Scale

3 lbs ground beef*

2 onions

2 green bell peppers

3 tbsps of minced garlic

1 tbsp dried oregano

1/3 cup chili powder

2 tbsps smoked paprika

1 tbsp cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 1/2 tbsps sea salt ( salt to taste)

28 oz crushed tomatoes

3 cups water


  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot brown the ground beef. Then drain the ground beef and set it aside.
  2. In the same pot, add 2 tbsps of olive oil. Then saute the onions and bell peppers in the olive on medium until they are tender and/or translucent. This should take about 5- 7 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for 1 minute.
  4. Add the ground beef to the pan. Stir to combine the meat/ veggie mixture.
  5. Add the spices and herbs to the mixture (Oregano, sea salt*, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder.) Stir to combine the spices and herbs well. Cook on medium for 1 minute.
  6. Gently pour in the crushed tomatoes and water. Stir to combine.
  7. Bring the pot to a boil, cover with a lid, lower the heat, and bring the pot to a simmer. Let it simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. At 30 minutes, be sure to taste and adjust the salt level if needed.
  8. Serve and enjoy.


Be sure to adjust the salt level to your personal preference. Be sure to not overly salt the chili. Salt takes a little while to disperse. If you need to add salt, do so with little increments.

Toppings ideas: cheddar cheese, jalapenos (fresh or pickled), banana peppers, black olives, sour cream, tortilla chips and more.


  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: chili

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