Classic Beef Chili


Here’s a Tex-Mex classic: a hearty stew from the American Southwest that uses a delicious mix of Mexican spices. This recipe makes lots and lots so be sure to invite some friends to dinner.

kitchen gear

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife (adult needed)
  • Large pot with lid
  • Wooden spoon or heatproof spatula
  • Measuring spoons
  • Can opener
  • Colander or strainer
  • Pot holders



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and diced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (if you like it spicy)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 (14-ounce) cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, including the liquid



  • Put the pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium. When it is hot, add the oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until just golden and tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Add the peppers, cumin, chili powder, oregano, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes (if using) and cook 5 minutes.
  • Push the vegetables to the side of the pot, and add the beef in 4 batches, stirring with each addition until browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the kidney beans and tomatoes, and stir well.
  • Cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
  • Serve right away; or transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate up to 2 days.



Garnish the chili with any or all of the following:

  • Sliced scallions
  • Sliced black olives
  • Corn kernels (fresh, canned, or thawed frozen)
  • Chopped fresh tomatoes
  • Plain yogurt or sour cream 
  • Shredded cheddar cheese 
  • ​Diced avocado

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