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.

Hands-on time: 30   |    Total time: 120   |    Makes: 12 cups


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 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon 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


Wash your hands with soap and water, then gather all your equipment and ingredients and put them on a counter.

  1. 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.
  2. Add the peppers, cumin, chili powder, oregano, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes (if using) and cook 5 minutes.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the kidney beans and tomatoes, and stir well.
  5. Cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
  6. 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