Best Thick Chili Recipe (2024)

I’ve spent years perfecting the best thick chili recipe, and I couldn’t be happier with this! It’s an easy chili recipe, with just the right amount of heat. This homestyle chili recipe with beans is mostly dump & cook so it’s perfect for busy nights!

Best Thick Chili Recipe (1)

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How do you thicken chili?

A lot of people want to know how to thicken chili. Accidentally adding too many saucy ingredients can make for a thin, runny chili. Once you get to that point you have some options.

  • Add more hearty ingredients, like beans, meat, or vegetables to help reduce the amount of liquid to solid ratios.
  • Add a slurry of water and flour to the chili to help thicken the liquid in the pot. Add just a little at a time to avoid a floury taste.
  • Add a slurry of cornstarch and water to help thicken the liquid in the pot. Keep in mind this option can result in leftovers seeming a bit gelatinous.

What makes this the best thick chili recipe?

The best way, hands down, to make sure you end up with a nice, thick homestyle chili is to follow a tested recipe. I’ve been working on this thick chili recipe for years and years to get it right.

To me, this is the best balance between heat and flavor and is full of all the best, hearty ingredients to make a nice thick chili. This one turns out great every single time, and is a pretty low-maintenance recipe. It’s mostly dump and cook, which I love for busy nights, and we can’t get enough of it!

How do you make this thick chili recipe?

Step 1: Saute the hamburger and onions.

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Dump in the hamburger and onions together in a big pot and cook them on medium-high heat until the hamburger is fully browned.

Step 2: Dump in the other ingredients.

Next, you will need to dump in the tomato sauce, Rotel, and beans. Mix it well, and then add the seasonings (this is what will make or break the flavor of this thick chili!) to the pot and stir well.

Step 3: Let it simmer.

Set the heat to medium, cover the pot, and let it cook for 30 minutes. This step will infuse the sauce and beans with all the flavors from the seasonings you mixed in. Totally worth the wait!

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Now you’re ready to eat your chili! I always serve mine with some cheese, and sour cream and some good old-fashioned Jiffy cornbread! Doesn’t get any better than that!

Can you freeze chili?

Heck yes you can! I love making this huge pot of chili so that I can freeze the leftovers for an easy re-heated dinner another time. I store mine in one-serving, freezer safe containers so they can be eaten as an easy dinner or lunch. Works great!

Can I leave the beans out?

Yep. Your chili won’t be as thick, but I have made it this way before. I love the flavor and texture from the kidney beans, but my dad hates them. So I understand why you’d want to eliminate them!

Want some more delicious recipes like this one?

  • Mama’s Hearty Chili – if you want a spicier, bean-free chili, try my Mama’s recipe! This is the recipe I grew up eating, and it’s full of wonderful flavor.
  • Grandma’s Hamburger Soup – this one has been passed through my family recipe box for generations. Best hamburger soup I’ve ever had!
  • Mama’s Potato Soup – this is such a simple, no-frills recipe that I love. Nothing better on a cold night that some hot, thick, potato soup!

I can’t wait for you to try this thick chili recipe! I’m sure you’re going to love all the homestyle flavors from this easy chili recipe and will want to make it again and again like we do!

Best Thick Chili Recipe (4)

Yield: 8

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

This homestyle thick chili recipe is mostly dump and cook and is the perfect balance between heat and flavor! It's thick and hearty and is the perfect cool-weather meal!


  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cans dark red kidney beans
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cans Ro*tel Original
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Saute the hamburger and the chopped onion on medium-high heat in a large pot until the hamburger is browned
  2. Dump in the kidney beans, Ro*tel, and tomato sauce and stir to combine.
  3. Add in the seasonings and stir well to combine.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook on medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve with cornbread.


  • You can eliminate the beans if you don't like them, your chili may be just a bit thinner.
  • This chili freezes well. Place in one-serving, freezer-safe containers to enjoy at a later date.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 361Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 1269mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 6gSugar: 5gProtein: 38g

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