My mom’s 5-Ingredient Chili Recipe has been a favorite of mine for years! This easy chili recipe uses pantry staples for a dinner win you’ll want to make again and again!
There’s something so delicious and comforting about a big bowl of chili. Especially when it’s served up with a slice of cornbread. Maybe it’s the rich, meaty flavor or a combination of spices. All I know is that this 5-ingredient chili recipe is a favorite at our house.
You can cut the recipe in half for a small weeknight meal, leave it as is if your kids aren’t picky like mine, or double it and share with your friends for game day. It’s always a good time for chili!
This classic chili recipe is a great one to have on hand for introductory home cooks and kids learning to cook. There’s nothing fancy about it.
We’re using simple ingredients that you probably have on hand already. You cook the beef, mix it all up, and then let it simmer. Easy, basic, and really yummy!
Bonus: You can make this chili on the stovetop or in a slow cooker!
Mike thinks this is probably the best chili recipe I’ve made, but I’m pretty partial to this 30-minute bacon chicken chili recipe too.
If you want to get fancy with your chili you can serve up in a bread bowl and earn some serious presentation points!
Ingredients for my mom’s chili
- Ground beef – lean is good here, but 85/15 is my go-to for this recipe
- Tomato soup – she uses this instead of tomato sauce and sugar
- Dark red kidney beans – be sure to drain and rinse the beans, rinsing the beans makes it so “you don’t toot as much”
- Mild chili seasoning – you can use store-bought or homemade chili seasoning (I have notes about how much of each in the recipe card.)
My family likes our chili mild, but if you want it spicy you can totally grab a hot chili seasoning packet instead. Or even add some sliced jalapenos and/or cayenne to this recipe. Or or or stir in some hot sauce once everything is cooked so you can really control the heat.
As far as toppings go, you can add whatever you like. I’m a cheese and green onion girl myself, but chopped white onion, sour cream, and even some avocado (if you want to get crazy) would be good options too.
How to Make Chili Recipe
- Start off by placing a large pot over medium heat on your stovetop.
- Add the ground beef to your pot and cook until it’s browned. This will take about 10 minutes. Be sure to use a wooden spoon to break up the meat as it’s cooking. You want little bits of beef in every bite.
- Once the meat is done cooking, drain any excess grease and return the pot to your stove.
- Now you’re ready to add the tomato soup, kidney beans, and chili seasoning. Then grab two soup cans and fill them with water. Pour the water into the pot too. Give everything a stir.
- Then you’re going to let the chili come to simmer. Once that happens, reduce the heat to medium-low and let the chili cook for 35 minutes. Stir the chili occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
If the pan is too hot, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, but stir more often until the temp settles down.
- When the chili has thickened up nicely, give it a taste. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to your taste (if you feel like it’s needed).
- Portion your chili into bowls and top with shredded cheese and green onion if you like.
How long should you cook chili?
On the stovetop, you want to cook this chili for 45 minutes in total. The ground beef needs about 10 minutes and then the chili simmers for about 35 minutes.
I’m usually making this chili for Mike and me on weeknights so I make a half recipe and it only needs about 30 minutes total cooking time. There are notes in the recipe card below for a smaller batch.
How to Make Crockpot Chili Recipe
That’s right! You can make this recipe in your slow cooker if you prefer. Here’s what to do:
- Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat for about 10 minutes and drain off any excess grease.
- Pour the ground beef into your slow cooker. Add the tomato soup, kidney beans, chili seasoning, and water. Give everything a stir.
- Cover the crock and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally. You can cook on the LOW setting instead for 5 to 6 hours if you need more time.
- Once the chili is done, give it a stir, check the seasoning, and eat it!
What makes the best chili?
There are so many schools of thought on chili, but I feel like everyone can agree on this – a good chili should have deep, rich savory flavors with beef, tomato, and spices at the forefront.
From there the debates start…
Beans or no beans? Texas chili absolutely DOES NOT have beans!
Spicy or mild? Toppings or straight up?
This is a semi-homemade recipe and I own that on weeknights. It’s not winning any chili cookoffs – well, maybe it could, it’s pretty darn tasty – but those serious chili people like to cook their chili from scratch and I respect that.
What liquid do you put in chili?
Mom uses water to thin out the sauce at the start of this recipe.
If you want to add some more depth of flavor you could use beer, vegetable stock, or beef stock instead. Just be sure to get low-sodium stock/broth so your chili isn’t too salty.
If you love family recipes, you do not want to miss these!
- Mom’s Best Ever Coconut Cake
- Dad’s Potato Pancakes
- Mom’s Famous Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Dad’s Coffee Cake
- Mom’s Lasagna
Mom's 5-Ingredient Chili Recipe
- 3 pounds ground beef
- 32.25 ounces tomato soup (3 cans)
- 30 ounces red kidney beans (2 cans) drained and rinsed
- 2 packets mild chili seasoning
- 21.5 ounces water (2 soup cans full)
- Place a large pot over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat as it cooks. Drain any excess grease.
- To the same pot, add the tomato soup, kidney beans, and chili seasoning. Using the tomato soup cans, fill two with water and the add water to the pot.
- Stir and bring chili to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the chili has thickened and your house smells amazing, stir one more time and check the seasoning. Add salt and pepper to your taste as needed.
- Portion chili into bowls and serve immediately. We like our chili topped with shredded cheese and served with buttered saltines or cornbread.
- To make a smaller batch: Use 1 pound of ground beef, 1 can of soup, 1 can of beans, 1 packet of seasoning, and 1 can of water. Cook as directed and let simmer for 20-25 minutes.
- Slow cooker chili: Brown the ground beef in a skillet and transfer it to a crock pot. Pour in the soup, beans, seasoning, and water and stir everything together. Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or on LOW for 5-6 hours. Stir again and serve.
- You can use store-bought or homemade chili seasoning for this recipe. One 1.25-ounce packet from the store = 2 1/2 tablespoons of homemade seasoning.