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This Southern homemade chili is a great base chili for everyday. You can easily add more veggies or spice or change the beans or meat used.
Think about adding corn, another type of bean like navy or edamame, and/or beef chunks instead of (or as well as) the ground beef.
This chili is about average spice level, but spiciness is very subjective. If in doubt, use less cayenne - you can always add more if needed.
What You'll Need
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 large onion
- 2 jalapenos
- ground cumin
- 2 cans petite diced tomatoes
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- beef stock/broth
- pinto or kidney beans, drained
- black pepper
- cayenne pepper
- sweet paprika
(Full Recipe & Instructions Below)
A good Southern chili recipe has a tomato and meat base with lots of flavor added - the jalapenos, cayenne pepper, paprika, and cumin take care of this.
To be "Southern," you don't want to skimp on flavor - calories are not counted when you are after optimal flavor and a truly Southern dish. It should be thick, not soupy - thick enough to scoop up with crackers, chips, or bread.
Cumin complements the tomato base and meat flavors nicely without adding more spiciness.
Great for a cool fall day or deep wintry night dinner, this Southern chili recipe will warm your insides and fill you to cozy. Serve with your favorite crackers, chips, or bread. Try my cornbread or cheese toast with this.
For the beef stock, you can substitute chicken stock or broth - sometimes I do this if I don't have beef. However, the beef stock does tend to be a bit more flavorful, so it's my first choice if I have it on hand.
Top with shredded cheddar cheese, green onions, and/or sour cream if desired.
Best Beans for Southern Homemade Chili
The standard bean I use in my chili is pinto, but I like to switch it up from time to time and sometimes use kidney beans or I will add more than one type of bean.
In my Panera Turkey Chili Copycat recipe, I got creative due to what the restaurant uses in their chili, and for the first time used garbanzo beans and edamame along with the kidney beans. It turned out so colorful and delicious!
Along with the pintos I use and the typical kidney beans most commonly used, other excellent beans for chili include black beans, navy beans, Great Northern, garbanzo, and edamame.
My suggestion, if you haven't made chili before, is to start with a base recipe (like mine here) and see how you like it. Then next time you make chili, get adventurous and add another bean that you like to the mix.
For example, if you used two cans of pinto beans, then use one can next time along with one can of garbanzo beans and see what you think.
Pay attention to how your chili looks as it's cooking - are there lots of varied colors, does it look too thick or thin? You don't want an overabundance of beans compared to meat, for example, so don't overdo it and add too many beans that will get your chili flavors out of balance.
You want it to be nice and meaty, and the beans will add nice texture and flavor, but you don't want the beans to steal the show.
I hope you love this Southern homemade chili as much as my boys and I do! Let me know how yours turned out in the comments below.
Other slow cooker recipes you may love:
Southern Homemade Chili Recipe
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 large onion , chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers , deseeded and finely chopped, about ½ cup
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 2 14.5 ounce cans petite diced tomatoes , undrained
- 2 15.5 ounce cans pinto beans (or beans of your choice), drained
- 2 cups beef stock or broth
- ½ teaspoon salt , more to taste
- ¼ freshly ground black pepper , more to taste
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika (or smoked)
- In large skillet, cook ground beef and onions until meat is browned and onions are slightly translucent, chopping up beef and stirring frequently.
- Drain excess beef fat from pan.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, mixing in thoroughly.
- Bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low and simmer for one hour, covered.
- Taste and add more salt, black pepper, or cayenne if desired.
- Enjoy topped with shredded cheese along with crusty bread, tortilla chips, or crackers. A side salad goes well with chili as well.
- Note: This chili can simmer for another hour or two if needed or desired, but can be served after one hour as well. The longer it simmers, the more the flavors will meld.
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