Ok, here's the deal. This first part of the recipe is really just a starting point. Get your inner chili nerd on and adjust this recipe to your heart's desire.

There's really no easy way to ruin a chili. Once you have the basics you can go in any direction. Don't forget to try to mac it. Lots of people have their own opinion of what a chili should be. That's one of my favorite things about chili. You do you. When you're at the grocery store buy those big bags of various chili powders, mix them all into a small tupperware, and use them for taco seasoning and chilis. Red, black, chipotle, all kinds of wonderful chili powders out there, go wild, find your blend. I use a large crock pot for my chilis, but a Dutch Oven on the stove top will work also

Base Chili works...


1 lb of ground beef. 80%/20%

Three 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes

1.5 tbsp Powdered chili rojo

1.5 tbsp Powdered chili molido puro

1 tbsp salt

*optional ingredients:

Garlic (as much as you want)

Yellow or sweet onion (chopped into small pieces)


  • Set the crock pot on high (Dutch Oven on medium-high burner)
  • Pour the diced tomatoes in from the can. Do not drain any veggies/beans. You will need the moisture.
    • Let the diced tomatoes begin to boil while you brown the ground beef. 
  • Mix the two chili powders together to make a blend.
  • Brown the 1lb of ground beef in a large frying pan. Hack it up into little pieces with the tip of a spatula while it's cooking.
  • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the chili powder blend over the ground beef while it's in the frying pan. 
    • At this point you can add a cup of chopped yellow onion & a few cloves of garlic into the frying pan. I"m a huge fan of both, but it's not for everyone.
  • While the ground beef is browning, take the remaining chili powder blend and salt add them into the crock pot. Stir it all up.
  • When the beef is all browned, you can optionally drain it or just pour all of the delicious fat & moisture into the crock pot/Dutch Oven.
    • (I do not drain it because I'm a heathen)
  • Cook this until you're ready to eat. You can't over cook it at this point.

Now, this is a super boring chili. It'll be good, but it'll also be missing spirit, creativity, almost rotten food from the fridge, random cans of shit that's been in your Lazy Susan for half a decade. So, get into the back of the cabinet and fridge and lets see what we can do to make this brag-worthy...

Here's the wild part. all of this is subjective. Make it to your taste...

Bring on the bacon, black bean, chipotles...

Two 15oz cans of black beans

One 15.5 oz can of whole kernel sweet corn in water

8-10 pieces of bacon, diced

1 green bell pepper

7 oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

essentially anything else you find in the cabinet that has an expiration date within the year.

  • Cook the bacon dices soft in your frying pan. If you want crispy bits in your chili, do it. The longer you cook them in the crock pot they will soften. I like bacon that's cooked soft anyway. Add the bacon to the chili.
  • Take the chipotle peppers out of the can and slice them up into little bits. These are often very spicy, so I leave them in a separate container and add them to my bowl. Emily doesn't like it too hot.
  • add one or two tablespoons of the chipotle pepper chop into the crock pot. Not too much though. these dudes are super fucking spicy... in a good way.
  • chop up the bell peppers into whatever choppy shape you like. As they cook into the chili they get really soft.
  • pour in the beans - don't drain them.
  • pour in the sweet corn - don't drain that either.
  • cook it for a few hours, or as long as you want. All of the protein is pre-cooked, so the cooking time isn't critical.

You can add more chopped onion here, whatever you want. Taste it as you go, add more chili powder. Tony Chachere's creole seasoning is good. any of those griller seasoning blends that end up taking up cabinet space for a decade could be added also. This is really the opportunity to clear out some of that crap that rarely gets used... use it here... just keep tasting as you go. if you're not sure of something, ladle out a bowl and add it to the bowl... see if it works.

Eat a few bowls, keep it in the fridge for easy meals, freeze it for later.  

If it gets too dry you can use a veggie or beef broth to soup it up a little as needed.

Don't forget to try this as a chili-mac. Just cook & drain some elbows and add them to the chili. This is a great way to make chili double in volume. Be aware that as the chili sits in the mac, the pasta will continue to absorb the moisture. It can get into a funky texture eventually. You can just add elbows as you reheat it. You may need to add broth or water as it sits. Absolutely take out any chili you intend on freezing before you add the macaroni. You don't want to freeze the mac in it, add that later. Chili-mac is one of my favorite comfort foods.