Main Dishes

Spicy chili

It’s officially comfort food season! Let the countdown to Thanksgiving begin, and the counting of calories end. It’s time to slip on that oversized sweater and pretend that bread doesn’t make you fat. I’m kicking off the season with a hearty bowl of spicy chili that’s sure to warm your soul.

This was actually my first time making chili. I don’t know how that happened being from Wisconsin, as chili is the glue that holds the Midwest together during the winter, but let’s just not talk about it.

This version is perfect for first timers. I got the recipe from my boyfriend’s mother, but tweaked it slightly by adding some cayenne pepper to spice things up. The ingredients are very basic and not a lot of prep work is involved. It’s a great set it and forget it dish. And the best part is it gets better as it sits, so you can feast on it all week!

The only thing I would be wary of is the brand of tomato products you choose. The only option for me at the time was Hunts, which I find to be a little more sugary than other brands. The chili ended up being a little too sweet for my liking, as the recipe calls for additional sugar—so maybe omit it if you’re working with a sugary tomato product.

Let’s talk fixin’s.

My mentality when it comes to toppings is more is morecheese, sour cream, diced onion, jalapeños, avocado, cilantro, or even some crushed up tortilla chips. However, the chili is delicious on its own, so feel free to keep it classic if that’s more your thing!



All cans are 14.5-15 ounces,  unless otherwise specified. 

  • 3  cans dark red kidney beans (do not drain)
  • 3 cans stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • salt and pepper

Toppings ideas (optional)

  • shredded cheese
  • sour cream (or greek yogurt)
  • jalapeño
  • red onion
  • avocado
  • cilantro
  • tortilla chips


Finely dice the onions and sauté them over medium heat in a large pot with the ground beef, until onions are translucent and beef is cooked through. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Let simmer for 30 minutes and adjust any additional seasonings or sugar as needed. Prepare toppings as chili simmers.

*Make the day ahead for best flavor! 


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