Chili for Beginners

Are you a novice cook? This recipe is a very basic chili recipe for you. This recipe is part of my learn to cook series, where I am cooking through my old home economics cookbook.

Chili for beginners from

Making chili may seem mysterious. It isn’t, a good chili recipe is to be had. You can make a flavorful chili from scratch. You don’t need to buy special packets of seasoning, you just need a few simple ingredients for making chili. If you are new to my Learn to cook series, this is where I am cooking through my old home economics cookbook from junior high school. So I was making this years ago when I was learning how to cook this is one of my guides that I used.

Chili Ingredients

Chili ingredients are very basic, and you can always change your chili to your personal preferences. You will need a few basic ingredients. Ground beef is one of the most important ingredients for chili, I personally like to use ground chuck, I think it has better flavor than most other types of ground beef. Onions are popular in chili. When it comes to onions I have a small preference for white onions over yellow. I think white onions are a little sweeter. Honestly, I just look at what is less expensive. You will also need canned tomatoes, and chili powder.

Variations in Chili

I think the biggest question people have is to add beans or not? While if you are living in Texas, you may feel that chili does not contain beans. It is up to you if you want to add the beans. I like to add either red kidney beans, pinto beans, or even Ranch Style Beans. You may also want to add other spices, the spices that I like to use are cumin, chipotle powder, cayenne pepper, or sometimes I like to add even some extra chili.

Keep in mind you can add a lot of different items in your chili. Be sure to practice adding one thing at a time in small amounts. This way you can feel confident that the variations you choose to make if you make small changes at a time.

More Chili Recipes

Wendy’s Chili
Crock Pot Chili
Indiana Style Chili
Steak and Shake Chili

Chili for beginners from

Chili for Beginners

Even if you have never cooked you can make a tasty bowl of chili. 
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chili Recipes
Servings: 8
Calories: 307kcal


  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (you can add additional up to 1 tablespoon)
  • 14.5 ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • 29 ounces canned beans beans (red kidney, pinto, or black beans) 2 cans
  • 1 cup tomato juice if desired (V8 is a great substitute)


  • Brown the ground beef and chopped onions in a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Season ground beef with salt and black pepper as it is browning. Drain beef when browned. In a medium sized pot add tomatoes, beans, juice, and chili powder. Add cooked ground beef and stir to combine. Simmer for approximately 1 hour before serving.


Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 730mg | Potassium: 752mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 790IU | Vitamin C: 11.8mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 4.3mg
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About Stephanie

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Carly Mckeen

    5 stars
    Thank you for stating that chili ingredients are very basic, and you can always change your chili to your personal preferences. My husband’s favorite food is chili, and his birthday is coming up, so I really want to make it for him, but have never made it before. I will definitely utilize all of your great tips and information when trying to make my husband some yummy chili.

  2. Tara

    Just wondering if u don’t use tomatoes can u use a can of tomato paste instead to substitute dieced tomatoes?

    • Stephanie

      5 stars
      So a can of tomato paste is smaller than a can of tomatoes. You would need to add additional water to make up for the missing tomatoes. I would add an additional 10 ounces of water to make up for the missing liquid from the tomatoes.

  3. Shandra

    5 stars
    Thanks for doing this! I am going to make this for my husband tonight. Just FYI, those of us that are truly novice (myself) don’t know exactly what “simmer” means or if that means to simmer with the lid on or off.

  4. Keith

    Hi Stephanie, I enjoy the recipes you post. After someone gets past their first attempt they can try adding “chili” that will make it a bit more authentic. Just buy about 6 dried peppers at the market. Make up about two cups of Chicken or Beef bullion and place the peppers in the bullion and bring to a boil. Let tem set for about three hours and then remover the seeds and stems and blend them into a paste. This will not add a lot of spice to the recipe but it will give it some authentic flavor

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