Grandma’s Homemade Chili is the ultimate comfort food! She had a way with her recipes that brought everyone to the table and left them happy and satisfied. She even converted a die-hard chili hater with this recipe!  If you like this recipe, make sure to check out my white bean chicken chili too!

Homemade Chili Recipe

How to Make Homemade Chili

This homemade chili recipe is easily adaptable. For instance, when my grandma would have a good tomato crop she would can until her pantry was overflowing. Instead of buying canned tomatoes she would use her canned whole tomatoes, juice and all, in this recipe. If you try this, just be sure to break up large tomatoes with your hands or a masher first. Also, during deer hunting season, if grandpa would get a deer she would make this with venison. When she would have a great pepper crop she would add green peppers, jalapenos, even habanero. Although, she only did that once. Grandpa did not like it too hot!  Bottom line, you can modify this recipe to what you have in your cupboard, or what you prefer.

Homemade Chili Seasoning

Homemade chili seasoning can be a great addition as well.  To make your own homemade chili seasoning, just grab a small bowl and mix together the following: 1 tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Put it in an airtight container for up to six months!

The BEST Chili Recipe! Grandma knew how to make everything taste better!

Homemade Chili Recipe

If you were a young wife like I was, you may have wondered, “How do you make Homemade Chili?” To be more accurate, I asked, “How do you make Homemade chili, FAST?”  I am so thankful that my Grandma was willing to share her award-winning recipe! But a few extra tips and tricks really helped me to perfect it and streamline the process.  The process of making homemade chili is actually relatively simple.  The secret is in the time!  The flavors in the tomatoes, the seasonings, the meat, and the beans need time to start to work together.  They start to blend perfectly if you let the whole thing simmer.  Grandma was known for her patience as well:)

Homemade Hot Dog Chili

A lot of people ask me if you can just throw this homemade chili recipe right on a hot dog.  The answer is Yes! This homemade chili actually tastes amazing on hot dogs.   The trick to a good homemade hot dog chili is that it needs to a be thick.  If the chili is runny it will make the hot dog bun soggy.  To give this chili the texture for hotdogs, just scale back on the liquids.  Personally, I prefer chili to be on the thicker side anyway.  It gives it that hearty taste that I love.

Homemade Slowcooker Chili

Most people these days think of chili in a crockpot.  So, what’s the deal?  Can you make this in a crockpot and still get that amazing aroma and flavor?  Absolutely. Simply brown ground beef or venison in a large skillet over medium-high heat,  drain the fat and put the cooked beef, seasonings, tomatoes, and beans in slow cooker. Stir the mixture up really well and then cover and cook for about 8 hours.  You will want to make sure it is on a low-temperature setting. Some recipes will tell you that it is ok to turn a slow cooker to high for only 4 hours, but personally, I don’t think this gives the meal enough time to start to really blend together.

What do I serve with Homemade Chili?

Chili and cornbread go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Here is a recipe for some Homemade Corn Bread that you will love! Another one I love is this sweet cornbread. For this recipe, you actually use real corn!  Finally, this is the cakeiest tasting cornbread that I have ever had and it is delicious!  Also, I like to set my chili table up like a DIY smorgasbord.  I will put a big pot of chili in the middle of the table and surround it with all of the fixings.  Cornbreads, cheese, sour cream, jalapenos, diced tomatoes, homemade chili seasoning, oyster crackers, cilantro, and we like to throw some tortilla chips in the mix too!  I have seen some people pour their chili over steamed white rice too.  I guess it looks pretty darn good, but I have never tried it.  This is one of those meals that I love so much I don’t really like to mess with it.

Tools used to Make Chili

Listen up, there is only ONE tool that you absolutely must have to make this chili.  A dutch oven.  I good dutch oven is a must.  I love my Staub Dutch Oven.  They are an investment, but they are SO worth it in my opinion.  Now, if you go the homemade slow cooker chili route, you won’t need a dutch oven, but you might want to get yourself a good crockpot.

How to Freeze Chili

Chili is usually made in large batches, so that means there will probably be leftovers. For best results, freeze the chili immediately after serving the chili (don’t wait until the day after). Put small portions of the leftover chili in freezer-safe containers, date it, and eat it within two months. When you are ready to eat the chili, defrost the chili in the microwave for a few minutes and continue heating it in a saucepan, over medium heat.

She knows her stuff!
5 from 2 votes

Grandma’s Homemade Chili

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Grandma’s Homemade Chili is the ultimate comfort food! She had a way with her recipes that brought everyone to the table and left them happy and satisfied. She even converted a die-hard chili hater with this recipe!


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion chopped fine
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) kidney beans, roughly drained
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) stewed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons chili seasoning mix
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste


  • Cook and stir ground beef, chopped onion, and garlic in a skillet over medium heat until crumbly and browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain.
  • Stir drained ground beef, kidney beans, tomatoes, and chili seasoning together in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are slightly tender and chili is heated through. (15-20 minutes)
  • Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste.


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Reader Comments

  1. Love this recipe, I tried it, next time I might add some bell peppers, maybe mixes beans kidney and pinto beans, maybe more tomatoes

  2. 5 stars
    I love your site and recipes. So easy to follow, except I do not own cast iron. Am anxious to try the beef stew. Have been looking for a good recipe, and this sounds the best of all I have seen. Jeep them coming, please!

  3. If I choose to substitute canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes rather than stewed tomatoes, would I drain them or not?

  4. Is there a nutritional chart on this recipe? what’s the cholesterol, sodium, fat Etc I would love to make this recipe but I am Limited due to high blood pressure. with medicine my blood pressure is stable but I don’t want to eat anything that is high in sodium.

    1. I would make my own mix then you can control it. What I noticed is the added chemicals are what causes the high sodium. On the top is a recpie for chili mix.

    2. Farther up on this page before the list of ingredients to make the chili is her grandmothers homemade chili mix–and you can easily omit the salt. Garlic helps to lower bp so add some extra cloves of garlic. Yum!!!

    3. There is no cholesterol or sodium in the kidney beans, spices, tomatoes (if sodium free), so you can control your cholesterol by limiting the meat and subbing some crumbled tofu, or rice or other grain for some of the meat…and omit or limit the sodium by using no, or less salt.

    4. Also look at the sodium levels on the bean cans a lot
      Of them can contain a lot of sodium actually anything canned

    1. I made last night. Made it times 1 1/2. To make 18 servings. Used three lbs of hamburger added one seven oz can diced Ortega chili. There was six of us. Two hours later there was none. A total hit with everyone. Next time I think I will add diced green bell pepper. Love this and it is so simple.

    2. I have made your recipe using your homemade chili seasoning mix. Very good! I also like to add 1 can of tomato soup. I know it sounds weird, but try it. It adds a creaminess to your chili. People will wonder what’s in it, but no one will guess. My mother had a restaurant and this was her secret. Customers loved her chili.

    3. I know I will love this but to me 2 things I use were missing. They would be. Nice squeeze of French’s mustard and when it is all done … on the top with the shredded cheese and sour cream add sliced avocado! So delicious!❤️

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