Classic Beef Chili


Fresh poblano, toasty ancho chile powder, oregano and beer come together to make a flavorful bowl of chili perfect for game day with friends.

Classic Beef Chili Recipe
Photo: Caitlin Bensel
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
55 mins
8 servings

When it comes to making chili, it's important to build flavor even before you add spicy heat. Toasting the ground cumin and ancho chile powder in oil as they cook with the beef brings out their earthy flavors, adding savory undertones to the mix when combined with the fresh poblano, thyme, and oregano. Using canned beans makes this recipe especially convenient; be sure to rinse and drain the beans before adding them to the pot.

Simmer the chili in a pilsner or amber beer, depending on your preference; IPAs and stout beers won't work as well here, as their flavors are too strong and can make the chili taste bitter. If you prefer to not use beer, swap in an equal amount of chicken or beef stock instead.

This is a great classic chili to keep in your back pocket for game day meals or anytime you want a hearty bowl to warm up on a cool fall or winter day. If you are serving this chili for a crowd, go ahead and set up a buffet of toppings. Serve this chili alongside tortilla chips, cornbread, and bowls of shredded cheddar, slices of fresh jalapeño and radishes, chopped scallions, and sour cream. This way, each person can pick and choose their garnishes and personalize their perfect bowl of chili.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion (from 1 large onion)

  • 1 cup chopped poblano chile (from 1 chile)

  • 8 garlic cloves, minced

  • 3 pounds 90/10 lean ground chuck

  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

  • 1/3 cup ancho chile powder

  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

  • 2 cups lower-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle of beer

  • Shredded cheddar cheese, sliced jalapeño chiles, sliced radishes, and sour cream, for serving


  1. Classic Beef Chili

    Molly Bolton


  2. Classic Beef Chili

    Molly Bolton

    Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add onion, poblano, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes.

  3. Classic Beef Chili

    Molly Bolton

    Add ground chuck and cook, stirring occasionally, until beef crumbles and is no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes.

  4. Classic Beef Chili

    Molly Bolton

    Drain beef mixture well and return to Dutch oven over medium-high.

  5. Classic Beef Chili

    Molly Bolton

    Add tomato paste, ancho chile powder, cumin, salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano and cook, stirring often, 2 minutes.

  6. Classic Beef Chili

    Molly Bolton

    Increase heat to high. Stir in beans, tomatoes, chicken broth, and beer and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 30 minutes.

  7. Classic Beef Chili

    Molly Bolton

    Serve chili with desired toppings.

  8. Classic Beef Chili

    Molly Bolton

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