Cold Weather Staples: Our Favorite Chili

Talking chili in the wrong circles can lead to trouble fast. Regional discrepancies, family preferences, and overconsumption of cold beer on a hot day can all account for outrageous claims of ownership for the “correct” way to prepare the stew, which traces its roots to America’s southern border but has been claimed by cuisines nationwide. For that reason, we’re starting here with a no-nonsense, starting-point chili, a stable place to start a lifetime of chili cook-offs, neighborhood barbecues, and lazy days at home with family. Before you develop the secret family recipe or get into arguments with your Texan neighbors over the “no beans” doctrine, try this foundational preparation, best enjoyed with fat-heavy 80/20 ground beef. With each iteration, update and expand your flavors, and taste continuously. There are no rules here, and what rules you know may be best broken. And don’t forget a white onion to chop for a fresh topping.


  • Grapeseed or olive oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced

  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 2 lbs 80/20 ground beef

  • 4 tbsp chili powder

  • 4 tbsp ground cumin

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

  • 1 (6 oz) can of tomato paste

  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper

  • 2 cups beef broth

  • 1 (28 oz) can San Marzano diced tomatoes

  • 1 (16 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 (7 oz) can chipotles in adobo sauce


Add oil to large pot (we love our Made In Cookware stock pot) and place over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for two minutes, stirring frequently. Lower heat to medium and add garlic. Sweat for 3-5 minutes. Control temperature and take care not to burn garlic

Add ground beef to pot. Break apart with spoon and brown for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add chili powder, cumin, sugar, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Stir until well combined.

Add broth, diced tomatoes, drained beans and 2 tbsp of adobo sauce from the tin of chipotle peppers (don’t use the peppers). Stir well. Bring the liquid to a low boil. Reduce the heat (low to medium-low) to gently simmer the chili, uncovered, for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Remove pot from heat. Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

The seasoning amounts are just guides. Frequently taste, adjusting spice mixes to taste. Remember: you can always add, but not remove.

The secret to a deliciously rich, flavorful chili is to simmer for as long as you can (2-5 hours). We recommend cooking your chili the night before you plan to serve. The flavor intensifies overnight!

Serve with your choice of toppings. We love grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, diced onion and avocado.

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