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The BEST Chili Recipe

Ultimate Chili

  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x


  • 5 ounces diced pancetta (or 5 slices of diced thick-cut bacon)
  • 1 3/4 pounds ground beef
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 1 jalapeño, cored and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 bottle (1 1/2 cups) beer
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 2 (15-oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 2 (15-oz) can beans of your choice, rinsed and drained (I used pinto and dark red kidney beans)
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, diced (plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder*
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
  • toppings: diced avocado, chopped fresh cilantro, diced green or red onions, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, lime wedges, and/or crumbled corn tortilla chips


  1. Brown the meat. Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add the pancetta (or bacon) and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the ground beef and sauté until browned and cooked through, stirring and crumbling with a wooden spoon as it cooks.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked meat to a clean plate and set it aside, reserving 1 tablespoon of grease in the pot.  (If there is more grease in the pot, discard it.)
  2. Sauté veggies.  Add the onion, red pepper and jalapeño to the stockpot and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.  Add garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add remaining ingredients: Add the beer to the stockpot, and use a wooden spoon to gently scrape up any browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot.  Add the cooked beef and pancetta (or bacon), beef stock, tomatoes, beans, green chiles, chipotle chili in adobo, chili powder, smoked paprika and cumin, and stir to combine.  Continue cooking until the chili reaches a simmer.
  4. Simmer: Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and continue to simmer the chili for 20 minutes.
  5. Season: Taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed.  (Feel free to also add in extra chili powder or cumin, if you think it is needed.)
  6. Serve: Serve immediately, piled high with all of your favorite toppings.


Chili Powder: I used American-style chili powder in this recipe, which is different than cayenne.  (If you live outside of the USA, please look for American-style chili powder which is essential in this recipe.)

Broth Consistency: If the broth seems too thin, you can either simmer the chili uncovered for an extra 10-15 minutes until it reaches your desired thickness.  Or you can stir in a few tablespoons of masa harina slurry at a time (equal parts masa harina + cold water, whisked together) as the chili is simmering, until it reaches your desired consistency.

Instant Pot Chili Instructions: Using the “Sauté” button, cook the meat in an Instant Pot as directed in Step 1, then transfer the meat to a separate plate.  Sauté the veggies as directed in Step 2.  Then add the cooked meat and remaining ingredients to the bowl of your Instant Pot, give everything a quick stir, place the lid on top and set to sealing, and pressure cook the chili on high for 10 minutes, followed by a natural release.  Continue with Steps 5 and 6.

Crockpot Chili Instructions: If you would like, you have the option of completing Step 1 (and 2, optionally) on the stovetop. Then you can add those sautéed ingredients to the slow cooker.  But if you would like to make crockpot chili the easiest way, simply add all of the chili ingredients at once to the bowl of a large slow cooker.  Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Continue with Steps 5 and 6.