Easy Recipes

Easy Bowl of Chili

With just a few simple ingredients, you could whip up an easy bowl of chili for dinner. In this post, I will share with you the easiest bowl of chili you’ve ever made!

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Pinterest graphic with bowl of chili and text overlay saying 'easy homemade bowl of chili' and reinventeddelaware.com

how to make an easy bowl of chili

I’m not kidding when I say easy. This is such a simple and quick meal to put together when I don’t have a lot of time. It’s also super easy to double the recipe and freeze portions for later.

This is one of our go-to meals because I always stock the ingredients in my pantry.

BTW, if you are interested in seeing my refreshed pantry area, check out the post in the button below. Then come right back because you don’t want to miss this easy meal!

Click the button below to see my pantry!

ingredients for a bowl of chili sitting on kitchen counter including chili powder, cumin, onion powder,granualted garlic, kidney beans, black beans, crushed tomatoes, whole onion,roasted garlic cloves, 1 pound hamburger meat

Here are the ingredients for the chili. I am willing to bet you have most of this in your kitchen already!

list of ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef (85% / 15%)
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 15 oz can red kidney beans
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • medium onion
  • fresh garlic
  • olive oil (or oil of your choice)
  • chili powder, cumin, onion powder, granulated garlic
  • salt and pepper

kitchen tools for a bowl of chili

Here are the kitchen tools I used to make this easy bowl of chili:

chopped onions on a cutting board

prep the veggies

Start by chopping the onion and the garlic.

I used some roasted garlic I make ahead and store it in the freezer. You can see how I roasted garlic the easy way over on my Instagram highlights called Roasted Garlic.

It’s so handy to have the roasted garlic in my freezer!

sliced roasted garlic on a cutting board with chefs knife

I sliced some of the garlic and then realized it would just melt into the rest of the chili as it cooked. So I just tossed the rest of the garlic along with the chopped onion into the Instant Pot set on the saute function.

You could also add chopped red pepper to give this bowl of chili more veggies!

chopped onions and garlic in an Instant Pot sauteing with ground beef and olive oil in background

what kind of beans go in chili

While the onion and garlic were sauteing, I drained the beans.

I like to use black beans and dark red kidney beans but you could use any combination of beans you like. Regular kidney beans and black beans are probably the most popular and readily accessible.

You could use other beans like black-eyed peas (technically they are beans) or pinto beans too.

I would save the light-colored beans for chicken recipes. In fact, I will be making one of our favorite white-chicken chili recipes soon and I use Great Northern beans in that chili/soup!

colander filled with kidney and black beans draining into larger bowl with canned tomatoes and spices in the background

what kind of meat for chili

While the beans drained, I continued to stir the onions and garlic. They finished sauteing and I added the ground beef.

Let’s chat about all things meat for chili for just a minute.

When I make a red chili, I use ground beef. You could also add ground pork sausage.

For a light-colored chili, I use ground turkey or chicken. Sometimes, I use chopped chicken instead of ground chicken.

You could use any combination of ground meats totally up to one pound.

One thing to consider when using ground beef or ground pork is the fat content. I don’t like to use the leanest ground beef or the one with the most fat. I usually like the 85% / 15% fat content. It gives the perfect amount of flavor without too much fat.

This masher is perfect for mashing up whatever ground meat you choose. I use it several times throughout the cooking process to break up the meat. It creates finely ground-up cooked meat!

ground beef in Instant Pot with chopped onions and garlic on the saute feature

Instant Pot chili

If you use ground meat that has more fat, I suggest you drain the meat before adding the spices and tomatoes. My chili was light on the fat so I didn’t need to drain it.

Next, I dump the can of tomatoes and spices into the Instant Pot. I give it a good stir and put the lid on.

BTW, so far I have only spent about 10 minutes on this meal! This bowl of chili is going to be super easy and super quick to put together!

ingredients for an easy bowl of chili in the Instant Pot including beans, meat spices and tomatoes

Instant Pot as a slow cooker

I set the Instant Pot to the slow cooker option. It was early in the day when I started this chili so I knew I had several hours until we would have a bowl of chili for dinner.

The timer automatically went to six hours so I left it at that. Our dinner time is usually 5:30-6 each evening so it would work out perfectly.

If you don’t have time for the slow cooker option to cook the chili, set it to pressure cook for about 10-15 minutes.

front view on an Instant Pot showing slow cooking feature with spices in the backround and a gray napkin on the side

Be sure to set the knob on the top to ‘venting’ if you are using the slow cooker option. The ‘sealing’ option is for pressure cooking.

close up view of 'venting' knob on the Instant Pot

homemade bowl of chili

Six hours later I had a delicious bowl of chili ready for dinner! Ten to fifteen minutes of prep time and six-ish hours in the Instant Pot on the slow cooking option was all it took!

ia bowl of chili on a larger plate with tortilla chips, gray napkin all stiting on a cutting board with small pumpkins in the background

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a close up of a bowl of chili with grated cheese on the top and tortilla chips on the side

chili topppings

Here are a couple of options to top your chili. I suggest you open your fridge and see what you have on hand. You might get a nice surprise topping that you haven’t thought of before!

  • shredded cheddar cheese (monterey jack is also nice) 😊
  • sour cream
  • sliced avocado
  • chopped green onion
  • finely chopped red onion
  • fresh lime zest and juice
  • salsa
  • finely choppd jalepeno pepper
  • finely chopped red pepper

We usually have cheddar cheese in the fridge so I shredded some up and sprinkled it on top. It just melts into the hot bowl of chili!

What are your favorite toppings for chili?

a bowl of chili with chips on a plate, napkin on the side all sitting on a cutting board

serving a bowl of chili

I grew up eating saltine crackers with chili. In fact, we used the cracker to scoop the chili up. We rarely used spoons!

Now, my hubby and I like to use tortilla chips. My favorite is the lime flavored. Have you tried them?? They are perfect with a bowl of chili!

Here is another use for this chili: spread the tortilla chips on a cookie sheet in a single layer, spoon the chili all over the chips, sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, and bake in the oven till the cheese melts.

Omgoodness, that sounds so good for a group of people to gather and eat right from the cookie sheet!

side veiw of a bowl of chili with grated cheddar and chips

stove top chili

Before I go I wanted to mention that if you do not have an Instant Pot or a Crock-Pot, you can make this chili on the stovetop. I have cooked this chili on the stovetop in a heavy enamel-covered cast iron dutch oven many times! It works just as well!

So, what do you think of my easy bowl of chili recipe?? Doesn’t it sound perfect for fall? I make this chili about every other weekend. I can start it early on a Saturday morning and have enough for dinner that night and Sunday night as well.

We like to have this while we sit on our back patio with the outdoor fireplace going all through the chilly fall season.

I hope you enjoyed this easy bowl of chili recipe! I would love to know if you cook it for your family!

more fall comfort food

Here are a couple of other recipes that will warm you from the inside out!

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Pinterest graphic with bowl of chili and text overlay saying 'easy homemade bowl of chili' and reinventeddelaware.com

Here is a recipe card for you! Be sure to save any image in this post to your Pinterest food and recipe boards!

Homemade Bowl of Chili

This is any easy chili recipe that you can make in minutes!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time6 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 4 people
Cost: 15


  • Instant Pot
  • food masher
  • Chef's knife
  • wood cutting board
  • cheese grater
  • colander


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz canned kidney beans
  • 1 15 oz canned black beans
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp granualted garlic
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt & pepper


  • Finely chop the onion and garlic
  • Saute chopped onion and garlic in the Instant Pot.
  • Add ground beef and continue to saute till beef is cooked through.
  • Add the spices.
  • Cook in Instant Pot using the slow cooker function for approx 6 hours.
  • Serve bowl of chili with desired toppings like shredded cheddar cheese.


This recipe can easily be converted to a Crock-Pot or a dutch oven on the stove top.  You can also choose a variety of toppings to suit your tastes!
**I do not measure spices when I am actually cooking this chili.  I add spices and salt & pepper to taste!

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  1. Being from Texas, we never use beans in our chili. But over the years I had been slowly conforming to the bean addition. 🙂 The recipe sounds delicious and the roasted garlic is a nice touch. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I didn’t realize that Texans didn’t use beans in their chili! My mom was born and raised in Texas (Beaumont and Corpus Christ areas) and she used beans! But that was over 80 years ago! Maybe things changed 🙂 Or maybe she added beans to stretch the meat for a big group! Who knows! Thanks for stopping by!

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