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Stovetop Chili

Stovetop Chili is an easy recipe that’s chock full of Southwest flavors. Pair it with some homemade cornbread, and you have a full meal.

One of the easiest and most filling dishes during the Winter months is stovetop chili. It’s right up there with stovetop beef stew, tomato basil soup, and sausage and sauerkraut soup.

The great thing about chili is that it’s so versatile. There are so many ways to make it, so you can add or leave out ingredients without messing up the recipe.

For example, our stovetop chili has no beans, but you could easily add them. Some chili recipes are prepared with stew meat, sirloin, or short ribs, but ours uses ground beef.

A good chili recipe is however you make it! Ours starts off with some finely chopped veggies, add in some seasoned ground beef, broth, tomatoes and green chiles, a little tomato sauce or even a touch of taco seasoning. That’s it!

Chili topped with cheese, jalapenos, and onions.

How to Make Stovetop Chili:

  1. This may sound a little unconventional, but like I mentioned above, our stovetop chili starts off with the trinity (carrots, celery, and onions). It adds an amazing base flavor, so don’t skip these ingredients.
  2. Roughly chop the carrots, celery, and onions, then toss them into the food processor. Pulse until the vegetables are finely ground. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large stock pot or saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil and the chopped vegetables.
  4. Cook the vegetables for about 2 minutes, just long enough for them to soften. Add the ground beef, all the spices, salt, and pepper.
  5. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the ground beef until it’s no longer pink. Add the beef broth, tomatoes and green chiles, and tomato sauce.
  6. Stir to combine all the ingredients, then bring the chili to a simmer. Continue to cook for 30 to 35 minutes until the chili reaches the desired consistency.
  7. Serve hot with your favorite toppings and a side of cornbread or crackers.
Collage of photos showing how to make chili.

Should you cover chili when cooking?

We recommend leaving the stovetop chili uncovered to help reduce the liquid and thicken the chili.

However, if the temperature is too high on the stove or the pan is too full, the chili may splatter. In that case, a lid may be your best bet.

If you choose to use a lid, the liquid may take longer to reduce.

Chili with ground beef in a bowl.

What if chili is too watery?

There are a few things you can do to remedy chili being too watery. The first thing is to start off with less broth and add more as needed to reach the desired consistency.

This takes a little more “babysitting” to ensure the chili doesn’t run out of liquid and burn.

The second thing you can try is to bring the chili up to a rolling simmer/low boil for several minutes. This will help cook off some of the excess liquid.

The third thing is to make a slurry out of cold water and cornstarch. The amount of slurry needed will depend on how thick you like the chili.

A little bit of cornmeal will also thicken chili up if you’re in a pinch, and the other methods haven’t worked. Keep in mind, it may change the texture, though.

Close up of a bowl of chili.

Can you simmer chili too long?

Yes, you can simmer chili too long. However, the question might need to be asked, “How long is too long to simmer chili?”

For this stovetop chili recipe, the ground beef is already cooked before adding the liquid. Additionally, the spices are cooked with the beef.

You’re only allowing the beef to simmer in the liquid long enough for the flavors to meld and the chili to thicken.

Letting the chili cook for several hours can result in mushy ground beef, scorched tomatoes and tomato sauce, and burned ingredients due to the spices and sugars from the tomatoes sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Of course, you could add additional broth, but that’s a lot of extra sodium added over time, and it may dilute the flavor of the other ingredients.

Chili with ground beef in a bowl.

Stovetop Chili

5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 Servings

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  • ½ cup carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup white onion, roughly chopped
  • ½ rib of celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon(s) avocado oil
  • 1 pound ground beef, We used 93/7.
  • 2 tablespoon(s) chili powder, See Note
  • 1 tablespoon(s) onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon(s) garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper, or white pepper
  • 2 cups beef broth, plus more as needed
  • 10.5 ounces tomatoes and green chiles, 1 can
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce


  • Place the carrots, onions, and celery into a food processor, and pulse until the vegetables are finely chopped. Set aside.
    ½ cup carrots
    ½ cup white onion
    ½ rib of celery
  • Place a large stockpot over medium heat, and add the oil. Allow the oil to heat for about 30 to 45 seconds. Add the chopped vegetables to the pot, and cook for about 2 minutes.
    1 tablespoon(s) avocado oil
  • Add the ground beef, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Cook for 6 to 8 while breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula until the beef is no longer pink.
    1 pound ground beef
    2 tablespoon(s) chili powder
    1 tablespoon(s) onion powder
    1 tablespoon(s) garlic powder
    2 tsp. cumin
    1 tsp. paprika
    1 tsp. kosher salt
    ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • Pour in the beef broth, tomatoes and green chiles, and tomato sauce. Stir to combine, and bring the liquid to a simmer. Allow the chili to simmer for 30 to 35 minutes or until it reaches the desired consistency. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
    2 cups beef broth
    10.5 ounces tomatoes and green chiles
    8 ounces tomato sauce
  • Serve hot with cornbread, crackers, or buttered bread. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


*Know your chili powder before adding it to the chili. Some brands are spicier than others, so the amount listed in the recipe may need to be adjusted to fit your tastes.
*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 cup of chili. Actual calories will vary.
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 975mg | Potassium: 609mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2970IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 4mg
Recipe Rating