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The Easiest (and tastiest!) Chili Recipe Ever

This easy chili recipe is filled with beans, tomatoes, corn, and plenty of Mexican spices. I’ve made this chili with meat and without and it’s delicious both ways.

I’m sharing the easiest chili recipe I make with you today, because as simple as it is, it remains my go-to dinner plan when we arrive home from traveling and I don’t have time or motivation to head for the store.

The easiest and tastiest chili you'll ever make!

Simple Chili Recipe

Originally, this was simply an assortment of canned goods that I combined one afternoon when we had just arrived back in town and there wasn’t a bit of fresh food in the house.

After every single person at the table commented on how much they enjoyed the meal, I decided to scribble out a list of the ingredients and make it again. I’ve tweaked the ingredients a little bit here and there but no matter what, it comes out delicious every time.

The convenience of this recipe can’t be beaten. Ten years later, with the same nine cans of beans, tomatoes, green chile, and corn, it all still adds up to a comforting, warm, satisfying, and healthy meal.

Lazy Day Chili - a.k.a. Nine Can Chili

Best Easy Chili Recipe

I’ve made many chilis in my day and many, like Hearty Pepper Chili, White Chicken Chili, and Italian Jack Chili, have become staples for family meals when we’re in the mood for something hearty.

On the days when I know we want something meaty and spicy, I whip up a batch of Spicy Five Bean Chili with Steak and Sausage.

This simple chili recipe is a return to the basics of chili. Tender beans (and meat, if you choose) and green chiles stewed with fire roasted tomatoes and spices to create a spectacular marriage of flavors that can be served in so many ways.

I’ve made versions of this chili both with and without meat. In the past, I have used 1 pound of ground beef, cooked and crumbled, plus (4) Italian sausage links (this was about 1 pound) browned on each side in a medium-heat skillet and then sliced into bite-size rounds.

I’ve also made this with 1 pound of ground beef and 1 pound of hot sausage. The chili can also be made with 3 cups of cooked, chopped chicken or turkey. Just about any variety of meat that you enjoy can be added to this recipe.

Nine Can Chili - aka The Easiest Chili you'll ever make!

Chili with Canned Beans

Because this recipe relies almost entirely on canned ingredients, it’s a fantastic option when you’re low on groceries or without access to fresh produce. I keep these canned goods on hand just to ensure this remains the easiest chili recipe ever.

Chili and cornbread is a classic American pairing that always reminds me of past camping trips. This chili would also be delicious served with sour cream, cheese, and salsa and scooped with tortilla chips or in Frito Pie.

Slather it on hot dogs to make easy chili dogs, ladle it over baked potatoes, combine it with the best ever Creamy Macaroni and Cheese for the ultimate chili mac, or just eat as is. This is the one chili recipe you’ll want to make over and over again.

Tip: Put this chili on your meal plan for the end of the week when you might be low on fresh produce before your shopping day. Nothing about it tastes “canned” and it’s an economical, tasty way to use up pantry items.

Easiest Chili Ever

Want to know how to make easy chili? Just combine all the ingredients in a large pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, cover with lid and simmer, stirring occasionally for 2-10 hours.

In a hurry? You can simply bring the chili to a boil, simmer 15 minutes, and then serve it. However, if you have the chance to cook it longer, I highly recommend it. The flavors will be even better if you allow everything to simmer together for a while. Serve with the toppings of your choice.

While you can just bring all the ingredients in the chili to a simmer and serve right away, this is a recipe that greatly benefits from time. The longer you simmer your chili, the better all the delicious spices and flavors can meld.

I often cook this chili in the slow cooker. Toss everything in the Crock-Pot in the morning and your home will be filled with the enticing aroma of chili all day long. You’ll hardly be able to wait for dinner time!

You can also “slow cook” this recipe on the stovetop. Simmer for several hours (at least two but as many as 10) and you’ll be rewarded with an incredible dinner.

Chili is also a great “next day” meal! The flavors will have even more time to mingle and come together in the fridge overnight making reheated leftover chili just as good for lunch the next day.

For more Crock-Pot friendly recipes, check out these 10 Slow Cooker Soups.

You're going to love this 20 minute chili recipe that tastes like it simmered all day long!

Vegetarian Chili

I sometimes add meat to this chili but it’s still quite tasty without any meat at all.

The beans are packed with protein that makes this a stick-to-your-ribs vegetarian meal that satisfies even the most voracious meat lovers in my family! If you omit the cheese on top, it’s even vegan to boot.

Looking for more vegetarian meal ideas? Vegetarian Four Bean and Chipotle Chili and Pasta E Fagioli are two other easy meat-free dishes I love that use canned beans.

For another hearty chili recipe to try, check out our White Chicken Chili and Sean’s favorite Hearty Pepper Chili. If you’re lucky enough to have leftover chili on hand, try a Chili Cornbread Casserole too.

The Best Chili You'll Ever Make - in under 20 minutes!

This chili recipe is hearty, warm, slightly spicy, and peppered with plenty of hot green chile flavor. It uses ingredients you’re likely to already have in your pantry and is as easy as it gets.

It’s perfect for beginning cooks or anyone looking for a nice, simple, economical, homemade meal without a ton of fuss or mess.

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Servings: 8 -10 servings

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  • STOVE-TOP DIRECTIONS: Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a simmer over medium low heat, cover with lid and simmer, stirring occasionally for 2-10 hours. (Yes, you can simply bring the chili to a boil, simmer 15 minutes and then serve it. However, if you have the chance to cook it longer, I highly recommend it. The flavors will change into something even better if you allow them to simmer together for a while.) Serve with the toppings of your choice. Enjoy!

  • CROCK-POT DIRECTIONS: Combine all ingredients in a large crock-pot. Cook on LOW for 8-12 hours. Serve with the toppings of your choice. Enjoy!

I’ve made versions of this chili both with and without meat. Most of the time, my go-to choices are ground beef or hot breakfast sausage when making this recipe.

Calories: 359kcal · Carbohydrates: 68g · Protein: 21g · Fat: 2g · Sodium: 489mg · Potassium: 1373mg · Fiber: 19g · Sugar: 7g · Vitamin A: 550IU · Vitamin C: 25mg · Calcium: 151mg · Iron: 7mg

{recipe originally published 2/26/14 – recipe notes and photos updated 4/24/24}

Lazy Day Chili is the easiest (and tastiest!) chili ever!

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