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best easy chili

Best Easy Chili

  • Author: Glenda Embree
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings 1x


My Best Easy Chili recipe is a hearty, spicy & delicious meal in a bowl. You'll have it on the table in under 30 minutes.  With only 6 ingredients & one pot you're going to win weeknight dinners with this recipe.  It will become a regular in your fall and winter meal plans.


Units Scale
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (I use 90%)
  • 1 can (40 oz.) chili beans in chili sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups V-8 vegetable juice
  • 1 - 2 envelopes (1.25 oz.) chili seasoning mix or 2 to 4 teaspoons Southwestern Seasoning
  • salt and pepper, (or All Purpose Seasoning) to taste


  1. In a 4-qt or larger stock pot, over medium high heat, crumble and brown the ground beef until done and no pink remains.  Salt and pepper the ground beef, to taste, as it browns.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chili seasoning packets along with the can of chili beans in chili sauce.  Stir to combine.
  3. Add the petite tomatoes, tomatoes with chilies and the V-8 juice.  The amount of V-8 you use will determine the thickness of your chili.  Adjust it to your personal preference.  Stir to combine.
  4. Allow the chili to cook for 15 minutes to heat through and to meld all the flavors.
  5. Serve with your favorite garnishes (We like sour cream, grated cheese, diced onion, etc.), toppings and crackers or tortilla chips.


Substituting the Beans

You can definitely substitute drained and rinsed kidney beans, pinto beans or black beans in this chili. Any of your favorite beans can work. Occasionally, I will mix several different kinds.

Still, for convenience and flavor I usually choose the beans in chili gravy when I'm in a hurry. Keep in mind if your kidney, black or pinto beans are drained and rinsed, you won't have that additional "gravy" liquid, so will want more of the V-8 juice and maybe even extra chili powder or chili seasoning.

Adjusting the Spice Level

If you're cooking for littles, you may need to know how to tame down the spice in your chili.  You can do that in several ways, depending on the heat level you want.  Choose the method that works best for your situation.

Use the canned tomatoes with chilies that are labeled “mild”, instead of “original”.

  1. Omit the canned tomatoes with chilies and add an extra ¾ cup of V‑8 vegetable juice.
  2. Omit the canned tomatoes with chilies and add an extra can of petite diced tomatoes.
  3. Use only one packet of chili seasoning mix, instead of two.
  4. Stirring a dollop of sour cream into the chili can also temper the spiciness.

If you like to turn up the heat in your chili, be sure you're adding the canned tomatoes with green chilies marked original, not mild.  You can also add minced jalapeno or red pepper flakes, to taste.  My favorite way to add heat to this easy chili recipe is to add 2 to 4 teaspoons of my homemade Southwestern Seasoning.

Southwest Seasoning Recipe

  • 2 Tablespoons chipotle chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stirring until everything is evenly distributed.  Store in a cool, dry place in an airtight container.

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Category: Soup, Chili
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American